The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 5, 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, June 5, 1998
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B2 FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 1998 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are i 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 "I'm counting on people who are disenfranchised with the siting senator. He lias not accomplished or done anything for the people of the state." Paul Feleciano Wichita Democrat launching his campaign against Republican U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback. OPINION By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Waste not, want not THE ISSUE Salina's water future THEARGUMBVT Conservation must take a larger role B etter to light a candle than to curse the darkness, perhaps. Still, the water study agreed to the other day by the Salina City Commission is hardly as far-sighted as its 50-year outlook might make it seem. If anything, the plan to search for more water for our community is an altogether bad idea unless it is to be joined by some study or thought about how this city can use less water. Salina, resting smack in the middle of the Great American Desert, is justly concerned about whether it will have enough water in the coming century. That is thought to justify the city's decision to spend $20,000 to hire Wilson and Co. to look for new sources of water. Among the options to be considered, we are told, are expanding the city's well system or piping water from Kanopolis Reservoir. Making those ideas reality will cost money. And it will not be money well spent unless they are accompanied by some real efforts to see to it that Salina makes the most efficient use of whatever water it has. Other Kansas cities, as large as Wichita and as small as Hays, have seen the reality of their water woes and have taken steps to make each drop go further. Hays has been justly honored by national organizations for its innovative and serious efforts to reduce water consumption, through methods as simple as more efficient toilets and shower heads. But, so far, Salina has shown precious little willingness to do the same thing. And no one has offered an explanation as to why not. Even if our community does not have the conscience necessary to be responsible and find ways to consume less water, failure to do so is likely to hurt us politically and economically. In any competition for water rights — from rivers, reservoirs or well fields — Salina is likely to find itself given many demerits for its lack of a serious water conservation program. Rivals for water rights from any source will naturally, and easily, accuse Salinans of being water spendthrifts, and not worthy of any increased share of this increasingly precious resource. Industry looking to locate in Kansas' clean and honest heartland will also be put off by Salina's apparent lack of concern for its future, a future that won't look so bright for any community that cannot control its appetite for water. The whole state of Kansas is suing the whole state of Nebraska because the Corn State is soaking up too much of the water that should be flowing into the Wheat State along the Republican River. Salina's apparent drive to consume more and more water without any concern for its neighbors downstream will put it in the same moral and legal boat with Nebraska. And that's a boat that isn't going to float much longer. TJOURNAL 'Live and let live — and party on!' LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL SJLetters@saljournal.com Generation's cream not risen to the top "The possibility of finishing a second term is becoming more secure as days amusingly go by. And the legal tactic of stonewalling, denying, then discrediting those initiating allegations of wrongdoing has worked to perfection. The White House legal team continues to keep firm the veil of protection which allows both of us more time to prove that the social rebellion of our generation, of doing it your way as long as one is smart enough to get by with it, was not simply a possibility but could, through total dedication to a purpose, elect a citizen to the presidency. Yes, we made it, and working together, we will last out this second term." These preceding words are what may or may not have been on the minds of the president and first lady. With all the allegations these past five years, some proven, some not, it is a possibility and food for thought as many citizens are frustrated and confused as this White House enjoys a double standard never before afforded a president. Some Americans, and those in the minority of baby boomers, realized that one day the generation of social rebellion would take over the political power structure and voting majority. Looking back at the moral decline and shattered family struc- P.O. Box 740, Salina, KS 67402 ture of the past 30 years, many foresaw the trying days ahead, especially depending on who of this generation was elected president. It appears, as the present administration sinks ever lower, that the cream of this generation is not living in the White House. Skim milk may be acceptable in some circles of today's society. However, the day of honor will return and the cream of our potential political candidates will rise to the top, assuring Americans that people deserving of respect once again occupy the people's house. — M.D. SMITH Hays Long way across town I thought you might want to know about what was in my mailbox May 11. It was a letter mailed in Pasadena, Calif., to a Pasadena, Calif., address. It sure is a long way across town. I took the letter back to our post office and asked if they knew how it got to Kansas. They told me the bar code and automation did it. I had to shake my head in disbelief. To think the Salina Journal had an article in the next day's newspaper about the U.S. Postal Service wanting to raise postage again, and this poor letter is having to travel several thousand miles to get across town. — ELAINE LYMAN Salina FRANK RICH Tlie New York Times Descendent of saloon keepers and Arizona pioneers had little use for the religious right A mong the participants in Barry Goldwater's funeral Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz., was Ty Ross, a former Zoli model turned interior decorator, a gay man who is HIV positive but remains in good health. Ross, 36, is Barry Goldwater's grandson, and when I reached him by phone at his home in Tucson Tuesday, he summed up his grandfather's philosophy thus: "Live and let live — and party on!" Ross was joking slightly, but he has great reverence for his grandfather, whom he last saw just two days before his death. I had called to ask him if it was true, as widely written, that he had inspired the elder Goldwater to become an octogenarian proponent of gay civil rights. Though Barry Goldwater was conservative, the seminal politician of the modern American right, his outspoken views on gays in the military (for), abortion rights (for) and government-sponsored school prayer (against) caused some of his longtime ideological allies to whisper about his sanity in recent years. Was he being manipulated in old age by his gay grandson, or his younger second wife? Were his views warped by incipient Alzheimer's? Ross said no — a view confirmed by his mother, Joanne Goldwater, in a separate interview. His grandfather's mind was sharp until the end, he said, and his grandfather's principles had deep roots. "He was never a Bible-thumper," Ross explained. "We're from a long line of saloon owners — frontiersmen, pioneers. Our family came out here when Arizona was just a territory, Polish guys looking for opportunity... "He was just pro-Constitution. If you look at the Constitution, it doesn't say anything about having life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — unless you're gay. That's what he saw — that we'd all be included in the whole American dream." As for conservatives' pro-choice stance, Ross pointed out that his grandmother — Barry Goldwater's first wife (of 51 years) — had helped start Planned Parenthood in Arizona. "My mother got an abortion when she was young," Ross added. "It was illegal (in the 1950s), and my grandmother flew with her east to get one. Luckily we had the money to do that. I can't imagine what someone with no money did then." Did your grandfather talk to you about being gay? "No," Ross said. "I'd just show up with my partner, and he'd say, 'Glad to see you again.' Or he'd say, 'It's good that you're stand- T TORY NOTIONS A POLIT7QAJM WA|0 PUT GOLDWATER. WHO Pt/r HI* BELIEFS AUEAD OF PUBLIC OPMO/vJ PbLLS EWU06V PAST OUR FOCV5 GROU -7 DON'T wAwr OLD HuT IF- ir'j 60/A/6 TO COJT M £ As Barry Goldwater wanted the government out of social programs and the economy, so he wanted it to keep out of its citizens'private lives. ing up for what you believe in. I'm proud of you, Goddammit.' He punctuated everything with 'Goddammit.'" Ross said that his homosexuality was never a secret. "In fourth grade, I wanted to decorate my room," he recalled with a laugh — adding that his chosen color scheme was a conservative red, white and blue. History records that Barry Goldwater's views about constitutional inclusiveness did not prompt him to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that his position on choice sometimes wavered. But the record also shows that he was far more ideologically consistent than those conservatives knocking him toward the end. "The least government is the best government" was the Goldwater credo. As he wanted the government to get out of social programs and the economy, so he wanted it to keep out of its citizens' private lives. "My father didn't change that much," said Ty's mother, the eldest of Barry Goldwater's children, when I spoke with her later. "He really believed in freedom of spirit. I think everyone has changed all around him." Nowhere more than in the Republican Party. The religious right started to earn Barry Goldwater's vocal wrath when it opposed the nomination of his fellow Arizonan Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court in 1981 by distorting her views on abortion. A few years later he publicly scolded his fellow senator Jesse Helms for writing school- prayer legislation. In 1994 the retired Goldwater predicted that if the GOP was hijacked by the likes of Pat Robertson, it could "kiss politics goodbye." '. But few conservative eulogists have men• tioned these warnings this week. No sooner will Barry Goldwater be mourned in Arizona than his belief in personal freedom will be mocked in Washington, where his Republican heirs in Congress plan to vote to mandate school prayer through a "Religious Freedom Amendment" that is anything but. • Frank Rich is a former drama critic and now a regular Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, 229 W. 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. It took 16 years to count the votes Goldwater's dissent of the right rose to power while the dissent of the left retired to colleges W ASHINGTON - Barry Goldwater not only represented Arizona politically, he reflected it physically. The geometry of his face-the planes of his strong jaw and high forehead-replicated the buttes and mesas of the Southwest, and the crow's-feet that crinkled the corners of his eyes seemed made by squinting into sunsets. He was called "the cheerful malcontent." It takes a rare and fine temperament to wed that adjective with that noun. His emotional equipoise was undisturbed by the loss of 44 states as a presidential nominee. Perhaps he sensed that he had won the future. We — 27,178,188 of us — who voted for him in 1964 believe he won, it just took 16 years to count the votes. It is commonly said that the Sixties began as a decade of dissent in 1964 with the Free Speech Movement in Sproul Plaza on the Berkeley campus. Wrong. It began in Chicago in 1960 when Arizona's junior senator strode to the podium of the Republican convention and growled, "Let's grow up, conservatives. If we want to take this party back, and I think some day we can. Let's get to work." The residue of dissent on the left has long since gone to earth on campuses, there to nurse frustrations and fantasies. Dissent on the right rose to power. Goldwater's candidacy captured his party for conservatives, sealing for them victory in an internecine struggle that had simmered and sometimes raged since 1912, when a former Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, challenged an incumbent Republican GEORGE F. WILL Tlie Washington Post Goldwater was one of the creative losers — William Jennings Bryan was another — of American politics. Which means that neither he nor Bryan were really losers, having left larger marks on the nation than many a winner has done. president, William Howard Taft. TR represented what today are called "moderates," Taft the conservatives. Since 1964, no one opposed by the party's conservatives has been nominated for president. Goldwater lacked reflectiveness, but also lacked malice and pomposity. The man who said, "I haven't really got a first class brain" enjoyed telling of the time he tested a speech on his wife Peggy and a few of her friends. They were unenthusiastic. "So I said, 'What the hell is the matter?' and Peggy said, 'Look, this is a sophisticated audience. They're not a lot of lamebrains like you, they don't spend their time looking at TV Westerns. You can't give them that corn.' " He gave people his 100-proof opinions, which did not originate in focus groups and were not mediated by consultants. He casually told a columnist, "You know, I think we ought to sell TVA," and then shrugged off the howls of dismay: "You either take Goldwater or you leave him." In 1964 an extraordinary grass-roots movement, energized by National Review magazine, took him to heart and to the Republican nomination in San Francisco, where he scandalized polite society by saying that extremism in defense of liberty is no vice and moderation in DOONESBURY pursuit of justice is no virtue. Hearing this, a journalist exclaimed in disbelief, "He's going to run as Goldwater!" What a concept. He was one of the creative losers — William Jennings Bryan was another — of American politics. Which means that neither he nor .Bryan were really losers, having left larger marks on the nation than many a winner has done. ? Thrice Bryan sought and lost the presidency as the Democrats' nominee, but in the process gave voice — and what a voice — to a rising anxiety about private-sector power concentrated in entities of capitalism: corporations, banks, trusts and especially railroads, which held the prairies, from which Bryan sprang, in their thrall. He midwived the birth of the modern Democratic Party, creator of the regulatory state as a countervailing power. Goldwater gave somewhat raspy voice to a growing anxiety about the incontinent growth of government and its pretensions. This Westerner's platform could have been sung in four words: "Don't fence me in." Goldwater's message was as new as the booming cities of the Sunbelt and as old as the philosophy of the Founder who lived at Monticello. In 1980 Goldwater's message was given wings by Reagan's mellifluous voice, which had first been heard by a broad political audience in October 1964 in a nationally telecast speech for Goldwater. In retirement Goldwater lived in Phoenix in a house built on a hill to which he, as a boy, rode on horseback to sleep under the stars. He never really left home. In 1949, when he decided to give politics a fling, he wrote to his brother, "It ain't for life and it may be fun." It was to occupy a good portion of his life, but at no point did it absorb all of his life, and it was a lot of fun, for him and for we few, we happy few, who joined-His parade. • George F. Will, Ph.D., is a columnist for.the Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. By G.B. TRUDEAU YOU'RZ SITTING ON ARSAL THAT?' 700VERLOOK & ' MICKMG&RS &5MILUONB& \ FORTHtTOLIR, MRPUKZ... LAW&RFUU.TO&7H5RA FORMAL &PTQMORHW

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