`Family Values' on the Campaign Agenda

The editorial " `Family Values'," Aug. 25, was right on target. It is ironic and troubling that those who most vociferously make pronouncements on this subject have spent their terms of office heaping huge economic burdens on the middle-class family. The misery of people on the bottom of the economic pyramid has been even more exacerbated, sometimes by ongoing benign neglect, sometimes by dismantling social programs, and sometimes by an unwillingness to understand.

Vice President Dan Quayle recently spoke on the subject of single-parent families, implying that such families are one of the causes of poverty in the United States. Such attempts to turn things upside down, while at the same time neglecting real family concerns, have served only to trivialize the "family values" issue. Values, especially those touching the family, are a society-wide responsibility and not a fit subject for politicization and demagoguery. Richard L. Allman, La Crescenta, Calif.

The Bush campaign is focusing on the issues of fiscal responsibility, military service, and family values. Being fiscally conservative means spending as little as Congress can stomach on welfare, health care, the arts, education, and the environment, while spending as much as possible on the military coupled with tax breaks for those in the upper brackets. The issue of military service seems to cut across both candidates. While President George Bush was too old to serve in the Vietnam War, some of his fa mily members were not, and the vice president chose the more comfortable option to serve in the National Guard. The meaning of "family values" is not exactly clear, but I assume it embodies that which is wholesome. The Bush family has a record of allegedly corrupt business practices. There are unresolved charges that Mr. Bush was not truthful about his role in the Iran-contra scandal.

I am not interested in the above. I want to know how each candidate will fix the economy, create jobs, care for the homeless, provide universal health care, improve education, fight crime, and protect the environment. We deserve answers and not a lot of irrelevant posturing about who is more moral, patriotic, or fiscally conservative. Charlotte Zieve, Elkhart Lake, Wis.

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