If it doesn't work, try something else

American society tends toward fragmentation: If an organization (such as the UN) or a relationship (such as a marriage) does not serve our own needs totally, we tend to leave, looking for something we like better. Steve Charnovitz's piece ``A union of democracies'' (Aug. 5) illustrates this tendency. In the face of some dissatisfaction with the United Nations, he suggests we form another organization that would be totally satisfactory from the Western viewpoint.

How this would bridge cultural and political systems, he does not address. I suggest Mr. Charnovitz's ``union of democracies'' would emphasize division in a world that needs healing -- not division. James L. Caplinger, President Unity College, Unity, Maine Visual media and `talk-back'

I believe I have seen all of Ted Koppel's ``Viewpoint'' programs -- ``TV news: Network executives talk about the `op-ed' issue,'' Aug. 8 -- which are the only crumbs offered viewers that have an actual ``talk-back'' and dialogue with this powerful, influential body.

And yet, is it really that? The programs are formulated and crafted by the network (ABC). The panel and guests are chosen by it. The subject has been handpicked by it. And the programs are hosted/moderated by one of its employees. He has the opening remarks, and to him belongs the advantage of the summarization, which most often turns into a self-congratulatory rationalization of the whole evening.

And this they label magnanimity!

Every time I watch ``Viewpoint'' I realize that if the bigwigs of commercial television really meant to be fair, that hour or hour and a half dangled before us four or five times a year would be created, produced, managed (with appropriate network guidelines), and moderated by a qualified viewer(s). This would bestow a lot of credibility and resonance to the visual media's contention that they offer meaningful talk-back. Shirley Selby Escondido, Calif. `The third generation'

Louise Sweeney's story ``The Kennedys -- the third generation'' was interesting and inspiring [Aug. 13]. John and Robert Kennedy would be very proud of [their children]. The [third-generation] Kennedys should give talks in elementary and high schools on the work they are doing. They could be an inspiration to motivate young people to contribute to society, and I am sure teachers would welcome them. Rae Morrock Brooklyn, N.Y.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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