Country needs to throw the bums outWhen I say that we...

the Forum

October 07, 1992

Country needs to throw the bums out

When I say that we cannot afford another four years of the current administration, I am referring to Congress as well as to George Bush. I am afraid that the heated campaign between two almost equally contemptible candidates has done the electorate one major disservice. That is, it has almost blotted out the nearly universal disgust with Congress which was so apparent a few months ago.

I would just like to remind the readers of this page that simply voting George Bush out and installing "the devil we don't know" in his place is not going to solve this country's problems.

Until we get a House and Senate made up of people who know that it is the voters who elect them, and not the industries who pay for their campaigns, our problems will continue and will multiply.

We must make members of Congress aware that they have got to have the backbone to vote for the good of the country, and not the good of their moneyed backers.

We must make them aware that if they don't become more responsive to the people who elect them, then all the money in the world will not return them to their seats in Congress.

This is why, until he showed his lack of spine a few months ago, I was willing to vote for Ross Perot. I felt that electing such an outsider would send an electrifying message to Congress: "The people are sick and tired of politics as usual. Straighten up or get thrown out."

I believe that the only thing that will give us responsible government in this country is to stop allowing businesses and industries to buy seats in Congress (not to mention the White House, where George Bush has served the oil industry so well over the past four years).

In other words, we need to institute government-funded campaigns for all elected federal offices and make it illegal to spend any money on a campaign beyond the government allotment. To do so should disqualify the candidate from holding office.

However, until that can be legislated (and it will never be done by the bought-and-paid-for crew presently in office), the first step we can take in that direction is to clean house (and Senate).

Perhaps we can still get the message I mentioned earlier to Congress by refusing to re-elect any representative or senator now in office. Voters, don't forget the battle cry of a few months past: "Throw the bums out."

Charles Lusby

Baltimore

Drug war hits home

After reading Kurt Schmoke's letter to Bob Martinez, the federal "drug czar" in Washington (Perspective, The Sun, Sept. 27), I felt compelled to write this letter.

I applaud the mayor's wisdom and his political courage in attempting to turn around a disastrous federal policy, and help lead our society out of the violent nightmare it finds itself in.

The war on drugs is a failure, as the mayor amply demonstrates; violence increases, AIDS cases are on the rise and the problem is not solved.

But we now have two problems, the problem of drugs and the problems produced by the means we use to fight them.

I offer a personal experience. Two weeks ago while I was eating lunch, a black, unidentified helicopter circled my house and field for nearly 10 minutes. It was so low the noise woke up the children. We thought there was a lost child, an accident or a fugitive loose.

I called the police. The officer at the Cockeysville precinct reluctantly told me that it was a Drug Enforcement Administration helicopter searching for fields of marijuana.

It was frightening to have the war come to my doorstep, but even more frightening was the clandestine nature of the operation. The helicopter was unmarked; the police were not sure whether I should know what was going on.

The way we fight this war will determine the type of society we get. Do we want more helicopters, wire taps, bigger guns, larger prisons, more FBI and DEA personnel?

A rumor I heard while telling this story is that they've invented a device that can detect whether there are grow lights on in a house from the outside. Beware, all gardeners.

I prefer to try the alternative approach. No one wants to legalize drugs. We must win this war, but use the money for rehabilitation programs, treatment centers, education, Headstart programs and job training.

At least that approach might work.

Felicity S. Byrne

Freeland

Beware a 'not-for-profit' label

Back in my hometown of Chicago, guys who collected huge paychecks and tasty perks from a company run as a so-called "not-for-profit" organization are labelled slick wise-guys.

In that Windy City (noted for being "windy" not due to the atmospheric conditions, but rather the hot air emanating from the wind-bags in government) a "company" run as we've now learned Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland has been run is called a scam . . . a "slush fund" for the benefit of the wise-guys at the top.

Is there any doubt this is the case with Maryland Blue Cross/Blue Shield? How does a guy's paycheck ethically rise from $227,000 to $610,000 in one year?

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