Running of the Bull

EDITOR: I came across some food for thought for Trump supporters who are criticizing Democrats at the SOTU for merely imitating their Republican counterparts during President Obama’s speeches.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a Democrat, so obviously an un-American traitor even though she lost both legs while serving as an Army Lt. Col in Iraq when her helicopter was shot down, responded to Trump’s “treasonous” remark with the following:

“We don’t live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath -- in the military and in the Senate -- to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap.”

She went on to quote another Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, who said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

All the fake “he was only joking” aside, I know whose version of “treason” I’m going with. As an independent voter, seems to me America could use another good dose of Bull Moose.

David Fishel, Boiling Spring Lakes

Discipline dilemma

EDITOR: The Feb. 8 Bloomberg View editorial, “Discipline in schools best decided locally,” does not address the elephant in the room: parents and the nature of the communities that children live in.

If you are a black child in Wilmington, especially a male, you (likely) will face special pressures that the majority of other children don’t. In brief, those influences encourage criminal activity and countercultural behaviors and attitudes that are toxic to any person of any race. I believe many black kids face special risks, some caused by past disadvantages and some due to more current factors. All Americans must face this reality, in spite of our discomfort.

For many kids of all races, gone are the days when a call home by the school would prevent future problem behavior in schools (if it were ever entirely true). Too many parents are not positively engaged enough in their children's lives and can be responsible for the child’s bad behavior in the first place.

The editorial’s solution is to “train” school personnel and “hold students accountable.” Well, training parents and holding them accountable as well as confronting uncomfortable social realities is hard but crucially relevant.

How do we do that in America, the land of the free? I don’t know but it is inaccurate to continue to place the bulk of the responsibility for children's behavior on teachers.

Robin J. Boucher, Wilmington

Beyond racism

EDITOR: In the Feb. 8 oped “Teaching history of racism doesn’t equal ‘anti-patriotic,’” a Maryland university professor described “American history as the history as racism” and then offered the rapid decline of the Native American population after the introduction of European explorers as proof.

However, it is estimated that 95 percent of Native American deaths were due to the unwitting introduction of disease, especially smallpox, against which the Europeans had gained substantial immunity. (see Jared Diamond “Guns Germs, and Steel”). Racism can explain a lot of things, but it doesn’t explain everything. American history is more than racism.

John Townson, Hampstead