Clinton is a man, all too human, but presidential?Yes...

Letters to the Editor

August 23, 1998

Clinton is a man, all too human, but presidential?

Yes, indeed. One has to read the newspaper comments from coast to coast to realize that we all are laughing stock.

These people tear their clothing because the president has lied, and give impressive arguments and reasoning, without the slightest thought as to what he lied about.

The Romans had a saying for it: "When men want to do evil, they give it a form to please.''

And in a moment of levity, we can remind them of Albius Tibullus' aphorism, "Jupiter laughs at the perjuries of lovers.''

Terence (Publius Terentius) got a lot of applause when, in one of his plays, he has an actor say, ''I am a man, nothing human is alien to me.'' Nothing could fit better the entire cast of the play whose final acts are now unfolding in Washington.

Having all that in mind, an equally magnanimous (and probably more impartial) historian may pass a familiar judgment on the president: ''His virtues were his own; the vices, of his time."

Peter C. Sotiriou

Baltimore

After $40 million and endless speculation, what do we really know? That Paula Jones didn't have a case, that the president was not involved in Whitewater and that young women and power have always had the same effect -- getting the powerful in trouble.

I am tired of the fight over what Mr. Clinton did or did not do. Now we know, and the Congress is further bashing the president. I truly believe that the real losers are the American people, whose government is being pulled apart by the "ultra righteous."

It is time to let the matter rest and begin the healing process and get on with the mature and proper running of the country.

Joseph Berkowitz

Columbia

Monica Lewinsky, vindicated. Paula Jones, vindicated. Kathleen Willey, vindicated, Gennifer Flowers, vindicated. Linda Tripp, vindicated.

Every woman who came within range of the president's uncontrollable libido, vindicated. Kenneth Starr, vindicated.

Bill Clinton, indicted.

Ron Brammer

Columbia

Personally, I feel we need more whistle blowers to get rid of crooks in high places. Here is a man who has lied under oath, so how many other lies has he told the American people?

I say bravo for Linda Tripp, and I wish her a brilliant future. The world would be a much better place if we had more like her.

R. Krell

Reisterstown

Kenneth Starr's activities have wasted tax dollars on politically motivated activities. By pursuing this tabloid, partisan sex scandal, our reputation has been damaged internationally, our already vulnerable markets have been weakened.

The people have been speaking. Their representatives do not appear to be listening.

Justice Antonin Scalia was correct when he predicted the special prosecutor law might be misused. Here it is.

Stop this now. Look at the law. It is a bad one. Laws like this should never again be used for partisan gain. We all suffer the consequences.

Joseph J. Spatarella

Ellicott City

In many cultures over many years, the act of publicly shunning individuals for civil wrongs has been an effective way to demonstrate society's reprehension for actions which are morally despicable but lawful.

In this context, I believe that the American people should no longer invite the president to speak at graduations or other ceremonies. We should turn our backs to him or his motorcade. He should not be invited to be guest of honor at public occasions. People, including members of Congress, should not stand when he enters the room.

The office of president is typically accorded the highest level of honor. Having disgraced it, President Clinton should no longer be accorded those dignities.

Stephen B. Awalt

Baltimore

Social Security needs some major retooling

Robert L. Borosage clearly lives in a blissful world where Social Security needs only a nip and a tuck to provide ample benefits for unlimited numbers of future retirees simply by raising taxes on their grandchildren ("The con of a 'new' Social Security program," Opinion Commentary, July 29).

Back here on Earth, the numbers are a bit more daunting. When Social Security was established in 1937, there were 42 workers for every beneficiary, and life expectancy was well below 65.

Today there are three workers per beneficiary (soon it will be only two), and life expectancy is nearing 80. In the intervening years, the FICA tax has risen by nearly 1,500 percent, even adjusting for inflation, and now accounts for a bigger percentage of most Americans' paychecks than do income taxes.

No rational analyst can claim, in the face of these indisputable demographic realities, that significant changes aren't going to be necessary for a program that was designed using hand-crank Remington calculators in the days when few women worked outside the home.

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