If you ever have the urge to run for office, I advise you to take a cold shower and forget such foolishness.
It is possible to please most of the people most of the time, but only if you are a Bob Hope or a Jack Benny.
Anybody who seriously attempts to solve problems, major or minor, discovers that in any group of 10 people there are at least 10 opinions and sometimes 11.
It was stated here recently that whatever Jimmy Carter's credits and debits may be, it is unfair to charge him with manipulating the hostage situation for political advantage because no outsider has ever been in a position to manipulate anything that related to the hostages.
The Iranians have been in control of the situation from Day 1. They resisted not only our attempts to negotiate but every intermediary's. They set their terms, changed their terms according to their own timetables, and obfuscated their terms to suit themselves. We never knew where they or we really stood.
To grade President Carter fairly on the hostage issue, one must confine himself to this: Should we have immediately branded the capture of our diplomats an act of war, and acted accordingly? Or was it wiser to withhold the use of military force while we attempted to extricate our people through diplomatic negotiation?
It is not fair to wait a year to see how matters turn out and then accuse Carter of inability to make up his mind or a cynical attempt to play politics by arranging the release of the prisoners for his political advantage. p
The column in which I expressed these views has drawn 71 passionate letters from people who think I should be lynched or at the very least fired. Also eight who say I should be hailed as a great intellect. I would vote for none of the above. We all know that the Iranians called the shots and that neither Ronald Reagan, Norman Thomas, Bob Hope nor Jack Benny could have changed the outcome except by going to war. METRO REVISITED
Minor problems find the public just as divided as major issues. You may recall that Metro wants to tell its subway passengers on which side the doors will open at the next stop. But some people ride backward, and that complicates matters. "Right" and "left" mean different things to people who are facing forward and backward.
Much of the reader response to my right-left column has suggested that Metro can add a few words to its announcement and say something on the order of, "For those who are facing forward, the doors will open on the right."
However, opinion is far from unanimous. About 20 percent of my readers say there are too many public address announcements already. There is no need to announce on which side the doors will open.
Perhaps another 20 percent think it is sufficient to say that doors will open on the right or left. These readers say "everybody" will understand that the reference is to the right or left of those who are facing forward. But about 40 percent favor adding, "For those who are facing forward."
Tom Cheesman of Germantown and J.J. Borzager of Rouzerville, Pa., team up to suggest that Metro install lights over all the doors on its subway cars. Train operators could switch on these lights to indicate which doors were about to open. However, this would entail expense, which is a dirty word in Metro's lexicon right now.
Lucille Johnson of Rockville suggest borrowing a naval procedure and attaching red or blue decals to every subway car door to distinguish port form starboard. Train operators could announce that doors would open on the red side or the blue side.
If your immediate reaction is that Lucille's suggestion is a mark of pure genius, move over and make room for me. That's what I thought, too.
But a colleague who is colorblind made a wry face at the suggestion. "About 15 percent of all Americans have trouble distinguishing colors," he said. "We're about as numerous as left-handers, and we get about the same amount of consideration, namely zero. Instead of red and blue, why can't you just refer to the doors on Side A and the doors on Side B?"
Red and blue decals would cost less than lights, but I certainly wouldn't want to violate anybody's minority rights. Neither would I wish to be in a job that required me to please most of the people most of the time.
It's easier to be a columnist and just know I'm going to be clobbered.