KUCINICH ON CHOICE
* In Katha Pollitt's April 21 "Subject to Debate," she mentioned that my vote on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act will be watched. Considering that I've given this issue much thought over the past couple of years, I hope she will be watching as I oppose the bill when it reaches the House. When the Supreme Court struck down a similar "partial-birth" abortion ban in Stenberg v. Carhart, it affirmed what was said in Roe v. Wade: A woman's health must be preserved. I believe in upholding the right to choose and will oppose legislation, like the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, that restricts the rights guaranteed in Roe.
Dennis J. Kucinich Member of Congress 10th Congressional District, Ohio
CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK
* I wish Calvin Trillin had used the more familiar "chicken hawk" rather than "sissy hawk" in his April 14 poem on Richard Perle. "Chicken hawk" fits the meter and lacks the whiff of latent homophobia that is surprising coming from the author of the moving and memorable Remembering Denny. Paul Scott Stanfield
New York City
* I thank Paul Stanfield for his thoughtful suggestion, but I had consciously decided against "chicken hawk." It actually means a hawk that preys on chickens rather than a chicken that acts like a hawk, and its second meaning (in the American Heritage dictionary, 4th edition) is "a man who seeks out boys or young men as his sexual partners." Also, I'm not ready to give up on "sissy" as meaning (to quote the same dictionary) "a person regarded as timid or cowardly." The other definition is "a boy or man regarded as effeminate," but I don't see that it's doing anybody any favors to equate effeminacy with homosexuality. It seems to me that someone who urges others on to fight wars he is unwilling to fight himself--which is what the members of the Sissy Hawk Brigade did during the Vietnam War--is properly called a sissy, even if, as in the case of Dick Cheney, he played high school football. Calvin Trillin
SEND BOOMERS TO OKEFENOKEE
* Although I agree with the conclusions reached by Jonathan Schell in "American Tragedy" [April 7], I suggest a different interpretation of what brought us to this point. It is all too easy to see this as a usurpation of power and lay it at the feet of the Republicans and the "American military machine," but I believe the root cause came more in the form of an incremental abdication by the generation that seemed to hold so much promise in the sixties, my generation, the baby boomers. They have become the most powerful generation that has ever existed, and like so many before them, as they gained economically they became obsessed with the preservation of their wealth and the self-indulgent lifestyle it provided. Ideals were swapped for SUVs, social concerns for stock portfolios and Botox injections--fueled by cheap energy and damn the consequences.
It was all too easy to allow Clinton, Lieberman and the rest to consciously (and publicly) move the Democratic Party to the right, disguising Old Republicanism as New Democrats, all too easy to sit back and salve their consciences by relabeling their greed. So now we all pay the price. A good look in the mirror is in order. To quote a rather wise possum, "We have met the enemy and he is us." John Olcese
THAT LIBERAL MEDIA
Melrose Park, Pa.
* Eric Alterman ["What Liberal Media?" Feb. 24] and others at The Nation strongly reinforce the idea that the media--owned more and more by corporations and conglomerates--vigorously promote a conservative philosophy. Considerable evidence exists for this idea. But the theory works only with the aid of selective perception--i.e., use every confirmation to strengthen your belief and screen out every instance that contradicts it. In reality, every week, every day, the media provide cogent criticism of our government and our corporations. …