YOUR VIEWS

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - OPINION - Send letters to yourviews@ok­la­homan.com or to Your Views, P.O. Box 25125, Ok­la­homa City, OK 73125. Word limit is 250. In­clude a postal ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber. For other guide­lines, go to www.newsok.com/voices/guide­lines or call 405-475-3205.

Moral equiv­a­lency

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

ACLU his­tory

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

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