Bright side, dark side of hearingsOne of the salient...

the Forum

October 22, 1991

Bright side, dark side of hearings

One of the salient features of the televised Hill-Thomas imbroglio has been the sight of blacks and whites defining their thoughts using "character" as a gauge rather than race.

Blacks have defended whites and vice versa. The focus has consistently remained on principles rather than demeaning comments attributed to race and background. One wonders how much the press ignites racial problems through sensationalism.

If ever race problems could have been incendiary, it would have expressed itself by riots these past grueling days of the Hill/Thomas debates and scrutiny. In addition to "process," "leaks," "sexual harassment," "the Supreme Court," perhaps two "racial barriers" were unwittingly tested as well, and passed the test of achievement while this nation was at its zenith of problems.

Stephanie White-Travis


"Chutzpah" is a term denoting unmitigated gall. Others may call it politics as usual. But to the casual observer it was an incredible irony.

Ted Kennedy, of all persons, a documented womanizer, chastising Judge Thomas on unsubstantiated sexual harassment charges in the U.S. Senate was unbelievable. Having him championing female virtue compares about as well as Jimmy Swaggart vilifying the prostitute.

I would pose this question to the Massachusetts senator: Is non-prosecuted manslaughter of a 24-year-old female a form of sexual harassment or is it just another automobile accident?

Joseph L. Bishop


Still waste to cut

In response to M.R. Brown's letter (Oct. 11) endorsing the Linowes plan, I have to say, "Wake up!" If a plan is reached to raise the taxes on the rich, you will be reclassified as rich. The plan classifies a family of four with a combined income of $30,000 to $32,000 as being rich. This is absurd. We must say enough is enough and make government responsible. There is still plenty of waste to cut!

Kim Robinson


Shades of Reagan

Placing exclusive fault on Governor Schaefer for Maryland's budget crisis is simply not accurate. At a minimum, some of the blame must be placed on the policies of the Reagan administration: Throughout the 1980s, draconian cuts in federal funding for many programs affecting the poor and the middle class put a massive burden on the already thinly stretched budgets of states and localities. Most of us dutifully waved our flags and seemed not to notice. The results are only now becoming apparent. Reaganomics has just started to come home to roost.

William Canter



In its quest for Western capital, much of the Soviet leadership seems ready to accept the worst features of Western capitalism - loss of job security and of such social benefits as universal health care and free education. Little do the Soviet people comprehend the real trade-offs in the devilish bargain their governments are about to conclude.

In remarkably candid congressional testimony, Howard Phillips, chair of the Conservative Caucus, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the appointment of lawyer-lobbyist Robert Strauss to be U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union "says that America's first priority in U.S.-Soviet relations is ... let's turn some profits for the big banks, the multinational corporations and the giant law firms."

Given the chaotic economic situation in the Soviet Union, and the ready opportunities for the fast buck artists in the West, we're likely to hear of many intriguing arrangements, such as the lawyer-client relationship between Strauss' firm and Dwayne Andreas, chair of the ADM multinational. The latter is also Gorbachev's "best friend" in the U.S. and has led the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Trade and Economic Council. The people of the Soviet Union and its breakaway republics are not likely to be among those who will come out ahead.

I. H. Desser


Thar he blows

Given that we have now submitted to the words "mail person" and "firefighter," I propose that we stop referring to ships as "she." This, after all, comes down from sailing ship days when the vagaries of the weather made things quite unpredictable.

Times have changed. Arrival and departure times can be scheduled and nearly always met, and courses can be accurately plotted in advance. I therefore suggest that beginning midnight tonight we refer to ships as "he."

McKenny W. Egerton Jr.

Owings Mills

Mental warfare

Throughout history we thought the enemy was the one who threw stones, sliced flesh with the sword or sprayed bullets. We thought true peace could be won by the law of the jungle, battling one another through tropical swamps, mountain valleys or desert sands.

For there to be peace we must first win the battles that rage in the theater of our minds.

Sheila Waters


More from less

I wholeheartedly agree with Ginny Cunningham's thesis that we need not fret over the probability that our children will have less than we do. (Other Voices, Oct. 8)

Not being consumed and driven by the excesses of the material world, they can take time to smell the roses and appreciate life. Besides, if we subscribe to Cunningham's rationalization, then we are absolved of the guilt.

Dave Reich


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