A Citizen's Benefits and Responsibility

Interesting article about Angela Garcia ("When Should Propaganda Begin?," issue of May 17-23). I noticed something interesting, though: Isn't the Fairview German Language School that her child atten

Interesting article about Angela Garcia ("When Should Propaganda Begin?," issue of May 17-23). I noticed something interesting, though: Isn't the Fairview German Language School that her child attends a public school paid for by tax dollars?

It seems interesting that she (and it would appear the writer, Gregory Flannery) seems to feel that it's perfectly fine to take school money from the "big bad government" but not OK for the state to teach in school that part of being a citizen is defending that state. Would you be equally OK if I didn't like my child being exposed to information about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in school and requesting that she be excused from all classes about civil rights? After all, such education is also tinged with the "There are religious issues, there are political issues that come into play" line of thinking Garcia talks about.

How about excusing my child from any classes that deal with evolution or any classes that deal with the cosmos that don't mention that God was the creator? Many people believe these things, too. Would you agree that all potentially delicate topics should be able to be skipped by parents who happen to disagree with that topic? Do you feel that's an appropriate approach for a public school supported by tax dollars? One which has as a goal the development of educated and civil citizens?

Was not Garcia perfectly free to express her own opinions about the military to her child? Is she somehow unable to express her beliefs coherently to her child? Where exactly lies the harm in exposing a child to our most cherished freedom, the freedom of speech — even that which is disagreed with? What was it about the presence of a career soldier that so frightens you and her that you feel that a child shouldn't even be exposed to what that person has to say?

I can certainly sympathize with somebody who feels that their child shouldn't be exposed to something. But our public schools are indeed an element of the government, and the government does indeed have a right to assert that the defense of that government is a noble and important element of society.

If Garcia is so opposed to the government asserting that it has a right to ask citizens to defend itself, why does she feel she somehow has the right to take the benefits of that government? I'd find her more persuasive if she didn't take such a hypocritical stand and placed her child in a private school, where she was the only one charged with paying for that education rather than all of the citizens who pay taxes in the city of Cincinnati.

I can't help but think of Orwell's statement that "Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." Too bad so many of these "good people" are hypocrites who are so willing to take the benefits of a society like ours without accepting any of the responsibilities of being members of such a society.

— Chris Dorr, Price Hill

Smiles, Not Stares for Military
I'm growing tired of this half-hearted support for our troops. I am in disagreement with this war, too, but I appreciate and honor the men and women in the military ("When Should Propaganda Begin?," issue of May 17-23).

I'm not proposing donations, letters or care packages to show support. In a nation where people lazily calm their conscience by hitting the "FWD" button on a "support the troops" email, those ideas are wistful. All I'm hoping for is the decency of a welcoming smile.

Upon arriving in an American airport after six months in Afghanistan, my sister — who serves in the U.S. Air Force — received stares, not smiles, much like glares from the Afghanistan people. It seems the troops are supported only on days of remembrance and awards. Our troops aren't welcome in their own country.

And now I see that their careers aren't even acceptable at a career day in schools. I hate to imagine my future child asking his aunt to speak at his career day and she's barred from even entering the school because her job is seen in such dishonor as to be categorized with a stripper.

— S. Edmond, Clifton

New Hope for OTR
I assume you are aware the National Historic Trust recently released its list of the 11 most endangered historic sites in the U.S., one of which was Over-the-Rhine. This places the neighborhood in the same category as the historic districts of New Orleans and the remaining staircase of the World Trade Center.

I have been disappointed, although not surprised, that the immediate press coverage has thus far treated this designation as having minor significance, when it's in fact a big deal. As the list was even announced by the head of the National Trust at a press conference in Over-the-Rhine, it's clear that federal support exists for the neighborhood.

The complexities, complications and planning issues of Over-the-Rhine are no longer a municipal matter but have now been elevated to national interests. It further qualifies investment and development in the region for tax credits, abatements, loans and even federal grants. This is an opportunity for the city, and I hope CityBeat provides coverage of this historic occassion.

— Mitchell Sipus [email protected]

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