Asner on Central America

Remember the popular TV series "Lou Grant"?

Ed Asner as Lou Grant was, as Doug Smith recently wrote (June 12), "the gruff, honest, hard-hitting, ruggedly sensitive newspaper editor. . . ."

But boy, how the times change! At Taft High School last April, Asner spoke to a group of students on the situation in Central America, especially Nicaragua. When a student asked Asner what to expect from those who support the Reagan Administration's position, he said, "They'll lie to you."

Asner further accused President Reagan of "lies and deception" and noted we are now the "bully boy" of the world!

Which goes to show that Asner is a very good actor indeed. His own real-life performance at Taft showed that he possesses few of the traits that we all grew to admire in Lou Grant.

In fact, Asner acted more the "bully" than the man he accused of being one, President Reagan. Further, his charge that Reagan spreads "lies and deceptions" on Central America must be questioned by any person with an ounce of honesty in light of Asner's own behavior at Taft.

"What (do) you say to a man like Asner?" columnist Doug Smith asked in his June 12 article.

For starters, Asner could be asked to read and re-read the inspiring article in the Valley section of The Times, "Viet Student Colors Mural With Gratitude for Freedom" (June 13).

In it, Asner would find that Hong Hoang of Grant High School fled Saigon in 1975. And that Hoang considers freedom to be "the most precious gift in life. . . ."

Asner should talk to and really listen to Hoang, who further points out: "The Viet Cong used propaganda to make us think that Americans were bad. Only when we were rescued by Americans did I realize that they weren't."

Meanwhile, in the United States there were activities that made the Viet Cong's job that much easier. Famous actors and media superstars calling everything their government said about Vietnam a pack of lies, criticizing their own government for human rights abuses but refusing to utter a word about the abuses of the Viet Cong.

It is ironic Asner urges students to become involved in the Central America issue "by learning as much as you can," then in the same breath warns that those who do not share his political views "will lie to you" (students). What demagoguery, plain and simple.

The next time Asner decides to speak at Taft, perhaps some students will have a few things to say to him.



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