NAACP's leaders never going to be silenced or divided...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 14, 2001

NAACP's leaders never going to be silenced or divided

Gregory Kane's intemperate invitation to me to shut my mouth reveals his partisan views and mirrors complaints from civil rights opponents who wish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) would go away ("NAACP must take steps to speak with one voice," March 7). But we won't.

We've been a constant critic of racism for 92 years, and we haven't hesitated to criticize Democrats or Republicans whenever either strayed from pursuing justice and fair play. That was the point of my speech to the NAACP's annual meeting.

The speech was a review of the NAACP's nonpartisan relationship with presidents from Theodore Roosevelt through Bill Clinton. It included the strong hope that the NAACP and the Bush administration would find ways to work together, despite real differences on matters that affect African-Americans.

Mr. Kane can't deny the truth of my quoted remarks; instead, he tries to set up a false divide between NAACP CEO Kweisi Mfume and myself.

It just doesn't exist. Mr. Mfume and I will continue to condemn racism. And we will continue to resist those who wish us silenced.

The NAACP represents all the diversity in black America. Some members are Democrats and some Republicans, divided about as evenly as black Americans were in the last presidential election.

Mr. Kane is not the first to try to conquer the civil rights movement by dividing it; to quote him, it didn't work then and it won't work now.

Julian Bond

Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the NAACP's national board of directors.

To stop the shootings, get rid of the guns

I am sick of listening to the radio talk show hosts and their guests trying to rationalize the shootings that took place at the California school and justifying the right of citizens to own guns.

Whether the shooter was an unhappy kid is not the point. If there were no guns available in the first place, this tragedy -- and so many similar ones -- would not have taken place.

Young people have always been fascinated by guns. But in my youth there were no such shootings to speak of. The reason is simple: Guns were not available.

I dare Congress to address the most likely solution to this problem: Vote to get rid of guns.

Morris Grossman

Baltimore

We've long known kids aren't ready for school

The Maryland State Department of Education's report that [said] by age five most Maryland children lack the basic language and literacy skills needed for a successful start in kindergarten is old news ("Survey finds young pupils unprepared," Feb. 27).

Maryland may be the first state to undertake such a "comprehensive assessment," but that report's conclusions are virtually identical with those of a similar report issued by the Carnegie Council for the Advancement of Teaching more than 10 years ago.

The council conducted a nationwide survey of kindergarten teachers, including Maryland teachers, and concluded that the majority of kindergarteners' language and literacy skills were woefully deficient.

Not surprisingly, both reports agree that the most important steps to take are increased funding for preschool programs and parent education programs.

But how many more surveys will we need to tell us what we already know? And how many more years will we need before we do what needs to be done?

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Razing Memorial Stadium defiles memories, monument

We all agree about what a despicable act it was when Robert Irsay stole our beloved Colts. Now Gov. Paris N. Glendening and Mayor Martin O'Malley are destroying the wonderful memories we have of the Colts as well as the monument to our World War II veterans.

I think we should hold them in the same low esteem as we do Irsay.

Don Pennington

Trappe

Raising car registration fee is just another tax hike

Here we go again: the General Assembly is seriously considering tacking on another $3 on vehicle registration to support the state's emergency medical system ("Car registration fee rise sought for medical funds," March 2).

It seems that every time the system comes up short, Maryland drivers are hit for the shortage.

Perhaps if [Maryland Shock Trauma Center] would lessen the amount of expensive medical treatment supplied to uninsured street thugs after their gun battles, the system's losses would be far less.

Garland L. Crosby

Baltimore

The Sun's article "Car registration fee rise sought for medical funds" (March 2) again shows the arrogance of our representatives.

These back-door taxes must stop.

Keith F. Kelley

Lutherville

Tax-cut plan would help consumers pay their debts

The Sun's liberal editors continue to characterize President Bush's tax-cut plan as "huge" and "massive" ("Optimistic Bush budget needs dash of realism," editorial, March 1).

The $1.6 trillion cut would come over 10 years. The projected federal budget for that time is more than $25 trillion.

The tax cut is neither huge nor massive. It's simply the recognition that the government is confiscating more Americans' hard-earned money than it needs.

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