Multiple viewpoints should be a classroom necessity
I reacted with dismay and concern to the June 6 article "Conservatives See Liberal Bias in Class."
The suggestion by Michelle Easton that we should send our children to "little right-wing schools [or] little left-wing schools" is one that would, without exaggeration, serve to undermine our democracy.
We cannot and must not become private versions of our public pundits, unable to hear another point of view without grimacing, shouting, or deriding. To inculcate in our children the belief that they do not need to understand opposing viewpoints will lead them to intolerance.
America works best when its citizens listen to and consider opposing ideas. When opinions remain unchallenged, the understanding of complex issues becomes less refined, and our country ultimately suffers. Let us instead strive to be a nation of dialogue and tolerance.
Regarding the John Hughes June 8 Opinion piece, "25 m.p.g. won't end US energy problem": I wholeheartedly agree. I would not even characterize the high gas mileage as a "spit in the ocean," but of negative impact as it lets us feel that we are doing something when we are only ignoring the long-term problem, which is a demand for resources that exceeds the planet's sustainable limit. Mainstream science would say that the planet cannot sustain six billion naturally greedy humans.
We do not openly confront the scientific statement that "unlimited growth in a limited world is impossible"; we only demonstrate that we do not believe this by our behavior, like feeling good about 25 m.p.g.
Eugene W. Peterson
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Regarding the June 2 article "Nuclear Power Simpler - and Safer": My biggest concern in reading that article is the issue of future electricity demands, and whether the Department of Energy's 281-gigawatt projection accounts for people shifting transportation energy demand from oil to electricity.
Between all-electric cars - such as the recently announced 2010 Mitsubishi Colt - and scooters, and plug-in hybrids, which will be on the market much sooner, we'll see Americans increasingly driving with electricity as a way to avoid the pain of rising gasoline prices and possibly uncertain supply in the coming years.
Even if those people are smart about recharging their electric vehicles during off-peak hours, it could still add a very significant burden to the nation's electricity infrastructure.
Regarding the June 13 article "In Vietnam, war history through a political lens": As a witness to the events of the Vietnam War, Donald Kirk offers a version of the revisionist history that cannot be disputed. And the article acknowledges our own tendency toward revisionism in telling the stories of America's past wars in 1776, 1945, and in "conquering" the American West.
On a recent trip of my own, I found the Vietnamese people to be friendly and enthusiastic about taking my money through business transactions. While I also witnessed the "propaganda" of the Vietnamese government at places like Cu Chi tunnels and the war museum in Ho Chi Minh City, more than anything, I saw a general population that is desperately trying to put that sad chapter of their history behind them.
So far, the Vietnamese people have succeeded in doing that better than Americans have.
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