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letters

Volume 15/Issue 19


Dear Editor,

In 1972 1 worked on the Democratic National Telethon phone bank in Chicago. I remember this was quite a successful fund-raising idea for which Robert Strauss received much deserved credit. Celebrities would pitch for money-many small contributions- and volunteers and Communication Workers of America union members would take telephone calls for the pledges.

But then I recall that in the early eighties Rev. Jerry Falwell called upon the Moral Majority to block the telephone lines with spurious incoming calls. I think this aspect should be included in the current picture of political fund-raising scandals: honest small contribution fund-raising from the general public was sabotaged by the religious right.

The religious right's sabotage of the Democrats' telethon occurred on May 28, 1983. Democratic chairman Charles Manatt said pledges from the telethon were in the $20 million range, but charged that Republicans hurt money-raising effort with "jamming" phone calls; he said Republican calls in the first few hours of telethon may have cost them an additional 50% to 100% of pledges.

Moral Majority sent letters to 100,000 supporters "suggesting" that they call Democratic Telethon officials in support of President Reagan. Cal Thomas, the spokesman for Moral Majority said, "We were simply suggesting people might want to call in and tell them they support the President. We don't know how many lines they had. And we didn't suggest that people should call in at a specific time. So the likelihood of the lines being tied up was not that great."

Before the telethon fund-raiser, the Republican National Committee also sent cablegrams and letters to supporters urging them to call the Democrats' toll-free number and express their support for President Reagan. For every caller pledging a contribution, the Democrats received ten either expressing support for President Reagan or denouncing Democrats.

The current investigations should not only focus on illicit sources of funds but also on preventing malicious interference with legitimate fund-raising.

-Jim Snyszyn The religious right's sabotage of the Democrats' Telethon which occurred on May28, 1983 is documented by a story in the New York Times May 30, 1983 page 7 "Democrats Say 'Jamming' by G.O.P. Hurt Telethon," a smaller story in the New York Times June 1, 1983 page 14 "Falwell Group Reports Role in Telethon Calls'" and a New York Times editorial June 2, 1983 page 22 "Dirty Tricks: Still Dirty." home telephone: 704.566.0127; work telephone: 704. 374.6526; e-mail: James-N-Senyszyn@compuserve.com


Dear Sir or Madam:

I have a problem with the idea that the media, including the Internet, are responsible for protecting our children from "indecency" through censorship. It is the same problem I have with the government trying to jump in and regulate the exchange of free ideas. Of course, most Americans should be wary when the government tries to step on the Constitution. But we should be equally wary when the very institutions which are protected by the Constitution open dialogue with the government to implement what can only be called self-censorship.

The problem we are facing is more dangerous than smut on the Internet or enough educational programming on television. The problem is that, once again, we are asking the government or other "authority" to babysit our children. No matter what kind of software is developed to prevent children from accessing "adult" content on the Internet or how many hours of educational programming are aired each week on CBS, the ultimate responsibility to govern what children see, hear, and learn belongs to the parents.

When I was young, my parents watched, read, and listened to everything I watched, read, or listened to. The idea was that, in this manner, they could control what I had access to. They could then be assured that I didn't have access to anything that would contradict their belief system.

My parents were very smart. And it seems like the government and the networks and the content providers are under the impression that parents today are stupid-that they are unable to take on the responsibility of raising their own children. It seems as though there are a lot of parents and parents' groups that are either too lazy or too busy to watch their own children. Maybe it's time we started asking our parents how they managed to raise us without "assistance" from the government or media. Sincerely,
-Jerry Lockaby


Dear Gay & Lesbian Newspaper Editor:

In mid-October, William Morrow & Co. will publish The Shared Heart: Portraits and Stories Celebrating Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People. The book, and the traveling exhibit that inspired it, feature compelling photographs of lesbian, gay and bisexual youths and powerful first-person accounts about the challenges of growing up gay. The goal of The Shared Heart is to let gay young people know they are not alone, and to better educate teachers, parents and fellow students about the issues present for those growing up lesbian or gay.

Because so many youths use your newspaper as their first source of information about lesbian and gay issues-surreptitiously taking a copy from a book or records store-we thought we'd ask for your help in letting them know more about The Shared Heart. In an ideal world, we'd like to see a copy available in every high school, college and community library in America, but can only do so with your assistance.

The young people featured in The Shared Heart come from a diverse range of racial, economic and family backgrounds. They are class presidents, athletes, artists, students and siblings. The book will help other lesbian and gay youths navigate through adolescence, letting them know they are not alone, and that the future holds opportunities for love and understanding. The Shared Heart also will educate parents, teachers and fellow students about the need for tolerance and acceptance.

The project has been endorsed by author Judy Blume, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Elton John, Congressman Barney Frank, singer Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, photographer Duane Michaels and others. It has also been praised by countless school principals, students, teachers and government officials.

The Shared Heart will be officially launched at an event sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, DC in conjunction with National Coming Out Day, October 11.

Because of the extraordinary influence of your paper, we wanted to make you aware of this project early on, and ask you to pass on this information to your readers.

We would be happy to set up an interview with the book's photographer and project founder, Adam Mastoon, as well as some of the young people featured in it. If you have any questions about The Shared Heart, please contact me at the email address below. It is our hope and expectation The Shared Heart will open minds, and in the process, save lives. Thank you in advance for your help. All the best,
-BrianCallaghan, BrianIDPR@aol.com, The IDPR Group, 596 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118 617.437.8493


Dear Brian, [Sands, travel writer-ed.]

Your articles on Prague are excellent and quite well written. I believe you give an accurate exposition on the character of the city and the mood of its citizens. Even the gays are more discrete and less flamboyant than many of the less sophisticated ones here.

Of course, you mention Franz Kafka, one of its best known natives and a famous author. Maybe you should also recognize that Kafka wrote in High German, not in Yiddish or in Czech. His Doctor Juris came from Charles University, a German speaking institution until 1948. Many of the better educated Jews of Prague took pride in the German language, and they did not use Yiddish, a dialect.

I have read most of Kafka's major works in German, my second language. His style and vocabulary rank with Goethe and Nietzsche or with Heine and Stefan Zweig, Jews, who wrote in Hoch-Deutsch. Kafka's Amerika is a good novel to start with.

Thanks again for contributions to your magazine in a genre of literary interest, rare in most gay publications. Sincerely yours, -Gertrud
p.s. say "hello" to Patrick Shannon


Dear Rip,

On behalf of BlackTie V Auction Committee, please accept our sincere thanks for your generous donation of XXXpose Back Cover from Ambush Mag2000. Because of your support, the BlackTie V Silent Auction "Shopping Down Fifth Avenue" doubled our previous efforts making a significant contribution to the evening's unprecedented success. Thank you for your commitment to gain equal rights for lesbian and gay Americans.

Your demonstration of support together with over 500 atendees, and our corporate sponsors raised nearly $100,000 to further the vital work of the Human Rights Campaign. The truly fantastic array of auction items contributed also to the evening's high spirited exuberance AMBUSH Mag2000's contribution made it all possible. With so many worthwhile organizations needing your assistance today, the Louisiana Human Rights Campaign is genuinely appreciative that you have chosen to include the Human Rights Campaign. Sincerely,
-Toni Pizanie, Auction Chair; Ti Martin, BlackTie V Co-Chair; and, Robert Ripley, BlackTie V Co-chair

[Letters and Comments should be sent to Ambush Letters, 828-A Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116-3137
or email to webmaster@ambushmag.com]

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