The remedy: reaching out to others
The people who responded to Marcie Handler's letter (Dec. 17) are missing the point that was understood by most Baltimore area Jews.
I don't believe Ms. Handler was mean-spirited, bitter or intolerant; she was simply expressing her reaction to the lack of sensitivity on the part of the Christian community to the idea that not everyone is Christian.
Since I moved here I have been wished Merry Christmas bshopkeepers from whom I was buying Hanukkah cards; I have watched offices decorate from floor to ceiling with Christmas displays while nobody asked me if I'd like to display a menorah; and on and on.
As my beloved, non-Jewish, Baltimore-born husband told me, it's not that people are setting out to deliberately ignore the Jewish community out of bigotry (although there is unquestionably some of that, as I have personally experienced). Rather, he believes, most people in this area simply don't think about non-Christians at all, because they were raised in homes, schools and neighborhoods where Jews and other non-Christians didn't venture.
It hurts to be completely ignored, however benign the reason, and this everyday fact of life reaches critical mass for many of us during the holiday season. The few places that do display a menorah put it up only for the duration of the eight-day holiday, while Christmas displays start going up after Halloween and don't come down until mid-January . And I don't recall ever seeing displays honoring any other faith's holiday. Is it any wonder that non-Christians might become a tad defensive?
In fairness, the Baltimore Jewish community tends to be very insular ` living, playing and worshiping apart from the larger community, which ultimately adds to the sense of isolation many Jews feel. Perhaps, in the spirit of the season, we all need to be a little more sensitive and we all need to reach out to each other.
I was disturbed by John A. Micklos' Dec. 20 letter, "Rights vs. life." Micklos speaks for himself and a few others when he says he would "rather lose some of my rights than lose my life." He does not speak for me or for the framers of the Constitution who, if they had failed, would have been hung for treason. He does not speak for the tens of thousands who have died in wars and in internal conflicts to keep this country free.
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "Those who would trade freedom for security wind up with neither."
illiam E. Sank
Now that the holiday is over, I still don't understand what Christmas is all about. I can't seem to figure out out why so many people end up in a frenzy of shopping, buying and wrapping. Or why candy canes and dancing plums are so important, and why there's always a lot of talk about sales quotas.
Sure, I've seen those plastic figures and the pictures of a child with a lot of poor people on a farm, but they don't seem to have any names. I suppose they are a homeless welfare family looking for a handout.
Timothy M. Hudson
Some years ago Groucho Marx said Russell Baker's column alone made it worthwhile to buy the New York Times.
Several weeks ago, while visiting New York, I took a ride on the Staten Island ferry. On the ferry I found a copy of the Staten Island Advance in which was printed a column by Kevin Cowherd, The Evening Sun columnist. I was not surprised to learn that Cowherd's column is syndicated, for he is rapidly becoming our own Russell Baker. His columns are witty and satirical, traits too infrequently found in columnists.
Kevin Cowherd's column alone makes it worthwhile to buy The Evening Sun.
Recipe for recovery
Americans who sincerely desire a change in government fiscal policies must reverse the trend of low voter participation in elections. Unless there is marked improvement during upcoming primaries, the tax-and-spend mentality of entrenched, liberal incumbents will continue.
Polls indicate that 60 percent of Americans believe the country is the wrong track, 40 percent fault Congress, and 20 percent fault George Bush. We have an opportunity in 1992 to turn the rascals out and return to bipartisan team players. Attention to concerns of the people and not special interest groups will result in economic recovery, less taxation, less spending and lower inflation.