Letters

T.J. Callahan is absolutely correct. Lesbian and gay persons do want equal opportunity for life insurance, health insurance, job security, benefits, and estate upon death - just like he and every other citizen already enjoys. That's all we want - equal rights.

We don't understand why we are routinely deprived of these basic rights. We pay taxes just like T.J. Callahan. We vote, we work, we try to be good citizens just like T.J. Callahan. The rights we want don't deprive anyone of any basic freedoms, except of course the freedom to deprive others of their rights.

I'm sure T.J. Callahan understands that as long as his "silent majority" deprives lesbians and gays of their rights, it can also deprive women of their right of choice, Jews of their right to practice their religion, or Afro-Americans of their right to vote. These deprivations were once legal, and now the rights of these minorities are quite properly protected by law. But the rights of women, Jews, Afro-Americans - in fact, of any minority - are only secure if the rights of all are equally protected. If the majority can take away the rights of one minority, it can take away the rights of any minority.

I'm sure that even T.J. Callahan, with his deep faith in the American family, understands this and supports equal rights for all, and not just for the few he may personally approve of.

Gregory A. Baldwin, chair
Dade Action PAC

ROBERT AND GOLIATH
Regarding "A 4-Gone Conclusion" (September 11): When you're small in number and short on valid arguments, the best way to attract attention is to go after the biggest, most visible target available. That's just what some so-called disability rights activists have done in attacking the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Labor Day telethon and its star, Jerry Lewis.

A very small but very vocal group of people has gained a great deal of publicity recently by making baseless and, in some cases, ridiculous charges against MDA and Jerry Lewis, the association's national chairman. Until now, we've chosen not to lend unwarranted credibility to these people with a response. We waited for the American people to demonstrate their faith in MDA and their belief in what we're doing. They did that magnificently over the Labor Day weekend, pledging a record $45.1 million.

While we have always supported equality for people with disabilities, our focus must remain on defeating the 40 neuromuscular diseases covered by our programs, and providing those we serve with the basic equipment and services they need in their daily lives.

Of course it's easy for people with disabling conditions that don't cut short their lives to argue that money spent on research seeking treatments and cures is a waste, and more resources should be diverted to promoting equal opportunity for those with disabilities. They might sing a different tune if they were among those people facing a path of slow physical deterioration ending in death, or if their children faced such a fate. There are many people alive today because of the advances made by MDA-supported researchers. I'm sure they don't consider MDA's efforts a waste of time or money.

Some of those protesting this year's show should have been watching it instead. In 21« hours, it presented those served by MDA in a positive, dignified light. At the same time, it showed the reality of the situations they face and just how devastating neuromuscular diseases can be.

Many of these people have the opportunity to lead productive lives because of the efforts of Jerry Lewis and MDA. Many simply have the opportunity to live because of MDA and the great humanitarian who heads it.

Robert Ross
MDA vice president and executive director

DOUBLE WHOPPER
Three cheers for Weston Kosova's article "Whoppers!" (September 4). It is indeed shameful that the 41st president of the United States is able to continually propogate such subterfuge on the American people.

Something that I think sheds some light on this (the true disingenuous nature of the president's character) occurred a couple of years ago during an interview he gave with NBC sports personality Marv Albert before a Game of the Week broadcast. Albert was talking to the president about his days as a Yale University first baseman in the Forties, and about his acceptance of Babe Ruth's memorabilia for the Yale library collection. Eventually the conversation turned to the president's throwing out the first ball before a game at the Houston Astrodome. The pregame ceremonies were also to include the honoring of two local Little Leaguers (a boy and a girl) who were supposed to walk out before the president, joining him on the mound for the ceremonial first pitch. Since it was an election year (1988), and Bush was concerned about receiving a chorus of "boos" from the fans at the game, he decided to have the two kids walk out with him instead of before him. The president hypothesized that while people might deride a politician, nobody could possibly jeer a couple of kids.

At this point in the interview, NBC cut to the videotape of the event and sure enough, there was the president, walking hand-in-hand with the two kids, with nary a ridicule to be heard. The video then cuts out and we are returned to a positively gleeful George Bush (in all his cunning glory) explaining to Albert what a "great ruse" this move was and how it was "absolutely brilliant." The president of the United States was veritably proud of such a deception!

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