`Did Susan Reimer write that column on the president's...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 01, 1999

`Did Susan Reimer write that column on the president's trial?'

You must not have noticed that someone other than Susan Reimer submitted the piece entitled, "End this impeachment process now, hear me?" (Jan.19). That must explain her position, which seems at odds with her other writings.

In other columns, she struggles with the conflicting roles of nurturing mother and disciplinarian. She wants her children to be responsible, and yet to be shielded from premature adult decisions. So how could she write such a petulant, cynical piece that reeks of permissiveness?

We parents should be outraged by our president's sexual irresponsibility. When my daughter was in middle school, she found out that some of the girls were being asked to engage in the kind of behavior that the president says stops short of sex. Their boyfriends were making the same argument that the president lamely makes to our country.

Or perhaps we should say it the other way around. The president makes the same argument as some seventh-grade boys.

The astonishing thing to me is that we are buying it, that we are allowing him to make a legal defense of his word play, that we look lightly on his crime as "lying only about sex."

I wish that my daughter had not made her discovery, because it stole some of her innocence. I wish her friends had not succumbed, because it stole some of their self-respect. There is a connection between the behavior we wink at in our leaders (or we tolerate because we tire of hearing about it) and the behavior of our children in such a climate of hypocrisy.

Even Mr. Clinton's Democratic supporters understand at least this much and share my outrage at his behavior. I commend the House managers who have acted with moral courage in pressing the unpopular case that the president not only committed such disgraceful acts, but also broke the law.

Karen Michener

Columbia

Events demand bold action by Indian government

I am saddened by recent events in India ("Violence mars Republic Day in India," Jan. 27). Brutal attacks on Christians, other religious minorities and women are not actions that India and decent Indians stand for. India has always been a secular nation, and must remain so. It has been a haven for many religions, races and cultures. The inner beauty of India lies in its diversity. It is a country that gave birth to many, many religions and religious philosophies, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Christianity and Islam have flourished in India many centuries.

The attacks on Christians, culminating in the murder of the Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, is a crime against humanity and contrary to the basic secular philosophy of India.

It is time that India took bold steps to stem this violence and the mindless attacks on minorities. Let the government state in no uncertain terms that India is, has been, is, and always will be a secular nation -- not a Hindu country or a religion-based autocracy -- that welcomes all religions.

The government must also declare in no uncertain terms that attacks on religious minorities and others will be considered federal crimes, punishable by the highest penalty under India's laws.

Pradeep Ganguly

Rockville

`Brazenly cynical' column on suits against gun makers

In response to George Will's Opinion Commentary column ("Suing is no remedy," Jan. 24): In opposing the litigation by cities such as New Orleans against gun manufacturers, Mr. Will argues that guns serve as a prophylactic against crime. He further states that only 200 children die annually "by gun accident." Obviously, this statistic does not include innocent bystanders, suicide or murder victims.

Mr. Will also assaults anti-tobacco litigation while asserting that ". . . governments also profit from the early deaths of smokers who do not collect [social] benefits."

Consider the brazen cynicism of a man who asserts that governments profit from the early demise of its citizens while he extols the social good of weapons manufacturers, and the freedom to bear arms.

Kirk Fairfield

Towson

Harkin should look at plight of hog farmers in Iowa

Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, has been aggressive in his defense of President Clinton during the Senate trial. It's unfortunate that the senator is nowhere near that assertive and vociferous in protecting the interests of his constituents, the hog farmers in his home state of Iowa who are rapidly going broke because of suspiciously-depressed hog prices.

Sen. Harkin's should shift his energies from defending his pal in the White House to conducting a hard-nosed inquiry into possible collusion by the big pork cartels, which may be responsible for a virtual state of emergency among hundreds of small hog farmers.

John Fuller

Perry Hall

Don't underestimate value of etiquette training

In response to the letter, "Aren't parents responsible for teaching manners?" (Jan. 26), I must say I am puzzled.

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