Jimmy Carter for UN Secretary-General?

The author of the opinion-page column "Someone Democrats Are Overlooking," July 30, is not the only one who is hoping for a big future for Jimmy Carter. His greatest and strongest attribute is his interest in human rights as a primary motive in human relations. The choice of a United Nations secretary-general is coming up sooner than the next US presidential election, and I hope he is chosen for that post.Carter's achievements in Camp David surely indicate his abilities to the world and the current 1980 hostage-release questions will tell people that he would have been reelected if all the facts had been known then. Inga Thompson, Minneapolis

Thank you for this light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel column. Jimmy Carter would be the perfect antidote to combat the unbelievable skulduggery rampant in our government today. By actively participating in building homes for the poor and disadvantaged, he is setting an example unheard of in the scheme of today's politics. His modesty, his open, honest friendliness, and his sincere desire for peace are unique qualities that should be recognized and honored. Are we ready for such a change? Are there sufficient numbers among us, the constituency, who are thoroughly fed up with the current goings-on? I'd like to think so! Edith C. Smith, Erwinna, Pa.

Alice Walker's merits The editorial "Black Concerns and the White House," July 26, shows every evidence of suffering from the same shortsighted, intolerant orthodoxies about which President Bush expressed concern in his University of Michigan speech. To be specific, it refers to the administration's championing of Carol Iannone as a member of an advisory panel of the National Endowment for the Humanities as a questionable decision related to civil rights and race because she attacked the literary merits of Alice Walker. While I have not read Ms. Iannone's comments about Ms. Walker's writing, I recently tried reading Walker's "The Temple of My Familiar." I read only two-thirds of the book. My inability to finish it had nothing to do with the race of t he writer or that of her characters, but rather with a lack of discipline. What she needed was a strong editor to send her back to her word processor and cut out the overgrowth until she was down to one carefully honed piece of fiction. But perhaps Walker's editor was afraid of being charged with being politically incorrect and racist if he or she tried imposing discipline on an out-of-control talent. At least Iannone did not let herself fall prey to such fears. Carol Stoddart, St. Paul, Minn.

The politics of gun control The article "Assault Weapons Ban Expected," July 22, is a good example of the influence a zealous interest group can have in our country. The article states that the average household has two guns, but it doesn't seem that there are many householders out there feuding or pillaging despite the dramatic headlines. What is probably closer to the truth is that our politicians do not know what to do with the criminal minority using weapons, and so have turned their focus on the weapons themselves. The end result of this thought-free solution will be that the criminals will continue to get a free ride and the solution-impoverished politicians will get free publicity from the media. Howard Brandston, New York

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