The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on September 29, 1996 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Sunday, September 29, 1996
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A4 SUNDAY. SEPTEMBER 29, 1996 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: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal ©aol.com Quote of the day "In fact, my wife and I don't like to shop on the weekends because it is so cotton- picking busy." Mike Peterson i Salina's director 1 of permits and inspections on the explosive retail growth in south Salina. OPINION By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Enough THE ISSUE The new nuclear weapons treaty THE ARGUMENT It is a very small step in the right direction W e are fooling ourselves if we think that the new treaty calling for an end to the development and testing of nuclear weapons makes anyone on the planet all that much safer. But that's OK, because we have been fooling ourselves for 40 years by thinking that developing and testing those same weapons made us any safer. Yes, a generation has avoided another world-wide conflagration, a World War II with hydrogen bombs. And there is reason to believe that fear of such weapons kept the aggressive tendencies of some nations in check. But ask anyone who has been in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Bosnia or Rwanda in the last several years, and you might find few to agree that the world has been a peaceful place all that time. The shame of the last 40 years has not been the nuclear shadow that hangs over the world. The shame of mankind is that we have not taken more advantage of this threat to sue one another for peace. As nuclear might spread from the .U.S., to the Soviet Union, to Britain, France and China, it became clear to even the most bellicose government that total war was unwinnable. But, instead of pursuing peace, we stuck to little wars, proxy wars, pitting our interests and influence against those of our supposed enemies in Asia, South American and Africa. And we were not satisfied to have developed the capacity to destroy all life on earth. We kept building, adding the ability to destroy the planet over, and over, and over again. Even if the weapons were never used — and even if they deterred the use of weapons by others — the uncounted dollars and immeasurable amounts of talent and energy devoted to the arms race were, as President Eisenhower said, a theft from every other need of humanity. Tuesday, at the United Nations, the world's leaders went as far as they could toward saying, "Enough." President Clinton led the world in signing a U.N. treaty committing the superpowers and the more than 100 other nations to an end to the creation and testing of nuclear weapons. We have not, as a disgruntled India pointed out, decided to do away will all the nuclear weapons we have. But we have at least decided that we do not need any more. President Kennedy, who stared nuclear war in the face, said humanity had gained the power to make his the greatest generation in the history of the world, or the last. We did neither. But the new treaty is a step in the right direction. Are we safer now than we were a week ago? No. We are not. But could our future be safer with this treaty than it would have been without it? Maybe. And, given the alternative, it is certainly worth a try. UTTERS TO THE JOURNAL P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 Recognize the power pf television !! Saturday morning the family jpt down for breakfast and turned on the TV only to see five children lying on the school playgrounds Killed by a drive-by gunman; punched the remote and saw an Iraq shooting war scene; changed Rations and saw cartoon hero Scabbing a villain. What are we, you and me and TV doing to our children and grandchildren? Are we teaching them violence, all ftght to lie, bad health, anything goes, use of filthy words, use of drugs, sex freedom, shabby-dirty dress, raucous songs, stealing, breaking laws they do not like and other things that make our society fell apart. 11 Last night's newscast showed {{vo violent scenes that came on Before the parents could tune them out so the children saw them. No matter what is said these Irenes are not erased from the pjhUdren's minds. • • A recent survey found increas- ifcg use of drugs by teen-agers to t(e a national problem. There are fjiany instances where drug use is said and shown to be acceptable. A former U.S. surgeon general want- fcid to legalize drugs and a national political leader said he would inhale if he experimented again. Re- eently a federal judge said that Denying a prisoner the use of [Jrugs was cruel punishment. Kids thijik that drug use is an ace way of life and do their best to duplicate what their seniors do. Some even kill to settle an argument. Many now think they can get away with anything because if their parents discipline them the cops will soon be at the door. Everyone, except drug dealers, is searching for a way to stop drug use especially by those of tender years and teen-agers. History tells that most in these age groups have role models. Included are mothers, fathers, teachers, older brothers and sisters, star athletes, movie and rock stars, uncles, aunts, scoutmasters, ministers and others. Let's find the role model of the young drug user and have him or her tell the user directly the harm of drugs how they lead to stealing to get buy money and how they destroy physical life. I well remember how my father told me of the wrongs of stealing. I listened to the words of my role model about killing and many other things. I idolized my high school principal and absorbed everything he said about education and health. Perhaps a way to stop drug use is to have role models recognize their importance, to have advertisers, politicians, talk show hosts, cartoon makers and others use role model in their quest for viewers and to acknowledge that TV is the most powerful educational device ever invented. — W. KEITH WELTMER Salina SO CLl/VroisJ UTAW'5 A A/AT/OA/AL IT'S JUST A LOT OF BAR.E RPCKS U//7U HARDLV A L'V/MG 7WG O T CAN SHE SAY THAT? AND VET A/E WANTS TO STOP US /N 7WE F//ABER /A/Dl/JTW PRO/A C&CAT/A/6 OF JUST THAT K/MD Of AREA. "M .,.A&DBUtl-C>A< oecK TO i//£w /r /^o/vt < This is the Year of the Soccer Mom But, in the real world, moms feel campaign is talking down to them A s all alert citizens know by now, politically, this is the Year of the Soccer Mom. Soccer moms — those harried, frazzled, overburdened (but still game and cheerful) women — are this year's critical group of swing voters. Great A minds (Dick Morris', for example) have studied them, and vast sums of money have been spent on learning how to woo and win their votes. I know soccer moms. Soccer moms are friends of mine. So I decided to talk to some to find out what actual soccer moms themselves think about being the focus of this critical election year that will take us into the 21st century. What does the soccer mom make of it all? Naturally, this is a scientifi- * cally selected random sample of soccer moms, covering two and a half states. In accordance with standard polling procedures, we have thrown out both our highest- scoring moms ("You must be kidding") and our lowest-scoring moms ("Pathetic—just pathetic") in order to inch ever closer toward the median soccer mom. Using the Southwestern cultural-bias screening variable, we wound up with some football moms in our sample, but this was only to be expected. Adjusting for economic status and educational level, we feel that our scientifically selected random sample is accurate to within 2 percentage points, plus or minus. Patti Kilday of Austin observes: "It's not so much that I think important issues are being left out as it is the packaging, the emphasis on packaging, that bugs me. All this warm-and- fuzzy stuff is so overdone. I have two reactions to the it-takes-a-village thing. T SUNDAY FUNNIES MOLLY IVINS Fort Worth Star-Telegram "On the one hand, for Dole to have claimed that it-takes-a-village is somehow communistic is just outrageous. Does that mean every PTA meeting is socialistic? Every volunteer who goes in to read to a below-grade-level child is like Lenin? "On the other hand, the warm-and-fuzzy packaging, the salesmanship is just so patronizing. It's like looking at a Guess jeans ad: You see all these young bodies piled on top of each other, and your reaction is: What are they selling here? You finally figure out it's jeans. Why don't they just sell the jeans? "Look, soccer moms are just like everyone else. I suppose the economy is the No. 1 issue because that's one area where the president can make a difference. So we read all those long pieces in the Sunday paper trying to figure out this economist vs. that economist, which plan will help the economy most. What we don't need is this patronizing attempt to tug at our heartstrings." Judy Cramer, who helped found an entire soccer league in New York City, said: "I don't feel any of them represent me. The only one I can relate to is Hillary — she's been so maligned. I'm not interested in a candidate who wants to tell me how to live my life. I think this family values stuff is totally hypocritical. The Clarence Thomas hearing was a real watershed for me; I'll never forget all those congressmen up there pontificating. It's just seared in my mind. "I think Dole is making a big mistake going along with this anti-abortion stuff; sometimes I think family values is just a code word for being anti-abortion, and Republican women are turned off by it. I wish they would talk about the economy more. It's as though they assume people can't follow a complex argument anymore. They think they have to make it all simple, like television sound bites. "I'd vote for Clinton over Dole; I don't think he's so dreadful. I don't understand all this emphasis on his private peccadillos, all this prurient interest. Why can't we just talk about policy differences? I like Clinton's family leave act and the tax credit for college." Mary C. of Austin said: "I'm pretty disappointed in the Democrats — I've never voted for a Republican in my life, but I don't think I'll vote for the Democrats. I just think they so compromised any authenticity they had at their convention. Gore using his sister's death from lung cancer, Hillary talking about Chelsea being in the hospital after she had her tonsils out — and all the time they were signing off on this welfare bill that changed ,60 years of social policy. It was no better than, a bad Hollywood show. "I'm not persuaded that Clinton is all that stands between us and a completely Gingrich- crazed world; I see that as an empty threat. There's not much difference between Dole and Clinton, and at least Dole retains some credibility." Now, note the emergence of consistent themes in our poll. The most striking thing about these women is how bright they are; of several more interviewed but not quoted here, their sheer intelligence is their most notable trait. And in one way or another, all said they felt they were being patronized, talked down'to and even insulted by the tenor of this campaign. For them, it-takes-a-village is not even a debatable proposition; their whole lives focus on community. What's truly stupefying is that in addition to raising children and working and getting kids to school and soccer and music lessons, all these women work as vclunteers! How do they do it? None of them is particularly political, but all of them are well-educated in the larger sense. Several of them have spent time in Europe and noted how backward this country is in its social policies; they mentioned several countries with national health insurance, a year's leave to have a baby, child care, time off to spend with children and a better quality of life. ' This election is not taking place in a vacuum of provincialism. These women have traveled, and they know that other countries are doing better than ours is. Dave Barry unloads his pet peeves There is a good reason why people do such stupid things; they are jerks R ecently, when I was having a hamburger at an outdoor restaurant, two guys started up their Harley-Davidson motorcycles, parked maybe 25 feet from me. Naturally, being Harley guys, these were rebels — lone wolves, guys who do it Their Way, guys who do not follow the crowd. You could tell because they were wearing the same jeans, jackets, boots, bandannas, sunglasses, belt buckles, tattoos and (presumably) underwear worn by roughly 28 million other lone-wolf Harley guys. And of course, once they got their engines started, they had to spend the equivalent of two college semesters just sitting there, revving their engines, which were so ear-bleedingly * loud that I thought my hamburger was going to leap from my plate and skitter, terrified, back into the kitchen. I believe many Harley guys spend more time revving their engines than actually driving anywhere; I sometimes wonder why they bother to have wheels on their motorcycles. Perhaps you, too, have experienced an assault of Harley-revving; and perhaps you have asked yourself: Why do these people do this? What possible reason could they have for causing so much discomfort to those around them? As it happens, there is a reason, and it is an excellent one: They're jerks. I'm not saying that all Harley guys — some of my friends are Harley guys — engage in this obnoxious behavior. I'm just saying that the ones who DO engage in it are jerks. And I am not afraid to tell them so, even if they are large and hairy and potentially vio- DAVE BARRY The Miami Herald lent. I am not afraid to say: "OK, Mr. Loud Harley Guy, you got a problem with me calling you a jerk? You want to do something about it? You want to express your disagreement by tapping out lengthy Morse Code sentences on my skull with a tire iron? Then why don't you — if you have the guts — come see me personally at my place of employment, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.? Come on if you dare, fat boy! Ride right into the lobby!" And let me also say, while I'm at it, that I'm sick of you people who park in spaces reserved for the handicapped, even though you are not, personally, handicapped. You know who you are. Many of you even have those little rearview-mirror handicapped signs, which you got from a friend or relative, or which you once needed because of some temporary medical condition that has long since been cleared up. One of my hobbies is to watch when cars pull into handicapped parking spots, and see who gets out. Very often, in my experience, these people appear to be totally unhandicapped: No wheelchair; no crutches; not even a trace of a limp. I realize that some of these people have problems, such as heart conditions, that are not visible. But some of them, to judge by the sprightliness of their walks, are off to compete in the decathlon. Their only handicap is: they're jerks. What we need in this country — I would pay extra income tax for this — is an elite corps of Handicapped Parker On-Site Medical Examination SWAT Teams. These teams would prowl the streets, wearing rubber gloves and armed with X-ray machines, CT scanners, scalpels, drills, saws and harpoon-sized hypodermic needles. When a team spotted a handicapped-zone parker who could not immediately prove that he or she was handicapped, that person would immediately undergo a severely thorough on- the-street physical examination conducted by burly personnel who have attended medical school for a maximum of four hours including lunch ("Hey, Norm! Which ones are the kid- neys again?"). These examinations would involve full frontal nudity and the removal of enough blood, organ and tissue samples to form a complete new human; also, if the SWAT team found a Harley guy revving his engine Jn a handicapped-parking zone, it would employ the 250-foot intestinal probe nicknamed "Big Bertha." The idea would be that if you weren't qualified to park in a handicapped zone BEFORE the physical examination, you definitely would be AFTER. And let's talk about you people who always send your food back in restaurants. (I KNOW this has nothing to do with handicapped parking; I can't stop myself.) I mean, sure, if the food is truly BAD, if it has RODENTS running around on it, OK, send it back; but what abput you people who ALWAYS send your food back, thereby turning EVERY SINGLE MEAL into an exercise in consumer whining? I'm sorry! You're jerks! Especially if, when the bill comes, you also ALWAYS insist — even if everybody ordered basically the same thing -^on figuring out your EXACT share ("Well I had the Diet Sprite, which is 10 cents less than the iced tea ... "); and then you decide that a 5 percent tip is adequate, thereby forcing your friends, who are embarrassed, to put in more money. Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. Put your ear right down to the page: YOUR FRIENDS HATE IT WHEN YOU STIFF THE WAITER. IF THE SERVICE IS OK, YOU SHOULD TIP 15 PERCENT. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TIP, THEN DON'T EAT AT RESTAURANTS. , Also, you should never, ever, no matter what, butt in front of people waiting in line without asking their permission. Also, if, when you talk to people, they keep backing away from you, it's because you're TOO CLOSE, all right? SO DON'T KEEP ADVANCING ON THEM LIKE A HUMAN GLACIER. Thank you, and I apologize for using so many capital letters. I can be a real jerk aboyit that.

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