Appreciate and cultivate America's democratic tradition

We should all ponder Brad Rourke's question, "What have I done today for democracy?," posed to readers of his Aug. 19 column, "What if the US had to write a constitution from scratch?"

My son, Mike, recently moved with his fiancée to Washington, and my husband and I excitedly traveled from our small Midwest town to help.

Walking down their new street, I discovered feelings I don't often come across in Hudson, Wis. The faces I saw were Hispanic, black, and Asian, with Mike and Simone adding their faces to the sprinkling of white. Beside a small community playground, vendors sold fried plantains and other unfamiliar foods.

A short day later we were back in Hudson. Our diversity? Well, there are those who are retired and those who aren't!

Our current issue of contention involves use of the community beach - owned by the homeowners' association, but frequented by others in the community. A large sign posted en route to the beach and 10 more rules have preempted the conversation in our public square. If this doesn't work, we will put up an electronic gate.

If we cannot find words to talk about issues in our little community here in Hudson, how will Mike's community ever figure out how to get along without a policeman on every corner? And, how in the world will Baghdad ever figure it out?
Judith Freund
Hudson, Wis.

Brad Rourke's Opinion piece was excellent. My teens are now taking Advanced Placement US History and Advanced Placement Government. They will be reading this article, and we will discuss it from several perspectives.

My children were born in '88 and '89, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. As I had been stationed there in the late '70s, I knew how hard it would be for the Germans to work through the practicalities and realities of reunification.

Iraq has even bigger issues, and it's good to look at how long it has taken us to achieve what we assume to be our birthright. Many thanks for a thought-provoking article.
Pat Palmer
Lexington, S.C.

Youth embrace church's moral standards

Thank you for the Aug. 19 article "Youth gather for 'Catholic Woodstock.' " It is truly inspirational that so many young people of faith can gather peacefully to pray, worship, and fraternize.

However, I would like to challenge the continued assumption that many young people reject the church's moral teachings on sexuality. Indeed, many of the John Paul II generation accept wholeheartedly the church's moral teachings as they can see from their parents' experience that the sexual revolution has wrought many emotional, psychological, spiritual, and societal problems.

These young people are leaning early that "truth will set [them] free."
April Ishak
Havre de Grace, Md.

Where have our hometowns gone?

Regarding the Aug. 22 Opinion piece by Hedley Burrell and David E. Drew, "Getting grounded in the post-hometown world": One national magazine has come fairly close to giving a sense of people's hometowns. National Geographic Magazine focuses each monthly issue on a different ZIP code, and the people who live there.

That may be as close as we'll ever get to national media focusing on our hometowns, unless you count CBS News reporter Steve Hartman, who ends his "Everybody Has a Story" segments by tossing a dart at a map to choose the next town he will profile.
Wendy King
New Orleans

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