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DON'T CENSOR, CURE ILLS OF SOCIETY

Once again, censorship rears its ugly head in our society. Standing between the right to free and sometimes unpopular expression and the censor's ax is the First Amendment, probably the most elegant and ingenious idea ever. It is also an extremely difficult concept to maintain. Many times in our nation's history it has been besieged by crusaders who believed they knew what everyone else and everyone else's children should be reading or hearing or watching.

Currently we have crusaders who cannot understand why there are those who would desecrate the American flag or sing rap songs filled with verbal hate, and these crusaders want laws written to force these actions and words to stop.

What must be considered here is that flag desecration and allegedly offensive lyrics in pop music are expressions of contempt for our society and our government.

What is there to feel contemptuous about in America today? How about a savings and loan scandal that will cost us billions to clean up, obsolete nuclear weapons plants spewing their poisons into the environment, the spending of $1.5 million a day of our taxes to keep El Salvador torn and bleeding, a seemingly unsolvable drug problem, impoverished and unproductive school systems, a recent former president who thought trees caused pollution, a current president who is wishy-washy on everything but broccoli, shocking illiteracy and infant mortality rates, health care that is woefully inadequate for too many, and increasing incidences of racism and sexism?

It's very easy to blame our national troubles on the outrage expressed by a couple of flag-burners and some rock musicians, but these are only symptoms of much deeper and darker illnesses. Let's put our energies into curing these illnesses and stop tinkering with the Constitution.

JUDITH GEER
Buffalo

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