Regarding the June 29 article, "Why the flag amendment hasn't cleared Senate hurdle": I currently live and work overseas and continue to be amazed at what seems important to some Americans. To pass an amendment to the US Constitution on banning desecration of the flag would trivialize the document just as the amendment for prohibition – and then the repeal of prohibition – did some years ago. If Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah thinks this is the No. 1 issue facing America, he needs to get out more. I applaud Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota for their common sense approach (voting no) to this blatant attempt by some to divert attention away from the real problems of America and the world. It is the same mentality exhibited by social conservatives who want to impose their way of life on others.
It would be beneficial to see the time and energy of social conservatives put into actions that would actually benefit society in regard to human rights and balancing the budget, also in reducing poverty, environmental degredation and corporate and political corruption.
John Dillin's July 6 Opinion piece, "How Eisenhower solved illegal border crossing from Mexico," is completely correct.
I joined the Border Patrol in May 1955 and served until May 1982. The guest- worker program and aggressive enforcement kept illegal entry to a minimum. I worked at El Centro, Calif., from 1955 to 1957. During that period, most illegal aliens apprehended in California were held in detention for two weeks for a fingerprint check.
Anyone with a criminal record was prosecuted. All that is necessary to remove the illegal aliens from this country is for the politicians to grow a backbone and enforce the existing laws.
Frank D. Thurlow
[Editor's note: The original version misidentified Frank D. Thurlow's place of residence.]
Regarding John Hughes's July 5 Opinion column, "A lesson on learning English as America debates new laws": Mr. Hughes is right that the ability to speak English is essential in this country, but he is wrong to imply that making English the official language is necessary.
Here in Minnesota, we had communities of Finns, Norwegians, Germans, and Dutch, where the native tongue was heard extensively for decades. Today, all of these people's descendents speak English.
And today, we have many Hispanic immigrants, but their children will speak English – all without an official language.
James A. Schoettler
St. Paul, Minn.
Thank you for the informative June 27 article, "Where strollers dare not roll." "Babywearing" with a cloth "kanga," sling, or other carrier combines convenience for parents with contentment for babies, who learn about the world by literally following their parents around as they go about their business – working, visiting, or shopping.
The babywearing tradition that has worked for generations around the world is now in vogue in America.
My grown son embraced his opportunity as a dad to "wear" his daughters (my granddaughters) in a sling during their early years. The physical closeness provided security and comfort as each daughter made a gentle transition from the womb to the outside world.
Lorelei de la Reza
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