After watching television coverage of the Republican National Convention, I cried--as I applied fresh bandages to fungous infections that have persisted for all of the 20 years since I came home from three voluntary tours of combat duty in Vietnam. I was emotionally devastated by the prolonged cheering and flag-waving of the conservative Republican conventioneers in response to Quayle's unabashed plumping of his cushy, influence-enabled service in the Indiana National Guard. Assuming that Quayle sought to serve his citizenship duties in the way he did for the most noble of patriotic motives, did this most fortuitous avoidance of exposure to the perils of combat really merit wild cheering for a draft avoider? Did that indicate that the Republican Convention would have only offered mild cheering for a wartime draft evader? That spectacle demeaned the sacrifices made by 2.5 million men and women who served our country in Vietnam.
I listened to Quayle and to the responses of his moonstruck supporters, most of whom knew virtually nothing about him before his nomination, and remembered the words of Samuel Johnson, who said: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Yes scoundrel. Scoundrel is the name of the glass slipper that will fit Quayle's foot. Quayle will be found at home before midnight on Nov. 8. Bush's Cinderella has already turned into a pumpkin.
DAVID RICHARD SANNES
The Times received 429 letters on Quayle's nomination; 294 were critical of his nomination, 112 supported him, and 23 took no stand.