Re "Why I Protected My Kids From the 'Cussing Canoer,' " Commentary, June 20:
So Michael Smith wants to teach his kids by example, eh? When he heard Timothy Boomer cussing because his canoe had overturned, his wife covered their daughter's ears and he paddled away. Too bad the example he set for his kids was the wrong one: leaving the scene of an accident.
Was Boomer drowning? Was he injured? The answers may have seemed obvious to Smith, but a capsized canoe is never a safe situation, no matter how shallow the water. Smith could have canoed over and checked to make sure everything was OK, instead of assuming that his children's tender hearing was more important than Boomer's life or limbs.
Smith claims that all he wants from Boomer is an apology. If Smith starts the process by apologizing to Boomer, then I'm all for it. Until then, it's just another example of conservative hypocrites demanding that only other people take responsibility for their actions.
JAMES D. WEINRICH
C'mon, Michael, lighten up! When was the last time cussing did harm to innocent kids? I grew up during the Depression and was exposed to cussing during some of the toughest times of the current century. Cussing was and still is a part of my life. I never hid the realities of life from my two wonderful, happy, healthy, normal daughters and do not regret having used many of the "forbidden" words in their presence that you find so destructive. They're just words, not guns!
Two of my most-prized possessions are almost-identical valentines I received from the now-adult offspring, one of whom is now a mother. Each daughter, one living in Idaho, one living in California, unbeknown to each other, sent identical cards, each with the same loving message on the front--with one exception. The first one read, "Love you," the second one said, "F--- you."
My hope, Michael, is that someday your grown children will express their love for you with the same unabashed freedom!
Re "For Gore, Getting to White House Is No Sure Thing," Commentary, June 21: Prof. Robert Dallek narrates the muted history of our vice presidents. He deplores the comparative unimportance of the office and notes that because of the post's obscureness very few vice presidents have ever been elected to the presidency.
Wouldn't it make far better sense to have the vice president serve as chief of staff or presidential advisor--an excellent training ground for the higher office? The party should seek someone with the education, talent, experience--and yes, the charisma--for that position. The downside: The vice president would be so much in the public eye, his subsequent race for the presidency would be enhanced and may have a tendency to perpetuate the existing party in office.