Non-voting encourages ugly politicsI would like to know...

the Forum

July 18, 1991

Non-voting encourages ugly politics

I would like to know how the non-voters you interviewed would respond to this question. Imagine they had a boss who occasionally told them that he was so mad that he would not fire them. Would they work better for that boss than for another who let them know that he would fire them?

These non-voters are the bosses in the political workplace. There are so many of them that even a small percentage can make an enormous change. Yet, their decision not to vote encourages the ugly politics which they say keeps them away from the polls.

I am certain that some sleaze-masters consciously try to drive these people away from the voting booth, knowing they'll never vote for their candidates. Indeed, they may help spread the idea that an abstention is a vote for none of the above. If they can keep the non-voters from voting against their nominee, their job is that much easier.

Plenty of close races have been decided because those people who value honesty stayed home. Others, even some who couldn't win, were denied a respectable showing because the non-voters were just too picky to point the politicians in the right direction. This attitude deserves to be lampooned as one of the most counterproductive ideas yet practiced.

Paul O'Brien


Packing the court

The cynical manipulation of the Supreme Court as an instrument for race-baiting proves the correctness of conservative columnist George Will's 1987 characterization of presidential candidate Bush as a "lap dog" of right-wing ideologues.

Gregory Lewis


Washington's role

In response to my essay July 3 on the Declaration of Independence, Will Brown (Forum, July 10) wonders why George Washington did not sign the declaration. Was it because he feared "hanging separately" if the British won the war?

In fact, Washington's signature is not on the declaration because in July 1776 he was no longer a member of the Second Continental Congress. Although he had been appointed by Virginia to serve in this body, he had accepted command of the Army.

Washington refused any pay for his services, but he accepted reimbursement for his expenses. Except for two brief visits to Mount Vernon, he spent the next eight years in the field.

Had Washington remained in the Second Continental Congress, would surely have supported the cause of independence and signed the declaration. While he had earlier favored reconciliation, the passing parade of events had drawn him to the realization that the colonies must seek independence.

When the declaration was approved, Washington was in New York with his army. He received a copy on July 6 and ordered that it be read to all the troops on July 9. But before doing so, he reminded the troops, "The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves . . ."

In truth, while his name does not appear on the Declaration of Independence, Washington was ready to sign it with his blood.

Martin D. Tullai


Court terms

Why should Supreme Court judges be nominated by just one person and why should they have lifetime terms?

I feel Supreme Court judges should have limited terms the same as the president and Congress. Maybe their terms could be for 10 to 15 years at a time, but they should not be able to make decisions on issues for their lifetime. We need new people and fresh ideas on the Supreme Court periodically.

Also, the judges should be elected by the people of the United States, not just by presidential nomination. They could run for the office the same as president and Congress. Let the majority of the people have a say in the election process of Supreme Court judges.

Martice Kuhn


Stop the stalkers


Maryland should follow California and pass a stalkers law.

Many men and women are stalked by strangers or ex-spouses. Frequently, the stalker's intent is to frighten them into relinquishing custody of the children. The victims of stalkers live in constant fear.

Some crazed punks delight in stalking the elderly and frail who appear helpless. Recently an elderly couple was followed by the same man as they took their daily walk. Finally, the woman's companion confronted the stalker and demanded he stop. The sinister reply: "I know my rights under the law; streets and sidewalks are public domain. Try and stop me and you're looking for trouble." The terrified couple hastened home.

Citizens deserve protection under the law from devious and potentially dangerous stalkers.

everly K. Fine


Photo-op politics

Russell Baker's column, "Let 'em eat photo op" (July 10), was right on and exactly my sentiments.

It's unbelievable to think that,with the deplorable problems in America the Reagan-Bush era has plunged us into, anyone would want to vote for another four years of the same. God save us all!

"Parade politics" by Sydney Schanberg (July 11) was another column I heartily agree with.

I love my country but am saddened by what this administration has done to it.

E.C. Gesswein


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