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Letter: Teach children respect for government, others

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: William Scarbrough


Received: Dec. 20

Considering that Gregg Macklin addressed me directly in his letter, dated Dec. 16, I began to draft a response composed to counter each of his assertions.

These assertions were terribly wrong and/or cruel.

For example: Entry level jobs are only for teenagers, or my criticism of the tea party was proof of lack of understanding how a budget was constitutionally passed, to twisted interpretations of sections of the Constitution that mean the federal government cannot issue welfare checks.

In addition there was the comment that entry level jobs were not intended to get you out of poverty any more than boarding an airliner makes you a pilot. Tell that to someone working 40 hours a week in such a job. That’s cruel.

Soon, I realized I wasn’t going to change Macklin’s mind with any rebuttals I might make. Nor would I change the minds of those presenting him with “Orchids.” The “Orchids” suggested to me that there are many people in this community who agree with Gregg Macklin. Is there any way to respond in a meaningful manner? Yes.

Many of these people are adults, and some are probably not quite adults. The adults are those offering guidance to children or grandchildren as to what is true and what the family’s values are. Therein lies the real problem.

A preteen child told that the government cannot assist the poor by dad, mom, grandpa or grandma is going to believe that. If those family members agree on this issue, such persuasion is insurmountable. Many will carry that belief throughout their lives, thereby perpetuating these untruths and probably developing even more bizarre theories.

In some cases when the preteen becomes a teenager he/she begins to think on their own. Often disagreements with family values are attributed to a rebellious attitude.

Or perhaps a teacher has shown why the Constitution allows the federal government to assist the poor. Heaven help that teacher. You can be sure mom, dad, grandma and grandpa will be at the school demanding the teacher be fired.

On my front porch I have a wood table that I’ve invited people to write on. I then carve the writing into the wood. It reminds me of the wood tables in the bar I went to as a junior and senior in college. Covered with carvings usually expressing undying love for some guy or girl.

My table is the same only the hearts usually contain names of married couples.

But in addition there is an amusing 19th-century haiku and a hand print from an infant. (Can’t wait until she’s old enough to recognize her tiny hand.)

A 7-year-old girl wrote on the table, “What is beautiful is good and who is beautiful is good.” Those are not the words of a child whose family has spoken with disrespect toward any people or our government. I know that to be fact.

Stigmatizing others, including those in poverty, is unacceptable.

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