Citizens get the politicians they deservePogo, that great...

the Forum

November 09, 1994

Citizens get the politicians they deserve

Pogo, that great American philosopher, said, "We have met the enemy -- and they is us!"

This description fits the cacophony of self-righteous indignation and complaints about government and politicians that surround us.

With mind-numbing unanimity, citizens from every state rant about what "they" are doing to "us." Actually, they is us.

The truth is that the electorate usually gets the quality of representation it deserves. If during the 1980s and '90s we hadn't been self-serving hypocrites and instead had been serious about wanting honest statesmen and public servants, we could have had them.

If we want our representatives to listen to individual voters instead of to moneyed special interests, and if we want them to act in the best interests of the nation, all we have to do is demand an end to all political contributions -- including those from our favorite political action committee.

If we want lower taxes and a diminishing budget deficit, all we have to do is accept reduced entitlements, like Social Security for the wealthy, and support politicians with the courage to believe us.

And if we truly want better education, more jobs and a safer society, we could have it by being better parents, better savers and investors and more supportive of each other in our communities.

Unfortunately, the press exacerbates the problem by pandering to the cynical and sensationalizing the most venal acts.

In a few short years we've gone from a Teflon president to a Velcro president, and neither misperception helps close the gap between "them" and "us" or the divisiveness among ourselves.

Roger C. Kostmayer


Long live the Lyric

I enjoyed reading Edward Gunts' fine article "Long Live the Lyric?" (Oct. 23).

But instead of a question mark, may I suggest an exclamation point at the end of the headline?

The Lyric Opera House has been a beacon for many years. I have sat in every section of this great hall. From the sixth row orchestra I've thrilled to the graceful dancers of the Ballet Russe. From the side sections I viewed the musicians from close up.

The Lyric is truly a work of art. Let us work together so all Baltimoreans can enjoy the elegant Lyric now and forever more. The Lyric is going to survive no matter what.

Carolyn F. Glickman


Spendthrift pols

President Reagan hiked military spending, which allowed the U.S. to bury Soviet communism and command respect in a violent world.

As any sixth-grader should know, the House of Representatives initiates spending bills.

For the last 40 years the House has been ruthlessly controlled by free spenders. If President Reagan had not signed the budget, the electorate would have screamed gridlock.

Doesn't this sound familiar? If the free spenders had granted another of President Reagan's wishes, the line-item veto, we would be very close to a balanced budget.

Regarding the Republicans' "Contract with America," let's discuss President "Slick Willy" Clinton's agenda:

* The "middle class tax cut": in reality, he raised taxes.

* Five to seven different Haiti policies.

* More shake-ups in the administration than in two off-season baseball teams.

* A deficit-reduction plan that has the deficit booming in another five years.

I could go on, but too many of Al Gore's trees would have to be cut.

If the electorate is happy with the history the U.S. is making right now, then it shouldn't support the contract.

John V. Manna


Junk mail

The postal problem is not the workers, the technology or the system.

It is that most of the "mail" being delivered today isn't worth delivering in the first place.

Each day when the mail arrives I stand by the trash can dumping all the catalogs, solicitations, etc.

More often than not, after these are discarded there is nothing left but a few bills and the occasional post card.

I've often wondered how satisfying the job of the postal worker can be, delivering junk mail day in and day out.

I say raise the price of junk mail. Let's force people to reduce

waste, not take the traditional approach, which is to have more government workers.

Jodi Dunn


Scapegoating black males

All Susan Smith had to say was that a black man kidnapped her children and the whole country was believing her.

But that's understandable, because as everyone knows black men are evil and violent and capable of hurting anyone at any time for no reason at all.

I guess that is why she decided to pin such a horrible crime on a man of color -- because it is so believeable.

Who said that racism doesn't exist in America and that black men are not stereotyped as being little more than animals?

Well, they were wrong -- and Susan Smith, along with many others, is living proof of just how difficult it is to be a black man and how easy it is to accuse them of just about anything simply because of the color of their skin.

Murphy Edward Smith


A stampede to condemn Judge Cahill

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