To the editor:
I applaud the efforts of Richard Dreyfuss to establish The Dreyfuss Initiative to advocate for the return of civics as a core course in public school education. The need to understand our government and to encourage citizen participation has never been greater.
A course in civics would quickly acquaint students with the recognition that our Founding Fathers developed a Constitution to have a strong central government. It replaced a Confederation that lacked the power to raise taxes and allowed states to exercise a veto power over united action.
The Founding Fathers were aware that the Constitution was part of an ongoing process, providing for its amendment. The Bill of Rights, the 14th Amendment that made those rights applicable even to local government, and the widening enfranchisement of our citizens are all testimony to the participation of later generations to their work.
Part of their heritage is the understanding that patriotism is not something to be placarded but to be lived, and that individual rights live so long as the sense of community is also supported.
As one who had a civics class in school and student-taught them as well, I view with suspicion the following:
- Movements that warn of violence yet have participants at activities come armed.
- Movements that talk about rights but remain silent when those whom they have supported push legislation that would suppress voting through such activities as voter IDs.
- Movements that propose amending the Constitution, targeting — among others — the 14th Amendment and the direct election of senators.
- Movements that are supportive of presidential candiates that talk of making the federal government inconsequential.
Yes, we need the teaching of civics to be restored to the classroom, if for no other reason than to defend with knowledge the self-proclaimed watchdogs on the American future.
Stephen D. Harris
Demand, confidence are keys to economic revival
To the editor:
The Republican carnival barkers on Capitol Hill keep repeating their pitch: “Low taxes and less restrictive regulations.” Not one of them produces any evidence that this stimulates the economy. All they do is bark.
Demand and confidence are the key to economic revival, not obstructing President Obama at every turn. Born during President Hoover’s administration, I always heard that he did nothing to alleviate the Depression. I later learned he could not do anything because of an obstructive Democratic Congress. In this case, turnabout is not fair play.
It should be clear to any intelligent observer of the economy that when private demand fails it is time for the government to create demand. Infrastructure upgrades are the obvious area for government intervention because the construction industry is one of the legs holding up the economic table, and it is failing.
Harold C. Craig Jr.
Four questions that should be asked of Palestine
To the editor:
There is talk about the United Nations recognizing Palestine as a country. I have seen parts of a couple of interviews with representatives from Palestine. There are four questions that should be asked in any interview of a representative of Palestine.
- 1. Does Israel have the right to exist?
- 2. Behind what borders does Israel have the right to exist?
- 3. If Jerusalem was again divided, will the people of Israel be allowed complete unlimited access to the Wailing Wall?
- 4. Just as the Cherokees, the East Prussians and the Sudeten Germans have largely given up any real or imagined right of return, should the Palestinians give up any real or imagined right of return?
If the representatives of Palestine insist that Israel has no right to exist at all or that Israel must accept so many Muslims that the Jews become a minority, then it becomes difficult to argue that the people of Israel should agree to a plan that will eliminate them as a nation and, possibly, cause many of them to die in the process of being evicted from the land called Israel.
Russell French Williams
Meritus Medical Center is a no-smoking campus
To the editor:
I read with interest the letter to the editor on Sept. 19 on the “butt problem” at Meritus Medical Center.
I would like to thank the writer for raising awareness about an important health issue. The health risks associated with smoking are well-documented and helped us develop a smoke-free policy for our entire campus, including our parking areas, when we planned the move to the new facility. We would like to enlist the help of the entire community in creating the safest and healthiest environment possible for our patients, their friends and family, and our visitors and staff when they come here. We do have receptacles at the entrances to the hospital but smoking materials should not be brought on campus at all.
We hope that raising awareness in the community that our entire campus is a healthy, smoke-free environment will help eliminate the unsightly and hazardous cigarette butt problem. If you need to smoke, please leave your “butts” at home.
Joseph P. Ross
President and CEO, Meritus Health