Leadership: Tell the worst, ask the bestPolls show that...

the Forum

August 16, 1991

Leadership: Tell the worst, ask the best

Polls show that Americans are deeply concerned about the economy, health care, education, the budget deficit, drugs, the infrastructure, a growing underclass and other critical domestic issues.

At the same time, the average citizen doesn't want to be a sucker. Why should she or he have to pay more taxes when the Michael Milkens, S&L executives, special interest groups, BCCI beneficiaries and many public officials who have been engaged in an illegal feeding frenzy of greed?

Both the cause and the cure involve leadership. It is a failure of leadership when politicians pander to the public's base instincts and insecurities for political gain. This age-old tactic went largely unchallenged in the 1980s.

Surely our country and our political system are still capable of producing leaders with the moral courage to level with the American people. We should have enough common sense to recognize that getting our house in order requires fairness, sacrifice, cooperation, commitment, compassion and, most important, leadership. For a change, we should reward with our votes only those who tell us the worst but ask our best.

Roger C. Kostmayer


Israel and Jerusalem

I take exception to the editorial "The dawn of peace?" (Evening Sun, Aug. 8). This strongly criticized Prime Minister Shamir's stipulation that no Arab representatives from East Jerusalem or the terrorist PLO be permitted to attend the contemplated peace conference.

Israel paid dearly with its blood in winning East Jerusalem in the war forced on it by the Arab nations. Jerusalem, all of it, is no the capital of that valiant little democracy, yet virtually surrounded by hostile forces which, after nearly half a century, refuse to recognize its existence and keep expanding their strangling economic boycott.

Very wisely, Mr. Shamir is committed to do whatever is necessary to safeguard his country, its people and its interests.

Kate Coplan


Thomas and Thomas

In her column of Aug. 5, "Thomas and women," Linda Cotton says of the president's Supreme Court nominee:

"He even went so far as to use his sister's plight as a damning indictment of liberal domestic policy. When she was on welfare, Thomas told a group of black conservatives: 'She gets mad when the mailman is late with her welfare check. That's how dependent she is. What's worse is that now her kids feel entitled to the check, too.'"

This is indeed a damning indictment of Thomas himself! The import of this statement has nothing to do with self-sufficiency. On the contrary, it is a pathetic betrayal of self-hatred.

Gregory Lewis


Making change

Our students cannot make change from a dollar bill, but the promoters of an Afrocentric curriculum recommend teaching the arithmetic of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics (Evening Sun, Aug 9).

This proposal is insane; prices at McDonald's are not listed in hieroglyphics.

Paul Slepian

The writer is professor of mathematics emeritus at Howard 9 University.


Claire Rhoads' letter, "Who's for children" (August 2) deserves an answer. Our July 29 letter clearly stated that we have not witnessed any pro-lifers fighting for the lives of children already born who live in abject poverty.

What are President Bush, Claire Rhoads, Blanche Coda and the rest of the pro-lifers doing for these children? We pro-choicers are for the lives of both mothers and children. We do not approve of "murdering" unborn children. We do support a woman's right to choose abortion if she feels she needs one.

If this government would work to solve its social problems and improve the economy instead of dictating how women must live, then women might feel that they wouldn't need abortions.

Hollee Patterson

Valencia Spruell


Don't eat animals

Health and the environment are hot topics of the '90s, yet very little is written about the deleterious effects factory farming has on both our health and the ecology of the planet.

Factory farming consists of confining animals in extremely small spaces so that farmers can raise as many animals as possible. Approximately 5.4 billion animals are raised in this fashion.

Such intense confinement and overcrowding breeds disease, depletes topsoil, uses vast quantities of water and pollutes both the earth and water with sewage run-off and dumping.

Do yourself, the animals and Earth a favor: Stop eating animals.

Catherine D. MacDonald


Fat and waste

In reference to reports that Governor Schaefer is appointing a commission to look for fat and waste in the state government, he had better make sure that the commissioners he appoints are all personal friends. If not, the commission may find the fat in his salary and the waste in all of these so-called business trips he takes out of this country.

At the end of Schaefer's first four years in office, we are $300 million in debt.

What happened to those surpluses that old Louie always came up with just before the election?

Kenneth G. Phelps


Sinking ship

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