RecognitionThe Baltimore Sun performs a great service to...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 31, 1992

Recognition

The Baltimore Sun performs a great service to readers when its newspapers point out some of the Baltimore County legislators who may have seriously jeopardized their re-election chances by voting for the new tax bill. This is political courage of the highest order. But branding the balance of the legislators as political cowards is grossly unfair.

Whatever happened to "honest dissent," or "responding to the directives of constituents" or "honoring campaign promises"? You may not share the same perspective as a legislator who is constantly assailed every time he answers his phone and hears an angry voice threatening, "Don't you dare. . .!"

Although some dissenting legislators may have acted solely in the interest of survival, why should all be painted with the broad brush of cowardice?

In the combat zone of Annapolis, Speaker Clay Mitchell and the many legislators who voted their conscience for the new tax bill in the face of the frighteningly real possibility that this decision could well end their political careers certainly deserve some very special recognition for courage.

But must our legislature be considered to be made up only of heroes and cowards?

Milt Schwartzman

Baltimore

Tragedies

The tragedy of William Kennedy Smith (who was lucky in court) and Mike Tyson (who was unlucky in court) is that neither they nor countless millions of other young men understand that physical domination of one person by another is not an appropriate expression of masculinity. They have been nurtured in a society where one is hard-pressed to distinguish between machismo, rough sex, rape and assault.

Mike Tyson has become something of a folk hero and a millionaire for his exceptional ability to beat other men into a state of helplessness or unconsciousness. It is perfectly lawful to portray his bloody profession in public and on television for all to see.

To put it crudely into the vernacular of the "real world," the lesson seems to teach that it is manly to beat up men and to knock up women. Our society has also failed to make the distinction between pornography and the portrayal of appropriate sexual behavior between loving partners. In our confusion, most sexual expression has been classified as a shameful, dirty activity to be concealed in darkness.

Parents, schools, churches, any social entity having access and credibility with youth are going to have to work together to change the attitudes and understandings of our young people. No one can do it alone.

What we call sex education has to be broadened to include something more than the biology of procreation and the mechanics of contraception and disease prevention.

I dream of a world in which prizefighting or boxing will be unlawful ` and tender, loving relations between mature adults will be lifted up for all to see as the wonderful gift of a Divine Creator.

Earl L. Hagan

Randallstown

Represent Us

Why is House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. "ordering his chief lieutenants to vote for a half-billion tax bill or lose their leadership positions?" (March 24, The Sun.) It may be idealistic of me, but I was under the impression that the "job" of any of our representatives, on any government level, is to simply do just one job -- represent us.

Instead, The Sun's article clearly states what many of us suspect: that some of our representatives certainly appear to be more interested in their own agendas than what their constituents want. Even if the majority of Mr. Mitchell's constituents do want the new tax bill, he has no business influencing other representatives.

I doubt this is a novel idea, but the only people influencing any of our representatives should be the people in their representative district. And no one else!

James G. Clark

Baltimore

Feminism

How many times will the public have to be subjected to out-dated, media-manufactured stereotypes of what feminism is, before reporters take the time to learn and report what the feminist movement is truly about?

In Jean Marbella's article of March 23, entitled "Cookies vs. Career," she joins the legions of writers who find it easier to join the backlash bandwagon of trivializing and distorting the messages of feminism.

Feminism has never been about the denigration of women who choose to work in the home. To the contrary, feminists are the ones who first brought to public discourse the idea that a homemaker's unpaid labor was deserving of respect, support and compensation. It was feminist writers and theorists who first discussed the politics of women's work in the home and emphasized both the social and economic worth to a society.

Sociologist Patricia Fernandez Kelly, who was quoted in the article as saying that "feminist discourse popular for the last 15 years [viewed] women's work in the home [as] inferior labor," shows total ignorance of the enormous body of feminist theory and scholarship on the value of women's work in the home.

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