Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 12, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THI UTHMIDG! HIRAtD Saturday, May 12, 1973 Planting seeds with a clear conscience Foster homes for elderly Many older people neither need nor want housing arrangements that are different from those of the rest of the population. Others with special requirements related to their age are more than adequately taken care of by children, grandchildren or other relatives. There always will be, how- ever, a number of elderly people who are alone and who want and need some of the conditions found only in a family environment. In what may be the first program of its kind on this continent, the state of Massachusetts is endeavoring to do something about this need, by es- tablishing what can only be called foster homes for elderly people. Foster care is generally taken to mean the provision of homes for chil- dren who need and are entitled to decent housing and care, but whose families, that ordinarily would provide these things, won't or cannot do so. The Massachusetts plan is to extend the philosophy to include people at the other end of the age spectrum, but with roughly the same needs. Those responsible realize that much more care will have to be exercised in matching the home to the guest than is the case for a child. They visualize a complete social and med- ical evaluation of any person wishing to be placed in a foster home only volunteers are considered, of course and an equally exacting appraisal of potential homes, so as to ensure the maximum possible understand- ing and compatibility. Families that offer their homes for this purpose are expected to attend a series of classes designed to devel- op clear and sympathetic understand- ing of the foster home situation; these are group sessions, and are under careful professional guidance. The state's interest doesn't dimi- nish after a placement is made. So- cial authorities maintain a discreet contact, and also make their faci- lities available to both parties con- cerned, for consultation and assist- ance whenever required. It is early, as yet, to assess this program. Many ideas that seem need- ed and sensible in theory turn out to be unworkable in practice. But with a declining birthrate and a steadily improving standard of geriatic care, the proportion of elderly people in the population is bound to in- crease. Not all of them wish to live alone, or in an institution. The Massachusetts scheme appears to be a hopeful alternative. Clean up entrance First impressions are lasting with cities as well as with individuals. Lethbridge is fortunate in that its approach is particularly ex- citing to the first-time visitor to the city. As Highway 3 begins to dip to- wards the Oldman River bottom a panorama of the city's skyline fram- ed by the contour of the coulees and the radiant blue sky above, unfolds before his view. To find this pictur- esque approach dotted with rubble is as disappointing as approaching the city from the east where the smell of the stockyards leaves a dis- tasteful impression, sure to remain in the visitor's mind for months to come. Local residents, anxious to show their visitors around include in their itinerary such landmarks as the Ja- panese Gardens, Henderson Lake park, the Community College, Fort Whoop-Up and the U of L. Before arriving at the latter two one must drive past automobile junk-yards strewn with debris either perched on the lip of the coulee or scattered over the coulee bottom, all open to Weekend Meditation public -new. The host, anxious to make the best impression, is faced with one of two alternatives, either to wink at the unsightly mess or ex- plain that the city has no bylaw con- trolling such operations. One wrecking yard within the city is enclosed by a fence keeping the assortment of automobile bodies hid- den from view. Another wrecking firm, in an effort to accommodate planned downtown development, is negotiating for land outside the city on which to relocate. But what about the wrecking yard sprawled across the coulee bed? Is this to be tolerat- ed forever or will measures be im- plemented to tidy up this eye-sore? City council, on the complaints of local residents, has advised city manager Tom Nutting to prepare a bylaw to control abandoned cars on individual lots. It is to be hoped such a bylaw will include stiff controls governing wrecking yards as well. Sprucing up individual front yards contributes to the over-all beauty of Lethbridge but to leave the city's scenic entrance strewn with debris creates a damaging impression. The invincible optimist Commemorating the birthday of Robert Browning on May 7th gave opportunity to recall this poet of suprme genius. James Thomson, author of The City of Dreadful Night, had a hard time as one might ex- pect trying to understand either Brown- ing's faith or his optimism. Browning is supremely intellectual and appeals to the imagination in its highest form, as Louis Cazamian says In his History of English Literature. With one of the finest minds of Ms age he also had the highest cultural equipment, at home in the fields of music, art, science, history, and religion. He was highly original, developing the monologue into a poetic form of psychological analy- sis, and expressing the Victorian desire for rationality in faith and life. Here is no uncertain trumpet, but a rous- ing call to faith and hope. Cazamian says Browning best expresses the craving of the age for analysis and moral criticism, yet to the disgust of James Thomson and the joy of millions, he has a profound sympathy with goodness, an invincible faith in love as the final reality, and a belief in a spirituality which survives death. Why Thomson should consider this a paradox is puzzling since the list of men of faith who were intellectual and cultural giants is overwhelming. In Prospice he exults in his confident expectation of meeting his wife at death and In Abt Vogler he gives magnificent expression to the belief that the next life will be one of positive achievement, free from the frustrations of this life. "On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven a perfect round. All we have willed or hoped or dream- ed of good shall exist; Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, nor good, nor power Whose voice has gone forth, but each survives for the melodist When eternity confirms the conception of an hour." The marriage with Elizabeth Barrett was one of the most romantic in all literature. Love with Browning is the ultimate truth, the eternal reality. "Life, with all it yields of joy and woe and hope and fear, Is just our chance 0" the prize o' learning love, How love might be, hath been, in- deed, and is." Over and over again he (returns to this theme, though his great erudition gave his poems a brilliant var- iety. "God, Thou art love! I build my faith on that." The supreme failure in life was failure to love. Prayer: Save me, O God, from the doom of selfishness; enable me to break out of my prisonhouse and love Thee and my fellow men. F. S. M. Taking the offensive By Dong Walker Our income tax refund, a modest sum by most accounting, was quickly expend- ed on a series of articles long needed. This left the other members of the family slight- ly dazed because they knew I had been counting on getting our nearly moribund savings account off the mat. Instead of a comforting entry in the ht- tle blue book, then, we have acquired an array of goods: a new electric kettle fto having Elspeth gel electrocuted when she struggles up for e cup of instant fee in the foam pads to place on top the mattresses of the boys' beds (to keep them from being stabbed by er- rant a pair of hush puppies (so I can golf in paint for the inter- ior of the house. To tell the trulh the decision to blow the money wasn't as great a wrench for me as my family imagined. If the money had gone to the bank it would probably have oc- casioned some agitation for a I've Hi least warded off that nonsense. By Brace Hutchison, Herald special commentator The old gardener who lives down our country lane could be observed today planting his fiftieth vegetable garden a gnarled figure like the oak trees around him and of almost the same age. The work which had seemed so easy in his youth was harder now but it had a new compensation. For the first time he felt honest and acceptable to society. In all the previous half cen- tury he planted seeds with a certain twinge of conscience. By growing vegetables for him- self, or mostly for his neigh- bors, he had increased the vast food surplus of the world, com- peting unfairly with the farm- ers, helping to keep their prices too low and damaging the econ- omic system. In those days it was patriotic to consume and stimulate the economy, unpat- riotic to and depress it. Recently, however, things had changed and, this spring, his conscience was clear. No one could criticize him for growing food when it was scarce. No one considered its price too low, except perhaps the farmers. Even the Cana- dian government, in moments of private candor, must regret its slaughter of a million chick- ens last year to raise the price of eggs, its sleepless nights haunted by feathery ghosts. So, instead of a social delinquent, the gardener had become a re- spectable citizen and his pro- duction, though minor, an asset instead of a liability. He slept sound again. It might even be possible, he thought, that society itself was coming to its senses at last. No, this was too much to expect so early in the world's approach- ing mass hunger. All Canadi- ans, except the farmers, com- plained bitterly about the price of food, the primary es- sential of life, but they eagerly bought unessential goods at any price, spending enough on a new automobile, for instance, to keep the household larder full for a whole year. The larders might be empty, and the world's gasoline sup- plies alarmingly short, but the roads were crowded. So were all the airplanes carrying the impoverished victims of infla- tion on summer holidays abroad. Why, one of the gard- ener's rich friends had just re- turned from Hawaii with a tan that cost several thousand dol- lars, and, leaning over the fence, had spent half an hour passionatdy denouncing the government because it had fail- ed to control the price of beef. And this man's wife, with most other housewives, had boycot- ted the meat markets but you never heard of them boycotting the beauty parlors or cosmetic counters. Human beings, the gardener1 concluded, were a queer spe- cies. That thought might not be exactly original but it was clar- ified and confirmed by the more reliable process of the soil, the steady growth, the opulent harvest, the feel of seeds in his fingers like a tiny electric spark of life, a new life yet to quicken touching an old life soon to end. Mankind was doubtless crazi- Role of press in Watergate affair By James Reston, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON In a speech on the floor of the United States Senate, Sen. William Proxmire. Democrat of Wis- consin, has accused the press of being "grossly unfair" in re- porting secret charges that President Nixon knew about the cover-up in the Watergate case. He said: "When former White House counsel John Dean is reported throughout the country to have privately told grand jury investigators that the president was directly involved in a Watergate cover- up, President Nixon is being tried, sentenced and executed by rumor and allegation. "As the senator who succeed- ed Joe McCarthy in the U.S. Senate, I find this kind of per- secution and condemnation without trial McCarthyism at its worst." Tbare is obviously a serious problem here, but it raises some fundamental questions: would this scandal have reach- ed the present point of disclos- ure if the press had not re- ported the secret testimony of witnesses in this ease? Is a gov- ernment which had knowledge of this kind of political espion- age and sabbotage, and then tiied to conceal the facts, en- titled to bar reporters from get- ting beyond the scresm of sec- recy? Proxmire concedes that there is a dilemma here, but he thinks the press has done its icb in helping force the case into the courts and Congress and should now wait until all the charges can be subjected to careful cross examination. Otherwise, he insists, the daily publication of more and more sensational charges will poison the public mind against the ac- cused, interfere with the due process of a fair trial, and ser- iously damage the president and the presidency. This may be true, for after all the lies and deceptions that haw been practiced in this conspiracy, the credibility of the administration has all but vanished, but it would be help- ful if Proxmire would suggest how a free and competitive press can suddenly shut off the torrent of charges at the height of the crisis. Some of the key witnesses and thedr lawyers are now talk- irg in the hope of indicating what they know and getting immunity to disclose even more. If one of the accused talks and his charges get into a single paper, the charges are immediately transmitted across the news agency tickets to hundreds of radio and televi- sion stations and to the other papers of the country, and with- in hours the whole country knows about it. Meanwhile, the president and his aides have access to the same network of communications. The White House has said: "any suggestion that the presi- dent was aware of the Water- gate operation is untrue; any suggestion that the president participated in any cover-up ac- tivity or activities is untrue; any suggestion that the presi- dent ever authorized the offer- ing of clemency to anyone in this case is also false All this has been widely re- ported, but the problem re- mains, for many other ques- tions remain, and the White House spokesmen refuse to an- swer the questions. Len Gar- ment, the new White House counsel, has tried to be helpful in denying charges he knows to be false, but even he is not ac- quainted with the testimony be- fore the grand jury. Accordingly, the press either has to take the word of offi- cials who in many cases know less about the charges than the reporters, or, having bean mis- led so often and so long by offi- cials in the past, publish both the charges and the denials and let the readers judge for them- selves. Proxmire is undoubtedly right that innocent people may be harmed by this rough struggle to get at the truth, but the prob- lem is that all the safeguards of our democratic system have been violated in this case. The confidence on which the sys- tem rests has been broken. Now the whose own men have broken confidence with one another, broken confidence with the Con- gress, broken the law, covered up the conspiracy, and misled the American people are asking the press to have confidence in them and in the system they have gravely weakened. It was not hard to under- stand this appeal only a few short weeks ago, when some White House aides were being damaged by third and fourth hearsay of wrong-doing, but now the tests of grand jury testimony are beginning to cir- culate, disclosing improper and even illegal acts which no- body is willing to deny. State department documents are found to have passed into the hands of convicted burg- lars, the CIA is discovered to have co-operated in the break- in at the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist, and 17 officials are now under investigation not only by the justice department and the grand jury, but by the Congress. In such an appalling tangle, it is a bit hard to ask the press to pipe down at this late date. How do you shut off an under- ground geyser of such propor- tions? This is what we'd like to know, and while it is easy to agree with Proxmire's con- cern for innocent people, he didn't suggest how the thing could possibly be done. er than usual this year as Wat- ergates all over the world open- ed to spill unknown conse- quences much more important than the personal destiny of President Nixon, but nature seemed to retain her sanity, despite the flood. Still, there were encouraging symptoms here and there, even among humans. The governments of Canada and the United States, having long discouraged the produc- tion of food, now pleaded with the farmers to produce more and urged city householders to grow pathetic little crops in back yards of the richest con- tinent on earth. The govern- ments also urged everyone Jo conserve energy (while prom- ising to build new industries of all sorts requiring more energy in unlimited So far, the encouraging symptoms were somewhat spotty. Kneeling down to sprinkle the seeds along the rows, in every gardener's non-denomi- national posture of he reflected on society's posture. At the moment it favored pro- duction, even the production of food, but it disfavored the man who consumed less than he pro- duced, took from the economy less than his money could com- mand, asked no subsidy from the state and saved something for a rainy day, or a drought. Such a man was judged to be anti-social and reactionary. He could even be an illiberal red- neck by Mr. Trudeau's latest definition. Well the gardener's neck was red, all right, from tie May sun but that guilty hue did not humiliate him, or penetrate his conscience any longer, though perhaps it should. In- deed, he suspected that the gov- ernment itself and all the politi- cians would be improved by ex- posure to sunlight now and then outside the gloomy halls of Par- liament. On the other hand, it was lucky that government remain- ed indoors, with a white neck, or otherwise it might discover the tax evasion of all gardeners like himself. For in the re- turns filed a few days ago all of them had cheated outrag- eously. All had concealed their most valuable income, their yield of real, edible wealth and their capital gains of tree growth, enriched soil, bodily health and a certain peace of mind unknown to the unfortun- ate inhabitants of Parliament Hill. Happily government had not yet discovered these extra rev- enue sources or they would have already dosed the gaping tax loopholes. Best not to tell the secret. Best to leave those Ottawa necks white and pity them in their hot house where no food grew, only the inedible debating points of perpetual crop failure. Rubbing his own neck, hot and incarnadine by now, the gardener surveyed his work and found it pretty good. The seeds planted ten days earlier were swelling and germinating faster than the Gross National Product, inflating themselves faster than the price index. rTheir green thrust, innocent of any telltale red, minute but with strength unimagin- able, had broken through the earth's hard rind. Unlike human society, they pushed, by sure instinct, straight up to- ward the sky. Leftist hero finds God on earth Bj Charles Foley. London Observer commentator LOS ANGELES Revolu- tionaries in the United States are stunned by the defection of their hero, former student leader Rennie Davis. He has become a disciple of 15-year-old Maharaj Ji, the latest instant guru from India. Davis, reputedly the sanest, soundest of the Chicago Seven radicals who tried to turn Am- erica around in the sixties, was on the road to Hanoi when he visited India. There he met the pudgy guru, who arrived at a religious meeting in Prem Na- fler, tbe city of love, on a motor- cycle, wearing a business suit and zip-up cowboy boots. "I freaked out when I first saw Davis says. "I had doubts, I resisted as long as I could. But I wouldn't be out on this limb if I didn't think he's the master, the divine light who teaches you to be perfect. He's God on earth." Maharaj Ji concurs: at his first public appearance in Delhi he told a crowd of more than one million: "Many times I've come before, but this time I come with more power." Since then his mission lias gone glob- al. A fleet of jumbo jets trans- ports the fcddjful to his festi- vals. It has 50 offices in the U.S. alone and looks to America for a large portion of its income. Rival religious leaders scoff at him as a sham who is actu- ally in Ms twenties. Says loyal Rennie: "If he's a fraud, he's the most incredible one ever to walk this planet. He's going to take America by storm this year." The dean of leftist American columnists, Nick von Hoffman, an old buddy of Davis, nods sadly: "It wouldn't be the first time that Rennie has correctly gauged the mood of American youth." "Our top salesman has sent a second to refuse his award as a protest against the threat to the giant redwoods." The Lethbridge Herald 5M 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD 00. LTD., Proprietors and Publisben Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. 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