Page A Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, Tuesday, March 22, 1988 Opinion The free exchange of ideas is the greatest protection of liberty. Children: Immunization a must Cost, fear and inertia are among the reasons why the "immunization rates of American children are stagnating over all and even declining for some crucial age groups," to use the words of the Children's Defense Fund. Figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control show that the ratio of 2-year-olds fully immunized against diptheria (D), measles (M), mumps (M), pertussis (P) (whoopingcough), poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis), rubella (R) (German or three-day measles) and tetanus (T) has dropped from 81 percent in 1980 to 77 percent in 1985, for example. The American Academy of Pediatrics is "worried," says its executive director, Dr. James Strain. "There is no shortage of vaccines. But the middle- and lower-middle-income groups... are finding it difficult to afford the cost of vaccines." The well-to-do easily, and those giving top priority to the health and well-being of their children somehow, can afford immunizations. Government pays for the indigent and the unfortunate who seek it. The price of shots has risen because of soaring liability insurance premiums demanded of manufacturers, physicians and others. A provision in the new National Vaccine Compensation Act which took effect on Jan. 1 adds a surcharge of $4.56 on each DTP and of $4.44 on each MMR injection. The cost of preventive medicine is rising out of control. In a high-standard-of-living and technologically advanced society, immunizing children is a social necessity, not an individual option. As mandatory, not voluntary, their cost is a responsibility of society, not of the immediate beneficiaries through user fees but of all beneficiaries, meaning all citizens and taxpayers. Thus considered, immunization including its cost is a matter for government management even in a free enterprise society. Public Forum Leaving town After writing this letter, I will be leaving this town I grew up in and came back to live in after being in the service for 22 years. Reasons? First Mistake: Having a home in the area marked "red" by local realtors as a poor area. I didn't listen. I thought if I tried and got some cooperation, it could look better. One thing I tried to do was get the city to clean the sidewalk that was covered by trees. They were told by a neighbor not to clean it, so they left. Mr. Chapman, street commissioner, told me to get protection for his workers and he would clean it up. I did, so they cleaned it up. After Mayor Davis got in office, again I asked to have the sidewalk cleaned. Again I was told the neighbor said "no." I did get it cleaned some. Then I was told by the mayor to get an attorney. I was being sued by the neighbor for cuttimg some trees of hers. Still 1 didn't learn. I built a garage only to have a neighbor say "I put up a wall that should be made to take down." That neighbor blocked the alley with rocks and broken bottles. I saw Mayor Davis, told him and was told I could make it around them. 1 asked to remove the rock. I was told if I marked where the alley was, maybe. 1 marked it as the survey showed. The street commissioner looked at it and said it was a "domestic thing." They wouldn't remove it. I asked if I could. I was told to do what I thought was fair. I tried, and was assaulted by another neighbor. The surveyor marked it. The mayor said it still wasn't clear where the alley was. Maybe he could have the pole moved so I could make the turn. After a month, I called and was told it would cost too much to move and the neighbor didn't want the rock removed. So I sent a letter to the mayor saying I would sue if not removed in 48 hours. It was removed only to have the neighbor replace it with more rocks. Mr. Fincher removed it with police protection. Today, I go to court about the assault. He was found guilty, but no fine, nothing. I was told if I caused another domestic dispute, I would go to jail. My house is for sale cheap. I've had it. Larry D. Morehead 924-WthSt. In The Past One Year Ago Former President Jimmy Carter arrived in Syria to ask President Hafez Assad to use his Arab-world influence to free the hostages in Lebanon. Public Forum Policy JU ETTERS intended for publication should be addressed to Public Forum, 517 E. Broadway, Logansport, Ind., 46947. Each letter must be signed and must include the writer's address and a telephone number where the author can be reached. The Pharos-Tribune reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, spelling errors and libelous statements and to limit the number of letters from an individual author. "Thank-you" letters are not accepted for publication. Public Forum letters must be limited to 400 words or less. Charley Reese ! He's not excited about choices ow that Al Haig and Jack Kemp have been eliminated from the presidential race, my first choice is a military coup and as a backup position, I'll support George Bush. I'm kidding, of course, but there is an edge to my joke. I'm not looking forward in November to having to choose between Bush and Sen. Al Gore or between Bush and Gov. Mike Dukakis. They are all nice fellows, but these are not nice times. Once again our perverted political process has succeeded in eliminating the most qualified men in the race and, of course, keeping the best qualified out of the race. It's obvious why I wouldn't support Gore whose campaign rhetoric is 180 degrees off his voting record and who gives the impression — a correct one — of being a nice young man from a nice family who went to nice schools and has a nice wife and a nice life. Hardly the kind of man to deal with the murderous thugs who run most countries. I don't want a man who flinches at Frank Zappa trying to deal with Mikhail Gorbachev. As for Dukakis, I'm as suspicious of a Massachusetts politician as I am of a clean-living movie producer. I mean no disrespect but the state's political system has produced some peculiar politicians in recent years. Most anybody would say that's a fair statement. Explaining reservations about Bush is more of a problem. He has the perfect resume. He is certainly not a wimp in the sense of being a Marianne Means coward. No man who flies planes off an aircraft carrier can be said to lack courage. Bush did it in wartime and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. His nasal whine and his preppy appearance, neither of which are his fault, is probably the source of that criticism. Even when Bush speaks tough words, the voice and face tend to make the words sound ridiculous. Physical appearance, however, reveals nothing really about a man. The classic example are the two actors John Wayne and Audie Murphy. Wayne, in physical appearance, voice and mannerisms typified the ideal American war hero. Murphy looked like a wimp. He had a baby face, a nasal whiny voice similar to Bush's. Yet Wayne was 4-F and never served a day in the service while Murphy was the most decorated American soldier in World War II, having among other things, killed about 250 German soldiers single-handedly in one afternoon. There is, of course, the irony that Republicans, in their idolatry of Ronald Reagan, have handed their party back to the Rockefeller wing of the party and thus ended, in so far as the executive branch is concerned, the conservative revolution. Bush is conservative compared to the current Democrats but then so, too, would be Hubert Humphrey were he alive today. His political roots are in the Eastern Establishment. If he becomes president, his administration will be in the political tradition of Nixon and Ford. It's only because Democrats have abandoned the Cold War in their lurch to the left that liberal cold warriors are now called conservatives. That's not what bothers me about Bush, though. What bothers me is that I have never seen or read or heard of George Bush articulating a coherent world view and philosophy. Haig says that even in private discussions and debates within the White House Bush never offered any original ideas or argued strongly for any position. I had a long conversation with Gen. George Keegan, former head of Defense Intelligence when Bush ran the CIA, and he has a low opinion of Bush, though to be fair, I should add that Keegan has an even lower opinion of the CIA as an institution. At any rate, our political process is working as one would expect, favoring those with the most • money and the simplest slogans. If in November, we have to choose between Bush and Dukakis or between Bush and Gore when the times require a much more tough-minded leader than any of them, it's joss as they say in the movies set in Hong Kong. Moreover, the criticism directed at him by Bob Dole is so much bunk. A vice president has only two choices: either support the president or resign. To criticize Bush for being loyal to President Reagan is a bum rap. Reese is a syndicated columnist based in Orlando, Fla. ISSUCS! Domestic ones have helped some G, 'ov. Michael Dukakis and Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Democratic favorites, have benefited from the fact that thus far domestic issues have greatly overshadowed foreign policy questions in the presidential race. Dukakis is campaigning on a message aimed at the pocketbook; he argues that he is a good manager who produced prosperity in Massachusetts and can do the same for the country. Jackson, too, focuses on bread and butter issues by railing against economic injustices perpetuated by a greedy power establishment. Both are credible economic pitchmen because they know what they're talking about. But neither candidate knows much first hand about the world beyond American waters. Their jobs, as governor and civil rights leader respectively, have required concentration upon the home folks. Jackson has made more well-publicized trips abroad than Dukakis, but they were amateurish stunts of negative impact, and he's trying to forget them. He met with Cuba's Fidel Castro, Syria's Hafez al-Assad, Libya's Muammar Khadafy and PLO leader Yasir Arafat, a lineup that would seem designed to appeal primarily to the pro-Arab terrorist and pro-Cuban communist vote. This is not to say Dukakis and Jackson don't articulate well-reasoned and politically sound positions on foreign policy issues or have not had the benefit of expert advice. But they arrived at their views through study, political calculation and second-hand observation rather than direct involvement and intimate knowledge. By contrast, Sens. Albert Gore and Paul Simon and Rep. Richard Gephardt have spent their congressional careers coping with foreign policy questions, listening to world leaders, traveling abroad, and weighing the pros and cons of complicated national security and strategic votes. But the polls indicate that economic issues are far more important to voters this year than foreign policy issues. This political imbalance is a normal tendency in presidential contests when the nation is at peace. But it is especially obvious this year because of nervousness over the huge deficits and the October stock market crash. Furthermore, East-West tensions appear to be lessening in the wake of the new arms control treaty. Our dangerous role in the Persian Gulf seems to be winding down. Not even President Reagan's constant scare talk about the threat to our hemisphere from Marxist Nicaragua has aroused much public interest. In recognition of this, Gore has shifted his initial strategy of stressing tough positions on military issues to talk instead about helping working men and women to make ends meet. And thus far attacks on Dukakis pointing out his lack of foreign policy experience do not appear to have hurt him. In fact, Dukakis and Jackson are not the first presidential candidates who would need on-the-job training in global affairs. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Ronald Reagan, both former governors, had much knowledge in that area when they were elected. It can be argued in retrospect that we'd be better off if they had, but their lack of experience did not seem to bother the voters when they went to the polls. That could change dramatically, however, if Dukakis or Jackson appeared unsure of himself in some unforeseen future foreign policy crisis or made a major verbal slip on a crucial issue, The contrast with probable GOP nominee Vice President George Bush, whose foreign policy credentials are extensive, would be damaging indeed. ITEM: CAMPAIGN FOLLIES 1,1988: Not since Democrat James Cox ran against Republican Warren G. Harding in 1920 have two sons of the same state battled each other for the presidency. Both Cox and Harding were born in Ohio. But at last the honor of spawning both presidential candidates may devolve once again upon a single state, if the favorites in both parties achieve their nominations. Both were born in Massachusetts. Gov. Michael Dukakis conspicuously hails from the land of the bean and the cod. Not so well-known is that Vice President George Bush was born in Milton, Mass. His father was employed by U.S. Rubber there during Bush's infancy. Bush is usually identified with Connecticut, which his father represented in the Senate and with Texas, from which he himself twice ran unsuccessfully for the Senate. ITEM: CAMPAIGN FOLLIES II, 198H: There's too much pious clucking going on about the proliferation of negative campaign advertising this year. An ad that points out an opponent's vulnerabilities is not unfair, so long as his positions are correctly represented. Nobody ever got elected president by saying he's the biggest Boy Scout around, Means is a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Today In History Today is Tuesday, March 22, the 82nd day of 1983. There are 284 days left in the year. HISTORY HIGHLIGHT: On March 22,1765, Britain enacted the Stamp Act to raise money from the American colonies. The Act set off such a strong protest that it was repealed the following year. ON THIS DATE: In 1638, religious dissident Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1794, Congress passed a law prohibiting American vessels from supplying slaves to other countries. In 1820, U.S. naval hero Stephen Decatur was killed in a duel with Commodore James Barron near Washington. In 1882, Congress outlawed polygamy. In 1804, hockey's first Stanley Cup game was played. Montreal, the home team, defeated Ottawa by winning three out of four games. In 1929, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel sank a Canadian-registered schooner, the "I'm Alone," in the Gulf of Mexico. (The schooner was suspected of carrying bootleg liquor.) In 1933, during Prohibition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure to make wine and beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol legal.
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