Jefferson's behavior with slave far worse than Clinton's...


November 14, 1998

Jefferson's behavior with slave far worse than Clinton's affair

After reading Pamela Prenger's letter , I didn't know whether to laugh or cry ("Jefferson-Hemings liaison nothing like president's affair," Nov. 8).

Ms. Prenger basically wanted to make the point that President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky was a far greater sin than Thomas Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings because Jefferson "truly loved her," according to all the biographies she had read about Jefferson.

I have no doubt that those biographies claimed that Jefferson loved Hemings. I also have no doubt that those biographies were probably written by white men with little or no knowledge of the plight of black women who were slaves.

By calling the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings a "liaison," Ms. Prenger is implying that the relationship between them was somehow consensual.

This is a slap in the face to not only Hemings but to all black slaves who were forced into sexual relationships with their masters.

Anyone with any knowledge of the master-slave relationship would know that such a relationship is not structured in a way that would make it possible for the slave to truly consent to any type of sexual relationship.

That is why they call it "slavery." Obviously, the writer chooses to buy into the great myth that there was such a thing as a "good" slave owner.

In fact, there is no excuse for holding someone against his or her will, no matter how you treat them.

Perhaps you think Mr. Clinton's actions were inexcusable. Perhaps they were. However, to compare his consensual extramarital affair to Jefferson's nonconsensual relationship with Sally Hemings is inexcusable ignorance.

Mr. Clinton may not be the moral leader the American people would like him to be, but the truth is that he is a far better man than the immoral men who enslaved both blacks and women during the early days of our country's existence.

Only a white, partisan Republican, desperate to make Mr. Clinton's affair out to be the worst scandal our country has ever seen would think otherwise.

Stephanie Lurz


No one but a Clinton hater could make the allegations that Pamela Prenger did in her letter. Sally Hemings was Thomas Jefferson's slave.

He owned her; she was his property, chattel and had to obey his every desire. We don't even know whether his sexual advances were forced upon the 14-year-old slave girl. He lived a lie the rest of his life.

Contrast President Clinton's silly personal peccadillo with a grown, freely consenting young woman. No comparison and no grounds for impeachment.

Bernard Ostrofsky


Convicted spy Pollard should stay in prison

For some years, Israel has waged a campaign to secure the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. Nelson Marans' letter is another effort to achieve this goal ("Pollard's punishment excessive for a spy," Nov. 7). However, the facts do not support his release.

The writer states that Pollard is being treated more harshly than any spy in recent U.S. history.

The fact is that he is one of 13 Americans to be sentenced to life in prison for espionage since 1953. So damaging to U.S. security was Pollard's role that then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said that Pollard should be executed.

At the trial, it was said the damage to U.S. security was "beyond calculation." Pollard was paid $60,000 in cash and jewels by Israel for his services.

Pollard is not contrite. He was quoted as saying: "I am as much a loyal son of the country [Israel] as anybody has ever been. I did my best."

Pollard does not deserve to be released.

Albert L. Cummings

Owings Mills

Gibson's claims as empty as Gingrich GOP prediction

Larry Gibson's claim to have delivered the vote for the governor's victory rings as hollow as Newt Gingrich's initial claim to have delivered the vote for the GOP.

Only two things need to be remembered about Mr. Gibson's efforts during this election cycle: He didn't deliver on name recognition for his candidate, and he didn't deliver on campaign funding. As a result, he had no opportunity to deliver the vote for his candidate.

Rick Gilmour

Baltimore I witnessed a spellbinding event on Nov. 4, Officer Harold J. Carey's funeral procession.

Hundreds of officers stood at attention, saluting the procession as hundreds of regular people like me stood along the funeral route, mesmerized by the sight of such a spectacular tribute to this police officer.

A portion of U.S. 40 was closed, and the inner loop of the beltway was at a standstill.

The real tragedy here was that this recognition came posthumously. Those who serve our country here and in other countries put their lives at risk for us. We reward them with a wonderful funeral when they fall.

FTC Every day, we spend millions on on sports, celebrities and expensive toys.

Do we value the protection we receive from our public servants enough to pay them fairly for their labor?

Can we afford to take these men and women for granted who serve and care for our well-being?

Susan Garde


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