Humor HelpsI much enjoyed two pieces that appeared...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

October 08, 1994

Humor Helps

I much enjoyed two pieces that appeared back-to-back on your pages, Sept. 9 and 10.

The first was the poem by Thomas N. Longstreth, a la Robert Frost on the baseball strike, and the second was the Gallimaufry spoof after "Dragnet," on the truancy bill.

Such humor is rather scarce, and it does much to lighten the day.

Arthur J. Lyons

Baltimore

Polling

Syndicated columnist Daniel S. Greenberg purports to specialize in the politics of health and science. After reading his recent "The Pollster Cometh: Just Say No," Sept. 26, I am moved to recommend that he stick to his field and leave dissertations on opinion research to those removed from the ivory tower.

Mr. Greenberg asserts that opinion polling is "a virulent danger to healthy politics and even to democracy itself."

Actually, I believe the opposite to be true. Democracy's fundamental tenet is governance in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly.

Objective, competent survey research promotes citizen participation in the political process and allows for a true expression of views on a wide variety of issues, a reflection that otherwise would be difficult to achieve in a society as large and diverse as ours.

It strikes me as much more of a danger to our democracy, and lacking in "authenticity," for deadline-oriented columnists to encourage people to "fib."

Political polling survives -- and thrives -- for two reasons: People like giving their opinions (and are asked to do so infrequently), and it is contrary to human nature to lie. The spontaneous human response is to tell the truth.

The reason I know this is because I learned it in an introductory undergraduate course on the politics of health and science.

Voter response to questions posed in surveys has had in the past a salutary influence on programs and public policy established to benefit us all. It will continue to do so in the future.

A shoot-from-the-hip belittlement of opinion polling is a bromide that does nothing to further the public discourse.

I doubt that there are any "simple solutions," as Mr. Greenberg suggests, but if there were, sticking one's head in the sand would not be one of them.

Patrick E. Gonzales

Annapolis

The writer is president of Mason-Dixon Campaign Polling & Strategy Inc.

Disgusting Cartoon

Mike Lane's Oct. 1 cartoon about Oliver North was disgusting.

To make fun of a distinguished Marine colonel, who fought bravely for his country and then became controversial only because he followed the orders of his boss, President Reagan, is a cheap shot.

If North deserves such a demeaning picture likeness, what does the artist and his superiors, who authorized it, deserve?

Jack F. Beck Sr.

Ellicott City

Life and Choice

Michael Olesker's column Sept. 22 states that Joe Bish is "anti-choice." I assume that since this phrase is coupled with abortion, it must refer to Mr. Bish's pro-life stance.

Surely Mr. Olesker can't mean that Mr. Bish is against choice in general, since that is a main reason for getting into politics.

Pro-life is not "anti-choice." I am pro-life and believe that a woman should have choices.

A woman should have the right to choose whether she has sex, whether she uses birth control and, should she become pregnant, whether she keeps the baby or puts it up for adoption.

The only choice I am opposed to is taking the life of the child after conception. Just how many choices should any person get before taking responsibility for the consequences of her choices?

Pro-life is for choice before conception and any choice except abortion after conception. This does not fit any definition of "anti-choice."

The only person who gets no choice is a baby aborted -- and that

is due to the laws passed by those who call themselves "pro-choice."

Marjory Zeiler

Lutherville

Afraid of Bible?

Perhaps both of your TV critics, David Zurawik and David Bianculli, could benefit by being "Touched by an Angel." As is so often the case, it seems, not being swayed by the negative comments by these gentlemen (Sept. 21), my wife and I watched the premiere of "Touched by an Angel" and found it to be delightfully entertaining.

How refreshing to view a program that is positive in perspective and which supplies hope instead of despair. Interestingly enough, there were raves about the premiere of "Picket Fences," which also began in despair but ended with a ray of hope for the future.

Both of these programs were excellent, not just the one. Surely your writers are not afraid of at least a little Biblical influence in broadcasting, are they?

Richard G. Bartholomee

Pikesville

Senator Mikulski's Knee-Jerk Reaction on MTO

Michael Fletcher's "Mikulski, Champion of Liberal Causes, Led Fight to Kill MTO" (Sept. 25) reassures those of us who have been Sen. Barbara Mikulski's supporters in the past that we are not alone in our inability to understand the senator's actions concerning the Moving to Opportunity program.

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