Leaders should show that moral leadership is real, not a...


November 16, 1998

Leaders should show that moral leadership is real, not a myth

It's not a myth that portrays American presidents as models of moral behavior. It's a belief that they in fact should be moral leaders. We vote them into office because we expect them to lead our nation in a responsible manner. As a nation, we require them to lead by example, placing the good of the country over personal gain.

While you can say people don't always agree on what is moral, I think it's safe to say we as Americans believe you should not lie, cheat or steal. I also believe you can't defend the leader of the free world seducing a young intern by telling us the bad things others have done.

Americans should demand their president be moral leaders, and they should not lower their standards to accept anything less.

If the leader doesn't act in an appropriate manner, we as voters should react accordingly.

Michael R. Halstad


Your editorial "An end to the myth of the moral leader" was almost rational until the final three paragraphs, in which you suggest we become more mature, more like our European counterparts.

Evidently, you consider infidelity, promiscuity, groping, oral sex in the Oval Office and lying (even under oath) to cover it up mature and acceptable behavior by public officials. To expect more, you say, is myth making, similar, I suppose, to a belief in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.

You go on to state that if it's moral leadership we want, we should provide it at home or in our religious institutions. Then where would we practice it? I suppose at home or in our religious institutions; sort of a special setting theory of morality for home or religious use only, not for public display, particularly by American presidents.

Alan B. Abramson


Poor performance is at root of behavioral difficulties

The riotous behavior at Southern High School that you reported is more the result of the lack of skills those students bring to the subjects in which they are being instructed than anything else ("It's a school, but the aura is of prison, Oct. 30).

They may have needed the Marine-like instruction in those crucial early grades so they now can perform and enjoy education.

In my own experience, even reluctant students succeeded in English when they saw they could a handle on the subject. Unfortunately some read so poorly, it was a very discouraging experience for me and them. It reinforced their very low opinion of themselves.

Universities that have come up with answers to problems in reading have something concrete to offer. Throwing money and personnel at grades one through three shows that most, if not all, of the poorest students can achieve. And success is a powerful motivator next time around.

I wish The Sun would do an extended series on class size using teachers who have actually taught, not verbose non-experts like Lamar Alexander and William Bennett.

Mary Ann Wickwire


Choice puts public, private students on equal footing

The Wisconsin Supreme Court stated in its opinion on school vouchers that a child's religion should not determine whether he or she is eligible to attend private, even parochial, schools. Instead, poverty and poor schools should. That was included in Lyle Denniston's article ("Justices allow student vouchers," Nov. 10)).

What was not included was the portion of the opinion by Chief Justice Stienmetz that the voucher program "places on equal footing options of public and private school choice and vests power in the hands of the parents to choose where to direct the funds allocated for their children's benefit."

This statement represents the clearest one to date by a judge as to what the debate is about. It is disappointing that the case was not heard by the United States Supreme Court because it is clear that the parental emancipation statement by Justice Steinmetz would carry the day. That parents have been denied this choice in America is evidence of political power, not justice.

Herman Schmidt


Tariffs needed to protect products made in U.S.

For 70 years, people of the United States have allowed their leaders to shaft the American public by use of this free-trade baloney ("Dumping could cost Point jobs," Nov. 7).

Anyone with any sense would put a high import duty on foreign products so that the imports are way more expensive than similar items made here.

Someday, the people of our once-great country are going to wake up and take it back from those who have given all our assets away. I hope I live to see it.

Winton Hurley


Public needs a close look at proposed tobacco deal

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. was quoted in Scott Shane's article as saying he would consult with legislators and public health experts before deciding whether to abandon Maryland's promising lawsuit against tobacco companies in favor of the multi-state deal negotiated in secret with tobacco companies ("State weighs tobacco deal," Nov. 11).

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