- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Battlefield park should be sacred ground

"Improving on history" shouts the headline over a picture on the front page of your Nov. 2 Metro section. This headline, about the widening of the roads at the intersection in the Manassas National Battlefield Park, has it all wrong.

The caption says the project is "aimed at alleviating congestion in the historic park." Well, what about the people who visit the park to study the events that took place there 139 years ago? Will increased, faster, heavier, louder traffic be an improvement on their visit? What about the soldiers whose actions there made this a place of reverence and dedication? Will this be an improvement to their legacy?

Your same-day Washington Weekend story about the battlefield, "Bloody battleground now offers visitors shady respite," states that the battlefield "is a peaceful patch of nature amid rampant development." Not any more. It will be "improved" until it ceases to be a memorial to the past. Is nothing sacred?

VICKI HEILIG

Germantown

Stone age voting process a nuisance for workers

I was raised to understand and accept my civic responsibilities. My father was a town supervisor in upstate New York an elective position. I understand the importance of voting.

However, this year, for the first time, I am unable to vote.

I work in Vienna. I arose early to get to the Marie Carter Learning Center, where I have voted for years usually after work. However, because I had an evening work commitment, I went to vote early in the morning. There are no words to describe how my heart sank when I arrived. The line extended out of the center and down several blocks. There was no way I could stand in that line for hours and still get to work in Virginia at a reasonable hour.

Why is it that in this technological age we cannot make it easier for people to fulfill this important duty? Why is this process so inefficient that I must stand in line for hours, missing valuable work time for which my employer is paying me? Just because it is my civic duty does not mean it has to be so difficult. Our polling places should be set up to be friendly and efficient.

I apologize to the candidates for whom I would have cast my vote, but I must keep my job (to pay my D.C. taxes). It is a disgrace that here in the capital of the most advanced nation in the world, we cannot vote without missing most of a day at work.

MARY-ELLEN KIRKBRIDE

Washington

Corporate contributions to anti-business candidates should raise eyebrows

Two items in your Nov. 6 edition prompt me to write this letter.

First, there was a flippant item in John McCaslin's Inside the Beltway column referring to an imaginary Texas version of the "Survivor" television show. Contestants would drive across Texas with a bumper sticker that reads, "I'm for Gore, I'm Gay and I'm Here to Take Your Guns." Anyone who finishes would win. I am sure it was not intended, but this seems to find humor in the idea that such a bumper sticker would put the driver at risk in Texas. Winking at anti-gay violence is abhorrent, not funny. I am not gay. I am not even a proponent of gay rights, but I believe in tolerance and the need for all citizens to be safe in their persons everywhere. Frankly, the implication here is slur on Texas, too.

The second item was in Stephen Moore's Commentary column, "Suicidal corporations," which comments on the curious practice of corporations contributing to Democrats who oppose the business community's interests. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have a monopoly on the power to advance or block legislation. On any given issue, businesses can find and need friends on both sides of the aisle to prevail in Congress.

It is not business, but the constituents of the opponents of business who should be concerned about some contributions to both sides. The news media often treat business contributions to anyone as intrinsically questionable. Yet, why wouldn't businesses contribute to those philosophically aligned with them? There's nothing corrupting about business contributing to a pro-business legislator. If representatives take business contributions after running for election on anti-business rhetoric or with anti-business voting records, however, the implication is that they will take actions for contributors that are contrary to their constituents' expectations. That really should raise eyebrows.

ERNIE ROSENBERG

Arlington

Post-abortion emotional distress is common

In his Oct. 22 Op-Ed article, "At the RU-486 divide," Jeffrey Hart made several points deserving comment.

Mr. Hart correctly said, "There is plenty of testimony that having an abortion is a serious, emotional process for many women." In 1998, Dr. Hanna Soderberg and three other physicians reported in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology on a study they had done. They interviewed women one year after their abortions and found that some 60 percent of the women had experienced emotional distress. In 16 percent of the women, this distress was classified as severe and warranted psychiatric treatment. In addition, more than 70 percent of the women said they never again would consider an abortion. (Summaries of studies showing that abortion is a serious emotional process can be found at www.afterabortion.org).

Mr. Hart also wrote: "There is wide agreement that interfering with the developing human life is not morally neutral… . Some consider interference to be murder." That is correct. About 70 percent of women undergoing an abortion say it is immoral, and 60 percent say they were pressured into it (www.afterabortion.org). An annual poll released in June by the Los Angeles Times showed that 57 percent of Americans say abortion is murder.

Mr. Hart wrote that, given contemporary circumstances (e.g., RU-486), "opponents of abortion will finally have to resort to persuasion not to legislation or to the courts. They will have to rely on making their case as cogently as possible to the free and freer-choosing individual." Actually, pro-lifers must continue to work in legislatures and through the courts, or the pro-choice powerhouse will run over them and their First Amendment rights will be denied.

Pro-lifers since the beginning have worked in many different ways to persuade people that abortion abuses women and kills their babies. Despite relatively scant resources and the fact that most media double as propaganda machines for the pro-choice movement, pro-lifers are achieving some success.

For example, the poll cited above showed that, during the 1990s, support for Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, declined from 56 percent to 43 percent.

THARPA ROBERTS

Secretary

Right to Life of Montgomery County

Rockville

Truth before policy

I would like to commend The Washington Times for printing Paul Greenberg's forceful Nov. 5 Commentary column, "The starving Armenians."

The Armenian genocide is documented amply in the archives of many countries, including the United States. Thousands upon thousands of American consular and missionary reports and the all-important reports of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau attest to the incontestable fact that is the Armenian genocide.

House Resolution 596 sought simply to affirm the United States' record on the Armenian genocide. It is unfortunate that foreign policy once again took precedence over truth.

ARMEN TOUMAJAN

Ann Arbor, Mich.

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