'WON'T BACK DOWN'
As reviewer points out, simplistic propaganda
As a high school teacher for more than 18 years, I was dismayed to see the very complex arguments about school reform reduced to silly good-vs.-evil storylines as seen in the new movie "Won't Back Down." Having a strong union and job security helps me to do my job, and do it well.
Kudos to Colin Covert ("Reform school," Sept. 28) for not just weighing in on what sounds like a very mediocre film, but for calling it out as a propaganda piece courtesy of Philip Anschutz, the billionaire funding the charter-school movement. Covert's article wasn't just good criticism, but excellent journalism as well.
JANICE RIDEOUT, ST. LOUIS PARK
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'HUMANITY BY NUMBERS'
Small government is not heartless
As an advocate of smaller government, I must respond to Elizabeth Burns ("Humanity by numbers," Sept. 26). Smaller government is designed to help someone who is in an emergency situation. The writer and her family are in need of a temporary boost to get through a very difficult time, not a permanent life subsidy.
Burns is doing everything she can to get back to independence, because she knows what that feels like. She cringes at filling out intrusive forms, being told what she can and cannot do, becoming dependent on others. But she will not become enmeshed in the dependency cycle.
Big government, however, has created people who are so used to relying on it that they no longer believe in their ability to direct their own lives. Little by little, government "help" drains people of their self-worth. In the name of compassion, big government kills independence, initiative, self-confidence and self-reliance. As government grows bigger, the individual gets smaller.
Advocates of smaller government do not want people in need to suffer. We want to help them get to the point where they no longer need help.
DEBBIE LEWIS, LONG LAKE
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Debating the impact of self-fulfillment
Riley Balling ("Why same-sex marriage affects my marriage," Sept. 28) wishes to be commended for choosing to work like a responsible straight elder son while the gay and lesbian prodigals in our midst are running off pursing self-fulfillment. He misses the point, however. Badly.
Most of the people I come across as a pastor, gays and lesbians included, do not see self-fulfillment as feckless selfishness. Rather, they see it as diligently working to become the people God created them to be. And they believe that it is in the joys and struggles of relationship that we grow the most. They also believe, as do I, that the most fruitful relationship for that kind of growth is a lifelong monogamous relationship of love and mutual respect.
Balling sees gay marriage as the "there goes the neighborhood" straw that would break the backs of our straight children's hopes for marital bliss. He is wrong. My fear is actually that marriage will end up being just another choice in the smorgasbord of cohabitation, civil union, etc. We would honor and protect marriage best if we were to state that it is the place for a lifelong committed relationship, everyone welcome. Such relationships would strengthen our communities, the same communities that nurture our children.
STEPHEN SYLVESTER, CIRCLE PINES
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In the 1950s, having sex before marriage and marital unfaithfulness were considered wrong. The "free love" revolution of the 1960s began a seismic shift toward denying the importance of marriage. The feminist movement furthered the decline of marriage. The legalizing of abortion and the Pill made casual sex even easier. The no-fault divorce law trivialized marriage, as did the media push to exploit sex and break down taboos against porn. So called safe-sex education gave kids permission to have sex and contributed to marital failure years later.
Today, about half of all couples live together at some time, and in some communities the illegitimacy rate is as high as 70 percent. Social diseases, including some that are incurable, are rampant, and the financial cost of this failed social experiment is staggering. Making sexual rights the highest good has contributed to broken lives, broken homes, domestic violence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse, and has filled our prisons with men who do not have a father. Children need a father and mother. For 50 years, the left has been promoting social changes that have eroded marriage. Same-sex marriage will take us even further down that same path.
HARLAN VALL, COON RAPIDS