Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 23, 2003

Wasted votes prove costly to liberal cause

Three cheers for Jules Witcover for his great column "The power of a vote" (Opinion

Commentary, Feb. 10), in which he took to task those who did not vote in the presidential election of 2000 because they thought there was "no difference" between the candidates.

If Al Gore had won, we would not be planning a potentially disastrous war in the Mideast, rolling back critical environmental protections or suffering economy-destroying federal deficits. Just as much to blame, though, as those who did not vote are those liberals who voted for Ralph Nader.

They need to come to terms with the stark fact that without the votes Mr. Nader took away from the Democrats in Florida and New Hampshire, Mr. Gore would be president right now, and we would not have to be planning desperate anti-war demonstrations.

Sadly, many Naderites did not learn from what they did in 2000. Just this past year in Maryland, fringe Green Party candidates caused the defeat of at least one incumbent progressive delegate and the defeat of several great delegate candidates.

As Mr. Witcover so eloquently pointed out, the differences between the Bush Republicans and the Gore Democrats are stark.

Let's hope our friends on the left will realize that if they continue to splinter the Democratic Party, they will continue to cause great suffering among lower-income Americans and all of us who want a just society, a clean environment and a peaceful world.

Vincent DeMarco

Baltimore

U.S. stands up for a better world

Reading the Feb. 14 Sun, I realized how proud we all should be to be Americans. While France finds excuses, the United States is dealing with the root causes of terrorism ("France in corner, lacking good exit," Feb. 14).

We will never be free of Islamic fundamentalism unless we can provide a new paradigm for the oppressed Arabs. Turning Iraq into an ally and using it as an exemplar of Western freedom and opportunity can unleash a new Mideast of prosperity and hope to replace the present cesspool of failed regimes.

If we live to see a better world, it will be because of the prudent use of American power.

Rabbi Leonard Oberstein

Baltimore

Bush team needs lesson in diplomacy

Our relationship with the rest of the world is becoming more strained each day. We are perceived as the new bullies by many of our former friends. And Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has insulted many of our allies by, among other things, referring to Germany and France as the "Old Europe" and comparing Germany to Cuba and Libya.

The administration is living up to the "ugly American" stereotype with its arrogant, imperialistic and hawkish style as it sends the message that only America knows what's best for the world.

The Bush administration needs to take some lessons on diplomacy.

Carol Gupta

Hydes

Heed the advice Europe is offering

I realize super-patriotism and nationalism are in vogue, but the Europe-bashing is unnecessary and silly ("It's de rigueur to bash the French these days," Feb. 21).

We've all looked to our friends for support at various times. If one or two of them advised us not to take a desired action, did we bash them? And, in retrospect, couldn't we say that many times our best friends were the ones who tried to discourage us from doing a foolish act?

Maybe we need to cool off and listen before we regret not heeding the advice.

Victoria C. Wagner

Baltimore

Track could make Rocky Gap a success

The success of Rocky Gap Lodge Resort could be accelerated by building the Western Maryland racetrack across the road from the resort ("Rocky Gap stability 3 years off, panel told," Feb. 7).

This would accomplish several things. It would prevent despoiling the pristine area of Little Orleans. It would situate the track closer to Cumberland, which needs the tourists and business that it would generate. And it might stop Marylanders from crossing over to West Virginia and spending their money in the slot machines there.

Daniel Stipek

Kingsville

Close two hospitals for psychiatric care

It certainly is good news that the new administration is considering closing one of the big three state psychiatric hospitals ("State looks at closing psychiatric hospital," Feb. 2). Maryland is third in the nation in per-capita spending on state psychiatric institutions, a ranking that the state and its community mental health system can ill-afford.

I'd like to go the administration one better. The administration should consider closing two of the big three hospitals, Crownsville Hospital Center and Springfield Hospital Center, and consolidating those who need in-patient care at Spring Grove Hospital Center.

Roughly half the patients don't need to be in these institutions and can be safely cared for in community programs at less than one-third of the cost. Moving them into community-based programs would also help capture federal matching funds from Medicaid.

Scott Graham

Catonsville

The writer is president and CEO of ReVisions Behavioral Health Systems.

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