Clinton and Kennedy: Facing Different Risks

I enjoyed the editorial "Facing History" (July 30), and I agree that President Clinton should have kept his promise to explain his relationship with Monica Lewinsky "sooner rather than later."

However, I cannot agree with your analogy of this situation with the Bay of Pigs fiasco. While John F. Kennedy rightly admitted to a mistake in the Bay of Pigs invasion, for Clinton to admit a relationship, which would ultimately mean that he had committed perjury in previous testimony, could mean the end of his presidency. Since perjury is a felony and convicted felons are not permitted to run for public office, he would no longer be "qualified" to be president. Also, for him to admit a "mistake" at this point would be the ultimate insult to the American people. Perjury, suborning perjury, and obstruction of justice are not mistakes.

It is important for President Clinton to be honest and tell the American people, and the independent counsel, the truth. But to call years of "spin" a mistake is ludicrous.

Bill Starr

Kirtland, Ohio

Giving the arts due respect

[Re] the education article "Giving Arts an Audience" (July 28), the belief that arts are not a serious profession is a major cause of the lack of financial and social support for these subjects. As a result, they are not considered an important part of the basic curriculum. Arts have been thought of as an extracurricular or enrichment activity and not as a core subject.

I am entering my second year at Sweet Briar College in Virginia this fall; my double major consists of math/computer science and music. It was only after a second semester of music lessons coupled with a visual art class (both utilized a "discipline-based" education discussed in the article) and serious study that I realized that I wanted to add music as a major. At my college, it is taken as a serious subject - contrary to my high school experience.

Arts at my high school were not given this importance. Arts classes were considered easy and fun, not a career choice. Serious arts students had no other choice but to seek out private teachers.

Educators wish to include the arts to supplement learning in other subjects. However, isn't it logical that one should learn a subject with the purpose of pursuing it as a career and applying it? Why does this logic, commonly accepted with "the basics," differ [for] the arts?

Amy Tabb

Charles Town, W.Va.

Getting Americans to vote

In response to several recent articles, voting isn't going to be meaningful until the majority participate.

What a fantastic idea for the various US media to make a campaign that promotes voting. Let the media donate both funds and ad space, and even compete with each other for clever promotions. But provide serious reasons to vote. As the opinion piece "Media Power and the Vote" (July 28) suggests, millions have died for the freedoms we enjoy. It is time to take those freedoms back from the buyers and sellers of candidates.

And the editorial "Two Sides, Same Coin" (July 28) hits the real problem. People believe that political candidates are already bought and paid for and their vote won't make any difference.

People don't trust commercials, so money would better be diverted to debates and interviews instead of the advertising considered so insincere. The media could help push campaigns toward issues. Then we could take some pride in believing that democracy works because people voted for their concerns.

Grace Braley

Yonkers, N.Y.

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