Sunday, March 30, 2003

Readers' Views

Boycotting protests an American right

TO THE EDITOR: Recently, I heard commentary by a songwriter, expressing frustration about the ongoing boycott of the Dixie Chicks. He made a number of comments, asking listeners to remember that it is every American's right to dissent. He suggested that he felt compelled to temper his comments about the War in Iraq for fear that some organized attempt might be made to boycott his work. He went on to finish by saying that these boycotts run counter to what we are fighting for in Iraq.

I have problems with his comments for two reasons. First, I am not aware that boycotting a product, a song, a book, or a television show is un-American. Interest groups and political activists have always used the power of the purse to get people and organizations to change their minds. Second, most Americans do not have the financial wherewithal nor the access to the media that Hollywood stars and music entertainers do.

What the commentator fails to realize is that when movie stars, recording stars, and even politicians choose to use the very public forum that their success gives them, they should be prepared for a very public reaction to their comments. Do not ask to have it both ways. Do not expect Americans to "finance" your public success by buying your CDs, buying movie tickets and attending your concerts, and then simply sit back and allow you or others to express views that we do not agree with when you are using the public forum that we made possible.

Kevin Wilzbach, Cleves


Reform proposal seems like bad idea

Ken Lawson's latest attempt to reform the Cincinnati Police Department has to be the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard of ("New panel to guard black interests" March 27). You'd think by now Mr. Lawson would realize what happens when thugs, dope dealers and bad guys rule the streets. Now he wants to take these same fine upstanding citizens and exemplary role models and place them on a panel that oversees the Police Department? Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house! Call me crazy, but this just doesn't sound like a good idea.

Bill Halusek, Harrison


Winburn is wrong on Walnut Hills

Charles Windburn's accusations against Marvin Koenig, principal of Walnut Hills High School, are an unfair personal attack against him ("Walnut Hills parents charge grade inflation. Our children have been students at Walnut and we have been parent volunteers for six years. Over that time, Mr. Koenig has impressed us with his skillful balancing of the many competing demands of a large public urban high school devoted to educating very bright young people. He has shown himself to be an intelligent educator. He must make tough decisions daily that balance the needs of students, the staff, and the school itself. He effectively leads a management team and manages employees. And, he must be a master politician to survive within the social milieu of this city and its school board.

As volunteers, we see Mr. Koenig at most school events. He shows a genuine interest in the students and parents. He demonstrates constantly that he has the best interest of the school and its students at heart.

James Brush and Marianne Knue, North Avondale


Strong winds blew as fireman was buried

Our fire department (Loveland-Symmes) and honor guard, as a part of numerous honor guards, were deeply honored to join the firefighters, the bagpipe band (made up of numerous different fire and police bands), several solo musicians, chaplains, preachers, city officials and family in participating in a sad yet wonderful and glorious funeral service of Oscar Armstrong III.

It was heartwarming to see the streets of Cincinnati filled with so many different folks waving flags and showing their appreciation for Oscar and the job Cincinnati's bravest do. Last Friday was a horrific day and the bravery of the firefighters who tried to save Oscar was representative of the fire service's greatest heroics. The actions of the firefighters, paramedics, chief officers, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center trauma staff, who all tried to valiantly save him, were equally heroic.

It was a bittersweet day celebrating the short life and career of a fine young man who loved being a professional firefighter. As firefighter Armstrong was being laid to rest at the cemetery and the firefighters were called to stand at attention, a gust of wind blew all of the honor guard and American flags to a hard and full wave. To me, those winds seemed to represent power from above.

God bless Oscar's family, friends and the officers and members of the Cincinnati Fire Department. May he rest in peace.

Billy Goldfeder, Battalion Chief, Loveland-Symmes FD


Pray for safe return of troops

As I watch our troops fighting the war on Iraq, I see protestors holding signs ridiculing our president, which is totally legal because they live in America. I am not questioning their motives or what reasoning they have for their actions, but rather than ridicule, lets try to unite as a whole country and show our soldiers and their families just how thankful and proud this country is of our soldiers and the sacrifices that they are willing to make.

I challenge all Americans to ask themselves a question, "Am I willing to give my life so that a total stranger may have life?" When the soldiers, the firefighters and the policemen accept the job of being our protectors, this their unspoken creed. We should pray that God will give our leaders guidance to make the correct decisions. Imagine how proud the soldiers, firefighters and policemen would be to see a whole country praying together for their safe return home to their families.

Bob Sies, Mason


'Monologues' column misunderstands issue

In reference to Russell Thomas's March 26 Local Voices column (" 'Monologues' play is another slip downward"), I must comment as a woman, a mother and an educator.

First, he cries of freedom of speech in relation to responsibility. We have the responsibility to educate others about sexual violence against women such as rape and clitoral mutilation so common in many countries. That is a main focus of the book and play, Vagina Monologues. Lack of awareness and education will breed continued violence against women.

Secondly, he speaks of propriety. Mr. Thomas, isn't using the proper terminology for body parts propriety? I wish men would use vagina in the locker room instead of some of the demeaning slang I've heard used in reference to women's bodies. A good health teacher starts the reproductive health unit by asking students to list all the slang they know for penis, breast and vagina. They then symbolically "throw them away" and learn that, out of respect and propriety, one calls body parts by their proper names.

Responsibility, respect - maybe even reverence.

Debra Duermit, Anderson Township


History lessons need expanding

I applaud Sen. Lamar Alexander's introduction of The American History and Civics Education Act of 2003 (March 28). Sen. Alexander's bill joins "two urgent concerns that will determine our country's future: the education of our children and the principles that unite us as Americans."

May I plead for the addition of one other ingredient to his proposal: let's get it right this time. The American history that has been taught us and our children is incomplete (Read: Lies my Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen.) The true story of America's treatment of Native Americans and African Americans is glossed over/overlooked in our history. The true story should include how the treatment of these two groups by our government is a part of the history of this country. There should be a record of the number of lives lost to both groups as a result of the inhumane treatment accorded them.

I suggest some of these historians be included to help record the history: Lerone Bennett and John Hope Franklin, African-American historians, and some recognized historians from the Native-American culture.

Odessa W. Hooker, North Avondale


Burk's criticism of Augusta tasteless

In response to Martha Burk's latest and least tasteful tactic to extend her 15 minutes of fame. Saying that it is "Appalling that women who fight for the United States in Iraq, face discrimination at home at private clubs like Augusta National."

Burk, head of the National Council of Women's Organizations, is missing two major points: They are fighting for a country that our right to form private organizations, and freely assemble. Second, if she thinks that the women fighting in Iraq are the only ones discriminated against by clubs like Augusta National, let an enlisted man apply for membership, and see how close to the first tee his military compensation gets him.

The fact is, it is a private club, and members have the right to choose whom they want. We as Americans should respect that. Many men have given their lives to guarantee those rights to the citizens of this country. The NCWO is by name an inherently discriminatory organization, but I don't see a line of men trying to beat the door down to get in.

John Lyttle, Landen

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Readers' Views