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Term Limits and Voters' Freedom of Choice

It is with sadness that I read the article "Washington State Initiative May Shrink Lawmakers' Terms," Sept. 12. We, as voters, already have the right to limit the terms of officeholders. However, we also have the right to continue in service the legislators if we so choose. Not wanting us to have that choice is what term-limitation groups such as LIMIT are all about.In politics, power is not in who makes the choice, but who controls the choices. LIMIT wants to control the choices in Washington State with this initiative. No matter how satisfied we may be with someone's job performance, we are not allowed to vote for that person to continue. Anyway you look at it, that means less power, less control for the voter than he or she has today. These initiatives are much more anti-voter than anti-incumbent. The organizers of these initiatives are displeased with the voters for returning incumbents so frequently to office. They feel the voters cannot be trusted and that voters, like inattentive children, must be led by the hand to more limited choices. A legislator cannot accomplish anything without a majority. That isn't a work of days, but of years. I write to defend not politicians, but the voter's right to commit to a vision, to help the lawmakers keep their promises. Voters in three states have lost that right. It is deception to suggest private citizens can regain control of their government by restrictions on who they can vote for. Curtis Kaine, Princeton, N.J.

Finding justice in the USSR The opinion-page column "Witch Hunting in the Soviet Union," Aug. 30, echoes the opinions of many Soviet communists and American leftists: The gulag's bureaucrats are to be protected against any just retribution. Although the author is right about the need to follow normal procedures of law and evidence, she seems to emphasize the criminal's rights over those of the victim, which in this case is all of Soviet society. Of course the new KGB chief and his cronies are against so-called "vengeance known to n ormal Soviet citizens as justice - for they are the ones who will likely and deservedly go to jail. The author may be right about the public's passivity, but the charge of failing to act against the coup is leveled against high party leaders, not innocent citizens who have been the victims of their 74-year reign of terror. We should not forget that these faceless communists have real blood on their hands. Finally, cleaning out the worst communists (however defined) is not necessarily detrimental to the cause of democracy. In fact, such a vital purge will further the rebuilding project. If communists remain in positions of power, they will obstruct reform as they have in East Europe. The concern that this cleansing might tear down "structures on which a true democracy might be built" begs the question: What structures? Jim Holmes, Washington, Council for Inter-American Security

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Baltics' militarized 'mother' In the article "September: Kids' 'Breakaway' Month," Sept. 17, the author states: "Children are the original Baltic states - miniature breakaway republics eager to declare their independence from the mother country." "Mother country" is not usually the description of a country that is an invader by military force. Ruta K. Vidziunas, Valencia, Calif. Lithuanian Journalists Association

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