Sen. Bob Packwood

* The provisions of the Bill of Rights regarding self-incrimination don’t seem to apply to Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.). Members of the Senate Ethics Committee have demanded that the senator turn over his diaries for their perusal.

What an outrage! A man’s notes to himself must remain just that. There is no reason to believe that they represent the cold truth. What is to prevent the diarist from embellishing or even fabricating the events described?

Contrast this with how the Founding Fathers handled privacy.

John Adams, thoroughly frustrated by some of the difficult issues and people he was working with at the Constitutional Convention, wrote a most candid letter to Abigail. Somehow the letter went astray and was widely circulated among the delegates causing enormously strong feelings to emerge. An apology was demanded of Adams, and as it was being offered, he was interrupted by Benjamin Franklin, who said, “No, Sir! It is we who owe you the apology. A gentleman does not read another gentleman’s letter to his wife.”

I wonder where the gentlemen have gone. They seem to be quite scarce in the Senate.


Long Beach

* I was appalled to read that of the $280,000 Packwood has raised for his legal defense, most of it has been “given” by lobbyists and other campaign contributors (Oct. 26). What could possibly motivate such generosity? Could it be Packwood’s forever indebtedness if he survives the hearings? Or, could it be that his indebtedness to date is too valuable for them to lose? I would guess both!


Laguna Beach