To the Editor:
I appreciated very much Molly Ivins' comments regarding the provincialism of the media ("The Price of Provincialism," Oct. 30). This is, for me, a chicken-and-egg conundrum: is the media giving the readership what it wants or has the readership not developed an appetite for international topics because the media hasn't fed it enough?
I am president of the Foreign Relations Association of New Orleans, an organization founded in 1944. We are part of the World Affairs Councils of America, the largest non-partisan educational organization focusing on international affairs in the world. Jim Lehrer recently pointed out that "What the World Affairs Councils are doing is work that must be done. We must as a nation understand our place in this new world, because if we do not, some serious mistakes can be made." He was echoing Walter Cronkite's comments: "The work the World Affairs Councils do is so very important because the future of mankind will be determined by what happens in the area of foreign policy."
What these venerable newsmen understand seems, however, to be poorly understood by the general media and by the American public, which, as Ivins notes, is more interested in what is being served for dinner than in revolutions in the Far East. This is an indictment of not only our media but of our educational system, and, I suspect, it is due to geography, as well. Despite our stature as the sole superpower, Americans have, until Sept. 11, felt sheltered from the travails of the world by the buffers of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. What the events of Sept. 11 have accomplished is to erase our geographical "comfort zone." American citizens must now confront their global responsibilities and arm themselves with information, historical knowledge and a determined curiosity about the rest of the world.
This evolution into a globally aware maturity will not come quickly. Sound bites and cruising the Internet will not accomplish what is needed. Americans need to seek out forums for information to participate in debate and panel discussions. They need to develop an appreciation of world history and a recognition of the role of the United States in the 20th century. We are paying dearly for our self-preoccupation, and it is high time we accept the mantle of responsibility which much of the world recognizes as ours.
A democracy which guides the evolution of the civilized world cannot afford an uninformed, unengaged citizenry. It is the mission of the Foreign Relations Association to provide opportunities for the American public to educate itself on issues of crucial international importance, and in this the media should be an active partner.
Dorothy Duval Nelson
Foreign Relations Association of New Orleans
tom's leftist propaganda
To the Editor:
I've read and fumed over Tom Tomorrow's cartoons for a long time. He has promoted the lie that Bush is an ignorant twit, a man of no substance. He continues to imply he is a puppet managed and controlled by unsavory special interests. What is his source for his information? How long will he and the rest of the leftist "propaganda" journalists be allowed to put out the garbage they print? The answer is forever. They can print this trash because brave Americans before us answered the call to defend freedom under attack.
Of course they disdain the "dime store patriotism" sweeping the nation because they know it will choke off the profit they enjoy from publishing their lies. Such intellectual elitism needs the support of the uninformed masses. That's why they depend on the entertainment industry to peddle their putrid point of view. If these elitist scribes cared about the truth, they wouldn't need the clueless to sell their views to the ignorant.
I say, "Keep it up." The solution to Tom and his ilk is the same as to the terrorists. The freedom to overreach to the point no sane, moral person can support their position will seal their fate. Tom has been to that point for a long time. His problem is that the uninformed sheep he needs to commercially survive are spooked. The terror they feel will take a long time to subside. By that time, perhaps Tom will be long forgotten, discarded on the trash heap of history's failed political pundits.
an ounce of prevention
To the Editor:
I take exception to Lucy Ball's letter of Oct. 30 for several reasons. First of all, to object to health insurance coverage for preventive medicine is ludicrous. By this reasoning, insurance providers should wait for someone to become acutely ill rather than pay for medication that could prevent the illness in the first place. By this rationale, the insurance company (and, by extension, its policy-holders) would pay thousands of dollars (do I hear tens of thousands?) for ambulance costs, emergency room charges and hospitalization rather than the relatively few dollars a month for preventive medication.
Second, Ball is blatantly incorrect in presuming that her insurance company doesn't cover high blood pressure medicines or other things she doesn't consider "basic health care." This is standard practice; you don't even need to read the fine print on this one.
Ball seems to be willing to accept the cost of a childbirth (again, in the thousands of dollars) rather than the $10 a month for oral contraceptives. This doesn't even begin to address the costs -- dollars and societal -- of an unwanted or ill-timed childbirth.
Preventive medicine is basic health care.