The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 19, 1995 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Friday, May 19, 1995
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A4 Friday, May 19,1995 VIEWPOINTS mrx^^ The Salina Journal 9P«9B»^ the Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 HARRIS RAYL, Publisher GEORGE B. PYLE, Editorial Page Editor SCOTT SEIRER, Executive Editor JIM HAAG, Assistant Editor BEN WEARING, Deputy Editor TIM FITZGERALD, Sports Editor BRET WALLACE, Associate Editor MARY JO PROCHAZKA, Associate Editor BRAD CATT, Associate Editor Editorial Opinion Cruising for a crash Clinton's tariff plan will hurt Americans T he trade war President Clinton seeks to pick with Japan might present the illusion that Clinton is a take- charge kind of guy worthy of reelection. But the real casualties of steep tariffs on Japanese luxury cars will not be the Japanese. They'll be Americans. Clinton contends, correctly, that the Japanese auto parts market is, in effect, closed to American companies. Thus, the value of auto parts imported to the United States from Japan is nearly 10 times the value of U.S. parts sent to Japan. That contributed more than $12 billion to the $66 billion U.S. trade deficit with Japan last year. Clinton is right to address the deficit problem. And there could hardly be a better time to begin than now, when the weak dollar makes U.S. products more affordable in Japan and other world markets. But the fix Clinton proposes is off target. Even if the Japanese government forced Japanese car manufacturers to buy more parts from American companies, it's unlikely that more jobs would be created for Americans. Rather, the American firms, in the interest of efficiency, would use plants in the Far East to supply the goods. Clinton's bargaining chip, tariffs that would double the cost of Japanese luxury automobiles in the U.S., promises to litter the American landscape with trade war casualties. Chief among them: high-end consumers. Sure, they could decline to pay $100,000 for a tariff- rich Lexus. But no matter what alternative car they chose, they'd pay more. With Japanese luxury cars priced out of the market, European and U.S. automakers would have free rein to hike the prices of their cars. Clinton's tariffs would send many employees of luxury car dealers to the unemployment line. And the loss of dealers of Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, Mazda and Mitsubishi luxury cars would disrupt the availability of parts and service for Americans who own those cars. Yet another risk of the tariffs is the possibility of an escalating trade war with Japan. Japan has become our biggest creditor as we borrow money to offset a growing budget deficit. (What better reason to bring the budget into balance?) Rather than tariffs, we should pursue our trade grievances with the Japanese through the World Trade Organization, a sort of high court for such disputes. That's the route the Japanese have taken to challenge the tariff threat, and it's likely they'll prevail. American companies have shown in recent years that they can compete on world markets, and it is proper for Clinton to work to see that Japanese and other markets are accessible. But his battle plan is ill conceived because those most likely to be hurt are the Americans to whom Clinton must answer. Letters to the Journal Playing ball at Southeast To the residents of Unified School District 306, Southeast of Saline: We truly appreciate our school, and we are thankful to those who give their time and talent to serve in the school system. We are fortunate to have substantial funds set aside from a special mill levy just for capital improvements. This special mill levy will expire soon and, as seen by votes in neighboring districts, taxpayers are in no mood to pay more taxes. With the likelihood of increasing enrollment, we believe it is very important that this capital building money be managed carefully. Therefore, we are concerned about our school board's plan to spend nearly $272,000 on baseball and softball diamonds. That price (obtained from only one bidder) does not include a public address system, a concession stand or bleachers. The final cost likely will approach $300,000. Since the money already is available, the board does not need approval from the voters to spend it; consequently, there has been little public discussion or awareness of this plan. We encourage you to contact board members before their vote on Monday to tell them how you want your money to be managod. Extracurricular activities are an important part of any school, but academics should always be the first priority. SCOTT and DIANA NICHOLS Assaria Manipulating the Bible This letter is in response to a short note from Marlyn Romm of Bennington who was compelled to write on the evil of homosexuality. The passage in Leviticus 18:22 was one sentence within an entire chapter on unlawful sexual relations. What Romm failed to mention is that there are 15 laws regarding sexuality before verse 22, all speaking about relations between men and women, all of which God considers "disgusting and evil." I am wondering: Does Romm know that in Leviticus 11, God says that pork is an unclean food and should not be eaten? Does she know that in Chapter 12, God says after she has borne a son, she must wait 33 days before going to church, because she is impure (66 days for a daughter)? Is she aware that in Chapter 19, verse 18 states: "Do not seek P.O. Box 740, Salina, Kansas 67402 revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself." Verse 19 states: "Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material." The passage she printed from Romans deals with God's wrath against mankind. Had she read above verses 26 - 27, she would have read in verse 21 " For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Verses 28 through 32 read as follows: "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents: they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them." I find it interesting that the so-called Christians of the world can't find anything better to complain about than homosexuality. The problem with "organized" religion, I feel, is that these people take one verse and twist it, distort it and manipulate it to their own advantage. I'll close by adding two more verses: Romans 3:20 and Romans 2:1, which are as follows: "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things." So, how many legs does a sheep have? CINDY CREEKMORE Salina Let us know The Salina Journal welcomes letters from its readers on matters of public concern. Write: Letters to the Journal, P.O. Box 740, Salina, 67402. REDUCE PROp££>7V TAKiMG» X\rMD IF r /A/CREASE VAL.UC" OF VOUR. BV SAV A C.OA/ r« / BU TV O A/ SHOULD PAV SCV <-» AVTt AOtCT Real pain comes to those living at the bottom I t is a question of pain. Everyone agrees there must be pain for everybody, though something in the manner of those who talk of pain's necessity hints that they themselves expect exceptions will be made in their cases. Since they are mostly members of Congress and its political courtiers, their expectations are probably well founded. This is a class highly skilled at insulating itself from such common miseries as the health-insurance nightmare and the vanishing-pension phenomenon. Just last year they decided that absolutely nothing could be done in the health-care line for the rest of us. Our pain must be borne, they decided, lest the struggle for relief destroy a magnificent health-care system. Suggestions that the rest of the population might at least be extended the same health-care plan Congress enjoyed were shrugged off as clownish frivolities. "You know as well as we do, wise guy, that giving everybody the same healthcare choices Congress enjoys would bankrupt the country!" In their muddle-headed way, Congressional Democrats connived with Republicans to keep us resigned to that good old, best-in-the-world health-care system, bankruptive though it, too, was. Afterward a lot of them retired on pensions that even Ronald Reagan's make-believe Welfare Queen might have declined on grounds that the excess bordered on tastelessness. Now the Republicans go forward alone uttering the bold call for pain. This THE OBSERVER Russell Baker THE NEW YORK TIMES year's Republicans are different from last year's Democrats. Being brain- dead, the Democrats were content to leave people writhing in the pain they had grown accustomed to. The Republicans, being full of ideas and so young they can't remember they are ideas that have already failed, intend to produce some fresh new pain. One wants to believe that this pain will be equally distributed, as Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. John Kasich say it will. As the Democrats observe, however, cutting taxes on investors with capital-gains income while cutting services for people on Medicare suggests Republicans don't know the first thing about the equal distribution of pain. Young Rep. Kasich has a fetching earnestness which suggests totally honest belief that failure to balance the budget will be catastrophic. Total honesty and a winning smile, which he also has, are a combination that is hard to resist. Still, when a man smiles while talking about the salubrious effects of pain, you don't have to be a cynic to suspect that he is either in a nasty line of work or has a pain-exemption clause in his contract. Upright and likable though Kasich may be, you would be ill advised to ex- pect an equal distribution of that healing pain of which Republicans speak. Politics has nothing to do with distributing the pain equally. If it did there would probably be no politics. At the heart of all political business is the question of material reward and punishment. Or to put it in the most appallingly vulgar terms — because appalling vulgarity and politics are inseparable — it is about who gets the lion's share of the kill. Last year's Republican triumph is leading inevitably and naturally to a redistribution of wealth. Newt Gingrich, even more than most successful Republicans of recent years, represents American business. It would be astonishing if the pain to be equally distributed produced anything more from the Chamber of Commerce than a faint "Ouch" among the booming huzzahs. If there are shrieks of agony, they will come from the bottom of the population. It has received a generous share of the wealth for so long that people's lives have been powerfully shaped by it. Changing the shape of those lives — ah, now we speak of real pain. Observe that Gingrichism obviously requires squeezing the bottom and fattening the top, and Republicans always accuse you of fomenting "class warfare." This is silly. With the middle class voting for radical Republicans of the Gingrich school and for Rockefeller-type Republican-Democrats like Bill Clinton, there is not enough bottom to start a class tiff, much less a class war. The 'what ifs' of choosing not to be a mom S he was out here on business. We had both had a few drinks. It was like old times. Fifteen years my senior, she had always been, if not a role model, someone I greatly admired. Before it was easy (tolerated, really), she had bucked the traditional tide, defied the one-version standard of how a "good" woman is supposed to live. Bright, funny, honest and soulful, she could fall in love and dive deeper into that terrifying but thrilling pool than anyone else I knew. If she nearly drowned — or got the bends on the way back up — she accepted it as the fair price one must pay. At nearly every turn, she chose to live where safety is never guaranteed, out where the rocks and broken glass fly. But she took her lumps and cuts with dignity and humor. She never whined. In the casual elegance of her hotel lobby, we sat nursing a nightcap and reliving the past. Our talk drifted to Edith Piaf, specifically, the singer's anthem for people who dive deep and duck flying glass: Je ne regrette rien. I have no regrets. Ever the student, I asked my friend, "Do you have any regrets?" She looked away and got very quiet. Her eyes filled with tears. Finally, she said, "I wish I'd had a child." My heart dropped. This was the last thing I expected or wanted to hear. As a woman who had chosen, repeatedly, to bypass motherhood, I was horrified to hear her — of all people — now past the point of no re- BY THE BAY Stephanie Salter THE SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER turn, saying she was sorry. Suddenly, my brave and honest friend was the Ghost of Christmas Future. Silently, almost hating her, I resolved never to be where she was, never to sit on the other side of fertility, crying in my beer because I didn't have a child. That was at least 10 years ago. In the ensuing time, as I have moved closer to the point of no return myself, I have thought often of that night and of what lay behind my uncharitable repulsion and ferocious resolve. Choice. For every one made there is a rejection of something else. Rarely is this more acutely evident than when the choice is to be not a mother. When the choice is reversed — to be a mother — the rejection is gauzy, ill-defined. What-if is a dreamlike void. The choice, your child, stands before you in three dimensions. She grows, changes, perhaps begins to act like you (or her father or your mother). You cannot imagine life without her. But when the choice is to be not a mother, the rejection is tangible, identifiable, easily conjured up. The rejection is a living entity; the choice, a living style. The rejection races past you on rollerblades. It wears a straw hat with ribbons in church or sprawls on the steps of a junior high. It gropes with soft, tiny fingers toward a warm breast. It uses a whole tube of lipstick trying to look like Madonna. Other women, mothers, say that what you have rejected needs them in a way no other person has, that it has unleashed a kind of love in them they never knew existed. I believe now that-knowing all this inspired my friend's tears as well as my anger on that difficult night so long ago. I believe she wept much more from the pain of having to make such an either-or choice than from the pain of having no child. And I, 15 years behind her, recoiled in fear at the weight of the ambivalence that is inherent and (for many women, I suspect) eternal in such a choice. Over the years, I have watched my friend's life grow as rich in retirement as it ever was in fifth-gear work mode. Her last deep dive into the pool of love turned out to be her best: she found a man who can keep up with her even as they grow old together. Characteristically, she has assimilated her regrets and put them into perspective as she has all the other accrued negatives: they are the price of admission. As for me, I have come to see that there are lots worse things in life than crying in your beer once in awhile because you never had a child. I have also learned that, if you are honest and brave, you will accept ambivalence as a frequent companion of middle age. And, in that acceptance, you find comfort. Doonesbury By G.B. Trudeau LUONPER (UHI&1ON& IT/9... MISTER? I WANT THAT SMAU- THATW&m i IF YOU CAN GeTATATTOO YOUOWT the SWASTIKA?

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