My wife and I are in our late sixties. We are sending copies of this letter to each of the

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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 these countries. 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 riddance. 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 own defense. 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 system. 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 own living. 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 452 8684


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