The excerpts on this page are from columns submitted for consideration by The Pulitzer Board. The Rideout Case -- Redefining 'Rape' "The case is a good reminder that it is far more appropriate, accurate and practical to deal with the issues of sexual assault -- in or out of marriage -- as a crime of violence rather than as a crime of sex. ". . . Forcing sex is not making love. It's making war." --January 2, 1979 About Eleanor, Irrelevant Suspicions "We continually want to unmask our heroes as if there were more to be learned from their nakedness than from their choice of clothing. "It is odd in this case, especially, because what we do know about Eleanor Roosevelt is so much more vital than what we don't know . . . . "The important facts, the fundamental truths, are known, not suspected. As Arthur Schlesinger once added them up: 'Her life was both ordeal and fulfillment. It combined vulnerability and stoicism, pathos and pride, frustration and accomplishment, sadness and happiness.' "That is still the best epitaph." -- November 1, 1979 'A Meltdown of Trust' "When all the reports are filed about the Terror at Three Mile Island, I hope they will have studied the human reaction as well as the nuclear reactor. "The accident there is more than a test case for nuclear safety, and more than a watershed for nuclear energy. It marks, I think, a way station on the road of public distrust . . . . "This mistrust is not an 'unanticipated transient.' It is not an 'event.' It is not even an 'abnormal evolution,' as they said of the accident. It is rather, part of a growing reality: We have become a people who expect to be lied to . . . . "I find it sad and yet understandable that we no longer give anyone the benefit of the doubt. We give the benefit to the doubt. One of the tasks of this cleanup operation must be to discern the confusion from the deceit and the errors from the lies. "What has gone wrong in the public trust is nearly as crucial as what went wrong in the plant. After all, lying creates a destructive human chain reaction of its own." -- April 11, 1979 Checks on Parental Power "The Supreme Court [has] assured all parents the confused and the pathologically indifferent as well as the caring and concerned -- an equal right to put their kids in mental hospitals. They [have] denied all children -- the odd and the unwanted as well as the ill -- an equal right to a hearing before being institutionalized. "Parents obviously have and must have a wide range of decisions over their children's lives. But they don't have absolute power and never have. They cannot refuse immunization for their kids or keep them uneducated. They cannot (at least yet) forcibly sterilize them, order them to become a transplant donor, commit incest or abuse them. "Nor should they have the right, without another impartial source, to deprive children of something equally as fundamental as their liberty, by putting them away in an institution . . . ." -- June 26, 1979 The Pope's Nostalgic Vision "For a week we witnessed the impressive behavior of a religious incumbent in an age of poitical transients. For a few days we heard the sound of authority in an age of relativity. "People who long for such certainty greeted the embodiment of it, wrapped in splendor and human warmth, with admiration -- even envy. John Paul II spoke of eternal truths when most of us are playing catch-up to change. He represented unity when we were so aware of disparities. "Americans responded to the pope more than to his programs, and displayed a kind of nostalgia for a world that seems more stable. "But in the end, nostalgia doesn't change the way people live." -- October 13, 1979 Once Young With Jack "[Ted Kennedy] said Americans want 'actions, not excuses.' But those of us who were young with Jack may not see it quite that simply. "Whether we back Kennedy or Carter may depend on whether we see our own political history as an energy cycle or as a progression. It may depend on whether we regard 'limits' as a phrase of mid-life depression -- an excuse for defeat -- or of mature realism. Whether we see Carter's 'hard choices' as 'excuses' or facts. Whether we see 'opportunities' as renewed hope or youthful delusions." -- October 27, 1979 Did Chad Green Have to Die? ". . . The boy had leukemia . . . and the doctors had impressive cure rates of 50 to 80 percent. With those percentages -- not promises, but good percentages -- they believed that anyone who refused treatment was guilty of child neglect. "Whatever the excesses of their ardor, I believe the doctors were right. "No, the medical profession is not infallible. The courts are a difficult arena in which to judge doctoring. We can usually trust the goodwill and judgement of parents. But we can't throw up our hands in defeat when faced with every warring triangle. "However difficult it is, we have to continue to pursue the 'best interests of the child.' Chad Green has reminded us of the alternative." -- October 20, 1979 'Burn-Outs' of the 1960s "For some reason he irritated her. Thirty years old and he didn't know whether he was headed for Vermont or New Hampshire. States, statistics, plans, slipped through his mind like a sieve . . . . "Why was she so mad? Because he had committed the sin of accidie -- not becoming what he might have? Or because she felt in her gut that it was cowardly of him to quit in this way? "She had never been especially impressed by the heroics of the people convinced that they are about to change the world. She was more awed by the heroism of those who are willing to struggle to make one small difference after another. And he had attacked her heroes. ". . . It had started snowing again. There were windchill factors being read on radios in the cars that drove by them. She wanted to say something important to Jack. As he turned to say goodbye, he stuffed his bare hands in his pockets, and she blurted out, 'For Gawd's sakes, get some mittens!" -- January 30, 1979 Ellen Goodman has been awarded the 1980 Publitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. Her column is syndicated nationally by The Washington Post Writers Group and appears twice each week opposite the editorial page of The Washington Post