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‘free trade for fair pay and work to tie American trade and tax concessions, foreign aid, and commercial loan guarantees to wage scales. With limits, access to American markets and government assistance should be restricted to products made under decent conditions. Countries, firms, and industries that do not meet appropriate standards for wages and benefits should find their products subject to sanctions that range from consumer boycotts to punitive tariffs to total embargoes. An antiexploitation movement should unite labor, anti-intervention, peace and justice, and civil rights movements into a campaign that serves the general interest. Mario Cuomo was struck by Mead’s Moral Splendor and as President could have been expected to begin to implement it at least, to start, in Mexico. But Cuomo did not run in 1988 and he is not running now. I do not know why. We know why Bush and Congress are rushing into the economically senseless and environment-jeopardizing free trade agreement with Mexico and are not helping a fledgling democracy in the former Soviet Union, even though a return to totalitarianism there could well cost us the very world we live in obligations to campaign funders and “no new taxes” that’s why. And we know that something is keeping our best leaders out of . the campaign for the presidency. This brings us to the most recent breakdown which critically compounds all the others. The American press overall is being corrupted by the chase of the most promiscuous media after the private lives of public persons. It is now a fact that some cheapjack medium, a newspaper, a scandal sheet, something, will publish anything personal and private about candidates for public office, and promptly the rest of the press and the nation will be agog with the news. This is ruining public life and it is therefore ruining democracy, just as it threatens to do in Britain, where trapping politicians in sexual situations and selling the news to the yellow press has become a profession. There is a way out of this impasse, too. In France the law prevents such behavior by the press. We should make it a federal crime to violate the privacy of any person by publishing or broadcasting information about his or her private life. That is, we should write violations of the Fourth Amendment into the national law as a crime. There should be no exception for candidates for public office. Freedom of the press? The laws of libel and privacy do not contravene freedom of the press, they strengthen it by making the press worthy of its freedom. In such a completely deteriorated social environment, we wonder, we must wonder, whether to,despair. No doubt next November many more millions of Americans will vote for “none of the above” by not voting at all. The failure of the system may be too advanced to arrest. Yet we cannot conclude that it is. As Camus said, the one sin that is not permitted is despair. I do not look for the solution in any of the candidates for president left standing now. I favored Tom Harkin because he alone among them was saying let’s cut half the military budget and spend the money gained on rebuilding our society. I do not know why he did not catch on The polls and the herdlike media often work together to create a shallow but devastating conventional wisdom that this or that candidate is not serious. It’s not a conspiracy, just that most reporters and pundits are not sufficiently serious people and they run with the vogue. To make it through as a decent country we’re going to need a lot of luck. If I had my choice of the three Democrats left running I would take Brown because he is the most alienated, the most radically critical, the wild card. We need a person in the presidency who at least has promised us to start cleaning up the system from its fundamentals, starting with campaign finance. If Tsongas were nominated we could have the confirmatory spectacle of the Democratic candidate for President opposing the union’s right to strike. That is the meaning of Tsongas’ opposition to legislation to prohibit companies from replacing strikers. Tsongas is a Republican calling himself a Democrat; his nomination would be a disgrace worse than even Dukakis’ was. So in the frightening randomball we call democracy we appear to be left with Bill Clinton. I believe we may disregard the conventional wisdom that he is doomed by Gennifer and his letter on the draft during the Vietnam War. People may be rebelling against having candidates eliminated by the We can’t let pass without a strong dissent to the proposal in Ronnie Dugger’s freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment to the privacy rights implied in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Given the tendency of law enforcement agencies and courts to beggar common sense, any complicity in restricting press freedoms is fraught with peril, particularly given the current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court. In Texas we have the example of a seemingly innocuous law that the Legislature passed a few years ago with little notice in an attempt to protect the privacy of burglary victims. No sonner did it take effect than police agencies interpreted the law as preventing them from releasing offense reports and even accident reports to the news media. The concept of a free, independent and vigorous press is more celebrated than practiced nowadays, as news corporations find it more profitable to publish inoffensive monopolistic newspapers and entertainment-driven news broadcasts. The very controversy over Bill yellow press and the vicious political plotters who are covertly feeding the dirt to the press. And people with a grain of sense not blinded by jingoism can see full well that Clinton’s behavior concerning the Vietnam draft was honorable. Arkansas labor is divided bitterly about Clinton. He comes out of the vulgarly centrist Democratic Leadership Council. He plays the demagoguery of a middle-class tax. cut. He opposed a UAW strike in a plastics plant in Arkansas, he has boasted that Arkansas is a right-to-work-state once he even boasted of its low wages and he opposes national health insurance, advocating instead some alternative government system for small businesses and the uninsured. ‘Yet his wife Hillary is a tough, high-minded progressive, and people whom I trust are . saying that Clinton brings into his campaign serious populists like Derek Shearer and Robert Reich and listens to them. History sometimes forces politicians to become real leaders and Clinton may be a good enough listener to become a real leader. I don’t know. We have a long way to go. Brown’s strategy was implausible yet he overcame the brainless media shrug-off and became one of the major candidates. A movement should start to criminaliZe invasions of the candidates’ personal privacy. More and more implausible strategies must be tried out in practice. Discouraged as we are, “the world stays,” and we go on trying. R.D. Clinton’s private life is an example of the press pandering after the lowest common denominator. Imagine the chill on efforts to seriously examine candidates for public office were the press subject to prosecution for alleged invasions of privacy, whether the candidate was running for president of the United States or sheriff in deepest East Texas. The United States is unique in its protection of a free press, as contained in the Constitution. The American news media could stand improvement, but we do’not need to take examples from France or Britain, which, its scandal sheets notwithstanding, regularly muzzles its press with restraints on coverage of criminal matters and items considered by the government to be “state secrets.” The answer to the impasse that has put Dugger in such a funk is a stronger press and broadcast media, more willing and able to look beyond the sound bites, the advertising spots and the sensationalist tidbits, as well as a better-informed public, which in the end must decide whether a candidate’s private life is a public issue. J.C., L.D. Make the Press Freer, Not More Reponsible THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5