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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 14, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Column on President Obama’s speech to students missed the point

Amused, but saddened, by Blethen’s views

I read with equal parts amusement and sadness Ryan Blethen’s column on “the furor surrounding President Obama’s speech to students,” [“Some parents missed an opportunity to let kids learn about the world,” Opinion, Sept. 13].

I was amused by some jabs at the far right that were perhaps not entirely out of place — the bit about kids returning home from school on speech day with copies of “The Communist Manifesto” was entertaining — but saddened Blethen could find no common ground for dialogue with those who opposed the speech — just “hypocrisy and ugliness” from the other side of the political spectrum.

This was not only odd in a column urging parents to help turn classrooms into political caucuses, but ironically both hypocritical and illustrative of why many people opposed the speech.

So before we abandon grammar and calculus for community-based education and parades, let us have a discussion about exposing young minds to competing views of history, politics and economy. Since Blethen references Marx’s “Manifesto,” the left can bring that to the table. We on the right will bring “Wealth of Nations.”

As many folks on the left have not actually read the “Manifesto” (it’s dense and isn’t really all that fun), we will bring that, too. In our home, we have copies of both, and we don’t need the state to tell our children what they can or cannot read.

— Tom Steele, Bothell

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