Letters to the Editor (10/15/09)

Oct. 15, 2009

Another peace piece

In regards to the letter to the editor entitled, “About Peace” (Observer, Oct. 8), I would like to share that Ms. Christine Parker’s fundamental message, which I’ll paraphrase as, “Peace can’t happen, so let’s celebrate the sacrifice of soldiers,” is rather disparaging.

I see no reason to celebrate the sacrifice of human lives in the service of war, which in my mind is a failure of imagination and intelligence. And yet that failure does exist, so we must and do maintain a strong and able armed force. Our goal for them, as I’m sure is their own, should be to be well prepared and quite bored.

Inner peace may indeed be attainable, but that is a dynamic process requiring constant maintenance, just as the societal pursuit of outer-worldly peace should be.

I certainly applaud our schools for teaching that there is something to work toward, and was delighted that the folks in Oslo saw fit to award the Nobel Peace Prize to a man whose main accomplishment was reaffirming the possibility of peace and the way toward it.

If we send a message that peace will never be, that is a message of great despair and an excuse to shirk our responsibility as citizens of this country and the world. Now that, to me, is a far more negative view of America and Americans and religion than the one that Ms. Parker claims the peace movement puts out.

Stewart Cohen, Williston

‘Other voices’ on race

Thank you, Deborah Miuccio, for your well-written letter that stands in contrast to the letter submitted by Shelley Palmer (“The race card,” Oct. 1). Reading Palmer’s letter, I first wanted to respond, “Shame on you, Observer” for printing such an ill-informed and bias-ridden letter. However, I think the public should thank the Observer. Thank you for reminding us of the deep-rooted misunderstanding, mistrust and intolerance that still lurk insidiously in our society.

Our country was, from its founding, rooted in inequalities. These inequalities, while greatly diminished over time, still persist in some form today. Remember that it was just under 90 years ago that women gained the right to vote. The United States, on the other hand, was founded 233 years ago. A mere 55 years ago, the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education launched the modern Civil Rights Movement, promoting social and educational reform, declaring separate is not equal. I would feel appalled and ashamed if our country began repealing programs designed to aid those born and raised in inequality.

Ask any educator — schools across the United States are NOT equal. Homes from which children go to school are NOT equal. There is a direct correlation between school success and access to books at home. Some children grow up in homes without a single book or a literate parent. We would be wrong to assume that children are given an equal shot at success. As Miuccio referenced with the book by Jonathan Kozol, our culture is still rampant with savage inequalities. And the residual effects of past inequalities still impact many today.

Yes, we have opportunities here in the United States. Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for. But, please don’t become complacent. Please don’t think we have come far enough, or too far, as Mr. Palmer suggests. We have a long, long way yet to go.

Caroline Webster, Williston