• U.S.

Letters, Mar. 18, 1996

8 minute read
TIME

GRAND OLD POPULISTS

I DON’T THINK MANY AMERICANS ARE fooled by the Republicans’ phony populism [COVER, Feb. 26]. The newly discovered proworker, anticorporate stance of Pat Buchanan and Bob Dole, as well as also-ran Lamar Alexander, is antithetical to the policies each has supported for decades. Americans want to merge the mottoes “Republicans want what works” and “Democrats want what is fair.” F.D.R. gave America the New Deal; Truman followed with the Fair Deal; Reagan and Bush gave us special deals for the wealthy and secret deals with arms-for-hostages. The American people are tired of deals. Americans want a guiding principle that says “Hard work deserves fair rewards” to shape our leaders’ and nation’s agenda. JEFF SOFTLEY Los Angeles

YOUR “GRAND OLD POPULISTS” COVER with Alexander, Buchanan, Dole and Forbes looks like a movie poster for Grumpier Old Men. JOHN CRANE San Francisco

NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY, I CANNOT figure out American politics. If the big four of the G.O.P.–Dole, Buchanan, Alexander and Forbes–continue to bicker on the same issues, it only raises the question, If they are unable to sort out the rift in the Republican Party, how the hell are they going to successfully manage the most powerful and influential nation in the world? GAVIN BORUCHOWITZ, age 15 Cape Town, South Africa Via E-mail

BUCHANAN WILL BECOME THE REPUBLIcans’ Jesse Jackson. He may not get the nomination, but like Jackson in 1988, he will dominate the convention, making the G.O.P. nomination a hollow prize and shoring up the re-election of Bill Clinton. GARY SCHWARTZ Fort Lee, New Jersey

GEORGE ORWELL WAS WRONG. THE year is not 1984, it’s 1996, and Pat Buchanan is Big Brother. He spouts his popular economic-empowerment rhetoric, all the while eroding the very bases of freedom and multiculturalism that the country has prided itself on. EMILY STEPHENS Houston Via E-mail

A TOAST TO PAT BUCHANAN–OUR VERY own Zhirinovsky! LEE R. LOMBARD Palm Springs, California

WHILE I WOULD BE THE LAST PERSON TO vote for Buchanan, his message about the government’s caring more about the welfare of transnational corporations than of everyday workers resonates because we all suspect it’s true. But if Bob Dole and Bill Clinton don’t get it, or only pretend to get it in order to get elected, then Buchanan might very well be our next President. JIM TERR Santa Fe, New Mexico

REPUBLICANS IN 1996 APPEAR TO BE doing what Democrats did in 1968: allowing extremism to fracture and damage their party. We don’t need extremists who want to destroy America to save it. We need some real Republicans to speak out and try to prevent their party from becoming terminal. PRESTON P. BIRENBAUM Woodland Hills, California

NO NATION CAN SUSTAIN A DEMOCRACY without a high level of education. Nor can a democracy be sustained without its basic economic issues resolved. The phenomenon of Buchanan’s attraction lies not so much in any qualities of his own as in the conditions that we are allowing our country to slide into. People are eager for scapegoats and easy answers. ROXANNE WARREN New York City

BOB DOLE SAYS THAT IF PAT BUCHANAN IS elected President, it will set this country back at least 30 years. Well, let’s see. Thirty years ago, the average dad could support his family with just one job, Mom could raise the kids if she chose to, a young person could jump right out of high school or college into a job, the person best qualified got the job, there was less crime, our morals had not yet decayed, and there was less sex and violence on TV or in the movies. So, what’s happened? Too many people coming into our country and too many jobs leaving. Where has Bob Dole been? Pat Buchanan has it right! Go, Pat, go! LARRY V. HAWBAKER Jacksonville, Florida Via E-mail

I AM 75 YEARS OLD, AND I HONESTLY CAN’T remember when I last voted with genuine enthusiasm in a presidential election. It must have been for Adlai Stevenson in 1952. We need a better system. NICHOLAS C. BROWN Lancaster, Pennsylvania

FOR MONTHS I WATCHED THE EVER changing definition of “negativity” in the primary coverage. First there was hand wringing over negative ads by Steve Forbes. The next round of slash-and- burn advertising was between Dole and Alexander. Now the vitriol is directed at the followers of Buchanan. This has become a feeding frenzy by a smarmy coalition of Establishment Republicans, Democrats and newsies from left and right. I am an agnostic pro-choice woman living not a mile from Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. There are no skinheads here. There is no hate here. The hate, venom and bile are inside the Beltway. I sent money to Buchanan this morning. You have helped me see the real error of my ways. CAROL WARD Colorado Springs

DRIVING DRUGS AWAY

I READ WITH DISMAY YOUR ARTICLE “Caribbean Blizzard” [WORLD, Feb. 26]. Your remarks about “the Bird dynasty” looking the other way as drug traffickers operate in Antigua are unfair. Vere C. Bird has been a faithful servant of the people of Antigua and Barbuda; his two sons Lester and Vere Jr. have undergone the same kinds of political tests all other politicians face in democratic countries. For instance, it was Prime Minister Lester Bird who insisted on the public inquiry into Vere Bird Jr.’s involvement with an illegal transshipment of guns, placing his loyalty to the country above that owed to his sibling. And whatever the role played by the PM’s 55-year-old brother in a drug deal, the police prosecuted the case without fear or favor, and the law was applied just as the legislature intended. Lester Bird’s policy on drug trafficking and money laundering does not cosset criminals but puts them on the run. We hope to drive this menace from our shores. In January, Antigua and several other Caribbean countries began treaty negotiations with the U.S. to strengthen the measures that our countries can take to deter drug trafficking and money laundering. LIONEL A. HURST, Ambassador Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda Washington

TIME’S ARTICLE IS REMARKABLE IF ONLY for its extreme tardiness in reporting on the drug havens that many eastern Caribbean countries have become. The story simply reiterated what many of us islanders have long known: these islands are America’s unprotected flank. Long-term neglect of their welfare, whether through budgetary restraints or through myopic, reactionary and isolationist policies, will only harm the most vital assets of the U.S., its people. ORVILLE RAWLINS Commerce, Texas

YOUR STORY ON DRUGS FLOWING through the Caribbean downplays and ignores the constant and untiring effort of governments in these resource-poor countries to win the war against narco-trafficking. St. Kitts and Nevis continue to cooperate fully with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and they have entered into several treaty arrangements to fight the anathema of illicit drug trading. My government has undertaken to restructure, train and equip the local police force and coast guard in our fight to stem the flow of illegal drugs into our country. The drug problem is not of our own making. However, we remain committed to addressing it. GERALD DWYER ASTAPHAN, Minister Tourism, Culture and Environment St. Christopher and Nevis St. Kitts, West Indies

FARRAKHAN’S TRAVELS

I TAKE EXCEPTION TO THE COLUMN “NO Innocent Abroad,” by Jack E. White [DIVIDING LINE, Feb. 26]. If Louis Farrakhan doesn’t make friendly overtures to certain “bad” countries, then who will? Someone needs to tell the powers that be in America that the Crusades are over. If the U.S. is going to become the country that our Founding Fathers promised it would be, we must accept everyone, even Muslims. DAN SATHYRE New York City

FARRAKHAN MUST BE REVILED AND condemned, particularly by mainstream African-American and Muslim leaders, as the pariah that he is. It is not too late to stop this dangerous, deluded man. OREN M. SPIEGLER Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

AIDS IN THE RING

INTENSE ATTENTION HAS BEEN FOCUSED on HIV testing as a result of boxer Tommy Morrison’s riveting disclosures in the past few weeks [HEALTH, Feb. 26]. But there is a serious risk that legislative, civic and sports leaders will jump to HIV testing as the solution without doing anything further. That would be a shame. If HIV testing is all that is done, little will be accomplished to either prevent the transmission of HIV among boxers or to improve boxing’s safety. Those who advocate HIV testing to the exclusion of other solutions take as automatic the premise that bleeding is inevitable in boxing. It is not. If professional boxing followed the lead of amateur boxing–by, most important, requiring headgear in all matches–bleeding would be virtually nil. Preventing bleeding is a better result than could ever be obtained by an HIV test. At the same time, headgear would improve numerous other woes of boxing, such as the safety of the participants. As we consider what to do about Morrison’s positive-HIV disclosure, let us look for fundamental improvements in boxing and not reactions that provide little if any safety. GEORGE BOCHETTO Pennsylvania Athletic Commissioner Philadelphia

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