Clinton must stand firm on military gaysShortly after...

the Forum

November 24, 1992

Clinton must stand firm on military gays

Shortly after Ronald Reagan began his presidency, he was forced to deal with a strike by the air controllers. He surprised the nation by firing all the strikers since it was against the law to strike.

This stunned everybody, since we all felt the planes would fall out of the sky. This move showed that there was an inner strength to this man, and no matter how much people made light of him, the reality was that he was a potentially strong-willed person and people had to listen.

The same issue now arises with President-elect Clinton on the issue of gays in the military. If he can hold his own and follow through with his initial inclination, he will show us that he has the potential to be a strong president and will gain the respect of others in future issues.

If he gives in and tries to soothe everyone involved, then it will show that he is not strong-willed and it will affect him in many other issues. This will also give us an idea of what we are in for during the next four years.

Alan H. Peck

Baltimore

Sour grapes

The Nov. 12 letter of H.J. Rizzo is yet another case of sour grapes by conservatives.

Isn't it funny how all of a sudden the "liberal media" helped elect Bill Clinton, when the last three presidential elections went to the far right (Reagan) and the near-right (Bush)? What was the media's impact in those landslide elections where the Democrats lost?

President-elect Clinton is qualified to be president through his extensive experience as governor of Arkansas and through his incredible performance in the campaign.

Bush failed to do anything about the economy and broke many promises he made in the 1988 campaign (taxes, environment, education). He also lied about his involvement in the Iran-contra scandal.

As a liberal Democrat, I'm sick and tired of far-right extremists insinuating that liberal is equal to un-American or worse. Plenty of patriotic Americans opposed the Vietnam War because it was wrong.

The whole idea of democracy is the right to voice an opinion. The far-right has its own agenda and part of it is to make anyone who disagrees seem like a criminal or worse.

Eric V. Crossley

Laurel

'Stuart Berger just doesn't get it'

Baltimore County Superintendent Stuart Berger may have his heart in the right place, but his reasoning is skewed.

He wants to fix what's broken by breaking what's fixed.

His solution punishes children in high-achieving schools . . . by alloting fewer teachers and, presumably, other resources. He wants to reward schools in the lower socio-economic areas with a lower teacher/student ratio.

This simplistic notion is not a solution. More teachers is not a cure. The problems in the lower socio-economic areas are more systemic.

He goes on to say that he wants to challenge youngsters from high socio-economic areas so that their parents don't send their kids elsewhere. If his plan takes effect, I suspect one of the students' greatest challenges will be to get a good education.

For an educator, his attitudes appear illogical and punitive. Worst of all, they don't conform to what we know about sound educational principles.

But then, Mr. Berger did not seem to think much of reinforcing desirable behavior a few months ago when he called letters of congratulations a complete waste. He wanted to eliminate them within the school system, thereby saving paper and dollars.

At the rate he appears to be going, he won't have to worry. We will have lost much of what we had that was good and, I fear, not helped the students who need help.

Maybe I just didn't get it. But what really worries me is that our superintendent just doesn't get it.

Debra Mitchell

Baltimore

Get involved!

This letter is being written with hope, hope that I may be successful in encouraging young adults like myself to participate in the democracy with which we have been blessed.

Every evening, I watch Peter Jennings, half dreading the usually depressing news and half trying to retain my faith in mankind.

Recently, something happened. I participated in the campaign of Maryland for Choice. Most of my volunteering consisted of stuffing envelopes, phone surveys and passing out literature -- mundane tasks. But I have never felt my time to be more wisely spent.

Until this year, I found politics boring and had no interest in political issues.

It was not until I was required for a school class to give 25 hours to a political campaign that my attitude changed.

Standing the "150 yards from the polls" on Nov. 3, I actually began to wish that I had been born just five months earlier so that I, too, could pull the lever.

It was referendum question No. 6 that deflected so many voters from their daily routines to go to the polls. Abortion is such an emotional issue, and it is one for which just about everyone has an opinion.

When I heard that the referendum had passed, I felt valuable. My time and effort had actually had winning results, and I had contributed to that victory.

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