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Feminist Gentlepersons

Riding to the rescue of the single military mom. Plus: Chasing after Hunt. Sports. Democrats. Clinton tape measures. One last gamble on Bennett. And more.

5.22.03

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HUNT COUNTRY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Mr. Hunt's Political Chase:

Mr. Tyrrell's column does an excellent job of analyzing Mr. Hunt's problem, a common one shared by many on the left. They are frustrated to the point of distraction, about their inability to get the American people to join lock-step with the "true believers" led by the Hunts, Raines, Clintons, ad nauseam, and see the "light."

I believe that Al has "gone around the bend" caused, in large part by being the "token liberal" that few people read and even fewer take seriously. Mr. Tyrrell begins the column asking "...what might be prescribed for him." This is a question I have asked both myself and the Journal, but I've phrased it as; "So when does Al retire?"
-- Tim Reed
Denver, CO

About five years ago, I sent Mr. Peter Kann (CEO Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal) a gift subscription to Investors Business Daily. My note advised Mr. Kann that he would like IBD better than WSJ because Al Hunt was not on any of the pages of IBD. Mr. Kann never acknowledged my gift.
-Jack Hughes
Chicago, IL

MALING IT IN
Re: Reid Collins's A Bridge Too Far:

I just finished reading "A Bridge Too Far" and want to ask: Is Mr. Collins aware that this is the 21st century? His article is horribly illogical and seems like something that should have been written back in the '50s.

Mr. Collins speaks about the problems of children being left motherless if their mom is called into active duty in the military and is killed in action. While this is very true and very tragic, it is not exclusively a problem for women. What about single fathers who leave children behind? They must also find someone to take care of their children. Perhaps there is a mother that is alive and in the picture, and perhaps there is not. Mr. Reid does not even discuss this possibility, except in his last line where he states that it is better for men to leave children orphaned than for women.

Perhaps a better argument could have been made for removing all single-parents from the military. That would at least have made for a consistent argument.

Mr. Collins should also be ashamed of using the example of an abused child in Texas to advance his position. Is he really suggesting that this incident happened because the mom was called into duty, and not because the grandmother had some sort of dysfunction? What about other single parents who have left their children with grandparents? Did the grandparents in general abuse the grandchildren? What about men who left their children with the mother and the mother subsequently abused the child? Mr. Reid doesn't even discuss these possibilities.

The fact is, this was one isolated incident. It's like saying that we should take away the children of all women who are suffering from postpartum depression because one or two have killed their children. One person's pain and dysfunction should not be used to brand an entire group of people. Unfortunately, Mr. Reid plays directly into a stereotype that has not done the children of this country any great favors. He believes that the place of a mother is with her children, and a child's need for his father is insignificant. This myth disparages the contributions that a woman can make to the workplace, the impact that a man can make to the home, and the need of a child for both of its parents.
-- Paul Heer
Saint Louis, Missouri

I am a man that finds Reid Collins' argument sexist. As long as women are expected to be breadwinners it isn't fair to bar them from a career of their own choosing. Many people, men and women, use the military as an opportunity to get away from a bunch a dead-end choices.

Does a woman in the military stand a better chance of dying in combat or in a car accident? People die, and responsible parents (including women) make plans and write wills in case the unexpected happens. The idea that a widow raising children alone is less tragic than a widower raising children alone doesn't sit well with me.

Your example of Spc. Moore is as specious as any I've ever seen. If Spc. Moore was a man or a professional who had to attend a conference the same tragedy could have occurred, but then it wouldn't be news.

Your use of the phrase "her proper place" also bothers me. There was a time when the proper place of a woman included variations on three roles: mother, maid, and prostitute. I think reducing a woman's choices will end up pushing her into only those roles again. This is the goal of the sexist.

The military has changed during the last 30 years or so since it became an all-volunteer force. It changed a lot and people who are not serving in the service may not realize just how big a change it is. The military is where you can serve your country, earn a paycheck, and be promoted on your own merit.

So before you begin arguing about whether there should be women in the military tell me about your own service in uniform. Then tell me that women don't understand Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty; this is the heart of true military service.
-- Jeffrey Ring
Pasadena, MD

Mr. Collins' comments in his article on mothers in the military may seem to be sexist, but as a woman, I agree with them.

It really has nothing to do with size and strength in combat or ability to fight when needed, it has to do with what children and their mothers need from one another.

The emphasis has been on the children as it should be, they are the vulnerable ones, the ones who have no control over their own lives. They can only trust their parents or in some cases, only their mothers/fathers to do what they see as best for the family.

I have read in different columns or papers that many single mothers join the military in order to attain a training that will lift them to a better job situation, better paying and more stable, and in this way be a better financial support for her children. I understand if a woman becomes a single parent while in the military there are benefits set up to help her with her situation. These are positive steps, and a woman is to be respected for doing the hard work needed in the military while raising children on her own.

It is tough, no doubt about that. I was not a single mother when my children were small, but my husband was away so much, I could be seen as single as I did most of the raising of my children, and later as a real single parent when they were teenagers.

I do not believe women who are single parents should be sent to places like Iraq, it has been seen that no matter how it may be set up for safety for them, horrible accidents can occur. I really thought about them, trying to understand how they must feel, leaving their children in the care of someone else no matter how wonderful they might be. The case mentioned in the article is a rare happening I am sure, and I cannot even imagine how painful it is for the entire family.

Why is it different than losing a dad? In the best of all possible worlds there would be a strong mother to raise the children. If there is no one, what happens to the children? It could be argued that an accident at home could cause the death of a single mother, and of course, that is true. In fact this thought is one that haunts single parents, what if something happens to me? What will happen to my children? It is a wonderful day when they are all educated and on their way to independence, that fear is now erased.

I am being tough here, but I truly believe that one person, one absolutely dedicated person can be enough to raise children well. One person to believe in them, to support them, to be strong enough to handle the teenage years. This person may have to work two jobs sometimes, be so tired that he/she wants to quit the parent game, but to leave is the last thing he/she would do.

Just one person, the person who loves you and wants the best for you and will always be your parent. I think it must be a very, very difficult thing for these mothers to go to war, to leave their babies and miss some milestones of their children's growth. I respect them for having the strength, but wonder if it is wise, as the fact is, you are the ONE, the rock, the one who knows them best, the ones who understand when you are cranky you are just hungry or you are a pouter and should be ignored.

I am not being judgmental, just honest and I cannot say what I would do under the same circumstances, and the last thing I want to do is create guilt as single parents have enough of that at times. But, if it is possible to leave the women home with their children, I think all would benefit. It has nothing to do with woman's rights. The right to go to war has been won, now it is time to evaluate the consequences, and help moms to stay home while getting a training that will benefit all the family in the long run. It is a win-win situation, the forces get well trained woman and the woman can stay at home with her children, who I know will benefit from this.

Well, easy to say, hard to do, what is the answer? I know one thing for sure, women do not have to prove anything to anyone as they show their strength in single parenthood each and every day, and are willing to work hard to provide for their children. I know I was lucky because I never had to make such a decision, but have respect for the ones who do.
-- Carole Graham

GOOD SPORTS
Re: Jeremy Lott's Howelling at the Moon:

I must agree that the sports section of USA Today is far superior to that of the New York Times.. However, that ain't saying much. The NYT has a Sports section that most other major papers would be ashamed of. USA Today's is
better, but it isn't great. You want a really good Sports section? Try the Detroit Free-Press or the Miami Herald.
-- R.J. Elliott
Rob32905@msn.com

ENEMY OF THE WEEK MATERIAL
Re: James Bowman's Weapons of Mass Misunderstanding:

One of our local left-leaning (are there any other kind?) columnists (Mike Leonard, Bloomington Herald-Times) reported that the Guardian had published a report that the rescue of Jessica Lynch was all staged, like a Hollywood movie. It was reported that the hospital was empty when she was taken out by the American soldiers and that an Iraqi doctor had attempted earlier to take her to the Americans and had been fired upon. What's up with that? Please give us the straight scoop.
-- Jenny Woodward
Bloomington, IN

WORDS FAIL
Re: Lawrence Henry's Bring Back Word Power:

My phone number in Scottsbluff Nebraska, 25 years ago, was 632-3232. My phone number in Roanoke Virginia, could be spelled out like this: dice 1 up. I gave up trying to remember new area codes, zip codes and their 4 extra digits. I can say my Social Security number without too much difficulty in Arabic, Persian, Russian, Welsh, all Romance languages, Japanese, and maybe falteringly in Crow...just in case the need ever arises. I have way too much time on my hands, obviously.
-- Jewel Atkins
jmatkins@epix.net

TAPE MEASURE
Re: The Washington Prowler's Bird Dog Demagogue:

Here's another use for the duct tape Governor Ridge suggested we purchase against chemical attacks --tape Bill Clinton's mouth shut and stop his toxic rhetoric from poisoning our atmosphere. However, I guess the more he spews his blather the better for the Republicans in this country come election time 2004.
-- Cari Gravellinini
Cambridge, MA

JIFFY-LUBED JUBAIR
Re: Jed Babbin's Saudi Spinout:

Yes. The Saudis' main flack, Adel "Shifty Sands" al-Jubair, is the oiliest character on the public stage anywhere today. I'm sure the Saudi government has to send the carpet cleaners into any room the little weasel has just been in. He makes Joe Isuzu seem like the poster boy for straightforwardness by comparison.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, FL

THE PLOT THICKENS
Re: The Washington Prowler's Dean Clinton

It could be that Bill Clinton is deliberately going against the wishes of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Leadership Council when he supports Howie Dean's run for the White House. If a Democrat were to win the presidency in 2004 it would ruin Hillary's chances for a run in 2008 because she'd have to take on a Democratic incumbent. For that reason I think both Clintons will do what is necessary to prevent the Dems from winning back the White House in '04. Their tactics will not be obvious but I believe they will include sowing discontent in the ranks and exhibiting lukewarm support for whoever wins the nomination.
-- Dick Melville
Ozone Park, NY

DREAM DEMS
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Democratic Duds:

The nine Democratic candidates may indeed be angered/blinded/fooled by GWB. But they are essentially missing the core point of wanting to run for President -- expand the American Dream. In the short history of this country most of it's inhabitants has ask for the following:

• Expanding opportunity for acquiring wealth for the individual/family.
• Expanding the rights of the individual.
• Removing barriers to jobs and markets.
• Keep the government off our backs.

Americans are an ingenious lot. They know how to put food on the table and for the most part have a distaste for permanent charity. (Distinct from giving someone a short term assist.)

The candidates that support those principles have traditionally been the winner. The current crop of Dems that are running are fixated on Bush. They should be concentrating on what is a better mouse trap for the goals above than carping about a carrier deck landing.

I wish them well but if they can't help me expand my business and hire more people then why should I vote for them?
-- John McGinnis

BENNETT ROULETTE
I want to commend The American Prowler for not going into spin mode on the story about Bill Bennett's casino gambling.

When the story broke that Bennett had lost up to $8 million playing slot machines and video poker in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos, another prominent conservative website quickly began concentrating on damage control. They ran multiple prominently featured articles for a number of days, focusing on blaming the messenger and accusing the mainstream media of once again using a double standard when they report unflattering revelations about the private lives of conservatives. It's a tactic usually associated with the left: When confronted with facts you don't like, change the subject and go on the attack.

Sure the left has been unfair to Bennett, but so what? The media spin by the left and the right will ultimately have little effect on Bennett's reputation and future prospects. The reason for this is that the facts of the matter are very simple. Anyone with a minimal capacity for making value judgments can easily decide what they think about Bill Bennett losing $8 million playing slots and video poker.

What annoys me most about Bennett's gambling habits is the massive waste involved. He could have spent the money on any number of good causes, such as giving it to me. Or, as other preferable alternatives, he could have used it to buy a yacht or built for himself a Barbra Streisand-type compound with three different houses for him to live in. But instead he gives it away to that most undeserving class of people, Vegas and Atlantic City casino owners.

There is a type of compulsive gambler who gets a lot excitement from ostentatiously losing large sums of money in casinos. It demonstrates to those witnessing the act that the gamber is a big-time operator who has made his pile, and losing five, six or seven-digit sums on a few bets or pulls of the lever is a matter of small consequence. I suspect that the lure which brought Bennett back again and again was the VIP treatment from the casino operators which his spendthrift gambling earned for him.

My personal experience with playing slot machines is limited to using up $30 worth of freeby casino tokens I got from motels. I soon concluded that playing slots is the most boring alleged entertainment I have indulged in. It makes bingo seem like high drama. And to make it worse, playing slots entails hanging around crowds of the kind of people who play slot machines. Conversation, anyone?

What we now know about Bill Bennett that we didn't know before is that $8 million spent on being treated like a big shot buys him more satisfaction than $8 million spent for a yacht.
-- John Combellick
Oshkosh, WI

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