- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Reagan's belief in people continues to inspire

I remember watching President Reagan's inaugural address in 1981. I was standing in an office of Auburn University's political science department. I was the only one present who had voted for Mr. Reagan, but I was not the only one who was moved by his speech that day. A naive 20-year-old then, I was full of fire and ambition. I was from a poor country family, the youngest of six children, and the only one of two high school graduates in the family who was able to go on to college. Watching and listening to President Reagan filled me with faith not only in this country, but in myself.

An ROTC scholarship was my ticket through college. Luckily, they were not as difficult to come by as they are today because the specter of Vietnam was still haunting the armed services. It has been 20 years since the day I listened to that compelling inaugural address. Since that time I have tried to live as President Reagan encouraged all Americans to do. I served four years in the Army. I lived and traveled throughout Europe for three of those years. I resigned with the rank of captain to go to law school at Duke University. Today I have a wonderful family, my own private law practice and all the success I ever dreamed of. And although I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with many important political figures: Richard Nixon, Jack Kemp, Robert Dole, Judge Robert Bork and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to name a few, it is my memory of President Reagan, whom I never met, which I treasure most. His message, to me, was that no matter who you are in this country, no matter what your background, with hard work and unflagging determination you can accomplish your dreams.

So, on President Reagan's birthday, as political pundits talk about "Reaganomics," "Star Wars," and "The Evil Empire," to try and describe his legacy, I simply want to say happy birthday, Mr. Reagan. Your faith in this country and in the average citizen did not go unnoticed and unappreciated. You have affected the lives of the citizens of this country more than any president because you touched us not just with your policies and politics, but with your heart and faith. As trite as it sounds, the world and our lives are better because of you. God bless you and Mrs. Reagan for all you have given us.

GLENN GRAY

Hillsborough, N.C.

Clinton leaves behind shameful human rights legacy in Sudan

The slaughter of Armenians in Turkey during and after World War I was horrible to be sure. Perhaps, though, President Clinton was right to believe that an official declaration would be counterproductive ("Genocidal politics," Editorials, Feb. 5). The atrocity is, after all, history. What was really unconscionable was Mr. Clinton's disinterest in the plight of Christians in Sudan, where millions have been systematically slaughtered and enslaved by their Islamic countrymen.

With numbers in the millions, this present day horror is worthy of the term "genocide." Mr. Clinton had the power to stop it, but instead he chose to focus his presidential power on self-indulgence. How pathetic and shameful.

GREG SMITH

Los Olivos, Calif.

Frivolous lawsuits, soapbox juries weaken justice system

Dick Boland makes an important point about the consumer and taxpayer costs of filing frivolous lawsuits, even if the cases don't make it to court ("Suing for fun and profit," Commentary, Jan. 21). As taxpayers, we should be outraged when personal injury lawyers waste the court's time with frivolous lawsuits that are eventually dismissed. We are the ones who pay for the judges, juries, court clerks and other administrative costs involved in these cases.

And before we forget, it is not a jury's responsibility to send a social message with its verdict, as some personal injury lawyers would like us to believe. The jurors' responsibility under law is to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant based on the facts presented in the case. The jury box is not a soapbox, and when personal injury lawyers suggest so, our civil justice system is put at risk. We need to restore fairness to our court system so that every legitimate plaintiff will have full access to justice and fair compensation.

PHILLIP D. BISSETT

Chairman

Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Annapolis

Readers react to 'frumpy Hillary' article

In a Senate full of tragic comb-overs, pathetic plugs, laughable toupees and a 90-year-old man with an orange head, you single out a woman for not looking attractive enough ("Hillary reverses Cinderella story," Feb. 2)?

What a sorry excuse for a story. Your newspaper should be ashamed for publishing it.

KATHLEEN WATKINS

San Francisco

As someone who reads The Washington Times on a regular basis, I am deeply disappointed that you wasted precious space and staff time on a story about Sen. Hillary Clinton's attire and hairstyle. I cannot imagine any newspaper writing a comparable story about a male member of Congress.

I would hope that Mrs. Clinton would be judged by what she does in the Senate her actions (or inaction) on legislative matters, not if she happens to be wearing lipstick at any particular point in time. We should focus on her performance as a United States senator and not her performance as a fashion model.

KELLY EVERSOLE

Chevy Chase

I am no Hillary Clinton fan, but what does this article say about your reporting?

I have never heard any comment about Sen. Strom Thurmond's personal appearance. He often looks like something freeze-dried that has just had its wrapper removed and no similar standard of appearance has been applied to him.

GARY COX

Sherman, Texas

I was so deeply disappointed to see a respected publication give credence to the Matt Drudge commentary on Sen. Hillary Clinton's appearance. Women are so weary of being judged first on their appearance and second on their abilities.

There are some pretty slovenly male senators in Washington. Why not get them a subscription to GQ and do a follow-up in 90 days? It might make a great article.

Let Mrs. Clinton do her job.

LORAH STEINER

Colombia, Mo.

A dowdy, greasy-haired, makeup-free look is hardly new for Mrs. Clinton. This pseudo-hippie persona is one she adopted in college and has returned to off and on throughout her private and public life. Obviously, it is the style she likes best.

Frankly, I prefer pictures of a less than glamorous Hillary to those nauseating photo-ops of her and Bill looking adoringly into each other's faces. Unlike those pictures, at least it's honest … Come to think of it, honesty is a new look for Hillary Clinton.

KAREN PERSCHY SIMON

Olney, Md.

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