U.S. officials kowtow to ChinaOur own national interests...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

March 01, 1997

U.S. officials kowtow to China

Our own national interests as a democracy should always be the basis for our dealing with other countries. Thus the principles of freedom as outlined in our Constitution must be the underpinning of a foreign policy.

China is not a shining example of a political system that fosters individual development and freedom of expression. The murder of pro-democracy student demonstrators showed clearly the nature of their repressiveness and brutality. Yet the head of state who orchestrated the latter is being hailed as a great leader by our own national politicians. Our secretary of state calls these murders "an unfortunate incident."

This is political pusillanimity. Such cowards are a disgrace to our democratic ideals and have failed those in need of our support. Their policies are formulated to maximize our own economic expansion. Considerations of basic human rights, far more important in the long term for our own health as a political system, are thought to be an impediment for tapping into this large new market.

This is an outrage. Shame on us for permitting this to happen.

Francis P. Saitta

Baltimore

State shouldn't sanction rebel flag

Anthony Cohen and the Sons of Confederate Veterans have every right to display their own Confederate battle flags (Today section, Feb. 13), but his advocacy of that private right confuses it with a much more dubious matter: the propriety of the state Motor Vehicle Administration issuing vanity license plates adorned with it.

Though he is correct in asserting the historical fact that the flag meant to (some) Confederates more than the preservation of slavery, he overlooks two much more pertinent historical facts.

First, flying the battle flag does not reach back in an unbroken chain of official use to 1865. Such use, interrupted for generations, was resurrected and restored on state flags and flown from statehouses only as a symbol of Southern segregation and defiance of constitutionally ordered integration in the 1960s. It is, then, a symbol of illegal defiance of our national commitment to equality.

Second, even in its original incarnation the flag meant rebellion to the Constitution and the rule of law. Why should the state of Maryland (presumably an entity that supports adherence to law) provide its public authority to a symbol that evokes treason against the law of the land?

David Thomas Konig

St. Louis, Mo.

The writer, a 1964 graduate of Baltimore City College, is a professor of history at Washington University.

A great judge has been abused

As past president of the Women's Bar Association of Maryland and a practicing attorney for 55 years, I feel ashamed, astonished and appalled at the hostility and disrespect shown by women's rights activists, women legislators and the National Organization for Women. They have criticized and abused a great jurist, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Bollinger.

Judge Bollinger is capable, competent, knowledgeable, learned, compassionate and an understanding jurist who has been on the bench for 6 1/2 years. His integrity and ability cannot and should never be questioned. If he erred in a decision, it's the appellate court's job to correct him. It is not the media's job, or television's, ladies organizations', or female politicians'.

I wish to suggest to them that they visit the district court of Baltimore City and Baltimore County and judge for themselves as to whether men or women are favored. I assure you that the ladies are not the weaker sex in these proceedings. The judges at these hearings are always partial to the alleged weaker sex.

ottie Friedler

Baltimore

City letting tourist magnet go down

While Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke celebrates the announcement of the first tenant for the new Power Plant, his often stated goal of expanding tourism beyond the Inner Harbor is about to suffer a substantial setback.

The Baltimore City Life Museums stand on the verge of closing the doors to their various facilities.

This imminent disaster for Baltimore's tourism industry has been a matter of public concern for some time, at least in places other than the mayor's office.

At the mayor's office, where they are still trying to cobble together a celebration for Baltimore's bicentennial, it seems to be the belief that merely proclaiming a commitment to supporting the city's historical attractions is enough.

Although the staff of the City Life Museums have been trying to find solutions to the institution's problems of low attendance, primarily because tourism has not expanded beyond the Inner Harbor, the mayor insists on playing hardball and holding the museum to a commitment made five years ago that the museums can no longer meet.

Hardball is never a win-win proposition. It is a game that by its very nature requires that someone lose.

In this instance, should the mayor persist in his misguided approach and force the City Life Museums to close, everyone will lose, including the mayor and his plan to expand tourism in the city.

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