Not MainstreamMary Jo Fongheiser (letter, Dec. 1) says...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 15, 1993

Not Mainstream

Mary Jo Fongheiser (letter, Dec. 1) says that Al Gore used a couple of quotes originated by Rush Limbaugh in the vice president's NAFTA debate with Ross Perot.

According to her, this was an indication that Washington is waking up to the fact that ''Rush Limbaugh is the voice of mainstream America.''

Mr. Limbaugh is an intelligent and witty spokesman for conservative causes in this country.

However, any person who uses the term "Feminazi" to describe any woman, who is a staunch advocate of all the policies of the National Rifle Association and who disavows groups that make up a large segment of American society could hardly be called mainstream.

Fred Davis

Pasadena

Unpleasant Facts

The sexual harassment accusations directed at Sen. Bob Packwood have once again crushed America's unsteady faith in its leaders.

If he is guilty, he should be dealt with accordingly.

In this day and age, the media's vicious attitude has been condoned and even encouraged, promoting judgmental attitudes and an invasion of privacy.

Our focus should be placed on the official's ability to do his job instead of his personal life.

The press should look for leadership traits and abandon its lust for scandal. It should ignite national unity instead of dissension.

In past decades, America's leaders were idolized as the ideal American citizens, placed on pedestals and embraced as living symbols of the American Dream.

Some things were "unreportable." Extramarital affairs were covered up and personal weaknesses were not forced into our faces. Reporters respected the ideal that sometimes it is better to "lay off."

Even though this attitude reflects ignorance and dodges unpleasant revelations, it protects our leaders from appearing on episodes of "Hard Copy" or "A Current Affair." This ignorance provides Americans with a sense of pride, dignity and faith.

And just maybe an ideal is better than the cynical and faithless philosophy our youth has been brought up with.

Kevin Shannon

Kingsville

What's Speeding?

''Ignorance of the law is no excuse'' is a basic concept of our law conveniently thrown at us by magistrates, judges and lesser police authorities. It presupposes that each has the ability and the responsibility (not to mention the access) to know what is the law in every jurisdiction and just how that jurisdiction interprets and enforces that law.

Daily in our travels we are passed by non-emergency, police vehicles cruising 10, 15, 20 miles per hour above the posted limit. Occasionally we pass through radar with them -- only we are apprehended.

Some kindly officers tell us that with them we are safe up to 10 percent above the limit. Others won't bother us until we exceed 65. But we remember when we were pulled over for driving 27 m.p.h. in a 25 m.p.h. posted zone -- two miles over!

We have ''vigilante law'' -- non-elected officials deciding what the law is and when it should or should not be enforced. Seldom does 55 m.p.h. mean 55 m.p.h. Only the trooper on your bumper knows what it does mean -- 60, 65, 70? Or 55?

If ignorance of the law is no excuse, don't we have the right to know what law is being enforced?

Richard G. Ballard

Sparks

Great Mouse

Is Robert A. Erlandson's interesting Nov. 24 piece, "Area collector's Mickey Mouse 'find' going to Rome for Disney celebration," to be taken as a subtle though trenchant reflection on current cultural values, a sign, as it were, of the times, as well as a news item?

I hope I am as much an admirer of the famous mouse as most. But associating cartoon representations with "artwork by Leonardo or Michelangelo" and "old masters," as Mr. Erlandson does, is a bit much, isn't it?

I cannot resist asking.

Benjamin Lipsitz

Baltimore

New Vaccine

Cases of whooping cough are on the rise in Maryland because of parental neglect to have their children immunized. Though teen-agers and adults are vulnerable to infection, infants and young children are the most susceptible. It causes severe coughing that may interfere with eating, drinking and breathing. The number of cases so far this year triples the number this time last year.

The recent neglect of immunization may be the reaction to a study that says one of every 330,000 children suffer brain damage from seizures caused by the vaccine. Compared to the complete safety and effectiveness of the measles and mumps vaccines, this chance is noteworthy. The risk that their child may xTC suffer brain damage is frightening to every parent. If the risk can be prevented, most certainly parents won't take the chance. It is dangerous but far superior to a gamble with brain damage.

An alternate vaccine must be developed to relieve parents' worries and halt the increase of whooping cough cases. Now, however, with the existence of only a hazardous vaccine, the number of cases is sure to continue rising.

K. Ryan Snyder

Baltimore

Mt. Vernon vs. Boonsboro

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