Regarding “Editorial missed mark on Charlottesville” (Point of View, Aug. 23): ACLU Executive Director Ryan Kiesel’s argument is flawed in several ways. Neither President Trump nor The Oklahoman failed to express clear and forceful condemnation of fascist, racist white supremacy. Kiesel’s rationale is based on “moral equivalency” as the sole consideration for leveling criticism. Because racism is morally more reprehensible than Antifa’s violence doesn’t mean that violence should get a pass. It’s a non sequitur to conclude that to criticize Antifa is to loan support to racism. Some, like Keisel, are promoting the rule of moral equivalency over the rule of law. Ergo: Since the cause of Antifa is morally superior to that of white supremacy, their actions, even when unlawful, are not only defensible but commendable. Antifa acknowledges they employ violence in the service of shutting down the constitutionally guaranteed rights of assembly and free speech to those they oppose.
When moral equivalency replaces rule of law, anarchy has set in. Under the rule of law, all are guaranteed their rights and all are subject to penalty for unlawful conduct. “All” means white supremacists and Antifa. Holding Antifa accountable isn’t tantamount to endorsing white racism except for those who subordinate the rule of law to the rule of moral equivalency.
Douglas Burr, Edmond
Regarding “Editorial missed mark on Charlottesville” (Point of View, Aug.
23) by Oklahoma ACLU Director Ryan Kiesel: From Wikipedia: “It is the policy of the ACLU to support the civil liberties of defendants regardless of their ideological stance. The ACLU takes pride in defending individuals with unpopular viewpoints, such as George Wallace, George Lincoln Rockwell, and KKK members. The ACLU has defended American Nazis many times, and their actions often brought protests, particularly from American Jews. In 1977, a small group of American Nazis, led by Frank Collin, applied to the town of Skokie, Illinois for permission to hold a demonstration in the town park. Skokie at the time had a majority population of Jews, totaling 40,000 of 70,000 citizens, some of whom were survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Skokie refused to grant permission, and an Illinois judge supported Skokie and prohibited the demonstration. Skokie immediately passed three ordinances aimed at preventing the group from meeting in Skokie. The ACLU assisted Collin and appealed to federal court. The appeal dragged on for a year, and the ACLU eventually prevailed in Smith v. Collin …”
Freedom of speech is a key civil liberty. Apparently, Kiesel has forgotten that.
Phil Morrison, Edmond
Cause of the Civil War
William Gallagher’s letter (Your Views, Aug. 21) was in error on two points. He seems to think the Civil War was fought to abolish slavery. It was not. It was about states’ rights. President Lincoln’s policy of the Abolition of Slavery was not mentioned until 1862, when the war had been in progress for a year. Gallagher’s second error was saying Jews were persecuted by the Nazis for their religious views. They were not. They were persecuted because they were Jews. Nazis saw the Jews as evil because they controlled finances, banks, money in general throughout Europe.
Rewriting history doesn’t make it any less relevant today. Tearing down statues to do so is idiotic. These statues represent folks who played a major part in history, and deserve to be remembered.
Robert Utley, Oklahoma City
Pastor missed the mark
I was quite disappointed in Pastor Eric Laverentz’ rather small and worldly viewpoint (Point of View,
Aug. 20). As a Christian pastor, I was stunned that Laverentz chose not to explore how God or Jesus Christ would figure in to solutions for the deep divisions in our country. In fact, you won’t find the words “God” or “Christ” in his entire article. “Listening” is fine, but proclaiming the Gospel and encouraging the world to emulate Christ instead of savaging each other is infinitely superior. We should “compare” everyone on earth to Christ’s example and see how far we all fall short and need
His saving grace.
James Cromer, Oklahoma City
Let the courts decide
“OKC schools’ lawsuit would be waste of funds” (Our Views, Aug. 20) is probably correct as prediction. It’s true the state constitution lacks an adequacy clause, and that a very rigid principle of separation of powers has been applied to vest the Legislature with full power and responsibility for education.
However, it’s worth noting a 1924 state Supreme Court decision that says, “… the duty rests primarily upon the state Legislature ‘to establish and maintain a system of free public schools wherein all the children of the state may be educated.’ This implies an efficient and sufficient system, with competent teachers, necessary general facilities, and school terms of such duration as may be necessary to properly implant in the minds of our youth such degree of learning that when the work is done they may be educated young men and women.”
The standard implied in this language is not being met in Oklahoma today. When teachers flee for better pay, when four-day school weeks are being normalized, when record numbers of teachers are getting emergency credentials, and when teachers publicly have to beg for school materials as a matter of charity, then it can be reasonably argued that the educational system is inadequate.
What should be done when the Legislature fails to meet its constitutional responsibility? In most systems of government, structured as ours is, that often becomes a judicial matter. It’s time that happened in Oklahoma.
Richard Wells, Norman
Having a field day
Civilization is achieved only laboriously and must be defended at all costs so that no part of it is lost to the mob. The self-appointed morally superior are having a field day on the preening display of their banality in judging the past by their emotions. That level of intellectual maturity can be seen on television as people run to a just-pulled-down cast metal statue and kick it like 3-year-olds having temper tantrums. One must hope the only damage was broken toes.
Have these types been understudying the Taliban on how to destroy monuments of the past, or are they simply products of school systems that are devoid of the teaching of history? A great-grandfather was a captain in the Union Army and his commitment and concern was to and for the Union for which his namesake grandfather had fought in the Revolutionary War. As he told his children, “Any party that tries to destroy the Union doesn’t have any business trying to run it.” How true still but today it isn’t racial slavery, it’s collectivist mob slavery.
Warren Edwards, Oklahoma City