The Greenwood Commonwealth from Greenwood, Mississippi on June 15, 1997 · Page 4
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The Greenwood Commonwealth from Greenwood, Mississippi · Page 4

Greenwood, Mississippi
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 15, 1997
Page 4
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r m m y mm Racism study must be more than words The lofty goals of President Clinton's efforts to examine the race issue are certainly admirable. He has asked the nation to search its soul on the troubling and divisive issue. Granted, the president's previous wishy-washy attitudes about similar subjects, and even racism itself, make his move suspicious. He has shown a knack for coming down squarely on both sides of issues, and changing his mind at the drop of a poll. However, the move comes at a time when there are no riots, no immediate crisis to respond to. Certainly, he's trying to establish his legacy as he leaves the White House, but he could have picked less troublesome subjects. But on this issue he will find agreement from many thinking Americans, Americans of all races. "This will arguably be the third great revolution in America ... to prove that we literally can live without in effect having a dominant European culture," Clinton told a group of columnists last week. "We want to become a multiracial, multiethnic society. We're not going to disintegrate in the face of it." The study commission is certainly no guarantee of anything more than an elaborate report some months in the future. But the dialogue that could be opened might help narrow some of the gaps in public opinion between blacks and whites. A Washington Post-ABC News poll this week that found that only 17 percent of white Americans believe that African-Americans are discriminated against a lot compared with 44 percent of African-Americans. The Post poll found that 52 percent of white Americans said race relations are a serious problem or a crisis. Some 75 percent of black Americans feel that way. Those are profound differences in how we Americans view a common problem. And it will be crucial in the study to examine racism from both sides of the racial issue. While white Americans have led the way in this tragic subject, there is a feeling of racism often exhibited by some black Americans too. It's good to note that former Mississippi governor William Winter will serve on the select panel. Winter, who served as governor from 1980-84, is presently practicing law, but has a solid record of addressing tough issues in a forthright manner. His input will be needed on the commission. Let's hope the study results in more than just hollow words. The nation's future may well depend on working out the differences that still keep the races apart. Some numbers about fathers are troubling Father's Day will be happy and meaningful in most homes today. It's a fun day to watch father open gifts and hear tributes. But the U.S. Bureau of the Census sheds light on troubling trends about Father's Day: The number of single fathers with children under 18 grew from 400,000 in 1970 to 1.7 million in 1995; In 1995, 2.5 million children (4 percent) lived with their father, but not their mother. Among these children's fathers, 48 percent were divorced, 28 percent had never been married, 18 percent were married but not living with their wife and five percent were widowed. The children suffer as our families continue to dis-intergrate when the kids are young. The study shows that 26 percent of the children who live with fathers only are poor, but only 11 percent of children are poor if they live with both parents. Nearly 7 out of 10 children live with two parents across the nation, but those millions who do nojt suffer the most. Those families today who are enjoying Father's Day should be thankful. There will be many families who will let today slide by, and we're all the poorer for it. A big issue? It's not really one of the great issues of our lime. But inter-league baseball play is another goofy idea from the usually goofy people who run baseball today. The American League and the National League are supposed to meet in October, not in the midst of a pennant race. But what could we expect from leaders who brought the designated hitter and plastic grass? If baseball would only be left alone. THE GREENWOOD 1th) Sunday, June IS. 1997 Established 1(96 (USPS 229-420) JOHN O. EMMERICH JR., Editor and Publisher. 1973-1995 TIM KALICH Editor and Publisher TOM MILLER Managing Editor LARRY ALDERMAN Advertising Manager ED BILLINGS Production Manager ANDREW McBRYDE Circulation Manager GMA PALMERTREE Business Manager DAVID SMITH News Editor Caulk for Father's Day? Was shopping the other evening, waiting as the lady in front of me bought her unnecessary plastic objects. There was a Father's Day display near the register, urging shoppers to remember dear old dad The featured item was a tube of caulk. A tube of caulk? Thafs what dad's have come to? A tube of caulk? Ah, thafs humbling. On the heels of Mother's Day, when we positively gush about mom, in her near-to-heaven status and a vision of sweetness and light, dad's a tube of caulk. Granted, men generally (and dads specifically) have become politically incorrect in the past few years. We guys have been taking our lumps, sometimes even rightfully. We're getting blamed for famine and fighting, for hormones and heartburn, for taxes and tobacco. By Tom Miller Managing Editor But the difference between the two days Mother's Day and Father's Day can be startling. Time magazine reports this week that Mother's Day is a much bigger card-buying day than Father's Day, and the difference also shows up in the types of cards. For Mother's Day, the cards are lacy and lilting, with sweet poems and thoughts. For Father's Day, it's "Happy Father's Day, You Old Goof." and the like, all described as humorous. Check the difference at the card rack next year. THE REDEMPTION. -j. ..aii irt of a ioke. the guv who occupies the bathroom, falls asleep m front of the television, mows the yard or can t fix the car. He usually pictured as wearing plaid pants with striped shirts. . . Mom, on the other hand, is seen as nurturing, youngsters into handsome or beautiful adults, the one with a shoulder to lean on and the like. Besides, they all are good cooks and bake wonderful cakes. t, , Remembering all that, thoughts went back to when we used to shop for Father's Day, buying Old Spice, some unlikely brand of pipe tobacco that would never get near a match or maybe a yard tool or something. Never did take him to supper, or fix breakfast in bed or buy a mushy card. Now, decades later, Dad's unfortunately living alone, missing my mother like we all do, and many of the things that were troubling or funny or aggravating then aren't really that way anymore. The first words of my own I ever saw in newspaper type, when I was 14, came because he encouraged, prodded and criticized. The first articles I had published elsewhere, he encouraged. The first car I drove, he was sitting at my right When I bombed out in the 60s, and then beat the draft by enlisting, he reminded me where home was, and that the door was never locked When I had to see Stan Musial play baseball, he drove to St. Louis. When I plunged out to build a house, or take a job at a big city newspaper, or lately make other seemingly startling changes in my life, he was quietly but steadily there. He'd be leaning back in a worn-out recliner, still smoking way too many cigarettes but still listening, talking when he needed to and letting me figure things out Of course, when all those years ago or later things were happening, I was sure (as only a kid can be) that I was the one pulling all this or that off It was all done without anyone else, thank you. Now, as he's winding down a productive, eventful and fulfilling life, full of the usual ups and downs of normal living, 1 think about those "dad jokes" and the casual way we always looked at him as just "old dad." And now I wish we hadnt McVeigh makes some minds change By Rowland Nethaway Cox News Service WACO, Texas To my surprise, the Timothy McVeigh trial has convinced me that I could support the death penalty. Capital punishment has never been one of my hot button issues. Still, when asked my opinion or moved to write about it, I have for years come out against the government killing someone after that person no longer represents a I threat to society. .- ,.r--,f ,. i ,.:tt;. '" i While : I have opposed capital punishment, I ' have not opposed the state securing a sizable dollop of retribution (something administered or exacted in recompense) for certain crimes. In my opinion, criminals should do more to pay their debt to society than mark time watching soap operas, pumping iron, shooting baskets and filing lawsuits over the quality of their meals and living conditions. There is no constitutional reason that I can see why prisoners should not be required to work from sunup to sundown, just the same as America's farmers. I see no constitutional reason why prisoners cannot be required to sleep in tents or even on ground cloths in all sorts of weather, just the same as America's fighting forces. Prison should be hard. As least hard enough that prisoners will do everything in their power to make sure they never return. Not enough criminals worry about being caught and sent to prison. Too few prisoners fear returning to prison. Some criminals find prison a more comfortable lifestyle than that of the law-abiding taxpayers who pay for their upkeep. My opposition to capital punishment has not been based on religious beliefs. I could reach over next to my desk and pick out passages from the Bible and the Koran to justify either supporting or opposing capital punishment Although I understand and respect the moral and religious positions taken by people who oppose the taking of human life under all circumstances, I do not share those beliefs. It's not the killing that has caused me to oppose the death penalty. I am not a pacifist when it comes to defending this country. And I would not hesitate to kill someone to defend my life or the lives of my loved ones. While the evidence appears clear that capital punishment is not a deterrent to others, it sure as heck deters the person executed from committing additional outrages against society. There is a good argument that poor people and minorities receive the disproportionate brunt of capital punishment While that's true, it's also true up and down the entire criminal justice system from violations of leash laws to homicide. Rich people, like O J. Simpson, can get away with murder. I have opposed the death penalty because human beings are fallible and death is irreversible. Should sloppy or malicious work by police and prosecutors combined with lazy or incompetent work by defense lawyers lead to the arrest conviction and execution of the wrong person, there's no way to correct the injustice And while this sort of mistake is unlikely, it's also unrealistic to think that sentencing innocent people to death nevjer occurs. I'm sure these figures are disputed, but I have read that in the 21 years since the reinstatement of the death penalty that 63 death row inmates have been freed after new evidence confirmed their innocence. The US. Constitution and the Bill of Rights emphasize the need to protect against the malicious or mistaken prosecution of innocent citizens. So why would I support the death penalty for Timothy McVeigh? Because I am completely convinced that this guy did it I didnt realize it but in certain cases, such as this one, I could vote for the death penalty But I also could support life in prison if I knew McVeigh could never be released and would have to work his butt off from sunrise to sunstt for the rest of his life. Ritwland Nethaivay is senior editor of the Waco (Texas) Tribune Herald. Thompson's changing political fortunes (ISSN 084569) MAM M? era Syi. JJ mti xd Utar Or, by CanwMti UIMaCg.t.nhm.aam( Mm. JBJMWHsftw 46VU12. m Hmmm m. 1-ejMSM7arrioipoMaanemdPi CMC SJMcrtot r Br c emfmr V SO tar on n. C2 tar taw ma. 13 7f tor no B7 tor M WASHINGTON Sen. Fred Thompson's path to political stardom is crumbling as his probe of campaign finance scandals deteriorates under the weight of legal and political conflicts, intense partisanship, stonewalling by witnesses and a lack of startling new evidence. The Tennessee Republican, chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, has consistently promised an investigation handled in a fair-minded, nonpartisan way to find abuses wherever they have occurred It is very much in his interest to do so. His prospects for the presidential nomination are likely to depend on whether he is viewed as conducting hearings in the mold of attack dog Sea Alfonse D'Amato or judicial wise man Sen. SamErvin. But so far Thompson is saying one thing and doing another. He is pursuing only Democrats, although there is evidence that Republicans too sold their political souls for campaign money from whatever sources they could find. The goal of the probe seems to have more to do with crippling the Democrats' fund-raising ability in next year's congressional elections than building a case for nonpartisan campaign finance reform. Thompson has argued that Democratic abuses require his priority because they threatened the political system with potential foreign influence on national policy. But the one-party argument evaporated last week with documents given the Senate indicating that former GOP chairman Haley Barbour might have dangled goodies to a Hong Kong tycoon in return for forgiving a $2.2 million loan to a GOP think tank. Surprise! The Democrats weren't alone in inventing some dastardly new way to raise money after alL Neither party comes to the campaign financing muddle with clean hands. The only difference," a Democrat snorts, "is that the Republicans did it better than we did They raised more money" As chairman, Thompson controls the issuance of subpoenas. He continues to send out by the handful subpoenas related to Democratic fund-raising practices, 142 at last count By Marianne Means Hearst Newspapers But when the Democrats asked for 43 subpoenas to look into suspect GOP practices, Thompson granted only 18. He sent six investigators to Asia at an estimated cost of $50,000 to try to track down foreign contributors to the Clinton campaign, although no major figure involved had agreed in advance to meet with them and US. subpoenas have no force there. When Sen. John Glenn, the committee's ranking minority member, protested that the Republican National Committee was stonewalling a committee subpoena for its records, Thompson said only that he would send a letter demanding compliance if a similar letter co-signed by Glenn also went to the Democratic National Committee. The DNC, however, has produced 57 boxes of documents. The RNC has produced only four. They are stiffing us they are not sending any of their documents," Glenn huffed recently, noting that even those papers produced had whole sections deleted For their part, Thompson's allies retort that they havent gotten all the material they requested either. Bipartisan cries of "sham", "conspiracy" and "insult" fill the air. Relations between Thompson and Glenn are tense. Thompson does not consult with Glenn about the course of the probe and provides only the minimum information required by law The two met Wednesday and things got worse Glenn asked for additional subpoenas seeking more evidence from GOP fund-raising sources. Thompson refused and accused Glenn of trying to discredit the committee's work. Committee Democrats are so angry at Thompson that they are seriously considering a boycott of the hearings. Glenn views this as a last resort, but has not ruled it out It is the Democrats' ultimate weapon, but it would be a risky strategy. Walking away would label the hearings as a partisan witch hunt but also leave the Republican majority free to make wild accusations on television without fear of being countered And the Democrats might wind up looking like cry-babies unable to face their own party's wrongdoing. This turmoil has undermined the credibility of the probe and pushed the likely date of hearings well into the summer, if not the fall Since the committee is operating under a December cut-off deadline, the longer the hearings are delayed, the less likely either party will suffer any political fallout and the less likely Thompson's presidential ambitions will be boosted. Political anticipation of a grand shootout is already dribbling away. The hearings could become as boring as the interminable, incomprehensible Whitewater proceedings. How to write the editor: The Greenwood Common-wealth welcomes letters from the readers. They must be signed, with address and telephone number indicated for verification. Un-signed or anonymous letters will not be published Letters that are short and to the point have a better chance of being published Long letters may be shortened Letters should be typed, although handwritten letters when legible will not be reject- Letters should not be abusive, libelous or in bad taste. We prefer fetters that express an jnrather than letters that deal in per- JSUdtE2itor' renwood Commonwealth, P.O. Box 8050, Greenwood, Miss. 38935050 Fax number 453-2908. E-mail: mmonwealthKrospedcom.

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