Let's bring together this divided house
Everyone I talked to on April 30 about the jury verdict in favor of Rodney King's pulverizers considered the acquittal astonishing, dismaying, embarrassing. I remember thinking, what an irony that Bill Cosby's show will close this night, with the Huxtables dancing out into the audience, metaphorically saying, "We black American Dreamers can make it, too; we are you." What a fairy tale.
Had I been in L.A. that night of urban meltdown, doubtless my own fright and pain would have had unwelcome racial overtones, including outrage over the whites and Asians (some especially sympathetic to blacks) who were slaughtered or suffered in the spree.
But from afar, the mayhem is chastening in an oddly unifying way. L.A.'s convulsion offers us all a ferocious lesson, coming just in time. At last there is no avoiding the affliction of segregation and the resulting racism, so perhaps now we have a chance to heal ourselves, to integrate.
For two decades now, the Republican Party has succeeded in ghetto-izing African Americans and impoverished urban Americans, dropping them from the American agenda.
The guilt-ridden Democratic Party was left stuck in the muck, until it, too, was on the verge of jettisoning the troublesome minorities and the inconvenient urban poor. Meanwhile, the unpopular minorities and the poor grow and grow, like Topsy, like the homeless, like the deficit.
Who isn't weary of all forms of racism? Who doesn't long for an America where sharing and caring are among our deepest values? I will vote for the candidate who works most sincerely to bring together this house divided. Our striving for excellence must embrace each of America's citizens.
Sarah Fenno Lord
Thanks to Royko
Mike Royko's column (April 7) was great. I agree with him 100 percent. People in this county are sick and tired of all the stupid questions that are asked of the candidate running for office.
We, the people, are only interested in what the candidates are going to do for our country to make it as great as it has been. Of course, we want a fairly honest man running our country, but we do not need an angel or a saint in the White House.
Also Mr. Royko's columns of May 4 and May 6 were great too. After listening to all the experts on TV and not agreeing with any of them about what was happening in California, I was beginning to wonder where I went wrong. Then I read Mr. Royko's columns and knew I was right. Thank you, Mr. Royko.
A test for racism is simply to switch the races in a given situation. Try it in the Rodney King case, from arrest to jury verdict: Suppose that the unruly fugitive had been white and the heavy-handed officers black?
Sidney Hollander Jr.
Truth, not violence
Like many earlier critics of those who would extend respect, compassion and justice to all sentient creature, Ann Landers BTC advances the stereotypes of animal advocates as terrorists, anti-science and anti-human (May 4).
It has been estimated that there are more than 10,000 animal advocacy organizations in this country, and it is unfair and misleading to focus on the most extreme viewpoints or tactics held within this diverse movement to exploit and sensationalize this controversial issue. It is too often an unfortunate reality that news is made by those who shout the loudest or say and do the most outrageous things.
The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), as well as a 1989 summit of national animal advocacy organizations, has unequivocally condemned acts of violence and terrorism against researchers as immoral and illegal.
While NAVS aggressively opposes the cruelty, waste and closed doors of animal research, we advocate a progressive science that utilizes valid alternatives to vivisection and educates the public so that they can make informed choices that do not perpetuate animal suffering.
A reasoned and fair examination of the history of animal use in the name of science will explode the myths that animal research is primarily responsible for health care advances, that the only choice is "your child or your dog," and that animals subjected to disease, stress, addiction, deprivation, burns, radiation and death are treated "humanely."
Today's major health problems (cancer, diabetes, AIDS, heart disease, etc.) will not be solved through reliance on archaic animal models but through alternative technologies that provide more accurate information on human health and diseases.
We are confident that once informed of the cruelty, waste and needlessness of vivisection, people will oppose it. We are convinced that the truth about vivisection, not violence, will ultimately empty the cages. For science and technology to realize a better world for future generations, compassion for all creatures must become part of the process as well as part of the goal.
Mary Margaret Cunniff
The writer is executive director of the National Anti-Vivisection Society.
Stories distort fathers' role