CourageousFrom time to time, we are blessed with examples...


February 16, 1993


From time to time, we are blessed with examples of extraordinary leadership and personal conviction -- what John Kennedy called "profiles in courage." Judy Wolfer, an attorney in Takoma Park, has joined those ranks.

Her eloquent and compelling statement to the state Senate Executive Nominations Committee opposing the judicial confirmation of former Del. John Arnick sent a powerful message to Maryland lawmakers that old attitudes about women and minorities are no longer acceptable.

The discussion Judy Wolfer has provoked about whether or not Mr. Arnick's conduct should disqualify him from being a judge is an important one.

I trust that members of the General Assembly will conclude that such bigotry does not belong on the bench. However, I write not to dwell on Mr. Arnick's actions, but to celebrate Ms. Wolfer's.

These days it is rare for someone to put her or his personal and professional security on the line for the sake of the public good. We should all clip out Judy Wolfer's statement from the newspaper and read it from time to time to remind us just what the phrase "courage of one's convictions" means.

We should save it and show it to our children so they know what it means to stand up for what you believe.

I have had the privilege of working with Judy Wolfer on the Board of the Public Justice Center and as part of that organization's Domestic Violence Task Force.

Before today, I knew her to be an excellent attorney and forceful and compassionate advocate for those suffering first hand the injustices of a violent society.

Now, I recognize that she is a profile in courage -- exactly the kind of person John Kennedy wrote about in 1956. The reason is that every time someone like Judy Wolfer steps forward, it becomes much harder for the rest of us to stand back.

Ultimately, that makes our community a better place. For that and for the example she has given our children, we owe her a debt of gratitude.

John P. Sarbanes


Open Mike

President Clinton's style seems to be: Let's have a real public debate and let the people decide.

Take the gays in the military issue. He seems to have found a way to appear to be sticking to his position while not taking any action. He can eat his cake and have it too.

But there may be more to this than political cynicism. Has the country ever experienced such widespread and open discussion of this sensitive and almost taboo subject?

On radio talk shows, TV and in print the pros and cons are considered from every imaginable angle. I doubt if there has ever been such a cathartic public debate on a subject of this nature before.

What we have here is the New Democracy: let the people debate through the media, and let the polls decide.

Perot and particularly Clinton may have ushered in a quantum po litical change -- an electronic "village commons" where we meet, agonize and vote.

The public can no longer hide and blame the politicians.

Milton Rochkind


Not Welfare

The Sun believes that the Social Security system should share in the sacrifice of budget deficit reduction.

According to its figures, raising the retirement age to 67 now will save $60 billion over the next two decades, and raising the taxable ceiling on benefits to 85 percent would add $31.5 billion over the next five years.

The Social Security system should not be part of President Clinton's solution for the deficit, because it is not part of the problem. The payroll tax financing benefits is taking more money in than benefits are taking out.

The government is throwing the money away as a result of ridiculous foreign policy. For example, we give away $10.3 billion a year in foreign aid to other countries while U.S. citizens are living in poverty -- some even homeless and others unable to afford health care.

At this rate, we will give away to other nations over $50 billion in the next five years and over $200 billion in the next two decades.

According to government estimates, a one-year delay in the automatic annual cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits could save $10 billion. However, it also would push 289,000 more persons into poverty and perhaps on welfare.

The Sun should know that before Social Security began, one child or more often had to support aged parents, or they went on welfare.

The Social Security system was created as an insurance program to help eliminate these burdens. The Sun wants to make it another welfare program.

William J. Ziegler Sr.

Ellicott City

Don't Read During Breakfast

I have rarely, if ever, read about the life and slaughter of "food animals" in any publication, including this one. Could it be that the media is supported by the very factions that make money from factory-farmed animals?

I believe that it is important for people to know what kind of life an animal had before it became the slab of meat on their plate.

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