Missing PointThe press has been so busy defending Governor...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 02, 1993

Missing Point

The press has been so busy defending Governor Schaefer against Money magazine's ridiculous charge of being "the most pampered prince of perks" that it is missing the main point -- government officials hiding the facts about how well they live at the expense of the taxpayers.

Money magazine had this to say in the Editor's Notes column: "When Money's reporters asked them (the governors' offices) as part of our comprehensive survey. . . we ran into more orchestrated resistance than we have ever encountered in our 21-year history."

"The National Governors' Association, a Washington D.C.-based

lobbying and research group whose $10.8 million annual budget comes largely from taxpayers, appears to have warned all 50 governors about the potential consequences of cooperating."

All these matters are matters of public record, yet some officials flatly refused to respond to questions of how well governors were living, some declined to answer a number of questions, two seemed purposely vague. In fact only seven states cooperated fully and promptly . . . and one of these was not Maryland.

What seems completely lost in politics today is the concept that these people are supposed to be public servants.

C. Morris

Edgewater

One Termers

Theo Lippman Jr.'s Sept. 20 column regarding the two ex-presidents spending the night in the White House missed a key point.

The three living ex-presidents (George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford) who came to the White House to join President Clinton in supporting NAFTA were all one-term presidents who were defeated for re-election.

On the other hand, the two living ex-presidents (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan) who were unavailable to come to the White House won landslide re-elections.

I'm betting that Bill Clinton will join George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford and be a one-term president, defeated for re-election.

Leon Reinstein

Baltimore

Bitter Pill

Through the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Clinton is trying to drive down salaries, which will result in a lower standard of living in the United States. He is trying to do this maybe for all of the best intended reasons, such as making us more competitive in the world markets. However, the effect will be a bitter pill to swallow.

What concerns me is Labor Secretary Robert Reich's statements concerning retraining and assistance for those who are displaced and abused by the agreement. Who do you think will finance these programs?

It's obvious that the very people who will be hurt the most will pay these bills, the middle class. We in the middle class seem to pay all of the freight.

Mr. Clinton's health package will be similarly financed on the backs of the middle class, who will see a corresponding reduction in the quality of their health care.

We just spent 40-plus years and far too much of our wealth to prove that socialism will not work. Why is Mr. Clinton trying to prove that he can make it work here?

Robert L. DiStefano

Parkville

Persons with Disabilities

The article, "Armless bowler rolls 300 at life," by Tom Keyser, Sept. 19, set back disability rights at least 20 years. Its focus -- a life of dependence and struggle -- does not accurately reflect the lives of countless persons with disabilities, including those without arms or legs, who have achieved independence and full participation in society.

The premise of recent civil rights legislation -- the Americans With Disabilities Act (1990) -- is that persons with disabilities can maximize their potential and live independent and productive lives.

Although some disabilities may preclude full-time or even part-time employment, most persons with disabilities can be independent and self-sufficient. The subject of the article, David Hicks, who lost both arms in a motorcycle accident in 1988, may have a disabling condition that precludes his use of prostheses or full employment. Since I do not know Mr. Hicks, I cannot presume to speak about his circumstances.

However, the article and some statements in the text foster stereotypes about persons with disabilities. These cultural myths must be dispelled.

1. I question the need for The Sun to engage in tabloid journalism. As noted in a recent Sun book review of Joseph Shapiro's "No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement," there are two pervasive stereotypes about disability -- the disabled as pitiful, and as inspirational.

News stories which elicit from readers either emotion are examples of tabloid journalism (euphemistically referred to as "human interest" stories).

2. Disabled persons are not children and should not be infantilized. It is unfortunate that Mr. Hicks refers to himself as a "30-year-old man caught in the time warp of a 1-year-old kid," reinforcing a stereotype of the disabled as helpless infants.

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