The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 2, 1998 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Tuesday, June 2, 1998
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A4 TUESDAY. JUNE 2, 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® saljournal.com Quote of the day "From all over the world, Muslims are liappy that Pakistan has this capability." Kama! Kharrazi foreign minister of . Iran, on news of successful nuclear tests by Pakistan. OPINION By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Freedom of faith THE ISSUE Religion in schook THE ARGUMENT Students have freedom of faith I t is truly a shame that so many people don't listen to President Clinton any more, unless he's talking about his sex life, because he had something important to say Saturday. Despite the horror stories, some of them true, told by crusaders of the religious right, America's children have freedom to practice their religion in public schools. Clinton reminded us of this in his weekly radio address Saturday, arguing against any more constitutional amendments aimed at allowing prayer in schools. The fact is, the president said to us, and to the schools, students are not required to leave their faith at the door. Many politicians and religious leaders claim otherwise. And there are sad cases of ham-fisted school administrators who seek to cleanse their schools of all individual expression, religious and otherwise. But most of the people who warn us of anti-religious public schools do so only to frighten us into giving them money, or our votes. Students in America can say grace before meals. They can gather before and after school to pray. They can organize religious clubs under the same rules as any other student organization. They can bring Bibles — or Torahs or Korans — to school to read in any spare moment. They can tell other students about their own faith, as long as it does not cross the line to coercion. The key here is that it is the individuals, the students, who have this basic American right. It is not the school, an arm of the government, that is supposed to be about telling people when to pray and, more importantly, whom to pray to. This is the way it must stay. Any further fiddling around with the Constitution or the laws of the land only threatens to take the right of religious expression away from the individual and hand it to the group, which will proceed to impose a uniform form of worship — either offensive to many or so drained of meaning as to be pointless — on the whole. Clinton's Department of Education has written, and continues to refine, guidelines to help school administrators sort out questions of religious freedom in the classroom, lunchroom and hallway. Administrators who fear making up their own minds should hew to these guidelines as much as possible. Some questions, as is to be expected in a pluralistic society, are still up in the air. They include the right of students to wear clothing of religious significance — headscarves or yarmulkes — or to be excused from classes that offend their faith. These questions, if we follow the president's guidelines, should be resolved in a way that allows the maximum freedom for the individual without forcing any other individual to speak, or pretend, loyalty to any faith or sect. Schools, after all, are supposed to be where we learn about the world. Seeing how others live, without any suggestion that we must live that way, too, is an important part of that education. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL SJLetters@saljournal.com Return Memorial Day to original May 30 In May 1868, John Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of men who fought in the Civil War, proclaimed May 30 a day of remembrance, a day during which members of the GAR would decorate with flowers the graves of comrades who were killed in battle. Later this was to include casualties of all wars. It was a day to honor and remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country, a Memorial Day. Now Memorial Day has become a three-day holiday, the last weekend in May where we welcome summer. A time for ball games, golf tournaments, picnics, boating and other recreational activities. In general, it has become a symbol for our quest for unlimited recreation. Surely this is far removed from what John Logan had in mind. I think now of the man who slept in the lower bunk bed in Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Fannin, Texas, killed in the Philippines. An uncle, father of two of my cousins, killed in Czechoslovakia. A personable young man who, during a summer vacation, sold me clothes in a P.O. Box 740, Salina, KS 67402 store in my home town, killed in Vietnam. These are the men John Logan wanted us to remember. He wanted us to remember them and what a great sacrifice they made for us. Maybe we could consider doing some volunteer work for our community or country. I think a national holiday should be declared the first three-day weekend in June. Call it welcome to summer, end of school year, or whatever. Return Memorial Day to May 30, where people could take the time to seriously remember those who gave their life for our country and what a great sacrifice it was. — WIGHT SIMS Oakley Dealing with prejudice I want to thank James Talley for his wonderful article encouraging us to be grateful for Fred Phelps ("Yes, Fred Phelps does the Lord's work," May 29). I, for one, needed help in finding a way to tolerate the hate he preaches. I believe you have given us all food for thought, Mr. Talley! Your message is a great tool in dealing with shameful prejudice and ignorance. God Bless! — MARJO SCOTT Belleville PAJUE.O. WHAT DO WE Oo K/OVv ? WRlTlM<b Ot/r A 8Kb CHECVC TO TVIE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN . OUR. MEW BE£J»eft SATELLITE? V ESSAY Goldwater, Nixon and the GOP Goldwater was conservative before it was cool; Nixon centerist before it triumphed W ASHINGTON — At the 1964 GOP convention in San Francisco's Cow Palace, I helped hoist a Rockefeller- Scranton banner proclaiming "Stay in the Mainstream." Then Barry Goldwater stuck it to the moderates with a line about the blessings of extremism. In the ensuing pandemonium, I looked over to Richard Nixon's box. The former vice president was sitting on his hands, stone-faced. Nixon knew, with that triumphant derision, Goldwater was taking the party down with him. Nixon did not oppose his nomination because h-e wanted those Goldwater troops for himself in his own coming struggle with Rockefeller. At the time, Nixon thought of Goldwater as a political amateur providing a vehicle for the ideologues who ghosted his words: Stephen Shadegg for the book "Conscience of a Conservative," speechwriter Karl Hess for "extremism in defense of liberty." Nixon viewed the 1964 loser as right on defense, wrong on civil rights, naieve about government, principled to a fault. Goldwater, after his electoral drubbing, supported Nixon against the Eastern Establishment in '68. "Mr. Conservative" didn't realize T UNCOMMON SENSE WILLIAM SAFIRE Tlie New York Times that Nixon had become more worried about the challenge from Ronald Reagan at that Miami convention, and Barry's endorsement did much to help John Mitchell keep the far right in line. In later years, Nixon thought that Goldwater envied him for bringing the GOP back from the wilderness. He envied the Arizonan's reputation for outspoken honesty and considered the old man a hypocrite for winning media favor by revealing a libertarian stand on abortion only after he no longer had to face the voters. Goldwater made plain that his early approval of Nixon as a staunch anti-Communist was later overcome by a suspicion that the president was too compromising on domestic affairs. This culminated in Barry's assessment of his old ally Dick during Watergate as "the biggest liar in the world." One reason these two major RepublidSn figures developed a grudging disrespect for each other was that both were a generation before their times: Goldwater was conservative before conservatism became cool in the '80s, and Nixon was a closet moderate before centrism triumphed at century's end. Barry came and went, while Dick came and went and came back and went and came back again. Unlike straight-arrow Goldwater, the determinedly devious Nixon had a strong sense of history and an avid interest in his place in it. That's why he taped himself in the White House — and why he continued to tape himself, in effect, until the day he died. The last "taping system" was a young woman named Monica Crowley, for four years his research assistant and note-taker. Soon af- ter Nixon's death, she came to me with a bunch of notes for a book about the old man's final years. The Nixon Library types frowned on it — too revealing and personal — but I encouraged her because I knew what my former boss had in mind. He wanted his inside story out. Guided by the expert hand of Random House editor Robert Loomis, Nixon's Monica (relax — it was a mentor-protegee relationship, with nice, fatherly overtones) has just turned out her second volume: "Nixon in Winter." It's unmistakably him, back again, this time from the grave. If she sometimes extrapolates from her notes, he's the ghost of her ghosting. Nixon admirers will recognize the voice, revel in the delicious manipulations of comeback, lap up his fury at the Bush-Baker failure to foresee the Gorbachev demise and Yeltsin emergence. Yet it will also make Mary McGrory's day: Nixon haters will seize on his vanity, his trademark press paranoia and his dismaying China realpolitik. React for yourself: it's like George C. Scott's portrayal of General Patton. Late one night in 1970, Nixon was asking himself what history would remember him for. "You think of Truman — a fighter," he ruminated to me. "Eisenhower — a good man. Kennedy — charisma. Johnson — work. Me — what?" Crowley records his answer on a cruise boat in Hangzhou, China, in 1993: "I will be remembered historically for two things. Watergate and the opening to China. One bad, one good. 1 ' Nixon expected to be measured for what he did. In contrast, we'll remember Barry Goldwater for what he was: divisively sincere. In our hearts, we knew he was right Barry Goldwater was the godfather of the modern conservative movement O n hearing that former Arizona Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater had died, I reached for my original copy of "The Conscience of a Conservative," published in 1960, and re-read it. This 127-page book was the American equivalent of the Communist Manifesto and trumped every other political document in the world. It remains remarkably fresh and reminds us of how "Mr. Conservative" was the ideological godfather to Ronald Reagan and the entire modern conservative movement. While Goldwater offended social conservatives with his libertarian views on abortion and "gay rights," he felt he was being true to his convictions that limited government ought to be, well, limited. Goldwater began his book with a lament, still heard today, that not everyone who accepts the label "conservative" is one. He then defined the term and stated what a true conservative is supposed to believe. On the difference between conservatives and liberals: "Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man's nature. The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an CAL THOMAS Los Angeles Times Syndicate economic, an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires. What is more, these needs and desires reflect the superior side of man's nature, and thus take precedence over his economic wants. Conservatism therefore looks upon the enhancement of man's spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy. Liberals, on the other hand — in the name of concern for 'human beings' — regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society. They are, moreover, in a hurry. So that their characteristic approach is to harness the society's political and economic forces into a collective effort to compel 'progress.' In this approach, I believe they fight against Nature" (italics his). On limited government: "(The Framers of the Constitution) knew from vivid, personal experience that freedom depends on effective restraints against the accumulation of power in a single authority." Goldwater opposed laws and programs that could not be justified by the Constitution. On taxes: "Government does not have an unlimited claim on the earnings of individuals. One of the foremost precepts of the natural law is man's right to the possession and the use of his property. And a man's earnings are his property as much as his land and the house in which he lives." On spending: "Neither of our political parties has seriously faced up to the problem of government spending .... The root evil is that government is engaged in activities in which it has no legitimate business. As long as the federal government acknowledges responsibility in a given social or economic field, its DOONESBURY spending in that field cannot be substantially reduced." It was about how to fight communism, however, that Goldwater was his most prophetic and profound. He outlined a nine-point program and concluded with a paragraph that accurately predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years later: "The future, as I see it, will unfold along one of two paths. Either the Communists will retain the offensive; will lay down one challenge after another; will invite us in local crisis after local crisis to choose between all-out war and limited retreat; and will force us, ultimately, to surrender or accept war under the most disadvantageous circumstances. Or we will summon the will and the means for taking the initiative, and wage a war of attrition against them — and hope, thereby, to bring about the internal disintegration of the Communist empire." Which is precisely what happened in 1990 when the Berlin Wall and Soviet communism collapsed, just as Goldwater predicted, because Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II embraced much of Goldwater's thinking and acted on it. Barry Goldwater was smeared as a nuclear madman in the 1964 presidential campaign. Unlike Lyndon Johnson, whose legacy was a lost war in Vietnam and failed Great Society programs, Goldwater's legacy is the entire modern conservative movement which is bringing change not only to America but also around the world as millions are taking their first breath of freedom. In our hearts, we really did know he was right. By G.B. TRUDEAU flosmve.w House OKAY,SOfr WRN&POWH THESEKAMSUXK Osr NSW! TVUCHEPTHB WASIMWMfFA- TH£RFIMSH£Pfr M1929' JQHN&GLORt M/S?

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