The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 22, 1998 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, May 22, 1998
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Page 12
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B2 FRIDAY. MAY 22. 1998 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor , •• Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. ; To join the ;• conversation, •write a letter to ' the Journal at: ' P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® saljoumal.com Quote of the day "It matters little to China, or America, precisely which pan of Los Angeles is the ground zero." John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists, arguing that any technology China might have improperly acquired from the United States is unlikely to make a significant difference in its nuclear capability. By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal By any other name TW ISSUE Who is a conservative? THEARGUMBVT Miller has beliefs, but they are not conservative T he people we call conservatives seek our attention and our votes by claiming, basically, one thing: America is falling apart, and someone needs to do something to put it back together. They are right about one thing. Our political language has gone to hell in a press release. Take the current split in the Kansas Republican Party between incumbent Gov. Bill Graves and challenger David Miller. Miller, we are told, is the conservative, while Graves plays the role of moderate. Those words may be useful scorecards for telling the players apart, but they do little to help voters understand the issues and the choice before them. The basic dictionary definition of "conservative," usually says something about a belief in preserving established practices, respecting institutions, being slow and cautious in thought and in action. In fact, in some dictionaries — the Random House, to name one, and the American Heritage — the definition of "conservative" includes the word "moderate." So, are Graves and Miller the same? Hardly. The fact is that, if you believe the dictionary, Bill Graves is the only true conservative in the race. It is the governor, not Miller, who respects the institution of Kansas government and takes seriously its responsibilities to serve the people, who seeks to move cautiously and with reflection, who needs to be convinced before accepting any significant change in the way we live. Miller, on the other hand, wants changes, big changes, and he wants them now. Miller's is campaigning on the ideas that the government should reach into the most personal of decisions to forbid abortion under almost any circumstance, that our social contract should be amended to include a basic right to carry weapons at almost all times, and that our expectation that government should provide services for its people should be abandoned. That is a complete set of principles that Miller makes no attempt to hide and makes no apologies for. He is sincere, as far as anyone can tell, in his belief that he is on the right side of those issues and that a majority of the people of Kansas are there with him. But conservative? David Miller? Not if the word still means anything. NOW 04 HtRE SUPPLIERS TtmtTfeKDE. V JOURNAL Dobson takes his belt to the Republicans Conservative psychologist is the new Godzilla of the Republican religious right J ames Dobson, the radio psychologist who is the new Godzilla of the religious right, looks like a guy who would smack you down if you gave him any lip. And not without reason: He's in favor of corporal punishment. At the moment he is applying his belt to the Republican Party. A media flavor of the month, Dobson has made Newt Gingrich and company quake by publicly threatening to bolt the GOP and take his five million listeners with him if Congress does not further an agenda amenable to his Colorado TlieNew York Times Springs-based Focus on the $• Family. His blackmail is producing instant results, from a full-court press on a constitutional amendment mandating school prayer to the increasingly uncloseted hate of senators blocking the Clinton nominee for ambassador to Luxembourg, James Hormel, because he is gay. This week James Inhofe of Oklahoma nonsensically likened Hormel, a philanthropist and former dean at the University of Chicago Law School, to the Ku Klux Klan alumnus David Duke. It's actually Dobson who may be a ringer for a fringe firebrand like Duke; he voted for the T LIBERTIES FRANK RICH theocratic U.S. Taxpayers Party presidential candidate in '96 rather than Bob Dole. One major GOP donor calls Dobson's current power play "one of the most divisive things that has happened to a political party since George Wallace split the Democrats over the civil rights issue." Other worried Republicans compare him and his take-no-prisoners, post- Ralph Reed allies to the old Democratic left, which would rather lose than compromise its principles. Certainly Dobson sounded like a '60s Weatherman last month when he wrote, "I believe a Republican meltdown is preferable to ... the present betrayal of the moral agenda." The question is whether Dobson is more likely to cause a meltdown by bolting the GOP or by bullying it to the point of scaring away moderates needed to hold its slender majority in the House this year, let alone win the presidency in 2000. The religious right now demands an ideological purity that few to the left of the U.S. Taxpayers Party can meet. Not only do pro-choice nemeses like Christie Whitman and Rudolph Giuliani fall short, but so do pro-life Republicans who refuse to kowtow on every issue. The religious right in Texas views even the conservative Gov. George W. Bush as suspiciously unreliable in backing its anti-public school agenda. John McCain, the Arizona senator who is pro-life, was nonetheless pilloried in radio ads placed by the National Right to Life Committee in presidential primary states last fall because he defied its opposition to campaign-finance reform. Dobson has condemned Gov. John Engler of Michigan, an abortion foe, for joining such; leftists as Al D'Amato and Pete Domenici on the board of the centrist Republican Leadership Council. As Whitman observed when I interviewed her in Trenton last month, "You can never be right enough" for the right. She believes it' should have been "a wake-up call" for her party when zealots turned on senator McCain. ; To which one might add: If potential Republican presidential candidates of the stature of McCain and Bush don't measure up with the. religious right, who does? So far, mainly Steve! Forbes and Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri —. GOP George McGoverns incarnate. (Forbes is; so eager to pander to the Dobson forces that he. now says outlawing abortion, not cutting tax-i es, is his top priority.) Gary Bauer, the Dobson ally who tried to push Colin Powell (whom he called "Bill Clin-i ton with ribbons") out of the GOP in '96, is' also talking of running for president: "We are; the party," he boasts of religious-right clout! ' Is that clout all he, Dobson and a credulous! press say it is? The nasty "partial birth" abor-I tion TV ads that Bauer poured into a Califor-; nia House election this year backfired and may have cost the GOP the seat. •! Last week a homophobic, Dobson-endorsedl candidate for governor, Jon Christensen, sank to third in the Republican primary — in conservative Nebraska. I If there's anything that may play worse with; voters than the disingenuousness of Clinton Democrats, it just may be the hard right's politics of mean. What you need to know about the Irish T LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL In Ireland, Leon Uris wrote, there is no future, only the past happening over and over T . T/^T ATI 1 • • . • •"% ELFAST, Northern Ireland — Here is WL W snow was disappointing fcj ™ hu f you need to know about the irish We are an unforgiving people. We believe in the Evil Eye. We like to fight. We don't like to I . would like to express a few comments on how very disappointed we were in the WCW appearance in Salina on May 8. Ticket prices were $25.50, $18.50 and $12.50. We purchased eight tickets at $18.50 each.The boys had made signs and posters. Everyone was more than excited and ready for a good time. However, the scenario was more like this. Our $18.50 seats were four rows from the very highest point in the Bicentennial Center. We found out from friends that seats down much closer to the ring on a different side were only $12.50. The seats directly behind the ringside seats were also $18.50 seats. Are we supposed to feel we got what we paid for? We feel gypped! The kids were very disappointed. As a parent who attended with them, I understand completely, I was disappointed with not only the evening's entertainment, but also disappointed to see the kids not enjoying themselves after saving their own money to buy those tickets. Then, the advertisement in the paper announced eight big-name wrestlers who were the drawing cards for people buying tickets. Of these eight, there were only two of these big names who even made an appearance. What good did it do for the kids to buy supplies and make posters for Goldberg, Lueger and Steiners? The Bicentennial Center's manager told me Goldberg's opponent was hurt and could not wrestle. So what? Couldn't Goldberg wrestle someone else? Couldn't he at least make an appearance for the fans who paid to see him? I visited by telephone with the Bicentennial manager regarding this whole event. I was informed the Bicentennial only rents out it's facility and personnel — they were not responsible for any part of the ticket prices, advertisements or the actual entertainment. I was told that I paid to see wrestling and I got to see wrestling. For another comparison, those who paid to see the Statler Brothers would have been OK with KISS showing up instead of the Statlers, right? After all, if wrestling is wrestling, then I guess music is music. It doesn't matter who the wrestlers or musicians are, it's all the same. It was pretty pathetic at the end of the evening when the crowd was still chanting "GOLDBERG, GOLDBERG", and the announcer thanked everyone for coming out. The booing that followed indicated an unhappiness toward the Bicentennial Center, not toward the wrestlers. The crowd in the hallways leaving that night were more than upset at the Bicentennial for not providing the entertainment advertised and at the very poor division of seats and ticket prices. This is not the kind of lesson or values I've tried to teach my sons. A lesson that says tell people what they want to hear, get their money and then provide whatever you want. I'll sure bet the Bicentennial Center got their fair share of money out of the deal! I think if they are going to have such entertainment, they need to be responsible for providing ticket buyers with accurate information and making sure the entertainment company is reputable, or be responsible for satisfying the ticket buyers later. The manager said the taxpayers would not be happy if he had to refund ticket prices. Will the taxpayers be happier if we ticket buyers quit buying tickets? There are other facilities in the area who provide entertainment! — CLO ANN COLLETTE Aurora compromise. We lie in wait for the worst. We lurk about in the past. When I first moved to New York, I called my mother to tell her I was going to stay in a residential hotel called the Oliver Cromwell. There was a long pause, then tearful anger. "He encouraged his soldiers to throw babies up in the air and impale them on their swords as they came down," she snapped. I found another hotel. In Irish, time, 1651 and 1981 were only moments apart. I grew up in a house where my father put cardboard boxes and round tin cans, with green and white wrappers that read "End Irish Partition," on the piano and sideboard. He would urge anyone who came to visit, "Empty your pockets, Big Shot!" Everything has changed in Ireland, yet nothing has changed. The bad blood is still bad. The identities are still segregated. In the south, Catholics think of themselves as Irish. In the six northeast counties, Protestants think of MAUREEN DOWD The New York Times * themselves as British, or as my mother sniffs, "hyphenated Irish," Scots-Irish, Anglo-Irish, the Presbyterians that the English resettled in Ireland during the reign of Elizabeth I. On the surface, the contest over the peace agreement is quiet, bumbling along in its last three days with simplistic "Yes" and "No" messages. The "Yes" campaign is still trying to figure out if the top of the telephone pole is a better spot for posters than the middle. But this is a subterranean, conspiratorial place. As Father Colm McGrady at St. Brigid's Catholic Church notes drily, "You can't underestimate the hidden currents." Northern Ireland has been saying no for so long, it is resistant and confused about saying yes. This is a bleak, howling Leaf landscape of bombed-out buildings and concertina wire and 24-hour funeral homes, where nothing comes of nothing. "We've said 'No' too many times," said Trevor Craig, a cabdriver. "There is security in the insecurity put forth by Ian Paisley," agreed Gary McMichael, a Unionist leader who is campaigning on the side of the peace agreement, even though his father was killed by an IRA bomb. "We're not happy unless we're fighting with somebody." In his novel "Trinity," Leon Uris wrote, "In Ireland, there is no future, only the past happening over and over." And many find immense comfort in that. Ladies in straw hats and gentlemen in suits come to the Paisley Jubilee Complex here to listen to the bigoted Dr. No who has made a career out of denigrating Catholics. "A nasty journalist asked me, Why is it you always say 'No'?" Paisley bellowed from the DOONESBURY pulpit, "and I said that the Lord gave us Ten Commandments and He said 'No' in nine of them." Paisley calls Protestants "the best" race. And some Protestants privately admit they do not want Catholics to have an equal share. Ken Magirmis, a top Unionist, sees a lot of bigotry. SeUing the peace referendum to his Protestant constituents in the north, he says: "I use the euphemism 'responsibility sharing.' It goes down a little better than 'power sharing.'" The uneasy partners working on the peace campaign are caught in the whirlwind. They have surprised themselves by getting this far, by being held up as miraculous paragons for peace. Blair and Trimble and Adams have called in all their chips, and now they must go forward — stumbling, overpromising, miscalculating. The Protestant faction was furious at Gerry Adams last week when he sent the "Yes" vote diving by going on stage before the camera and raising clinched fists with IRA bombers temporarily released from prison, the notorious Balcombe Street Gang. David Trimble excoriated Adams, saying the rally reinforced "the abhorrence in which he is rightly held." One friend of Adams speculated that the Sinn Fein leader "might be just as happy if the 1 assembly collapsed. It's a huge deal to change- from a rebel to part of the establishment. He'd have to really deliver." -.; Even if the referendum passes as expected, it. may not have a convincing Protestant majority, and dissenters can wreck the new assembly from the inside. This is, after all, Ireland.?*' where the past is present. By G.B. TRUDEAU , 7H&RMOM& LOOK FOR HJORK.OK $U& TH& F&JHeF& FOR. CHIU? SUPPORT. JUSTGONFfNH? 7OBflSI<STSALL\ 7H& WORLDS OF FOOTBALL, GOLF? _ NOT, BUT ATTRACT • THBIRCAP GROUPIGS** PiB&po.

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