Remembering Pearl Harbor0The writer is former Treasurer of...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 06, 1991

Remembering Pearl Harbor

0

The writer is former Treasurer of Maryland.

No Money for Spring Grove

Editor: I would like to comment on Suzanne Wooten's article about Spring Grove Hospital Center in your paper on Nov. 24.

She writes of deteriorating buildings at the Grove. What can one expect when there is not enough money or staff to take care? And the money keeps getting less and less? When the Governor's Mansion in Annapolis needs repairs, that is taken care of. When the politicians in Washington think they need another athletic club, they get it. But when the mentally ill of our country need the bare essentials -- too bad! For them there is no money.

The worst thing ever to happen to the poor souls in our mental institutions was the ''deinstitutionalization'' since the 1980s. This has caused many street people (not of their choosing), deaths of those who could not cope and jail cells for those who can survive. And in the end the survivors end up back in the mental institutions! What makes the experts think that community programs are better than the hospitals? It seems to me that much more money is expended for a smaller number of clients. A house in the city housing six or eight clients needing constant care, food, medications, etc. takes much more of our mental health dollars than these same clients on a ward where they are familiar with everything.

The Golden Rule Guild for Mental Aid, an organization of which I am a member and very proud of it, has been visiting various wards at Spring Grove and other centers since 1949. We see problems, but we cannot fault the staff. In fact, we have nothing but the highest regard for them for doing a heroic job with the little help they get from above. As for the patients, they fluctuate from day to day or month to month, which is very typical of their illness.

I give you one example of a young lady, who up until recently was very aggressive, defiant and slovenly in her speech. Recently she did a complete about-face. The last couple times I saw her she was very neat, cooperative and a pleasure to converse with. Where she was a loner before, she now has a boy friend on the ward.

Will she stay the way she is now? I doubt it. Mental illness has as many swings as a pendulum on a clock. That is why so many souls come back into the institutions so many times. The staff is very dedicated and helpful. They help those who need the help with their bingo cards, make sure that everybody is served refreshments, and after we leave help clean up. We watch the interactions between clients and staff and wonder how many of us on the outside could survive just one day on the inside working against so many odds.

My hat is off to all those who work in the mental institutions. The Golden Rule Guild motto says, ''Mental illness is an illness just like others.''

It is time we stop criticizing, and start working for the good of these hapless souls.

Regina Steinberg.

Baltimore.

Don't Blame Bush

Editor: It's Bush-bashing time in America. When a carping press, a whining public and a stultified Congress join hands and, in the great American tradition, start singing "let's kick him while he's down," you have to realize a national election is on the horizon.

While Democrats are busy fanning the fires of discontent and doing everything in their power to keep the recession going, Republicans are beating up on each other. While conservatives seek survival through regrouping and liberals gloat over what may happen in '92, the nation continues to sink into the politically created slime that is washing over the cities, farms and people.

Never mind the glory days when the Berlin Wall was crumbling, never mind the dramatic dissolution of communism itself, never mind the hoopla and hope that sprung forth with victory in the gulf war. Never mind the peace and plenty of the Reagan years, never mind any of the accomplishments of two Republican presidents, it is time to cut the "peace dividend" pie and let the Democrats begin anew their social engineering and waste programs.

President Bush is accused of spending too much time on foreign affairs. If the Democrats have their way, there will not be much concern about the rest of the world as we begin to think only of ourselves.

The problem is who is going to lead the chorus. There isn't one potential Democratic candidate who has demonstrated either the interest or knowledge called for as leader of the free world. So much for national security and world leadership. American values and dreams will have little to sustain them when the Democrats start putting their own dreams before the voting public. The deficit will be nothing more than a small stumbling block because we Americans have learned that Democratic dreams have never had any visible means of support -- except the taxpayer's pocketbook.

No wonder there's so much doom and gloom these days -- it may be that 1992 will in fact be the year of the Democrat -- but it stands to reason that Bush-bashing will continue until the last vote is counted.

Stanley M. Bell Jr.

Westminster.

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