SPEAKING UP by Millicent Fenwick


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No commencement addresses, cannily, but selections from the New Jersey Congresswoman's newsletters to her constituents (1974-81), from taped interviews and House debates--which do convey something of the ""flavor and vitality of our congressional system,"" as she wishes, but also showcase the views and values of the 72-year-old patrician/consumer-advocate candidate for the Senate. Preeminently: ""right is right."" Fenwick is against ""selective indignation,"" on the right or the left (human rights in Chile=human rights in Cuba, and vice versa). She is against violence--from vandalism (graffiti, the Berrigan brothers) to terrorism. She is also much disturbed by special-interest/PAC bankrolling of candidates--or rich candidates' bankrolling of elections. In another vein, she is mistrustful of government (""Why I Am a Republican"") and big on voluntarism. Responsible, responsive voluntarism: ""We must be sure that every blind person has someone willing to read the weekly mail, to provide transportation to a meeting once a month."" Still, public works projects should be initiated ""when the usual employment in the private sector fails to meet the demand"" (and without waiting for national unemployment to soar). And, speaking against a National Science Foundation fund-cut, she notes that you can't tell the relevance of a project by its title: a ""Study of the Sweat Glands of Australian Aborigines"" was directed toward Army desert survival. (So much for the anti-waste brigade.) Superior campaign reading--that should also engage active older women, wherever they cast their ballot.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1982
Publisher: Harper & Row