Democratic vision cannot be obscured by Starr's reportThe...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 23, 1998

Democratic vision cannot be obscured by Starr's report

The cloud of smut issued by Republican prosecutor Kenneth Starr has humiliated the president for sexual antics, but Democrats must cut through the gloom to emphasize the ideals and principles of their party.

Democrats are responsible for creating and maintaining nearly all government programs that help meet needs such as income security, health care, education, environmental protection and protection from consumer fraud.

It is the party committed to civil rights, the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively, the minimum wage law, updated periodically for inflation. It supports unemployment compensation for workers who have lost their jobs through layoffs or downsizing.

The Republican Party, which is practically owned by big corporations operating in a global economy, complains about "big government" programs that help citizens struggling for a decent quality of life. Only big government can deal with the big national programs and needs.

After the Republicans gained control of Congress in 1994, they produced a budget that would have crippled the Medicare program. They proposed to eliminate federal regulations that protect the health, safety, and quality of care in nursing homes. ,, They also proposed to repeal the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the clean air and water laws. They wanted to slash federal education programs.

Fortunately, a veto pen wielded by a Democratic president prevented severe damage to important federal programs. It is no wonder that Mr. Starr and his Republican political allies have been so eager to destroy President Clinton.

Raymond S. Gill

Crownsville

Clinton must be punished for his false testimony

President Clinton's proclivity to cover his missteps in life with lies is dangerous to our country. He now has the unmitigated gall to tell the citizens of this country that lying under oath is not perjury.

Perjury is a criminal offense, an offense.

Regardless of the status of his presidency and regardless of the status of any possible impeachment hearings to determine if his presidency should be terminated, he should be punished for giving false testimony under oath.

William L. Engle Jr.

Ellicott City

Conduct has offended the American people

I believe the independent counsel's report presents a credible case that the president has offended the American people with his conduct and is not to be trusted. I find his contrite appearances and statements to be insincere, contrived to present the proper image in response to the coaching of the White House staff and the Democratic leadership.

Even if the contrition was sincere, it would not be enough. The American people must hold the president and other elected officials to a higher standard because of their positions in our government. The conduct of which the president is accused exceeds the threshold at which most of us would experience serious legal, financial and personal consequences.

The president, as a servant of the American people, is not immune from consequences of his action; there is only a different mechanism required to impose accountability. I submit that his resignation or constitutionally authorized removal from office by impeachment are the only proper means to hold him accountable and restore the dignity of the office of the president.

Calvin Langford

Bel Air

Congress is the branch guilty of public immorality

I, like many others, would like to register outrage at recent events in our nation's capital. Being a mature individual, however, unlike many members of the press, I distinguish between personal morality that should be treated as a private matter and public morality that deserves public scrutiny.

By public morality, I mean behavior or actions that harm the public or government, often for personal gain. One recent instance of public immorality, in my opinion, was the defeat of campaign finance reform by Congress, allowing the continuation corrupt practices by our government. Another was the conspiracy between members of the Senate and tobacco industry to defeat tobacco-control legislation, exposing thousands of our teen-agers to the threat of cancer.

These are truly immoral actions that jeopardize the proper functioning of government, do harm to many Americansand should influence how Americans vote this November.

Jack Kinstlinger

Baltimore

Panel is refreshing change from commentator blather

Congratulations to The Sun and Dan Rodricks for the new initiative, the People's Panel.

It is very refreshing to hear the thoughts and analyses of reasonable and sincere citizens on the sensational topic of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. Too many of the pundits we read in print, listen to on radio and watch on television are engaged in so much blather and posturing. Our society and political system benefit from major media outlets give citizens a chance to express their views.

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