Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jun 2001
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2001 The Register-Guard
Author: Jean Liittschwager
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


How fortunate that the two lovely Bush daughters have parents and a family 
given to unconditional love and support, with reasonable discipline and 
penalties under the law, for their recent illegal drinking behavior.

They are flirting with one of the most potentially dangerous of all 
recreational drugs: alcohol.

Thousands of other equally lovely young people are not so fortunate. They 
may not come from such secure backgrounds, and if they have flirted with 
other potentially dangerous drugs - the illegal ones - they may find 
themselves subject to the overly harsh and punitive provision of the Higher 
Education Act, which asks them if they have ever been convicted of 
involvement with an illegal drug. They lose financial aid if they answer 
yes, or if they refuse to answer the question.

This smacks of McCarthyism. It either robs these otherwise qualified people 
or encourages them to lie on the application. Murders, rapists and other 
violent criminals are not required to answer a question about their crimes. 
But the nonviolent end up being denied the help they need. Because illegal 
drugs have been demonized, these people often lose jobs they have held 
responsibly for years, and their savings go to pay legal fees instead of 
toward their education. It's not a good law. It should be taken off the books.

President Bush needs to be more compassionate, and stop the enforcement of 
this law.

Jean Liittschwager

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