My wife and I are in our late sixties. We are sending copies
of this letter to each of the democratic party presidential
hopefuls, as well as the party chairman. We hope that there might
be some interest in our views by the candidates as well as the
platform committee of the coming nominating convention.
These are the deeply held opinions of one elderly couple on
some of the serious problems facing our nation in the coming
years. We have both become more liberal in our political views
as we have grown older. We have had more time to read and listen
to various opinions and to evaluate intentions against results.
We see a government which professes to be conservative fiscally,
and yet accumulates the largest deficits and the greatest public
debt in our history. It pains us to think that our beloved
nation has become the largest armament merchants in the world and
that our tax dollars are being used to kill many thousands of
men, women and children throughout the third world. Meanwhile,
more millions are starving or malnourished.
1. THE MIDDLE EAST. We have leaned too far in favor of the
Israelis. We should adopt a non-partisan position in these
disputes, which are mostly religious in nature. No matter who
wins, the US can only lose. The intrusion into the Iran-Iraqi
war is especially dangerous. If an accident can happen, it
usually does, and more young american lives will be lost.
2. CENTRAL AMERICA. We should mind our own business and
work on our own problems and stay out of civil wars and
ideological conflicts. The peon has long been exploited in
Central America and the Caribbean area by the large landowners
and american corporate interests, such as the United Fruit
Company. Many of the dollars we supply for military and economic
aid ends up in Swiss and Miami bank accounts of the ruling
cliques of the oligarchies which govern these countries. The
Sandanista government is repressive in ways that we do not like.
But it is making an attempt to improve the lot of the average
citizen by land reform measures, improving medical services and
the availability of education to the populace. A few short years
ago these social services were available only to the wealthy in
3. EUROPE. We not only should pull out all of our missiles,
but all of our troops as well. It is ridiculous to maintain these
forces in Europe (and Japan and Korea) more than forty years
after the end of WWII. Let's face it, the principal purpose was
to bolster the economies of the host countries, and to rid the US
of an additional two million potential unemployed citizens.
Conventional forces are as meaningless as the battleship in this
nuclear age. Either side that sees itself losing a conventional
war will use its nuclear capability to prevent defeat. The
Russians especially would do this in view of the harsh rhetoric
about the Soviet system which has come from our President.
4. NUCLEAR FREEZE. We favor a unilateral reduction of our
nuclear arsenal to approximately five hundred or so warheads.
These warheads would be deployed in our aircraft and in our
nuclear submarines. Both of these delivery systems are nearly
invulnerable to detection and carry sufficient destructive power
to utterly destroy every principal city in the Soviet sphere,
kill millions of people and destroy their economy for the
forseeable future. What more could any civilized nation want for
its enemies? Of course, there would really be no winners since
they would probably retaliate to some extent and that would be
the end of western civilization. Perhaps it would be a good
5. CAMPAIGN FINANCING. Congress should enact a law which
prohibits any member of Congress from voting on or otherwise
participating in the passage of any law in which any of their
campaign contributors (over $1000.00) has an interest. The effect
of the special interest lobbies must be curtailed. Additionally,
candidates should be prohibited from using their personal funds
to conduct a campaign. This gives the wealthy an almost
insurmountable advantage in conducting a campaign for public
office. Under the present system, the average person has no
chance of running or getting elected to public office unless he
seeks funds from special interest groups and thereby incurs an
obligation to them. I could not afford to run for a municipal
council seat because I cannot afford the filing fee. The term
for house seats should be raised to four years so that they do
not have to spend all of their time campaigning for re-election.
It would probably be a good idea to restrict campaigning by law
to the period between the nominating convention and election day
for presidential elections and to a ninety day period prior to
election for house and senate contenders.
6. BUDGET PROBLEMS.
a. All presently tax-exempt institutions, including
churches, should be taxed like any other money making
organization. This alone might increase government income by up
to fifty billion dollars annually.
b. Bring our military personnel home from our European and
asian locations and demobilize most of them, and then rely on our
nuclear forces to defend the US, Canada and Mexico. Let the
europeans, the Japanese and the Koreans start paying for their
c. Stop this crazy business of allowing businesses to deduct
the cost of doing business from their taxes. We claim to have a
free enterprise system, yet we give, in effect, large subsidies
to our corporate enterprises. I am tired of paying for
limousines, lunches, martinis, travel and other corporate
business expenses. Property owners should not be allowed to make
interest deductions on their income tax for homes that they do
not live in.
d. No tuition tax credits or federal aid to non-public
schools. Since most private schools are religion oriented, this
would amount to our subsidizing the espousement of religious
doctrine. Tuition tax credit would be another subsidy for the
well-to-do. It would almost certainly destroy the public school
7. CIVIL RIGHTS.
a. The unemployment rate amongst blacks and hispanics,
especially teenagers, is a national disgrace. Many of these
neglected youths are going to end up in penal institutions. This
is evident when you compare the prison population of non-whites
against that of the whites on a percentage of population basis. A
further problem is the difference in the representation in court
of the well-to-do and the poor. It is the difference between
having an experienced trial lawyer (the rich) and a young and
inexperienced poublic defender (the poor). The preponderance of
white middle and upper middle class judges and juries also
has an effect on justice for the poor. A person who is not on the
tax rolls does not get called for jury duty. Try to figure the
odds that a poor black or hispanic is going to be judged by a
jury of his peers.
b. The ERA should be passed without delay. The government
should require by law that equal pay be given for equal work
regardless of the sex of the worker.
c. A woman should have an absolute right to privacy with
respect to the use of her body. Though we both deplore killing of
any kind, we feel that each woman must decide for herself whether
she will carry an unborn child to term or have an abortion. Poor
women should not be denied an abortion because they are unable to
pay for the procedure.
d. No prayer in public schools. In fact, church schools
should be regularly inspected to insure that the students are
receiving an education that meets the society's standards. We
believe it is an infringement of a child's rights to be denied
the opportunity to learn to think and read critically. We
seriously question the ability of every parent to decide what
sort of education their children should receive.
e. We believe that one of the most basic rights being
denied many americans is the right to a job if they are willing
and able to work. If there is no marketable skill, then the
government should provide training. If the person is not
trainable then labor intensive employment should be provided.
Let's scrap some of our labor saving devices such as backhoes,
cement layers, mechanical vegetable and fruit pickers, floor
buffers etc. These low aptitude people (at least a third of the
population) should be allowed to make a living at something that
they can do well and in which they can take pride in making their
f. ENVIRONMENT. We feel that spaceship Earth has become
almost terminally fouled. We should begin a Manhattan-type project
to develop an electric power system for our autos and homes.
Fuel and solar cell technology research must be accelerated or
our air quality may fall to the point of no return. Technology
for disposal of solid waste and sewage must be developed to halt
the destruction of our lakes, forests and oceans. Animal rights
must be protected. Experiments on live animals should be closely
supervised by Humane Society officials and the animals protected
from abuse and suffering. This is very important to millions of
animal lovers, including us.
g. GUN ELIMINATION. We do not favor just gun control, we
favor the elimination of all weapons in the hands of anyone who
is not in the military or in law enforcement. The manufacture of
guns and ammunition should be closely monitored and only
sufficient amounts manufactured to meet the needs of authorized
users. Perhaps this would enable us to look somewhat civilized in
the eyes of the rest of the world. Guns promote violence and
violence promotes guns. We must break this vicious circle. Most
other nations in the world have done this and their death rate
from homicide is a fraction of ours on a population percentage
basis. The number of murders by firearms for all of the western
nations and Japan during 1983 was less than one hundred people.
In the United States over 9,000 people were murdered by firearms
during 1983. We are still a barbarian nation.
h. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. We believe that capital punishment
is cruel and unusual punishment. Any one who kills another acts
against his own self interest and to that extent is insane. We
can make plenty of room to keep these people locked up for life
by freeing the non-violent felons from our prisons. A bad check
passer is not a threat to life and limb and should be punished in
some way other than incarceration. Gambling and prostitution
should be legalized nationwide and regulated as in Nevada. The
only people who oppose this legalization is the Mafia (who will
lose billions) and the police who will have less opportunity for
dipping their fingers into the protection pot. The police need
crime, how else get promoted or build up a retirement fund?
Well, that is that. I will end with a quote from Sidney
Harris column of December 30, 1983. "President Reagan is no
doubt correct when he deplores the educational system in our
country. But then, if we had an educated electorate, a man of his
obvious limitations would not have been nominated, much less
elected, to the high office he now holds."
Pat and Cathy Rankin
867 N Lamb #180
Las Vegas, NV 89110