- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Labour, Democrats alienate rural constituents

Diana West's March 16 Op-Ed column, "King, country and foxhounds," illustrated the parallel lives of the British Labour Party and the Democratic Party in the United States. Miss West notes that the debate in England on fox hunting, for many Brits, represents the trampling of rural culture and illustrates that the Labour Party has lost touch with, and no longer represents the views of, the rural British.

It is no surprise that this is the case. Prime Minister Tony Blair openly modeled himself after Bill Clinton when he started his ascent to the top of British government. The 2000 election in America, if nothing else, highlighted the stark differences in views, voting patterns and culture between urban and rural constituents. The Democrats lost most of the American countryside, largely because they no longer seem to represent or take seriously the rural lifestyle or the values held dear by the people who live it. Wary of further eroding its support in the countryside, the American left has been forced to back off from issues such as gun control.

Miss West quoted one Britisher as saying that rural Brits feel as though they are being told by their urban contemporaries how they should live. Such is the case in America as well, as the more "cultured," "worldly," and "sophisticated" folk among us (mostly in the Northeast, but also in the upper Midwest and Pacific Coast) deem themselves better able to decide how the "provincial" folk should go about their lives.

Arrogance may undo both Labour and the Democrats. In trying to preserve their cosmopolitan values and enforce them on everyone else by fiat, both parties may well be forfeiting their longevity. Let's hope their influence fades sooner rather than later.

ANDREW GREENHOUSE

New York

Powell sends wrong message to ambitious Saddam

I was disappointed to read Secretary of State Colin Powell's defense of a policy so conciliatory to Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein ("Bush administration sends mixed signals on its evolving foreign policy," March 9). This from a general who, like myself, served in Operation Desert Storm. The honest truth is that we should have removed Saddam from power 10 years ago. To think his ambition has dimmed in a decade is naive. As a matter of pride, Saddam will seek to challenge our current president as he did the president's father. Any support to Iraqi opposition forces will fail as it has before unless backed by credible military force. Mr. Powell seems to have forgotten this basic tenet of war since he entered politics.

Staff Sgt. JOE HAMMELL

(Retired)

Waynesboro, Pa.

Give Mayor Williams a break

Once again, Mayor Anthony A. Williams is taking flack for his budget, this time from the school board ("D.C. school budget battle," March 18). Though criticism comes with the territory, the mayor deserves a break.

Mr. Williams has succeeded in beginning to fix the mess left by former Mayor Marion Barry. Considering how many years it took for the District to deteriorate to its current state, it will take many years to revitalize the city.

As New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has pointed out, a city that spends huge sums on education and still has failing schools will not succeed with more money. Major increases in the District's education budget would have sent the wrong message about the causes of the city's education problem. Thankfully, the mayor resisted such a facile solution. He deserves our support.

TOM MCANEAR

Arlington

McCain campaign-finance bill the work of 'would-be kings'

Sen. John McCain isn't the first politician to think he has the right to lessen our freedom for the sake of imposing his personal vision on the nation ("Friends of incumbents," March 19). House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt said he doesn't think we can have "both freedom of speech and … healthy campaigns in a healthy democracy." Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that if she had enough votes in the Senate she'd ban all firearms. Bill Clinton and a host of others have spent years diminishing private property rights.

The federal government, under both political parties, has vastly expanded its power over individuals and states far beyond the scope permitted in the Constitution. Today we are taxed at levels that would astonish the men who tossed the king's tea into Boston Harbor. The fact that these activities violate the First, Second, Fifth, and Tenth Amendments in our Bill of Rights doesn't bother our would-be kings, such as Mr. McCain, in the least.

KIM WEISSMAN

Longmeadow, Mass.

Parents, not schools, bear ultimate responsibility for shootings

In support of Thomas Sowell's March 11 column, "The wrong question," five letters to the editor blame "modern psychiatry and psychology," "values clarification" and drugs such as Prozac and Ritalin "that increase hostility" for undermining the morality of children, resulting in the spate of school shootings we are enduring ("School shootings and the failure of modern psychiatry," March 17). The writers hold the schools responsible for these societal problems.

The writers correctly identify contributing factors to the school shootings and other societal problems indicating a lack of morality. However, if parents taught their children morals at home and saw to it that their instructions were reinforced in the schools and by our political leaders, the occurrence of such social pathologies would be reduced tremendously.

To blame only schools is myopic. Parents are not teaching their children to value human life, and our schools and legislators reinforce their failure. In fact, only a minority of parents object to schools misleading children to believe that, facilitated by condoms, commitments are made to be broken; promiscuity is the norm; and abortion is the ultimate contraceptive when condoms fail. When schools teach such lessons, children learn that human life is valueless.

Each year, more than a million children are killed before or as they are being born. Parents tolerate, accept and sometimes even encourage this act, which is protected by legislators and judges.

The lack of respect for human life that pervades our entire society and results in youngsters killing youngsters begins at the abortion clinic. If parents do not teach their children the value of human life, nothing can save our society from more savagery.

JOHN NAUGHTON

Silver Spring


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