Clinton's patriotic act - not to resign

John Hughes suggests that President Clinton should resign to save the nation the travails of a Senate trial in his opinion article "The patriotic thing - to resign" (Dec. 16). On the contrary, it is the Congress which should desist from their inappropriate use of the impeachment power. Impeachment should not be used for short-term political gain or as a calculated means of punishment for personal behavior.

A president should be impeached only when a broad consensus exists that he is no longer fit to serve. The Congress is setting the precedent that a popularly elected president can be impeached by the slimmest of partisan majorities on charges unrelated to his official duties. This is a grave and long-lasting threat to the balance of constitutional powers.

Future presidents will be weakened by this usurpation of power by the legislative body. The president's most patriotic act is to continue to resist this distortion of the Constitution.

David Ahlfeld

Amherst, Mass.

John Hughes, a much respected former editor of the Monitor, has got it all wrong when he suggests that President Clinton should resign as a "healing and patriotic action." It seems he's been spending too much time talking to right-wing federal judges and to other folks who are out of touch with the American people's rejection of the efforts of a far-right Republican minority that will not rest until it imposes the president's impeachment on this country.

Of course the country would survive if Mr. Clinton resigned. That's not the issue. The real issue is to uncover and reject an ongoing coup d'etat which is using a sex scandal and subsequent quibbling on the part of the president as the anticonstitutional means to dump him.

I sincerely hoped that Clinton would not be impeached. But what better place, now, than the Senate - a more civil and more representative side of the legislature that will, hopefully, put a finger on those who would so misuse this constitutional provision as the means to emasculate this president and the wishes of the majority.

Glenn Young

San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

A threat to 'Mom and Pop' stores

"Never Closed" (Dec. 17), while balanced, failed to consider important questions about 24-hour convenience stores. Which stores are open all night and how does that affect the community they are in? By and large, the stores open 24 hours are national chains, not locally owned businesses. The money spent at these national chains flows to corporate headquarters - whereas money spent in an independent store remains in the community.

A solution: Consider Germany, where the government limits hours of legal operation so the "Tante Emma" stores ("Aunt Emma," the German equivalent of "Mom and Pop") can compete. I hope that Americans can see beyond the tips of their free-market noses and realize how harmful 24-hour "convenience" stores will be to our communities.

Zachary Nowak

Rush, N.Y.

Child porn misconceptions

The article "New vice squads troll the Web for child porn" (Dec. 17) regarding the US Customs Cybersmuggling Center was very interesting. However, it does nothing to counter the misconception that many people have that it is gay men who are pedophiles. As a little research will tell you, statistically, the majority of pedophiles are heterosexuals. This point was never made in the article. In my opinion, this misconception is not harmless. It reinforces prejudice against gays and ultimately contributes to hate crimes against them. Perhaps you should have presented the statistics on the sexual orientation of pedophiles.

Cindy Mathieuz

Spring, Texas

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