Dr. Benjamin Spock

The medical community is saddened by the death of Dr. Benjamin Spock (March 17). I was fortunate to have had Spock as my advisor at Western Reserve University Medical School in the 1960s. He was a towering, vigorous, charismatic teacher in the lecture hall, a magician with the children in the clinic and a kind friend and confidant in the hallways. His office was lined wall to wall with copies of "Baby and Child Care," in almost every language.

He was initially a psychiatrist by training. He used this background in everything he did, as his common sense and powers of observation were what made him a living legend. Many of us grew up with Dr. Spock first taking care of us and later with him fighting to protect our children and future generations from the scourges of nuclear weapons and war.

I know there are many children in heaven who will be glad to be seen by him today. The doctor really is in!


Newport Beach

* As former national secretary of the People's Party in the 1970s, please allow me to address the record on Spock's "presidential aspirations."

Spock and Gore Vidal helped to start the New Party in 1968 because the Democrats were conducting an unpopular, undeclared war in Vietnam. The Republicans also supported that war, so Americans who wanted to vote for peaceful priorities had nowhere to turn. Ben and Gore were key players in the merger of the New Party with the Peace and Freedom Party, the Human Rights Party and other groups in 1971 to form the People's Party

Spock was reluctant to be drafted as the 1972 standard-bearer of the fledgling People's Party but saw his duty to help democratize our political system as more important than his own comfort or reputation. He was a modest and unassuming presidential candidate. But he was articulate and forthright.

The good doctor helped to build and publicize an ongoing electoral arm for the antiwar, civil rights, ecological and feminist move- ments.


South State Chair

Peace and Freedom Party

Los Angeles

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