Letters to the Editor Sept. 21, 2011

By Del Norte Triplicate Readers September 21, 2011 05:57 pm

Gay history is a part of who we are and should be taught

What is it about having gay history taught in schools that bothers people so much? (“Time to stand up against requiring teaching about gays in history, Sept. 17.”)

This is not some conspiracy to try to turn all of our children and grandchildren into homosexuals. That’s not how it works!

Are people concerned that if we take “a look back” at gay history we will become pillars of salt? How can people point a finger at someone and say that they will face fire and brimstone?

I do not see a point in trying to hide truths by sending kids to private schools. Doesn’t the Bible command people to be “in the world” and also not to judge?

Gay history is something that should be taught and is a part of who we are. I am ashamed of the fact that there is still so much hatred and intolerance even in the year 2011!

I hope that by the time my kids are in high school the history books will have been rewritten to say that gay marriage has been made legal and accepted in all 50 states.

Selena Algis

Crescent City


Students need to learn about the contributions of gays and lesbians


Thanks to Muriel Kaye for her timely letter last Saturday (“Time to stand up against requiring teaching about gays in history”), and thanks to The Triplicate for violating its policy of not publishing religious tracts.

In her letter, she explains perfectly why students need to learn about the contributions of gays and lesbians to our society. It’s so their minds won’t be poisoned by rhetoric. Yes, maybe some parents will feel obligated to home-school their children. Then the kids won’t have to hear about gays, or science, or mix with liberals or students of different races and backgrounds.

They can grow up wondering why their test scores are so low they can’t get into college.

Teachers do talk about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases to most of the students. Unfortunately, parents can opt out of some sex ed lessons. If you don’t tell the kids about sex, they won’t think about it. And gay kids won’t think about that if they have no information. Works every time.

I would have high school kids read about Freddie Mercury, Michael Bennett and my junior high classmate Howard Ashman, all three dead from AIDS, and ask if these men had worthwhile lives. I might also ask if it is better for religious people to talk about Sodom and Gomorrah than it is to try to help people who are ill, or work to find a cure. 

Here’s my more inclusive list of people to read about: James Baldwin, Richard Rodriguez, Harvey Milk, Rosie O'Donnell, Wanda Sykes, Troy Perry, Leonard Bernstein,  Lily Tomlin, Martina Navratilova, Rita Mae Brown. That should get everyone’s education started.

Barry Wendell

Crescent City


Feels that the newspaper is leaning too far toward the political right


I feel the paper, as our one and only such publication for this county, should serve all the people, not just the most vocal few.

Something that I think needs to be said, is that this county is not nearly as right-leaning as the casual reader of our paper would surmise. There is not much difference between Republican and Democratic voters in this area, plus independents. We just had a large front-page article about the sheriff and his affiliation with the Tea Party.

I actually wish there was such an article in the paper last year before people sent in their mail-in ballots. A lot of people told me that, if they had known that much about him, they wouldn’t have voted for him. As to the survey done at the fair, I noticed five answers (“what is your biggest concern?”) were obvious right-wing views. Nine could be interpreted as either right, left or middle.

Before, I felt that the paper did a decent job of covering all sides fairly. Now it is further to the right. It is considered by many a joke now, I’m sorry to say. Many people I know have canceled their subscription. I haven’t yet because I want to keep up on happenings.

This country has always had groups with basic fundamental differences and beliefs. It seems to me that the far right seems to think they have a monopoly on patriotism and virtue, that only they truly love this country. Nationally, support for the Tea Party has dwindled. Fifty Tea Party people show up somewhere and it gets national coverage; 50,000 union, left or middle voters show up for something and it’s not mentioned on most stations.

The loudest and most persistent get the megaphone, which is much larger than they deserve. There’s a dynamic here that isn’t being recognized. Democrats are generally more tolerant and more laid back than, say, diehard Republicans and their far right wing. The latter seem more willing to get “in your face” and confrontational about viewpoints.

Most voters won’t be inclined to get into a debate about who gets to decide what we believe in as a country. But these people still vote and are engaged. As Desiderata so elegantly put it, “Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.”

Linda Ehrisman