Our lawmakers in Washington, stressed by events following Sept. 11, are reacting naturally by closing our borders and heightening national security. This is as it should be. But public policy decisions made hastily in times of crisis often make bad laws. That's happening now.
Legislation under consideration authored by Sen. Diane Feinstein of California would significantly curtail the availability of American universities to students from other countries. The argument goes that because one or more of the Sept. 11 terrorists may have come to the United States on foreign student visas, we should keep all foreign students out, or at least make it very difficult for them to enter or stay.
What such strict changes in the availability of visas for foreign students would mostly accomplish is to decrease the number of trained young scientists and engineers available to enter our technical work force. As others and I have said frequently, the number of Americans embarking on careers in science and engineering is small, and decreasing.
Our industries and medical establishments must have newly trained professionals to survive. The reality is that today these mainly come from scientists, doctors, and engineers who have taken their undergraduate and high school education outside the United States.
Fortunately Senator Feinstein has backed off her original proposal, but the idea has now been supported by President Bush. Ironically this is the same Mr. Bush who less than one week before Sept. 11 was in Toledo talking about amnesty for millions of Central American day-laborer illegal immigrants. The fact is that major changes in the availability of foreign student visas are in the offing.
These changes, which will mostly keep out pre-professionals, are likely not be to America's advantage.
DOUGLAS C. NECKERS
Director, Center for Photochemical Sciences
Bowling Green State University
When the world seems to be out of control and evil deeds are being launched, what can the average person do? Well, here are six simple suggestions on how to overcome evil with good:
1. Be consciously courteous in driving - even yielding way.
2. Smile at strangers in stores.
3. Hold doors for one another.
4. Take time to say “please” and “thank you.”
5. Pray morning, noon, and night for peace on our planet. Pray together and send peaceful and merciful thoughts to the four corners of the earth.
6. Forgive and accept forgiveness when wrong or wronged.
You can think of a dozen more simple suggestions on how to overcome evil with good.
BARBARA CARTER DALEY
New York visit won't be forgotten
I recently returned from a tour of New York City. I saw a number of stage plays and TV shows, and enjoyed a horse and carriage ride in Central Park, plus lunch at Tavern on the Green. But I was most impressed when our guide took us to Ground Zero, just a block away from the disaster. We were all humbled by the devastation in the distance and in the local stores and businesses. We stopped by St. Paul Church (now a base for the American Red Cross) and saw the many banners strung along the fence. It gave us great pride to see a large one with hundreds of names from Perrysburg. I'll never forget all that I saw and I'll always be honored to be a United States citizen. God Bless America.