The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 8, 1986 · Page 10
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 8, 1986
Page 10
Start Free Trial

Opinion I The Salina Journal Wednesday, January 8,1986 Page 4 *T""*t rr ^'ll^: *• T t I I "i^ld.!,.,/?.. I I I ne Journal Founded in 1871 HARRIS RAYL, Editor and Publisher KAYBERENSON, Executive Ed/tor SCOTT SEIRER, News Editor LARRY MATHEWS, Assistant News Editor LORI BRACK, Weekend Ed/tor JIMHAAG, Night Editor MARY JO PROCHAZKA, Associate Editor Priorities Ever wonder where the money you pay for federal taxes goes? One-third of it will go to the nation's war machinery, if President Reagan has his way with the proposed budget he'll present to Congress next month. Reagan proposes spending almost $1 trillion during the 1987 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1,1986. That's $1,000,000,000,000 — one million times one million. Of that incomprehensible sum, he wants a third to go to military spending. The Pentagon portion he has in mind is $314 billion. That's more than $1,000 from every man, woman and child living in the United States. He proposes a hike in military spending from $290 billion this year to $314 billion. Other programs would have to be cut or abolished to simultaneously reduce the national debt and give Reagan all the costly new war toys he wants. Among programs Reagan would exterminate are energy conservation grants, mass transit subsidies and Amtrak rail passenger service. Those were set up when conserving natural resources was a national priority. Today, it appears Rambomania is not just first at the box office, but first in priority at the White House. Wise use of leftovers If you were worried that the money you spent on the 1984 Olympics became part of a surplus of millions of dollars and would be wasted, have no fear. There's a good cause in store for a bundle of the money. About $350,000 will be spent to try to lure Los Angeles youths from gang warfare to physical fitness activities. The money, granted from leftover Olympic funds, will go to set up sports clubs in six poor neighborhoods. Sports coordinators, who will double as counselors, will be hired. Organizers hope the sports leagues will attract youths who otherwise might spend their energies on gang activities. We hope the effort works. It may be an even better use of the money than the Olympics. The small society IF You A powder keg waiting to blow NEW ORLEANS — American conservatives, who have come so far on the basis of firm and agreed ideological positions, are divided and unsure on one pressing issue today. That is South Africa. For some on the political right, South Africa fits into a strictly East-West vision of the world. They see the white government as anti-Communist and hence fear any movement toward majority rule. They see the inhumanity of the South African system, its pervasive racism, as a lesser evil than the risk of change. Patrick J. Buchanan, President Reagan's director of communications, speaks for this school inside the White House. He fought hard a year ago, though in the end unsuccessfully, to prevent any U.S. sanctions against Pretoria. (Buchanan was almost ambassador to South Africa once. When Richard Nixon resigned, Alexander Haig — then White House chief of staff — tried to slip the nomination past President Ford. But someone noticed.) Jeane Kirkpatrick is evidently of this school, too. She writes about the threat of communism in southern Africa without ever mentioning apartheid. Nor does she note the radicalizing effect on blacks of the brutal means used by the government to retain power. Then there are the conservative Christian apologists for South Africa, notably the Rev. Jerry Falwell. He says he opposes apartheid but insists that "reforms" are ending it. He also emphasizes the threat of communism. In effect he has become a spokesman for Pretoria. But there are many conservatives who do not close their eyes to the evil of racism in South Africa, who understand that apartheid is the real threat to stability in the region and to U.S. interests there. In December 1984, 35 conservative Republicans in the House wrote a letter to the South African ambassador in Washington calling for an end to apartheid. It said the signers wanted good relations, "but the reality of apartheid and the violence used to keep it in place make it likely that our relations will deteriorate." Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota, a leader of the group, said South Africa could not expect "benign neglect" from "the emerging generation of conservative leadership." Another, Newt Gingrich of Georgia, said there "is no base of any kind in the United States for long-term relationships" with a racist country and urged South Africa to move rapidly to a "multiracial, integrated, free society." That letter had a significant impact. It showed South African officials the breadth of Anthony Lewis NEW YORK TIMES American revulsion at their policies. It played a part in convincing Reagan that he could not stop congressional sanctions legislation unless he came up with sanctions of his own, as he did. But since then, as the South African situation has worsened, not much has been heard from those younger House conservatives. Some of them had objections to the letter from supporters. But beyond that, they and others in the conservative movement aware of the realities in South Africa seem uncertain how to play a useful part: one that pushes South Africa toward democracy and justice. The hesitation is understandable. None but the glib can foresee an easy, painless transition in South Africa. Oppression has gone on so long that even those most patient of people, South African blacks, are now smoldering with bitterness. Moreover, the white holders of power over the last four decades have done deep damage to a value that conservatives rightly think is at the heart of a stable society: respect for law. They have eliminated many of the rights that make up what we call due process of law. They have detained and banned thousands without trial, and tortured and murdered detainees. Even now the authorities go on with measures that build resentment. They declare that an area long the home of one group is part of another's "homeland," inviting violent clashes. They ban a memorial service for one white person who could reach across the racial divide, Molly Blackburn — as if to say that the last few bridges must be destroyed. But the difficulties are not a reason for American conservatives to be silent. To the contrary, they make it more necessary to speak out. And it is entirely consistent with conservatism to speak out against official measures designed to divide a society. Time is the most important reason for conservatives not to be silent. Every month, every day that political change is delayed in South Africa, the less likely is a reasonable outcome. It should be the urgent concern of all who care about that potentially great country that negotiation begin soon. American conservatives are in a special position to speak (hat truth to power in South Africa. FAMILY PORTRAIT. Secret searches for public officials should end By BRUCE BUCHANAN A curious point came up in a story about the search for a new president at Kansas State University. The chairman of the search committee, Jerome Frieman, told a reporter, that he would not release! the names or other details I of any candidates, because I the committee had anteed secrecy to them. In a story in The Wichita Eagle-Beacon, Frieman Buchanan was quoted as saying: "There are a lot of people, particularly people who are presidents and provosts, who are interested in the position, and they want to be assured that their names will not be splashed all over the newspapers. "If you are a president and people discover that you are seemingly actively pursuing a position somewhere else, it can be seen as being unfaithful and can damage a person's ability to work within their institution." The situation is slightly similar to the "Catch-22" made famous by the novel of the same name. The Catch-22 came about when World War II bomber pilots wanted to be grounded. To be grounded, they had to be crazy, but if they asked to be grounded, they were considered to be sane. Now, I'm not trying to insinuate that the people who want to be president of K-State are crazy. The logic of the argument fits, though. If a university president puts his name in at another school, he is demonstrating a willingness to leave. But, he says, don't tell anyone I'm willing to leave, because they will think I'm being unfaithful. In other words, I'll only be unfaithful if I get the job. The same situation arose when the city of Parsons was looking for a new city manager. Many candidates, particularly those in top management jobs in other cities, said they did not want to be considered if their names were to be released. Elected city officials asked the local news media to agree not to publish the names of any candidates. At The Sun, we agreed not to do things such as tracing license plate numbers to find out the names of finalists, but we refused to accept an absolute ban. As it turned out, we were able to report that Dick Combs was on the short list, although we couldn't identify any others. It was important to city residents to know that Combs, who was acting city manager at the time, was a candidate. The argument public officials usually use in not releasing names is that the best candidates will not let themselves be considered. However, there is a legitimate public concern in the identity of the people who want to run the city or the university or a school system. For example, if Gov. John Carlin is a candidate to succeed Duane Acker as president of K-State, the public should know. Consideration of him could wreck the regents system, and the residents of the state should be warned well in advance. Those who cannot accept the pressures of having their names known may not belong in public life in the first place. If it tests their character, then so be it. The demand for secrecy also raises a question about what kind of relationship the individual has with his current employers. If he is willing to mislead them about his loyalty, he will do the same with anyone who hires him. The secrecy builds on itself. As more screening boards and commissions agree to keep things from the public, the pressure increases from applicants. The search committees cave in because they are scared of the warnings. There is a way to deal with the problem. It would be unwieldy for a committee to release the names of all applicants for a position such as K-State president. However, a policy in which the finalists are named would be in the best interests of all. At Iowa State University, a search committee released the names of the six finalists in the quest for a new president. No screams of anguish could be heard and no buildings crumbled from the openness. The search committee at K-State should consider the same policy, and it is one we should promote as well at the local level, whenever our boards and commissions search for new government managers. Buchanan, a native of Washington, Kan., is editor and publisher of The Parsons Sun. Be patient for majority rule in South Africa WASHINGTON — Hard-liners in the intelligence "community" were somewhat spooked last week when they received their daily intelligence briefing from the State Department. In a six-part series on South Africa, classified "confidential" (meaning "if this gets out, it's no big deal"), an analyst in State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research wrote: "The ruling National Party, still the dominant force in South African politics, has the ability to move toward genuine power sharing with blacks, or to deny political rights over the near term." Innocuous enough. Then came the line that shot up eyebrows-only across the river: "Eventually, however, international pressure, domestic turmoil and demographic trends will bring majority rule to South Africa." "Majority rule" is a phrase spoken with reverence in the United States, which fought a Civil War to seal it in our democratic system. But in South Africa, where nonwhites outnumber whites 4-to-l, majority rule means black rule — with all its fears of a vengeful oppression of the white minority — and few whites who today outspokenly denounce apartheid espouse black rule. In fact, the dreaded prospect of autocratic rule in the name of a majority as it exists elsewhere in so much of Africa is what freezes progress toward one man, one vote. A majority that tramples on the rights of peaceful minorities has no moral claim on the right to govern them. A State Department spokesman tells me William Safire NEW YORK TIMES that this surprisingly frank prediction of "majority rule" is the judgment of one intelligence analyst and is not necessarily the view of the United States; Bureau of Intelligence analysts are encouraged to put forward their candid opinions of likely outcomes; and that in this case, "eventually" could mean a long, long time. Analysts in the Pentagon and CIA know all those caveats, and many who still believe in "constructive engagement" consider State's assessment to be realistic. While deploring a mindset that makes such a conclusion a self- fulfilling prophecy, they observe that throughout this century, elites have frequently headed for the hills when popular pressure reached the blowoff point. Intelligence analysts have noted that a great many South African whites have already arranged for some other place to go, leaving the hard-core Afrikaners to circle their wagons. Despite differences in methods, most Americans want the same goal in that country: an end to apartheid, freedom of movement and of the press, a peaceful transition from white rule to a type of government that establishes majority rule with iron-clad protections against the tyranny of the majority. In other words, we want South Africa to evolve quickly into a society much like ours, with the slight exception that its majority is black and ours is white. The trouble is, that is not likely to happen. A more realistic prognosis is a continued cycle of violence and repression. Two different societies in the same place want the same resources, and "eventually" numbers will triumph over firepower. That would not be a victory for majority rule as we think of it. A fine judicial system may be overthrown; reverse apartheid may come into being, with minority rights again denied; a radical regime would surely be more attracted to the Soviet bloc than the West; and the lives of millions would be endangered. When realists are pessimists, the trick is to slip out of the clutches of realism. Knowing that moderate whites are most likely to be the first to leave, we should exhort them to stay; knowing that moderate blacks are most likely to be the first to be thrust aside by the radical politicians, we should still make heroes of the moderates. It could be that the prospect of a balance of terror will force an accommodation. If radical blacks threaten massacre, radical whites will threaten nuclear retaliation; as extremists approach that brink, moderate voices may not seem so unrealistic. At that point, fear of a threat to common survival — not only "international pressure, domestic turmoil and demographic trends" —will bring majority rule to South Africa. Doonesbury THATSIT? wteiw \ ALttAPf? WLL.JU5TTHE PWJMIUAW SKEKHK.I'U, IMPROVISE A LOT UH&IIDOTHZ THANKS. THEIWLL D6CDR- UJOUJ.. THBJ»6W6,TtKS l rWR THAT5 PKf£fS,ETC-UJILLB5 UH.W- $PRAYEPlW-6lOaMK. FBtENT. ICON*HUMABOUTTHE FUNCTION OVER. WKNOUJ, IPOtfANPB&GY SOP£OPl£ TOVnUTARJANISM* CANF1NP GOP, THE QUfTB CMI&WOUU? KJ6HT. HAVBAFIELP \ DM!

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,100+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free