The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 6, 1997 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Salina, Kansas
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Tuesday, May 6, 1997
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TUESDAY, MAY 6, 1997 THE SAUNA JOURNAL 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: SJLetters® saljournal.com Quote of the day "I/military commanders cannot honor the code they have sworn to uphold in matters relating to hormonal surges, this nation will be in one hell of a hind when the fire and steel begin exploding around them." Tommy Denton The Forth Worth Star-Telegram, on sex scandals in the military. OPINION By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salinn Journal They are but shadows THE ISSUE lite federal budget deal THE ARGUMENT It is a giant work of fiction, but that's OK F ar be it from us to suggest that the president and Congress have actually done what was suggested to them in this space a year and a half ago. But. The budget deal agreed to with great fanfare by President Clinton and Republican congressional leaders last week is a work of fiction. Everyone involved knows it. We should, too. We should hope our leaders should just sign on the dotted line and move on to something really important. Any budget deal that purports to say what the government's income and outgo will be five years hence, as this deal claims to do, is 100 percent bogus. That means the entire fight over whether and how to balance the budget by that year is also 100 percent bogus. So much of the federal budget is dependent on other things, things that even the mighty federal government has absolutely no control over, that to claim we know what we will spend and what we will take in next year, much less in the year 2002, is a pipe dream. We don't know what the unemployment rate will be, what the price of gasoline will be or what will be going on with inflation. We don't know whether there will be drought in the Midwest, floods in California, or both. And we sure don't know what Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve Board will be up to. But this budget deal makes scads of assumptions about all of those things, assumptions that simply cannot be more than an educated guess, even for the most educated. The final deal was only struck when officials discovered that the current enconomic boom left a lot of extra money to bolster Social Security. So leaders of both parties simply decided to assume, for good political reasons but bad mathematical ones, that that money train would continue. But the political reality is that this was a fight that had to be settled before the people who beaver away each day in the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget could get any real work done. So Bill Clinton, Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich had their staff members bash away at various spread sheets and ideas until they came up with one collection they could all agree to. They did exactly what was proposed in this space on Dec. 9,1995. Following advice offered during the Vietnam War, they declared victory and went home. Well, they are not home yet. But at least our leaders have realized that, because we cannot know that any deal will really balance the budget by 2002, we also cannot know that it will not balance it. Let us close this play as Shakespeare closed one of his, by noting that these budget numbers, over which so many people have fought so hard and so long, are but shadows. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL SJLetters@saljournal.com Trains block traffic at the worst times I feel compelled to write my opinion and experiences, and that of others, about the railroad tracks on North Ohio. The problem is not the tracks themselves, but the time of day trains run, stopping traffic for blocks. The times are approximately 7:45 to 8:05 a.m. and during the noon hour. My co-workers and I are delayed by them often. Several times a week we are late for work in the morning and leaving for lunch. Many are constantly complaining about the tracks. Why at those times? Most have to be at work at or before 8 a.m., and most people break for lunch at the noon hour. One can sit there for 20 minutes, while the train moves forward, stops, and then backs up. Also while going to class ip Solomon at night, the train has delayed the teacher and several students. The city of Salina might think about an overpass or under- PJISS there instead of another exit into south Salina off 1-135. I hope this letter stimulates some problem solving for the scheduling of trains. Everyone thinks there can be a solution or something can be worked on if it is brought to the attention of someone who can address the problem and carry forth and answer for the citizens of Salina. — ANGIE BALFA Salina P.O. Box 740, Salina, KS 67402 Some beautiful trees were lost to 'progress' For those of us who still have a small concern for the environment and nature's beauty in and around the city, I witnessed something in south Salina which was uncomfortable and disturbing to me. I was driving north on Ninth Street, right where the old drive- in move theater used to be, and where the earthmovers and the Caterpillars have already made room for the new left-bearing bend of Belmont Boulevard onto the south end of Ninth Street, the service road west of that and the two new businesses going in there. Just as I was driving past the area where the few, probably six or seven, beautiful, landmark firs and evergreens were still remaining, I viewed the Caterpillars, graders and earth shovels removing them and destroying them without hope for relocation or transplantation. Large fii; trees and large evergreen trees that provide nutrients for the soil, are pleasing to the eye, and provide photosynthesis — the production of oxygen — for our air. These wonderful, distinctive, essential members of our natural world are now a total loss to progress and construction. -- DEREK HAHN Salina UNTO \ N GOLLY— I NEVE* HEAKP OF COMPULSORY V/OLUNTEEKISM T ON MY MIND I am always part of a family of eight How to create new families for those who lost them, or who never had one? O n my seventh birthday, my sister Elizabeth gave me a book, as she had on my sixth. On the flyleaf she wrote "I love you." I rushed off to show it to my parents and to the others in their bouquet of daughters, Bess, Rose, Ruth and Anne. After I gobbled it up, I put the book among those the girls had collected with money they had earned, because although this book was mine, it was also * part of the family. Books, work and I love you — family. A lifetime later, on another birthday, I am still a member of that family of two parents, five daughters and a son, the youngest. Death could not destroy that family. My father died when I was nearing 13. My mother and my sisters kept the family together, but something important The New York Times helped. 4-— In that working-class neighborhood in the Bronx everybody had a family. In the cluster of apartment buildings, in school, on the street, in the park, families. So even with my father gone, I felt part of a whole universe of families, bereft but not outside. Bess died. Then Elizabeth, and Ruth. All died in the fullness of their young adulthood. Later, Anne and my mother, Sarah. She would T UNCOMMON SENSE A.M. ROSENTHAL no longer have to bury her children. The living family became only Rose, everlastingly so bright, and me, just two of us. But to me she is still part of that bouquet. And I know that we are part of a family that is not two alone but eight together. That is not metaphysical but reality — not only our memories but the way we two think and act, what we have become, are all connected to that family, not as something that was but is, five daughters, one son, two parents. My mind today is full of the other six members of that family. But I think too about the fearful thing that has been happening in America, the destruction of so many families, and about children who never had a family at all. How can that be? I feel personal terror. What would have become of me if I had not had the love, protection and rudder of a family? How can a society survive if it allows the destruction, or postulates the non-existence in the future, of families of parents and children, the units around which all other social units have been built? It cannot — other than as a cold void. So can we save family for those who have it only in remnant? Create it for those who have it not at all? Provide it for children yet unborn, so they do not emerge into the darkness of knowing only aloneness and the ultimate poverty of the absence of love? I do not know how, nor anybody who does. But to give up searching for ways is not within the right of anybody who ever has known the family love and sustenance that lives beyond death. That is what Colin Powell is saying, I believe. And that is why, although I think more promotion should await more results, the campaign for volunteerism and mentoring of children who need it should be supported in full heart. And I hope he accepts in full heart the warnings of Mario Cuomo that volunteerism must not become an excuse for snatching away government support to children in need or drifting away. '•; ' I do not for a minute think that voluri-' teerism itself gives us the answer but that'we must accept a number of ways — sophisticated government help plus volunteerism, not either/or. And we will have to look carefully into what we have supported in the past. For instance, those of us who accepted sex; education for birth and disease control must now examine, in a hurry, any evidence that sex education is becoming sex instruction, so vivid that it leads to more family-destroying' teen-age pregnancies, not fewer. ';; • Read Chapter Five of "The Assault on Parenthood" by Dana Mack (Simon and Schuster) and decide whether you want your kinder-' gartener to be taught how nice it feels when a penis is inserted in a vagina or a high school" student taught details of how to prolong inter'-" course, whoever is on top. This is birth cori ;> trol? How do these kids go on to the next class? Specialists instruct us that children must be taught the importance of education and the' need to work. Strange, I cannot remember my; mother or father "teaching" that. Living "as 1 ; family, we all just understood it, the eight of us — and we all still do. •"""" Recalling the love that shaped my life Mother kept the home fires burning, but would not have been a good editor M other's Day this year will be the first I have spent without my mother, who died April 24 at age 84. When Andrew Jackson's mother died, he wrote, "There never was a woman like her. She was gentle as a dove and $ brave as a lioness.... The memory of my mother and her teachings were, after all, the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way." The same could be said of my mother. Mothers today are regarded, at least by popular culture, as more biological beings than builders or sustainers of homes. My mother had not worked as an employee for six decades, but the obituary writer in one newspaper called * her a "secretary" because she briefly held such a job in the 1930s before meeting and marrying my Dad. Why isn't making a home more highly regarded? She made our home and, as a friend said, she expressed a love that shaped my life. Mom and I "kept the home fires burning" while Dad was CAL THOMAS Los Angeles Times Syndicate away during World War II. Like many families, we gave him something to look forward to when he came home. Unlike some, we were fortunate that he did come home. Before career women hogged the spotlight and eclipsed homemakers, before radical feminism reduced men to wimps and reduced women to "equality" with men (not to be confused with equal pay, equal treatment and justice), before day-care centers and two-income families (some of necessity, others to maintain the pace of conspicuous consumption), before "no-fault" divorce, before Cosmopolitan magazine's preoccupation with orgasms and affairs as the supposed primary concern of all women ... before all this, there was a type of woman known as a Lady. My mother was a Lady. She wasn't stuck-up, as are "the ladies who lunch" in Stephen Sondheim's song. Her doctor called her "stately," which is exactly right. It means she had dignity, acquired through a good upbringing modeled by her parents, and enhanced by a philosophy and later a faith she voluntarily practiced through much of her adult life. There were rules of conduct then. It was widely believed they should be followed to produce the happiest possible life. Though some women did not follow them (or some men either), the culture mostly affirmed them. Like democracy, they were considered better than anything else that had been tried. Such love and rules were passed on to me by a woman DOONESBURY who was married to one man for 46 years. Mom was a great encourager, calling herself in a note to me, "your biggest fan." She read' every column and pronounced them all "wdn : derful." She would not have been a good etii- 1 tor! •";I am blessed to have no regrets about our relationship. I told her in word and deed how much I loved her and what she meant to me. She taught me something about love. My younger brother is mentally retarded and she heaped an equal amount of love on him, not regarding him as less valuable because he was less "perfect" or less accomplished than me. So ' much for those who believe the length of a re-' sume is more important than the size of a heart. The character "Andrew," who is the Angel of Death on the popular CBS show "Touched By An Angel," has said that while "death'is nothing to fear, it is something to prepare for." Mom was prepared to meet her God and I give her back to Him with regret for losing her for a time, but rejoice that she is in the presence of my father, her father and our Father.' No life could be more appreciated. No life has shaped mine more than hers. And, as C.S.Lewis is reported to have said to a friend of mine, "Christians never have to say 'goodbye'." ";• Thank you, Barbara Elizabeth Thomas, and : thank you, God, for her and for giving her the' peace and joy for which all of us yearn, By G.B. TRUDEAU 7H& POOP! THE WHO& TWN& Uf& JUST SO CA&FUUYW 5-6 PIP7HPPO- uce awe \\ GOT/WAY. FOR THAT W&APFUL COUPL&? . -

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