Officials should live as we live
I think I've hit upon a way to make our local, state and federal officials more responsive to the needs of the people they were elected to serve. Make it mandatory that they live as we live.
They'll have to take a pay cut, of course. Very few of us earn salaries as high as those the officials have given themselves.
If they don't do a good enough job for us, or the economy dictates that cutbacks have to be made, they'll just have to find employment elsewhere. Those who keep their jobs will have to tighten their belts a little, of course.
They'll have to buy or lease the vehicles they now use free of charge and pay the same prices for gasoline that we do. They'll have to pay their own way, too, when traveling hither and yon to study the effects of butterflies on light rail transportation systems or whatever. When it comes time for haircuts and permanents, waiting their turn at a neighborhood hair emporium will give them the opportunity to get to know their constituents.
I'm sure they'll learn to love the local health club, too. It won't be as posh as the private club they've been accustomed to. But since they'll now have to pay to use the facilities and equipment, they'll probably appreciate it more.
They'll also have to start paying for health care and health care insurance like the rest of us and give up those wonderland pension plans with which they blessed themselves. But not to worry.
Once they reach their golden years, they'll be able to live it up on their Social Security just like everyone else. What's that, senator? What did you say, congressman? Why do we want to punish you? Who said anything about punishment? All we're saying is that we think you'll be able to do a better job for us if you have to live in our world instead of the one you now live in.
Richard T. Seymour
Kahane: a terrorist
I do not buy the claim of Rabbi Marcel Blitz (Forum, Nov. 20) that Rabbi Meir Kahane "... was a great Jew, a great man, and given the chance he would have been a great leader of Israel."
In New York, he served time in prison for making bombs; in Israel, he and the small political party he led were disenfranchised by the parliament for their outrageous conduct.
While his assassination was a despicable act, Kahane was himself a terrorist and, no matter what anyone says, two wrongs don't make a right!
Congratulations and thanks are due to The Evening Sun and reporter Stephanie Shapiro for the excellent coverage of Maharishi Ayurveda and the holistic approach to healing (Nov. 27). A few lucky patients are able to sample a taste of Maharishi Ayurveda right here in Baltimore.
Mary Ellen Graybill
Insult to veterans
In reply to Gerry Rinker's Nov. 30 Forum letter alleging that, according to his informant, American troops raped and pillaged during the Battle of the Bulge, it's pure bull and a grave insult to American veterans of World War II.
I was there, serving as a first scout in a parachute infantry line company, from the start of the German offensive to the end of the battle when we pushed the "bulge" back to the original starting point.
Americans suffered a tremendous number of casualties in stopping and finally defeating the German panzer armies and S.S. troops in this last offensive by the Germans. Fifty thousand Americans were killed, wounded or taken prisoner during the battle. Believe me, there was no time for "raping, robbing, plundering and robbing." We were literally fighting for our lives.
Never did I see those incidents Rinker described, and I have five battle stars on my European Theater of Operations ribbon.
Sure, there may have been isolated incidents of this nature in World War II, but this letter casts aspersions on all of us, and I resent it. Comparing us to Saddam's army makes the insult even worse.
S. E. Emmons Jr.
Has the United States of America entered into a new design in the world order? A design which would incorporate the use of its own military for use by other nations? The U.S. is now considered to be a truly capable weapon for hire. The U.S. as a world-class rent-a-soldier is now a reality thanks to the turmoil which is the Middle East.
Saddam Hussein is definitely something of a powerful lunatic. However, I feel strongly that the full story where this situation is concerned does involve to a great extent the protection of various special interests (i.e., oil corporations). And what a lousy reason to exercise an offensive against Iraq!
Let us not provide radical elements of the Middle East further acrimony, from which they derive their political legitimacy and their economics support.
A thousand points of light? What a joke.
I vehemently protest the proposed 2 1/2 percent annual personal property tax on boats. I do not understand why recreational boating has been singled out to bear the burden of yet another tax. We currently pay:
1. A 5 percent sales tax and/or use tax. (The average boat owner buys a new boat every five years and this is paid every time a boat changes hands.)
2. Annual licensing fee.
3. Federal luxury tax.
4. Federal excise tax.
5. Federal fuel tax.
6. State tax on fuel.
7. FCC licensing fee.
8. State fishing license fee.
9. Slip tax.
10. Ramp use fee.
All this for the privilege of spending our money in Maryland for recreation. It is going to be cheaper to take my family to Florida for vacation. Is that what you want?