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Letters March 19/22

What moral code?

By the time this letter is published our nation may already be at war. No one can hide behind trite phrases that blur our responsibility to make clear ethical decisions on whether to support this war. “My country, right or wrong,” “United We Stand,” or “Support the Troops” are hardly the words of sincere ethical discernment. At a time when our own government has presented “evidence” that was later proven inaccurate, overstated, and even forged, it is more necessary than ever to engage in tough ethical discernment regarding this war.

Many of my more conservative friends have taught me the need for absolute moral values. They rightly criticize our culture as awash in “a sea of relativism” where moral judgments are always conditioned on private interpretation of “what is right for me” and truth is a relative term that has little shared objective standing. They are correct. I would only challenge these good people to apply this wisdom to our present discernment about war. One must base this decision, not on some narrow nationalism (the equivalence of relativism written large), but on one’s “core values,” “moral absolutes” or “non-negotiables.” “Security” can not be a license for all kinds of morally reprehensible behavior. The “conservative” should be the first to point our moral compass to the traditional moral criteria of the just war. They should be the first to state that we must consider time-honored ethical values of “proportionality,” “last resort,” “protection of non-combatants,” and “valid authority,” not to mention “Thou shall not kill” and “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” By what moral code are we judging this war? The ethical person cannot reduce all moral discernment to obedience and duty. We all have the obligation to avoid a moral relativism that justifies whatever we want. Rather we must identify our shared core values and be judged by them.

Patrick Rawson

Hood River

Top ‘Tempest’

I drove over Saturday evening from The Dalles to see “The Tempest” at Hood River Valley High School, because I’ll go anywhere, any time, for any Shakespeare. What a treat! The production, in all respects, was fabulous! I commented early on that it was hard to believe these were high school students, and at intermission that it was hard to believe we weren’t in Ashland!

Thanks to all involved, and thanks, Hood River, for keeping a strong arts program in your schools. I hope to have the opportunity to see many more so beautifully done plays!

Sandy Haerchel

The Dalles

Never a war?

I still hold out hope that this deal will close with out firing a shot. But “never a war” in the future is not possible as long as humans live on this planet. We can not forget that the human heart is corrupt beyond all reason and as long as humans live there will be greed, struggles for power, ethnic hatred, and persecution. Where bad men will impose their will on the weak in manners that are too gross to mention. So at what point does one allow the innocent to be slaughtered without taking action? How long does one look away from a dictator and do nothing? Allowing evil to be done is just as bad as doing it oneself. Evil only has victory when good men do nothing. Stalin killed millions of his own as did Pol Pot. Today slavery exists in places like the Sudan. In part of the Muslim world women are treated like property with no rights. The list goes on and on. There are times where the common man needs to fight. World War II comes to mind. as the best example of that (Iraq ... I don’t know. The spies must know stuff we are not allowed to know at this time.) If we agree that our own cities need police to keep order and stop a fall into anarchy the logic that follows is there will be times where one or more nations will have to play that same role.

The strategies imposed by this administration are textbook. If all goes well in the next 48 hours this will come to an end and not a shot will be fired. Only a true madman would allow his country to be destroyed rather then live a very rich mans life in exile (that’s right Saddam has millions of dollars.) But that is the gamble isn’t it. The spy people say there is reason enough to take that gamble. Either way at this point we have little input.

One of the saddest parts of this whole deal was the end of any two-bit dictator ever taking the U.N. seriously and like the League of Nations it will now fade into obscurity. Blood may be shed this week, I pray not, but a lot more blood will be shed in the future because the U.N. security console is no longer an effective way of trying to keep the peace.

Dave Ryan

Hood River

Proud of schools

In response to Rich Whitaker’s “Can’t Come Home” letter (March 15) I have to say that I will always be proud to be an Oregonian. While our schools are struggling finacially, our teachers continue to work diligently to assure that our children receive a good education. The Portland district’s teachers have gone as far as agreeing to work 10 days for free as part of a contract settlement.

Locally, our teachers devote many hours of their own time and often their own money to give our children the best education possible. I have no problem sending my child to an Oregon school where the teachers continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide my child with an excellent education. I am delighted to send my child to a school where the principal takes time to greet him at the front door with a warm smile and a hand shake everyday.

At the end of the day with meetings to attend and papers to correct, my child’s teacher takes the time to walk her class to the front door and send them home with a hug, a compliment, and a full day of learning.

With war looming over us, terrorist activities, and an unstable economy things are tough all over, NOT just here in Oregon. In these difficult times I am happy to live in a small communtiy where the teachers not only teach but love our children. I thank God that the road in front of my home runs one way to a great school family and the other to my children’s loving immediate family. Both are crucial to the happiness and well being of my children. I do hope that he can say the same.

Kristi Meyers

Parkdale

Use your life

One thing that a majority of American society seems to have in common these days is in the way they can all find someone else to blame besides themselves.

I see it every single day: “I am poor because of greedy big business,” “I can’t get a job because of the economy,” “I wish someone would do something about _____,” “My kids aren’t receiving proper education because of (the teachers, the budget crisis, outside influences, etc.” Give me a break!

First of all, the majority of people out of work are so due to their own choices. I’m not saying that they all chose to quit their last job, but I am saying that choices they made in the past at some point probably put them where they are today.

Am I supposed to feel sorry for the “guy” who can’t find a job? Wait a minute ... is this the same “guy” who smoked pot all through high school and skipped every other day? Was this the same guy who said all through school, “We are never going to need this in the real world,” and disrupted the class so the others who wanted to learn were distracted? I am even madder at that guy today than I was back then; now my taxes help support him.

Please, before the hate-mail begins, I am not saying that all unemployed people are like this, I just wish that the ones who are would admit it and move on with their lives ... quit blaming everyone else for your actions! (I have been unemployed myself; I just don’t blame anyone but myself.)

It’s time to face a fact: this area has almost no jobs; it hasn’t for quite a while, and probably never will again. If you want to continue to live here, do something to educate yourself, make yourself desirable to employers. If all they need is a minimum wage laborer, you will be competing with hundreds of others just like you. This country is full of undereducated, however willing to work, individuals and you are nobody special.

Second, where is it written that the education of your child is the sole burden of some stranger who just happens to be a “teacher”? I was lucky growing up and had a few above-average teachers. I mean them no disrespect, however, in saying that I learned more from my family than all of them combined.

It was my father who taught me math, my mother who first engrossed me in literature, and my older brothers who sparked my interest in all things mechanical. More importantly, I learned valuable life skills that outweigh all of my formal schooling combined.

Parents, teach your kids! More importantly, show them how to live the right way. Don’t tell them that they have to do one thing and then let them see you doing another. They learn what they see 10 times faster than what they read in some book. It always amazes me to hear someone say,“This younger generation isn’t worth a damn”; well, whose fault is that? We had a saying in the Army, “There are no bad soldiers, just bad leaders”; I think this applies to kids and parents as well. If your child acts like an idiot, where did he learn it?

Finally, in closing, my number one pet peeve, personal protection. If I have to hear one more person on T.V. saying how they feel that they as well as their family are unsafe even at home, I’m going to sell my television.

What have these people done for themselves? It is ridiculous that they wouldn’t have a gun in their home to protect their family due to being “anti-gun.” These same people wouldn’t think twice about calling 911 to have a policeman (who is a complete stranger) bring a gun into their home to defend their family. Are you somebody special? Why should this officer risk his life to save your family, when you are unwilling to do so yourself?

If I lose my job, I will find another one. If my children make mistakes in life, I am responsible. If I want something done, I will do it. If someone threatens my home or family, I too will call 911.

The bottom line is this: grow up, take responsibility for yourselves, quit blaming everyone else for your misery and, most importantly, don’t expect any handouts in life. If you really want something, you will do whatever it takes to attain your goal. I won’t feel sorry for you as you just sit there on the couch and blame the world.

This is your one and only life ... do something with it or get out of the way.

Jason C. Smith

The Dalles

Tell the good

I am a recent graduate of the local high school and in my few years have seen many horrid situations as well as beautiful. While the world and our country are not without faults, I rarely ever see anything but negative being discussed in the Letters to the Editor section of the news.

Granted people need to vent their frustrations and it is a great place to do so, because maybe somebody who is in the position to make changes will see it and do so. Some of the people writing have a tendency to get rather vicious and start speaking out of sheer rage.

To get the point I would like to see something positive talked about. Yes, we are facing war, major economic crises and bad things happen to good people every day. But good things happen too. Mr. John Ihle, March 15, went at the school district’s problems in a constructive way.

So maybe you, whoever you are, could share that story or idea that could benefit someone’s life or just their day. Please confirm me in my idea that the world isn’t all bad and that not everyone is angry and unhappy at the end of the day when they go home.

There are too many wonderful things to embrace in this short life.

Kelsey Shortt

Hood River

Buy American

Everyone is getting a “taste” of what it is like when you rely on foreign countries for something. I’m talking about oil. They’ve got us over the barrel (no pun intended). So, what do you think is going to happen to food prices when we rely solely on imported food? Buy American grown food!

Denise Fischer

Hood River

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