A Reply to 'Dad's' Letter About Clinton

I am not the daughter of Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R) of New Jersey, author of the opinion piece "A congressman writes to his daughter about the president, morality, and telling the truth" (Oct. 19), but if I were, this is the way I might respond to his letter:

C'mon Dad, get with it! Yes, you and Mom did raise me to always use my best judgment and weigh my conscience, and it is because of that I have to reply to your letter.

Life continues to teach me important lessons. The ones I am learning from the "president's predicament" are:

1. Don't put anyone on a pedestal, even our most respected leaders, even the president of the greatest country in the world. You act like sexual misbehavior has never occurred in our leaders, or can't exist side by side with leadership qualities that our country so sorely needs.

2. Be extremely wary of simplistic thinking - for example, "lying." Telling a lie under certain circumstances can be the noblest choice. Tell me, Dad, if circumstances put you in a position where you were forced to reveal certain family secrets, even the details of your "proper" sexual relations with your wife, wouldn't you use every means possible to keep such things private?

And it is simplistic to assume that one person took advantage of another person. Age, dear father, has nothing to do with moral responsibility.

3. Then finally, Dad, with all the spiritual teaching we have received, have we not yet learned to have compassion for those who misstep? Isn't it time to consider what can be done to help heal and lead a human being to a better, more effective public career and personal life?

I am concerned, Dad, about what is happening in Washington. I think the political climate needs a moral cleansing so that "public service" ceases to be a license for a public flogging.

You don't need to worry about me, simply because I do not rise in anger to proclaim my moral indignation at our president's behavior. Be assured that my stance does not reflect at all upon my own moral rectitude.

Earlene Asher

Payson, Ariz.

Avoiding home product 'drugs'

The opinion piece "Home Product 'Drug' Problem" (Oct. 22) makes it sound as if we don't have a choice about letting a flood of harmful chemicals enter our homes and workplaces, but we do. Since the first Earth Day in 1970 began to strengthen our awareness of pollution in the environment, natural substitutes for many of these chemicals have been developed. Check them out at your local health food market. There are many others, old standbys such as vinegar and baking soda that have been used safely and effectively by our great-grandparents.

It takes persistence to break the habit of going for products that have bells and whistles. We have chosen to vote at the checkout of the supermarket for a healthy house and not get hooked in fancy packaging and incessant advertising.

We are gradually weaning ourselves away from substances that can become addictive to youthful experimenters and harmful to our planet and its people.

Betty Neville Michelozzi

Corralitos, Calif.

Falling forward?

Re: "A Reason to Look Forward to Falling Back" (Oct. 15). Looking forward to leaving daylight saving time? No way! I always dread going back to standard time. I just cannot stand it getting dark early. I think, instead of "fall back," there should be the alliteration "fall forward." I would rather have it dark in the morning and light later. I always thought they (the government) did it backward. I think the clocks should be turned ahead, not back, in October.

Michael Kuhn

Gloucester City, NJ

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