- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2000

How was the Republican convention?

Thanks to Suzanne Fields for "The next Reagan?" (Op-Ed, Aug. 3). Her column speaks very well for many of us out here. Though people say viewership was down for the Republican National Convention, those of us who cared about learning more about Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney were more than impressed with what we saw. I cannot see how anyone would think Mr. Bush is less than mature enough for the job of president after watching his masterful job at the convention including his speech and considering the implications of his wise choice of Mr. Cheney as his running mate.

The convention gave me a sense of confidence in the Bush team, including top consultant Carl Rove. They seem secure, well-organized, well-spoken and polite, not at all like Bob Shrum and the others who speak for Vice President Al Gore who are so hateful, aggressive and in your face when being interviewed that it is impossible to believe anything they say. They make me think they would do anything to win or even to make a point. The Bush team does not fall into this behavior. I hope this comes through to others, for all of us need a change at the top in Washington a change of manner and attitude.

I agree with Mrs. Fields that there is some Ronald Reagan in Mr. Bush. He also is very much like his own very wonderful parents. What combination could be better? I will be working for him to become the next president. The country deserves a change for the better, and I hope I am not the only one who feels this way.

MARTHA N. COPENHAVER

Tryon, N.C.

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I am writing to share my joy and enthusiasm after watching the Republican convention in Philadelphia. Sounds over the top? I can't help it: Texas Gov. George W. Bush's message was like a quenching summer rain for those of us fading from thirst.

I am a soccer mom. I am a divorced mom raising three children. I am the mom of a severely disabled child who cannot walk, talk or feed herself. I am a well-educated and well-read suburban mom. I believe in individual freedom and family unity. I have always been a Republican, but I have not always been unafraid to say so.

I want the best education and medical care I can provide for my children. More than that, I want them to learn to think and to love. In our home, we ignore labels such as white, African-American, Hispanic, Jewish, Catholic, etc. and practice listening to the human heart. As a mother, I know cynicism to be my enemy. It takes little fragile hearts and turns them cold and hard as they struggle to grow up.

Cynics sniff that the new face on the Republican Party is a mask, a disguise. Inclusion, they insist, is a scam perpetrated by deceitful pols on fools. I know it to be my heart, the heart of my family, my friends and neighbors.

At last, perhaps, Mr. Bush has succeeded in silencing the critics with the sheer power of genuine conviction that conservatism is not synonymous with small-minded bigotry.

SONYA ZEBERLEIN

Vienna

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My family and I watched the Republican convention, and we were very impressed with Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney and the Republican team as a whole. The message was both powerful and refreshing. It is something we have been hungering for for quite a long time. We cheered right along with the convention crowd.

I generally am a cynic. But as the convention proceeded, I became convinced that this nation desperately needs the Bush team. We are crying for solid, honest leadership. If the doubters would devote a little time to hear the Republican side, they might soon become converts. I detect no dishonesty with the Bush-Cheney team. I see a mature, experienced and well-intentioned force. I trust them to lead our country.

I thank The Washington Times for the in-depth coverage of this most important convention. I simply wish the rest of the media would give us the same type of reporting.

FRED C. SEBLY

Mount Airy, Md.

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Texas Gov. George W. Bush's acceptance speech at the convention was great. It was refreshing to find a candidate who looks as if he means and believes what he says. It was refreshing to find a man unafraid to say that he believes in religion, family, morality, honesty, the American people and the positive influence of our diversity. It was refreshing to find a candidate who says that he doesn't know it all but will work with one and all to succeed. It was refreshing to find a man who wants the job, not for the honor and prestige, but to correct America's problems.

It was depressing to see the always pro-liberal, pro-Democratic media tear down Mr. Bush. It was depressing to witness the Democratic Party's negative campaign commercial during the Republican convention.

No, Vice President Gore will never do. He does not even compare to Mr. Bush.

DON A. BENDER

Glen Burnie, Md.

Biotechnology firm gives article the raspberry

The article "Cucumber-melon fights disease, needs new name" (Aug. 3) contains inaccuracies that should be corrected. No tomato with flounder genes ever has been marketed, despite claims by Friends of the Earth about removing this mythical fruit from grocery shelves. A simple check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would have confirmed this fact.

Second, if such a tomato did exist, it would be labeled clearly. Contrary to misinformation from Friends of the Earth, the FDA maintains a rigorous labeling policy for foods improved through biotechnology. The FDA protects consumers by giving them accurate information about the product's contents. This includes identifying ingredients and telling the consumer when products have undergone substantial changes in composition, nutrition or safety.

It is unfortunate that some groups resort to fear-mongering as a tool to advance their cause rather than helping consumers understand the facts. Research shows 59 percent of consumers believe biotechnology will provide benefits for them or their family within the next five years. One example is a tomato with three times the amount of lycopene and beta-carotene as a conventional tomato. This real biotech tomato will benefit people with chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, some cancers and macular degeneration. This is just one example of the benefits we look to from foods improved through biotechnology.

MICHAEL J. PHILLIPS

Executive director for food and agriculture

Biotechnology Industry Organization

Washington

'City folks' should extinguish their brand of wilderness help

This is a reminder to city folks, suburbanites and people living east of the 100th meridian (roughly the Rocky Mountain divide). The next time someone asks you for money, a letter of support or an e-mail click to declare another roadless area, wilderness or national monument, remember the news about Western wildfires all over the media this past week. Remember the modifiers such as "enormous," "numerous" and "expensive." Many, if not most, of those fires on public Western lands could have been put out or contained quickly were it not for the federal government's public policies of recent years.

The drastic reduction of logging on public lands has contributed to the buildup of "fuel" that is feeding those fires, and grazing reductions are doing the same thing. The closure and reduction of roads likewise has made access to fight fires more difficult, if not impossible without dangerous and expensive airborne operations. Fewer roads also means fewer breaks in vegetation where backfires are possible.

Foresters don't mention this because they work for the federal government, where such mention is career suicide; for private industry, whose timber is more valuable because of public land restrictions; or for states that are growing more dependent on federal grants and good will to sustain their level of operations.

It is up to citizens like us to reverse this destructive trend. Not only do we lose the revenue from sustainable use of our public resources, but federal agencies are gearing up for budget demonstrations about why the already record-high budgets are not enough and why more federal fire bureaucracy is necessary.

JIM BEERS

Centreville

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