Presidential Campaigning

While claiming to occupy the political "mainstream" George Bush actually attacks and even insults mainstream Americans when he scathingly takes his adversary to task for supporting a Soviet-American nuclear freeze.

Michael Dukakis is almost equally irresponsible for failing to counterattack on this issue, for failing to point out that:

* In California, considered a key state in the November election, close to 4 million voters supported the 1982 Bilateral Nuclear Freeze Initiative, a political catalyst that did much to alert and activate Americans everywhere to participate in what became the largest de facto national referendum on a political issue in the history of our country. Thus Bush, by attacking Dukakis, is painting millions of other citizens as having been soft-headed and perhaps even soft on communism.

* Among those who saw a Soviet-American freeze as enhancing rather than reducing our national security are the Catholic Bishops, leaders of many other religious denominations, retired high-ranking military officers and prominent members of both political parties, including U.S. senators and representatives. To all of these and more, a never-ending thermonuclear competition appeared to be a race to oblivion for both sides, and a bilateral freeze became a metaphor that said: Enough is enough! By slinging verbal slime at one pro-freeze American, Bush demeans and insults all the others whose common sense called for a cry for sanity from citizens who believe that if the people will lead, in time the leaders will follow.

* When I was given the opportunity, as chairman of the California campaign, to deliver the official document to President Reagan, he understood that the message came to him from a majority of those who had voted. To what extent he was subsequently influenced by the voice of the people from his own state, I cannot know. I do know, however, that those people deserve respect, not snide pejorative cheap shots, for having acted in the best traditions of a democratic society.

HAROLD WILLENS

Los Angeles

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