The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 15, 1986 · Page 4
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 15, 1986
Page 4
Start Free Trial

Opinion The Salina Journal Wednesday, January 15,1986 Page! Founded in 1871 HARRIS RAYL, Editor and Publisher KAY BERENSON, Executive Editor SCOTT SEIRER, News Editor LARRY MATHEWS, Assistant News Editor LORI BRACK, Weekend Editor JIM HAAG, Night Editor MARY JO PROCHAZKA, Associate Editor Federal meddling Ronald Reagan's diatribes against government intrusion in the lives of Americans played well with middle America when he ran for office. Now, however, the Reagan administration often takes a different tack, particularly when the issue involves an infant or a fetus. In such cases, any amount of government meddling is condoned. That's why Reagan administration officials are scheduled to be in court this week, trying to convince the Supreme Court to rule that the fed, eral government should have final authority over medical treatment of all severely handicapped infants, superseding the child's parents and doctor. Like many bad ideas, the Reagan position in this case is founded on good intentions. After the 1982 "Baby rDoe" case in which a newborn child with Down's syndrome was allowed ; to die in an Indiana hospital because ; the parents decided not to authorize i surgery for a defective esophagus, ' the Reagan administration handed i down regulations requiring hospitals : to provide aggressive treatment to all ; handicapped infants, with or without I parental authorization. • The regulations were based on an unusual administration inter- •pretation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against the handicapped by federally assisted programs. It's easy to understand, and sympathize with, the desire to make sure there were no more Baby Does. But the Health and Human Services regulations were an unwise attempt to expand the scope of Section 504. A federal judge in 1984 agreed, ruling that the law did not apply and ordering the government to cease enforcing the regulations. That decision was upheld by an appeals court. But the Reagan administration did not give up the fight. The regulations went to the Supreme Court. The absurdity of the court case is that Congress has in the interim passed legislation requiring states to investigate reports of medical neglect, such as the Baby Doe case. But, and here's the real catch, the law also allows withholding of medical treatment in certain instances, such as when treatment would be futile and simply prolong the child's dying. It's a good law. It gives states a mandate to make certain that treatment is withheld only in those extreme instances where treatment simply prolongs the agonies of the parents and the child. It even provides services to encourage the adoption of severely handicapped infants in instances where the parents cannot or will not take on the responsibility of such a child. And it accomplishes those worthy ends without the "federal government meddling" which Reagan used to find offensive. The small society Tuer , JLH=,T A PIT K>ng FiBtuio* Syndicate, Inc World right* <««rv«J Trouble with Libya? Deja vu Where do you think these lines in the Marine Corps Hymn come from? "From the halls of Montezuma To the shores of Tripoli We will fight our country's battles On the land as on the sea." Tripoli is Libya's biggest port, right on the Mediterranean. Have we had trouble with Libya before? You've all been nice to me so I thought I'd save you some time and do a little reporting to find out more about Libya. I figure you don't care enough about Libya to bother looking it up yourself. Imagine my surprise when I found myself fascinated with several books about Libya's history and particularly about the trouble two early United States presidents had with the same country. The Libyans were making trouble for us a long time ago. There was always a lot of commercial traffic in the Mediterranean. Ships came from Europe and the United States, trading with Africa. For instance, just before 1800 the French were shipping thousands of tons of stones from Africa to Paris for building the Palace at Versailles and the church, St. Germain des Pres. The Libyans in Tripoli were getting rich, not from trade but from deals with the pirates who used that port as home base. The pirates would go out, knock over a British, French or U.S. ship, take its cargo and make slaves of its crew. The worst Libyan previous to Moammar Khadafy was a ruler named Yusuf Karamanli. He was in business with the pirates. In order to stop the piracy, President John Adams paid Yusuf $18,000 to lay off our ships. In 1779 President Adams sent the frigate U.S.S. George Washington to the Mediterranean with the first installment of the payoff. In 1801 Karamanli figured he had a good thing going so he upped the price for protecting our ships from pirates to $250,000. Thomas Jefferson was president by then and he blew his top just the way President Reagan blew his. Instead of sending the money, as Adams had, Jefferson sent the Navy. Unfortunately, one of our ships, the U.S.S. Philadelphia, got stuck on a reef off Tripoli and the ship and the whole crew were captured. For an American Andy Rooney CHICAGO TRIBUNE NEW YORK NEWS MILfttf, fAV IT OUT OF rW CASH Death took Grandmother; we kept memories Old Death came by for Grandmother, as she'd been expecting, and we chased him off almost empty-handed. All he got was the worn-out body in its 90th year, which she'd said she was through with anyway. We kept all the memories. Grandmother, who was "Nana" to two generations of children and eventually to nearly everyone, had lived with us the last 15 years; but for more than 20 before that she'd been a dominant presence — on holidays and vacation camping trips, at christenings and sicknesses and impromptu visits. • So our children, and then theirs, accepted her as an intimate and permanent part of the family from whom comfort and wisdom could be counted on, and to whom love and respect for age were due. The older ones remembered her as a robust, active, stylish woman; the youngest only as a gray and fragile and unsteady one. But even as she changed, her gentleness and unfailing courtesy remained constant. She was one of their most effective teachers. It was only in the last months that her care became difficult. But even as her mind dimmed, like lights going out one by one in an old house, she retained flashes of wit and recognition. Once we found her up in the middle of the night, wandering lost, disoriented through the house. We got her back to bed and as we tucked the covers around her, she looked up with a grin and a twinkle and said,' 'You've sure got a crazy old lady on John McCormally HARRIS NEWS SERVICE your hands." Children had dominated her life and at the end, when she was no longer sure who any of the rest of us were, she recognized and cooed at year-old Sam, her youngest great- grandchild. She managed a brief, uncertain time at the final Christmas table. Then she died on the Epiphany, as if in a hurry, once the Christmas joys were gone. "There's no need for anyone to come," Peggy had said earlier, thinking she meant it, determined to shoulder everyone's grief. "The weather's terrible. They're all so busy. We'll just have a simple service." I dutifully passed the word — without recommendation. The response was blunt and definitive. "I'm afraid," I reported back to Peggy, "you've got a revolt on your hands. For the first time in memory all your kids are disobeying you at once." So they came — the grandkids and great grandkids, out from Washington, up from Kansas and Arizona, in from the other Iowa towns, taking charge of the funeral liturgy, filling the house with laughter and tears and all their best stories about her.' 'Nana always loved a party," they declared, chasing Old Death clear out of the country. And as if on order the January thaW came riding in. The four great-granddaughters perched on the big bed, agonizing over the choice they'd been offered from Nana's treasure trove of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rosaries, while Peggy showed them ancient tin-types from the last century. I couldn't quite cross the gulf to share all Peggy's feeling for the loss of her Mom. But mine was more than the ordinary relationship. It would soon be 45 years since that last autumn before the war when I walked into the College Grill which she operated, just off the campus in Emporia. Lonely freshmen could not only eat cheap, but tell their troubles to kindly "Mom" Wichert. My trouble was that, having paid my fees and bought my books, I was flat broke. She hired me to wash dishes— three hours a day for three meals. I shared the task with her daughter. The family always claimed they lost money on the deal. But they gained a son-in-law. So mine, also, was a long goodbye. When the last of the family had gone, we went back into the empty, quiet house. We realized with a start that we had a big adjustment to make. It was the first time in 37 years — since our first child was born—that we had lived, just the two of us, alone. Democrats, Republicans vie for Hispanic votes crew, being captured by the Libyans was not a nice thing to have happen. What happened next accounts for how Tripoli got into the Marine's song. The Libyans started using our warship, the Philadelphia, as a gunship to protect their harbor from the rest of our Navy. It was very effective. A Marine commando party was organized under Lt. Stephen Decatur. The Marines got into the harbor one night and blew up the Philadelphia so it was no longer any good but the Libyans still had the U.S. hostages. The rest of our Navy started pounding Yusuf Karamanli in his headquarters but he was dug in and they couldn't get to him. At the same time, another contingent of Marines started from Alexandria in Egypt and marched 600 miles across the Sahara Desert to Tripoli. Karamanli knew the jig was up when the Marines arrived so he offered the U.S. another deal. For $60,000 he'd call the whole thing off and give us back the crew of the Philadelphia, which he was holding for ransom. Not everyone in Washington or the rest of our country was happy about negotiating with this rat but in order to get our men back, we paid the $60,000. And that's about the last contact we had with the Libyans until Khad- afy came along right after oil was found in Libya in 1959. When they found oil under the desert there, it was a new ballgame. Further facts about Libya with which to impress your friends: • The highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was in Libya, 136 degrees in 1922. • The Libyan national anthem is "Almighty God." The dominant religion is Sunni Moslem. They have school prayer. The difference between a Sunni Moslem and a Shiite Moslem is like the difference between a Baptist and a Methodist... not much. SAN ANTONIO — For five years, ever since he became the first Mexican-American mayor of this city, 38-year-old Henry Cisneros (D) has been the shining star of Hispanic politics in America. The handsome, Harvard-trained executive of the nation's tenth-largest city was the youngest person interviewed as a potential 1984 running-mate by Walter F. Mondale. Today, he has a national forum as the president of the League of Cities and the spokesman for urban America on the pending Gramm-Rudman budget-cutting fight. But now, for the first time, Cisneros faces the possibility of an emerging rival on his home territory: Judge Roy Barrera Jr., a 33- year-old lawyer who last week announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for attorney general. Their conflicting ambitions and strategies tell a great deal about the competition between the parties for the increasingly important Hispanic vote. The Census Bureau estimates that Hispanic voter registration across the country increased 47 percent between 1976 and 1984, from 2.49 million to 3.79 million of the estimated 9 million-plus voting-age Latinos. By comparison, voter registration among blacks increased 37 percent and among whites, 16 percent. Detailed studies by the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), headquartered here, indicate that in Texas those registration gains were partially offset by a 4-point decline in Latino turnout. But William C. Velasquez, the organization's executive director, argued in an interview that 1984's dropoff "was a blip," caused by the lack of enthusiasm across Texas for the Mondale-Ferraro ticket. "The long-term demographic factors are all on our side," he said, pointing particularly to the fact that the relatively low median age of Hispanics means that Latinos in large numbers will be reaching voting age in the next decade. Both parties are well aware of these numbers and Republicans at the national level have given high priority to dislodging the David Broder WASHINGTON POST Democrats' stranglehold on the Hispanic vote. Candidates like Ban-era are an important part of that strategy. Latino voters are by no means monolithic. Cuban-Americans, concentrated in Florida, are predominantly Republican, reflecting both their relatively high economic status and their intense anti-communism. While Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans and others with Central and South American roots are traditionally Democratic, exit polls analyzed by Robert R. Brischetto of SVREP indicate Latino support for President Reagan nationwide, "may have been between one- third and slightly less than one-half." But Democrats have enjoyed a great advantage in the competition by their near- monopoly of Hispanic officeholders. Velasquez said that of 2,861 Spanish-surname officials at all levels his group has been able to identify, "it appears that only about 20 are Republicans." From Republican National Chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., on down, the party leadership is eager to change that ratio, particularly in highly visible statewide offices. In Florida, Tampa Mayor Bob Martinez was persuaded to switch from the Democratic Party and to seek the GOP nomination for governor this year. Similar encouragement has been lavished on Ban-era. The son of a prominent conservative Democrat who was John B. Connally's man in the west-side barrio a generation ago, Barrera was named to a San Antonio district judgeship by William C. Clements when Clements was Texas' first Republican governor. Establishment support for his candidacy for attorney general is indicated by the fact that his fund-raising effort is being headed by multi-millionaire developer Trammell Crow. Just as Martinez in Florida has run into an ABM (Anybody But Martinez) movement from old-guard Republicans, so Barrera faces primary opposition from a veteran GOP state senator and others. : Few Mexican-Americans vote in the Republican primary in Texas. The willingness of Anglo conservatives to support a Latino for major state office remains to be tested. Ironically, Cisneros has shown that it can happen at the municipal level. Since his first mayoral campaign (where ethnic polarization was evident), he has won re-election twice by overwhelming majorities, including the heavily Republican, conservative north side of the city. Developers, Chamber of Commerce businessmen and other GOP stalwarts sing the praises of his economic- development efforts. For five years, the assumption here has been that when Texas elected its first top Mexican-American official, his name would be Cisneros. But with Democrats running for re-election in all the major state offices on the ballot this year (including the first Hispanic appointee to the state supreme court), Cisneros' national renown does not translate to immediate political opportunity at home. He has an active statewide speaking schedule and is keeping his options open. But for now, Cisneros is something of a spectator at Ban-era's show, and that is a break for the GOP. Letters The Journal welcomes letters to the editor but does not promise to print them. The briefer they are the better chance they have. All are subject to condensation \and editing. Writer's name must be signed with full address for publication. Letters become the property of The Journal. Doonesbury YOUTH-fVR- VEK/FUNW. IJDIN5P NO, FOR A FULL XHOiARSHIP. NOTSV8WONB UflffTESTHEIK... TWPY. IFYOU T08CM0AH> AHAMLBTOF INNOC&fTCIVIU- lANS.tMUPWU porr? INNOCENT, WFOOT! I

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