Email Letters: September 26, 2017
Higher education also comes from working in the marketplace
Higher education does not always come from colleges or universities. It comes from working in the marketplace. Our country prospered not only by theory, but also by vocation and apprenticeships.
As a teenager, a kid should know how to drive, get the mail, vacuum the floors, cook a meal, hem a dress, fix hair, and talk to strangers. Even Einstein had to start with the basics; you have to get beyond theory.
Like the old saying, “Any job worth doing is worth doing right…” The computer can’t do everything.
Football players, you should put your money where your knee is
While I do not agree with the practice of taking a knee or remaining seated while our national anthem plays, it is the right of every person in the United States to do so. One can only hope that, while these people are protesting, they are also remembering and thanking those thousands of men and women who have fought and died, and those who are currently serving to give them that right.
Yes, our country has some big problems right now. Why not put some of the millions of dollars these athletes are making to help solve some of these problems? Help out inner city kids, donate to foundations that build homes, protect women and children, and put body cams on police. There are many more useful ways to protest than being disrespectful to our flag and our country at large. After all, you haven’t decided to pack up and go elsewhere to live and work making millions playing a game. These people should be putting their money where their knee is.
We would all do well to reflect on our own backgrounds
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the citizenship ceremony up on the Colorado National Monument, as a close friend was becoming a U.S. citizen after living here on the Western Slope for over 20 years. I found it to be a moving experience as the new citizens shared their stories with the audience. They were from over a dozen different countries, and all were bringing their unique gifts as they joined the fabric of our country.
Their stories reminded me that we are a nation of immigrants. My own grandfather emigrated from the Netherlands during The Great Depression in search of a better life. He integrated into the mainstream culture by learning English, yet also retained his Dutch language and customs in his home with his family. He began life in Chicago selling ice in the summer and coal in the winter, eventually building a trash business for himself and his sons.
In the midst of the current hue and cry about immigration, I believe we would all do well to take a moment and look into our hearts, reflecting on our own backgrounds and also on the gifts immigrants bring to our culture. These are people, first and foremost, recognizing the opportunities that are offered to them here. I support the Dream Act, offering young people brought to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship and full participation in our democracy, and I urge you to do so as well.
Fancy programs or school buildings are not what make for good students
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and when I started school in 1951 I went to the only elementary school they had, which had been built in 1741. I did not realize at that time I was deprived and that it was impossible for me to learn anything because the building I was in was 210 years old. It was not run down because it had been properly maintained. I listened to the teacher and did my work. After dinner my father always went over my homework with me and made sure it was done and that I understood what the work was teaching me. When we moved here I met people who had gone to one-room schoolhouses here in this county and they were bright thoughtful people.
The point is that a building does not make good students; parents that work with their children at home on their schoolwork and make sure that they go to school make good students. Top-heavy school administrations who poorly maintain the buildings they already have and want more and more money to build more buildings where students are not learning what they need to know is not the solution. Fancy programs are not the answer either. Parents who work with their children at home to understand the work are the answer.
Disrespect shown to our national anthem by NFL players is disgusting
I most likely have watched my very last allegedly professional football game. I am disgusted by the continual disrespect given the national anthem by these under-educated, overpaid idiots in football jerseys. If I ever hear on the news that these numbskulls have begun to show appreciation to the country that has given them such inflated egos with salaries to match, then, maybe then. But until then – no more.
Disrespect is in the eye of the beholder
As Wayne Telford reports (“NFL schedule included displays of disrespect”), Sunday was “National Gold Star Mother’s Day” – cynically declared so on Saturday by President Trump to obfuscate his racist rant against Black athletes at his Alabama rally on Friday (prior to which repeats of Colin Kaepernick’s lonely example were minor distractions), but with no apology for his despicable insults of a Muslim Gold Star Mother last year. Thus, Telford should blame “the bum” himself – not “the media” – for the fact that “Gold Star Mothers Day” got unfortunately lost in the news cycle.
As a Vietnam-era veteran myself, I express my deepest sympathy for the Telfords’ loss – but wonder what his valiant daughter herself would have thought about the “flag issue.” In a recent episode of “The Vietnam War”, someone opined that the families of “the fallen” there were more likely to cling to “My Country, right or wrong” – because they were unwilling to confront the possibility that their loved one died in vain. Like me, Sergeant Caffrey swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic – not the anthem or the flag.
Wayne seems to equate the mere action of “kneeling” (which is commonplace in church and thus not inherently “disgusting”) with flag burning or desecration – and thus with “disrespect” for “those who have served or are currently serving in our armed forces” (and, understandably, his daughter). However, half the fans in every stadium see the flag displayed upside down – an accepted “signal of dire distress” (36 U.S. Code § 176). For some veterans, silently kneeling in protest of white racism is even more appropriate.
Apparently, Wayne “fully supports the right of free speech” when racists use “national venues” (and Twitter) to spew divisiveness, but not when the targets of their insults push back. About 80 percent of the “overpaid professionals” Wayne/Trump criticizes are black, while all-white NASCAR still embraces the Confederate flag at its televised events.
Also revealing is Wayne’s self-reinforcing misinterpretation of Alejandro Villanueva’s “courageous and selfless act” on Sunday. As the former Ranger himself explained, it was all just an embarrassing “mix up.” See: http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/steelers-villanueva-mix-up-led-to-anthem-flap/ar-AAsswJF?li=BBgET5V&ocid=spartanntp.
Meanwhile, with “tax reform” now on the horizon, perhaps – instead of more gratuitous tax cuts for the already wealthy – Telford will support a 70 percent tax rate on incomes over $1 million, which would hit “these pampered athletes” (as well as their millionaire owners, even wealthier Republican donors, and both Trump and his billionaire backers) “where it hurts them most – in the pocketbook,” but would generate the revenues needed to begin remedying the many social injustices that actually tarnish (if not desecrate) both our flag and its anthem.
Playing the national anthem during sporting events is a ridiculous tradition
Some Americans and Donald Trump detest NFL players protesting during the playing of the national anthem. Well, I protest the national anthem being played in the first place during any sporting event! I also protest having to attend an NFL game in person and being subjected to military jets flying overhead after the national anthem is played.
What does playing the national anthem or promoting patriotism have to do with sports? This all started in the early 1900s when winning in our World Wars was equated with winning in sporting events. But one really has nothing to do with the other.
Why not promote your national pride or patriotism in the privacy of your own home or your own private event? Why do people like myself who do not want to promote these things (which seem to only be done to indoctrinate the unthinking masses) have to be subjected to them against our will? We have some ridiculous traditions in this country and playing the national anthem during sporting events is definitely one of them.