Both parties espouse 'controls'One key question that...

the Forum

September 14, 1992

Both parties espouse 'controls'

One key question that divides the presidential candidates and their respective parties, platforms and constituencies is the role the federal government should play with respect to the economy and the moral quality of people's lives.

Republicans are often heard to say government has no business interfering with private enterprise; growth takes place only when free market conditions prevail.

And growth of the economy is essential for a high standard of living, including the right to own and enjoy one's property and to control one's individual destiny.

At the same time, Republicans are concerned about a degeneration of values within the body politic and believe that the federal government has a responsibility to set limits and prohibit practices which they find inimical to a "healthy" social environment.

On the other side, Democrats are often heard to say the federal government has a major role to play in the economy by counteracting the excesses and abuses of the free market and providing support to those segments of society which suffer economic disadvantage as a result of laissez faire policies and practices.

They also say that government has no business injecting itself into the moral lives of its citizens so long as the people's personal lifestyles and behavior respect other people's right to safety, health, mental health, dignity, individuality and self-development.

The electorate, I believe, perceives the need for discipline or government intrusion in both the economic sphere and the personal behaviors and values of the people.

It is concerned with the nature and extent of the respective intrusions and which candidate will offer and produce the right mix that will assure the necessary economic growth and provide reasonable limits on personal behaviors.

If and when the candidates enter into a debate, I suggest that they be required to address the proper role of the federal government with respect to the above issues and explain why they take the position they do.

Lawrence B. Coshnear


The 'essence of life'

It is fortunate that friends from Baltimore who came for a weekend visit brought the Aug. 20 edition of The Evening Sun. Otherwise, I would not have been able to read Mark Burton's letter regarding "the Maryland Board of Education's requirement that forces students to work for other people -- regardless of whether it is community service or not . . ."

I believe he is confused about the issue, I hope to clarify this and alleviate his qualms. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as a number of other states, has extensive programs involving students in schools, colleges and communities. I should think that Maryland plans similar involvement.

Rather than being ashamed, the writer should be proud of residing in a state that teaches its young to help others less fortunate than themselves or to work improving their surroundings or the environment.

Community service is just that. The private sector is involved only as a participant, not as a recipient. No monetary benefits result for private enterprise. Perhaps part of the misunderstanding comes from nomenclature. "Service" may be better than "volunteer" . . .

A private school in the town near me, where parents pay for their children's education, encourages its pupils to volunteer. Some go weekly to a neighboring nursing home where most of the residents are senior citizens. The older people look forward to the teen-age visitors and welcome the niceties that the busy staff cannot provide.

Unfortunately, we have become a nation of "What is there in it for me?" We have lost the feeling of joy that results from helping others, of seeing their eyes light up with surprise and appreciation.

In more than 80 years, I have seen values of family, community and nation deteriorate. It is gratifying to have the pendulum swing back so that youth once more is encouraged to serve.

My two favorite quotations are: "Nothing but what you volunteer has the essence of life, the springs of pleasure in it. These are the things you do because you want to do them, the things your spirit has chosen for its satisfaction," and "I don't know what your destiny will be. But one thing I do know. The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."

Surely, Mark Burton is familiar with Woodrow Wilson, author of the first. I hope, also, he knows how and where Albert Schweitzer, who voiced the second, spent the better part of his life.

Linda A. Frye

Pennsbury, Pa.

Family values

Based on Hillary Clinton's writings, Marilyn Quayle and Rich Bond, Republican national chairman, have said that she is in favor of children suing their parents if they object to doing assigned chores.

They have a right to make this inference, but it isn't correct. Mrs. Clinton gave no examples but did say that a child should be allowed to sue parents only in "extreme cases."

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