The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 19, 1996 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 19, 1996
Page 12
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62 SATURDAY. OCTOBER 19, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNX OPINION 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 © Quote of the day "Do not underestimate the ability of Bob Dole to infect others with his deeply held negative emotions." Bill Roy 1974 Democratic canidate for the U.S. Senate, , defeated by Dole By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Gone with the wind THE ISSUE Tfie Conservation Reserve Program THEARGUMBUT Without CEP, another Dust Bowl looms T opsoil doesn't grow on trees. America learned that the hard, hard way 60 years ago, when some of the most fertile land on earth was turned into a desert by humanity's overly aggressive efforts to make the land bloom. Today, in our overly aggressive efforts to free our economy of federal regulations, this dark history may be allowed to repeat itself. Early in this century, the American farmer's desire to feed the world, pushed by notes held by the banker, led to farming practices that abandoned the long view for short-term gain. By the 1930s, the result was an event of enough historical significance to be remembered in words that start with capital letters: The Dust Bowl. In order to see that such a man-made disaster never happened again, our nation created a, you should excuse the expression, federal program called the Conservation Reserve Program. The idea then, and since, was to set aside much of the land that was susceptible to erosion, to leave it idle, to plant trees on it, not only to reduce farm surpluses that distort market prices, but also to keep more of our ground, well, on the ground. In order to make it worth farmers' while to keep this land out of production, the federal government pays them a fee — rent, actually — for each acre enrolled. That fee ends any temptation for even farmers who know better to push more land into production, lest they find themselves at a disadvantage to other, less concerned, producers. Millions upon millions of acres are now reserved in this program — 2.9 million acres in Kansas alone. Farmers like it. And it works. So, naturally, it is among the federal programs targeted for shrinking. Area farmers have been told that tougher standards are to be applied to land granted CRP status, and the payments are to be reduced. No federal program should be exempt from review, but we are flirting with madness if we think we can do without a program that has done such a good job of protecting the very land on which we all depend for food. If changes in the program are needed to make it work better, fine. But we cannot, we must not, sacrifice the salvation of the American breadbasket in a mindless crusade to reduce federal bureaucracy. Not all federal programs are harebrained schemes dreamed up by out-of- touch bureaucrats. Some of them really work. The Conservation Reserve Program works. It should be conserved. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 Show us what is true and beautiful October brings many things that we welcome and celebrate: autumn colors, harvest homecomings, hayrack rides, Oktoberfest, Halloween. There is one other event that warrants celebration: National Arts and Humanities Month. The arts and humanities enhance our lives by bringing us into contact with those things which make life good, true and beautiful. We are very fortunate in Kansas, and in Salina especially, to have vital and vibrant arts and humanities programming available to us at virtually no cost. I want to call special attention to the humanities programs that have benefitted us in Salina. Much of this programming has been made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council, a non-profit cultural organization whose mission it is to provide and facilitate programs and experiences in a whole range of humanities — history, philosophy, literature, religion, ethics, to name a few. In the last several years alone, Salina has benefitted considerably from grants and programs provided through the Kansas Humanities Council. The Smoky Hill Museum has received more then $7,000 to support programs and exhibits, including the excellent exhibits on settlement and shelter in the Smoky Hills. The Salina Arts and Humanities Commission received more than $15,000 in grants supporting the Kansas Cowboy Heritage Collection. St. John's Military School had a visit from "Benjamin Franklin" and Sacred Heart School hosted What the debates would be like if we really only let those who could win take part.., T UNCOMMON SENSE Dole did well in debate, but who cares? Dole fumbled his opportunity to stand up for a return to traditional moral values I n his final debate with President Clinton, Bob Dole did very well. He was aggressive, he was focused, he emphasized his main points, and he could have had the president on the defensive most of the evening. However, Clinton ignored the charges leveled against him about ethics, liberalism and big government, which lessened the impact of Dole's assault. Dole's best opportunity to energize the Republicans' real base — the moral conservatives who see the economy a distant second to the fragmentation of the social fabric — came when minister Ron Kite asked: "This great nation has been established by the found- w ing fathers, who possessed very strong Christian beliefs and godly principles. If elected president of the United States, what would you do to return this nation to those basic principles? And, also, do you feel that the office of the president has the responsibility to set the role example to inspire our young people?" Dole should have been able to hit this softball out of the park. He might have talked about self-evident truth and how, instead of V ON MY MIND CAL THOMAS Los Angeles Times Syndicate God-ordained rights, we have been practicing in recent years court-ordained rights. He might have noted that government cannot make a people moral if they wish to pursue hedonistic pleasures and avoid responsibility. But the government can approach the law as something shaped not by opinion polls but by our Creator, to conform us to a standard which promotes the general welfare. Instead, Dole volunteered that he had prayed with his wife and daughter before the debate and "if it's God's will, whatever happens, it happens." And then he slipped off into the refuge of many politicians — the proposed school prayer amendment to the Constitution, something that won't pass and is meaningless. Why didn't he talk about the general devaluation of human life, from partial-birth abortion to euthanasia and what liberal Supreme Court justices will do to further undermine the value and fabric of life? 'Repeatedly Dole returned to economic matters, saying the one thing that will change America is getting the economy rolling again. But hasn't our focus on material things — especially money — contributed to some of the problems now hurting families? Will more money in our pockets mean fewer divorces, less crime and more hope? Why did our parents' generation fare better with far fewer material things? It was because their souls were rich in the things money can't buy. Dole spoke against "special rights" for homosexuals, which has become a code phrase. He should have said that since some homosexuals have changed and abandoned that lifestyle, they ought not to be included asl a class under civil-rights legislation designed! to protect blacks, women and the disabled! from discrimination. Such laws were writterij because of a person's status, which cannot! change. Homosexual practice is about beha ior, which can change. Dole followed his advisers' instructions till the sound bite. He got in some good shots I about big government, questionable donations to the Democratic National Committee by,] Indonesian contributors, integrity and keep j ing one's word (he said he'd keep his). He noted it is the governors, not the presi : dent, who are getting people off welfare and ] the Republican Congress, not the White House; that deserves the credit for reducing the cost > and size of government. But these were all jabs. There was no knockout punch. .. j'"v The ultimate issue Dole could have raised is why character matters. If a president can't be relied on to say what he means and mean what he says, how do we know that what he "Is telling us now is what he will do if re-elected? Dole could have dramatically pledged to resign; the Oval Office if he doesn't deliver, with the help of a Republican Congress, on three or four j promises. According to those horrible instant polls the networks do, Dole apparently changed few minds. The only question remaining is if in the next two and a half weeks a majority will recall what their parerfts tried to teach them about character, integrity and responsibility. •• «•' Conservatives squandered 1994 victory "Zora Neale Hurston," through the History Alive! program. Kansas Wesleyan University received more than $6,000 in support of its Ethics in Public Life series. All told, the Kansas Humanities Council has invested more then $40,000 into the cultural life of Salina over the past few years. These are just a few of the ways that the Kansas Humanities Council has provided humanities programs that enrich our lives. And there are more programs to look forward to such as a book discussion program on "Health Care and Human Values," offered in conjunction with Salina Regional Health Center starting Oct. 24 (call Linda Henningsen at 452-7709 for information). At a time when society is concerned with the need for cultural literacy and greater historical awareness, the Kansas Humanities Council is addressing those concerns with programs that are interesting, well-researched, and entertaining. That is something to celebrate this October. I hope all of us can support this organization and its mission as much as it has supported us. — PAUL CUSTODIO BUBE Salina (BJ^P jlW ^HWP" Utters to the Journal are welcome, although there is not enough room to publish all of them. We reserve the right to edit for space or f clarity. Please provide a daytime telephone number ffpr confirmatiOf!, ; Clinton's ethics problems are not enough to overcome the issues people care about B ob Dole made a fairly good try to list the ethical faults of President Clinton as reasons that Americans should not give him a second term. But Dole did not present reasons to vote for himself that ^ are likely to change what Americans think each candidate could mean to their lives — faults "and virtues all taken into account. That was his job, the only one that counted. Given Republican Party positions and mistakes on issues of intimate importance to Americans, that probably has been impossible from the day he was nominated. On Clintonian ethics, a fairly * good try was about the best Dole could do, considering a particular political handicap. He had to leap over some important ethical mudholes as if they did not exist. He knew Republicans were deep in them with the Democrats. Here's one in the news: the scandal of taking campaign money from servants of foreign governments. Democrats took it from Indonesians, Republicans from another dictatorship — the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. Two parties, shared mud- hole, shared shame. Dole started strong but wound down fast, A.M. ROSENTHAL The New York Times ending up with only a partial list of ethical charges. He even let Clinton get away with sticking out his tongue at the ethics charges by just walking away from them. But the critical problem for Dole was that he could not present a list of reasons to vote for him strong enough to shift Americans who know about Clinton's ethical record but plan to vote for him anyway. The reason has haunted the Republican ticket from the beginning: The majority of Americans agree with Clinton's positions on a range of issues personally important to them and reject Dole's. They count those differences with Dole more important to their lives than Clinton's ethical adventures. So despite its congressional victory in 1994, conservatism has managed to wind up with some important attitudes that are outside and even hostile to American thinking in 1996. Maybe 1994 had something to do with it. Americans gave the Republicans a magnificent opportunity. Newt Gingrich, capable of more thoughtfulness, responded with happy cries that the new revolution was upon us. Revolution? Americans were voting for a big but peaceful house-cleaning of Democrats, and horrified to learn they had signed up to march on some American Bastille, wherever it was. Long before the 1996 campaign, the divide between Republican Party positions and the desires of many Americans was growing so large that it might decide the presidency. The majority of Americans, counting Republican women, insist on women's right to abortion. But the Republican Convention made commitment against abortion a condition of nomination. Dole did not have enough clout or desire to get even a "tolerance" plank written into the platform. The Republican leadership, wherevr er it was lurking, was sure the insistence 6$ choice would diminish, one of the more aston-; ishing judgments in political history. Americans also want far more effective gun control. Democrats have made the issue their, own. Republicans nominated a man who had voted against a ban on assault weapons. Americans by and large hate and fear tobacco. Dole made himself look like an instrument of the tobacco lobby. Americans favor the famf ily-leave legislation. Dole does not. Americans do not want children thrown out of school, even such fearsome pariahs as the children of illegal immigrants. Dole cannot wait to kick them out the door. After World War II, the non-communist left in the United States committed political sui-, cide. It walked away from the righteous caUsfi of anti-communism, making it the property of conservatism. Now American conservatism is making quite similar errors. In China and other dictatorships it has turned its back on the human 1 rights causes it once championed — instead of moving into the emptiness created by the Clin- tonian desertion. . ' At home it is abdicating on deeply personal rights of health, safety, children's education, family life and the human body. ,, . „, Dole and the Republicans are gambling that the majority of Americans will count these dife ferences less important than a tax cut. With time almost gone, they are making a great mistake. I" III IESBURY By G.B. TRUDEAU &UJC- TAWW. H&NO ' MY60P... HOW MUCH? NWeK CATCH HIM HANPIN& OUT

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