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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Thursday, July 4, 1974 - Page 6

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 4, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Kennedy, Wallace lead in early running Editorial Page Thursday, July 4, 1974 Tolerance index dips low WORD PAINTING in skillful broadbrush caricature on this page, Russell Baker characterizes fellow Americans as bloody Tories whose revolutionary past is written on the wind. In- deed, he stops barely short of ad- ducing that Benedict Arnold was born 200 years too early. Exaggeration aside, Baker's skewering of modern attitudes merits a moment's reflection. Many of the country's foremost thinkers agree that it is nearly impossible to remember that the United States was born of rebellion and achieved greatness through revolution. The redoubtable Henry Steele Commager has written (for "The Declaration of Independence has some claim to be considered the most subversive document of modern history. Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the John Birch Society would do well to ban it from schools and public libraries." The country's indifferent and uninspired approach to the 1976 bicentennial celebration seems to confirm Commager's thesis. If initial plans are followed, the revolution's leaders will be remembered mainly as bewigged elders spouting aphorisms by the bushel, not as the long-haired band of 20- and 21-year-olds who formed the hardcore nucleus for revolt. What's more, movie- makers doubtless will ignore the bicentennial, recalling that revolutionary war flicks bomb at the box office. How serious can such apathy or antipathy toward the bump- tious past become? Another brief session with Commager is in- structive: "We have discovered, to our dismay, that those who subscribe to ihe principles Unit Jefferson called 'self-evident' are in the minority among the peoples of the globe, and that we are now required to vindicate those prin- ciples as never before in our past." Though Russell Baker advances the thought with tongue in cheek, no one is suggesting seriously that Jeffersonian principles are as forsaken here as they are in less enlightened parts of the world. But how well prepared are Americans to "vindicate prin- ciples" abroad (as Commager says they must) if they depreciate their own revolutionary charter? At worst the situation is that described by Pogo Possum: "We have seen the enemy and he is us." The judgment here, however, is more optimistic: The national tolerance index merely is running low. What better way to recharge batteiies than to look beyond the revolutionary era's curious ar- tifacts and re-examine the tower- ing ideals which flourished there? Isn't It the Truth? By Carl Riblel, jr. Ill days of old, manhood was proved with a hatchet in the other fellow's skull. Then civilization burled the hatchet elsewhere and taught man how to do in his enemy with a political device that came to be known as the official leak. This is a second cousin onoe removed of gossip demonstrating that the tongue is the sharpest weapon given to man and sometimes it is long enough to cut its own throat. "A soft fongue breaketh the bone." XXV, 15 interOceon Press Syndicate Should the federal government require that most radios receive FM signals? The Arguments YES THE AM-FM bill "is intended to as- sure that the American people receive the maximum radio broadcasting service said Sen. John 0. Pastore (D-R.I.) during senate debate. According to figures gathered by Pas- tore's communications subcommittee, listeners whose radios do not have FM bands miss "nearly 42 percent" of the stations now on the air. About 90 percent of home radios receive FM. but almost 72 percent of car radios have AM only. So most FM sta- tions don't have access to what is called drivetime the most lucrative time of the broadcasting day, when advertisers have a captive audience of commuters. Because of all this, Pastore said, "many FM channel assignments arc lying fallow and many FM stations which are on the air operate at a loss." "The American consumer is probably no! aware that we have reached the limit on AM frequencies and that virtually all new radio stations will be FM sta- tions." said Sen. Frank Moss (D- "They buy radios today unsus- pecting of the fact that they are vastly limiting their horizons." The expansion of FM will gne a much needed boost to public, noncommercial radio with its excellent coverage of government affairs, Moss said. "You gel some high-class cultural music over Paslore added. He also argued (hat Ihc added price consumers will be forced to pay for AM- FM radios would be insignificant, citing studies presented to his subcommittee by FM supporters showing that the cost of adding FM to a car radio was about -r- and even less for home radios. "If the consumer is being gouged al Paslore said, it is the fault of auto makers who artificially jack up the price of AM-FM receivers. "Whatever encroachment the legislation would make on the public's right of free choice is minimal." Pastore concluded, "and is far outweighed by the attendant benefits the public will receive from a flourishing FM service." The Gazette's opinion By Louis Harris CK.N KDWAlil) Kennedy has widened his lead as the preferred nominee of the Democratic party for 1976 in the latest Harris Survey aninriL' Dertwcrats and independents. Gov. George Wallace of Alabama has also increased his sup- port since last March as ihe first choice for the nomination. Between them. Kennedy and Wallace are ihe preferred choice nt 58 IHTIVHI all Democrats and independents sur- veyed. Among Democrats alone, Ken- nedy and Wallace walk off with per- cent of the vote. All other potential can- didates tested have either declined in support or did not improve their stand- ings of last spring. Some Democrats have raised the pros- pect of putting together a Kennedy- Wallace ticket for their party in 1976 in the presidential election, on the assump- tion that (he-two men represent opposite ends of the political spectrum within the Democratic party, and thus could maximize Ihe potential vote on election day. Others view such a prospect as a highly cynical and even unprincipled move, likely to boomerang if tried. It was just a year ago today that Senator Ken- nedy appeared with Governor Wallace in Alabama to participate in an Indepen- dence day ceremony. Early in June, the Harris Survey asked a nationwide cross-section of Democrats and independents: Insights "Here 11 a bit of people who hove bee" mentioned possible (or the party fo< 1976, If you hod to choote right now, nomination for President m .K.iie MoKh NIW Sen Ed.ord Kenned, 35 32 31 Go. George Wolioce 21 18 16 Sen Henry Jackson 9 U 9 Sen Edmund Muskie 8 12 II Sen. George 668 Sen Walter Mondole 343 Sen. Birch Boyh 232 Se.i Gov. Dole Bumpers 1 I Gov. Reuben Askew I I Former Gov Terry Sanford I I None or Not suie 12 6 16 i not osked KcuiH'tly's lead among Democratic MHITS is larger than when the sentiment of independents is included. In furl, one of tin1 weaknesses nf the Massachusetts stMiutor is his inability tu maintain his appeal outside the rank-and-file of his own party. This fact is significant when it is estimated that the number of voters who view themselves as Democrats has been calculated to shrink from 51 to 41 percent in the period between and 1976. Among independent voters, now es- timated to rise from 18 to 38 percent of the electorate over the period from 1968 to 1976, Wallace is stronger than he is among Democrats and stronger than Kennedy with this group. Senators .lack- son, Muskie and McGovern also run bet- ter with independents than with members of their own party. While in most states independents will not be able to vote in Democratic primaries, their pivotal swing vole in a close election can be an important con- sideration for any Democratic nominee in Here is the standing of the candidates among Democratic and independent voters from this latest survey: Democrots pendents The worst thing about1 being the top candidate is that you have to speak last, after everyone has already said everything. Adlai Stevenson Kennedy Wallace Jackson Muskie McGovern Mondale Bayh Askew Bentsen Sanford None or not sure By Congressional Quarterly WASHINGTON Congress is con- sidering a proposal FM radio broadcasters have been promoting for the past five years a requirement that most radios come equipped to pick up both AM and FM signals. The FM broadcasters and their congressional supporters say it will put these stations on an equal footing with the older, more prosperous AM stations, and offer listeners a wider range of choices. But others object that the government has no business forcing people who want only AM receivers to buy more expensive radios with FM bands as well. On a close 44--I2 vote, the senate passed a bill June 13 that would authorize the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require all radios costing more than S15 to have both AM and FM bands. An unusual coalition of liberal con- sumerists and anti-big government con- servatives almost defeated the measure, surprising the bill's supporters and making house approval more questiona- ble than they had hoped. Should the federal government require that most radios be equipped with both AM and FM bands? The Arguments IT may not be a fun- VV damentally important bill, it is one of those irritating busybody laws that pass unnoticed and take away just a little bit more of our 'unimportant freedom.' argued Sen. James A. McClurc Color It trivial ALL WHO seek sanctuary from the "screamer" slat inn cai'ophony polluting Ihc AM radio baud doubtless would applaud the standardization of the. AM-FM receiver. The innovation would be especially welcome among motorists who prefer limbeck's beat tn the Beach Buy's wild water-skiing weekends. But compelling as the cause may be In legions of listeners, Ihe AM-FM squabble is not important enough to merit the attention of congress. Clearly, the senate should have tossed out Ihe radio bill faster than you can say "Wolfman .lack." Yet the thing hogged the arena for a time, then passed by a whisker. Ordinarily, the house could be depended upon to give such trivia the deep-six, but the success of last year's Great TV Football bill suggests that the AM- FM question may sail through without much static. That fiasco, followers of congress will recall, saw lawmakers lift the TV blackout on sold-ottt home football games. Meanwhile, the energy crunch, infla- tion, suandal-in-government and a raft of other heavy matters' marked time. Congressmen do need occasional respites such as the mock senate debate over the merits of southwest- ern U.S. chili. But the radio-frequency fiddling was no coffee break. In light of the tender care given the lightweight matter, it's a wonder thai a six-mouth. study was not commissioned to speed the proposal toward reality "I am one ol the people here who generally are labeled by the critics as overeager to regulate what shall be put on the market." added Sen. Philip A. Hart "I plead guilty to being overeager to regulate something if it af- fects my health and my safety, but beyond that I suggest we ought not go.' Requiring car radios to have FM bands probably would cost consumers more than per car. Hart said. One car radio manufacturer had told his antitrust sub- committee that the figure was more like Sin or S2II, and Ford Motor Company put it at "Very frankly 1 can't accurately predict what effect the legislation may have on price." FCC Chairman Richard K. Wiley confessed during hearings. The consumer will not be able to lake Ihe FM supporters' study to his car dealer and say. 'I want an FM radio and 1 will pay you more. Instead. Ihe consumer has to fork over ar- gued Sen. Roman Hruska (R-Ncb. I. "More KM receivers, and mure public Mileresl programs are a socially desira- ble goal, but those two factors must be brought together by something congress cannot provide audience Hart said. Tn dramalize Ihe point. McClurc proposed an amendment that would require anyone who subscribes to one newspaper to subscribe to at least two. "If AM is good, arid KM is good, anil we can mandate the people to have both, why not mandate that they have hull, newspapers'.'" he asked. Hart .suggested a refincmenl thai would require Ihe paperbuycr to choose his second subscription from among "the learned journals whose economic sur- vival is questionable, but whose wisdom. ui Ihe judgment of many, is enormous." Senator Kennedy has kept up a busy pace, close to that which a near-can- didate for Ihe nomination uottld be following at (his time He has been a sharp critic of the Nixon administration, is a major sponsor of a new health in- "urancc bill has tits', h" will make up his mind whether or not to run "sometime in 1975 He is expected lu campaign extensively for Democratic candidates in off-year elections. Ciovernor Wallace, whose new-found among uifcrs was frpitri- eil in last Monday's Harris Survey, went through the recent Democratic primarv in Alabama not only refusing to say he would serve out his full term, bul vir- tually suggesting thiit if he won. he would once again be kidding for the Democratic nomination in 107ti. Senators Jackson and Mondale have had busy schedules traveling around tin- country, but off-the record admit t" be- ing potential candidates if they can muster up Ihe popular and financial Revolting development support to sustain such a campaign Senator Muskie had steadfastly said Ilia! after his 1M72 abortive effort he ool run again. This far ahead of the election, backing usually is spread among a wide assort modulates, especiallv in the case of the party which docs not control Ihc White House. Yet, with the Democrats, lime appears tu be helping Kennedy and Wallace, not the other most prominently mentioned possibilities At this point, the Democratic senator from ..ir.l She A.'.ibamj gover- nor must be viewed as holding dominant positions. Louis Harris Wrong George feted By Russell Baker WE ARE celebrating revolution again this week. It has become a curious rite, this annual Fourth of July bow to bloody upheaval, for most of us are ill at ease with Washington, Adams and Jef- ferson, are only slightly less Tory than Lord North and pay huge tax bills each year to suppress revolutionary movements around the earth. We are, in fact, much closer in sym- pathy to King George III than George Washington, who overthrew the govern- ment by force and violence. This sym- pathy for the tyrannical party is quite natural. We are now the great world power that England was in 1776 and it is the destiny of great world powers tn collaborate in the oppression of the unruly. And so we give our sympathy and our money to dictators in Greece, Chile. Saigon, Spain and a dozen Latin states with generalissimos willing to maintain gun rule while freighting boodle to Swiss banks. At home we yearn for the monarchy of strong Presidents and tolerate the in- cumbent's claim to privileges which King George himself would have been reluctant to assert. Though some may be restive with Nixon's insistence that he is the law, most of us would be appalled by a proposal to revolt against him. We are quite comfortable with the ruin of Madison's separation of powers and probably concede, though perhaps a hit unhappily, that Caesarism in the White House is preferable to the blunderings of democracy in the congress. Large numbers of us sympathize with the government's demand that the press confine itself to printing only what the government wants known. Most of us are indifferent when some small rabble is jailed by the troops for expressing revolutionary sentiment at the doors of the justice department or the gates of a national convention. We abide and even praise an economic order that makes the rich richer by bilking the middle class and keeping the poor impoverished. We uncomplainingly pay taxes to subsidize vast corporations, yet abuse the poor for shiftlessness. We excuse our richest men and most powerful companies from taxation, and pay more taxes ourselves tn compensate fur the amounts not paid by the great. We tolerate a legal system which most of us cannot afford to use because the rich and the powerful have priced us out nf the market in their demands for its services. In consequence, we see the law's favors bestowed on the rich and the powerful and its scourge laid upon those who cannot afford to buy into it. In short, like all good conservatives, we like things the way they are. Nothing is more likely to set the hair upright on the back of the national neck than a call for revolution. We are Tory to the core. Why then must we go on with these annual tributes to the glory of revolu- tion? George Washington, after all. is not a man we feel emotionally invo.ved with. He is too remote, too severe. His rigorous honesty is largely joke material these days, like his llth-rate false teeth. How can we possibly feel anything in common with an honest politician, with a man who didn't even know about dental caps? Who wore wigs and knee britches? And Jefferson, with that business about periodically refreshing the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots ah, Jefferson. If you were alive today talking like that, we would happily see you do hard time in Attica. Unnatural effort is required to generate enthusiasm for the revolution. It is already much more remote from us than the English revolution was from George III by 1776. If Englishmen could go from revolutionaries to conservatives in slightly more than a hundred years, why should Americans not accept the fact that they have traveled from revolu- tion to reaction in 200? It is lime to close the book on the Fourth of July. It was splendid once, but it no longer becomes us. If we must go ahead celebrating it for years to come, it would make more sense to treat it as a day for honoring King George III, whose principles we so roundly endorse. Far better, to abolish it altogether, perhaps by turning it into one of those four-day holiday weekends which should be celebrated at the start of August, and by renaming it the Sentimentality day weekend. There is no likelihood of early aboli- tion, unfortunately. The government is determined to preserve it through, the bicentennial celebration in 1076. which, everybody believes, can be a good shot in the arm for business. s Sen Still lighting the way   

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