Letters: from print issue

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Presidential visit
Maybe someday Father Edward Malloy, CSC, and the Board of Trustees will be ashamed, as I am now, about George W. Bush being honored by a University that has long been an advocate for social justice. To many, this is not an act of nonpartisan graciousness. It is a public repudiation of a dozen papal encyclicals dating back to Pope Leo XIII.

Robert Lawton Jones ’49
Tulsa, Oklahoma

I was shocked and embarrassed to see that George W. Bush spoke at the Notre Dame commencement this past June. Bush had done nothing to earn anyone’s respect. He had already renounced the most sweeping worldwide environmental treaty in the Kyoto protocols and had vowed to unilaterally renounce the ABM treaty that has served the world well for almost 30 years. He had demonstrated ignorance of most important topics, and his tax cut would benefit the wealthy to a far greater extent than anyone else and likely lead to future deficits and the further gutting of social programs, Medicare and Social Security.

Surely the University could have found a speaker who holds ideals more closely aligned with the Christian tenets on which it was built. Bush was a slap in the face to all alumni, faculty and students who care for the underprivileged of this nation and the world.

Hal Smith ’69
Homer, Alaska

Who’s really to blame?
The teachers’ unions are jumping for joy over Ed Cohen’s “balanced” view of our educational crisis (“Look Homeward, Parents”). I fear his article serves only to rationalize away the disgraceful inequities that exist in our government schools. No other public service entails such financial exclusivity. The quality of public education in America is directly tied to the child’s zip code and color of skin. Only a bureaucracy has the arrogance and audacity to blame its customers for its own deficiencies.

If the blame is social class and not the schools, then explain how parochial schools successfully service identical populations and why research demonstrates that the Milwaukee Voucher Program has helped thousands of these same children.

Mack R. Hicks ’57
Saint Petersburg, Florida

That championship season
As a member of the 1978-79 women’s varsity basketball team, I’d like to thank David Haugh for “That Storybook Season.” He certainly captured the importance of this year’s team not only for the current ND community but also for those who laid the foundation for the women’s basketball program. To see such crowd support was remarkable, especially for those of us who played in empty arenas, who never got to practice on the main floor and who got little notice in The Observer — during a time when the University administration rarely recognized there was a women’s basketball team.

I was fortunate to witness the January 15 victory over UConn and both Final Four wins with my two teenage daughters. Over the years we have been to plenty of ND athletic events and experienced the thrill of victory. But now they saw the ND community support women. The experience was emotional and overwhelming. Coach McGraw and her players have left their mark on the basketball world and in the hearts of all who went before them and who were fortunate to have worn an Irish jersey.

Patti O’Brien Reising ’82
Peoria, Illinois

Who’s to blame II
If Bill Hahn wants to sue anyone (“What You Do for the Least of These Strangers . . .”), it should be the American Civil Liberties Union. It was their lawsuits that turned mental patients out of institutions.

My brother worked as a psychologist for the State of Iowa with the retarded children for years. They had built group homes to replace the institutional dorms to provide a home atmosphere with enrichment for the patients. Then some bright-eyed lame brains like the ACLU decided these patients needed to be returned to their home towns. Guess where they ended up? In nursing homes with mostly elderly patients and no stimulation.

I applaud Hahn’s work among the homeless but I’m afraid that Christ’s words — “The poor will always be with you” — will always provide a need for charitable works.

Phyllis Roche
Lodi, California

Staying power
I enjoyed the article on Mary Brosnahan ’83 (“Champion of the Dispossessed”). It illustrates that there are more ways to become involved in public service than by volunteering after work or for a year following graduation. Rather, public service can be a full-time, professional pursuit. I do believe that individuals who volunteer should be honored for their efforts, but should service simply be a one-year stop on the way to business or law school? People who toil in such varied service areas as public advocacy, public policy, nonprofit management and public administration are professionals who struggle daily to help make the world a slightly better place.

John Quinterno ’98
Chapel Hill, North Carolina