Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 9, 2012

Letters to the Editor: 12/09/2012


---- —

Live and let live?

My wife and I overheard a conversation at a Traverse City doctor's office recently. It went something like this. First lady — Are you still as active as you always were at your Christian church? Second lady — No, I was born and raised in that church but when they started preaching hatred of the Jews from the pulpit, I quit and have not been back.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to the Record-Eagle, Nov. 18. First Congregational Church barred a Muslim prayer from their choral concert.

Of course, we Christians all know that we are far superior to any non-Christians. What happened to the old Christian saying, "live and let live?" Two local Christian churches promoting hate? No wonder the world is in such a mess.

Ed Fries


A hidden agenda

With the recent ban on alcohol at three of the city parks being used to address the problem of the homeless, it makes me wonder if the city is using the ban to hide and solve a hidden agenda; that being that they don't want any homeless people in Traverse City.

I believe that the city is trying to "push" the homeless out of the city limits by banning alcohol in the parks in order to make the city more attractive to tourists. While this is a short-term solution, it's not the best solution to the problem. Why doesn't the city look at what is causing the homeless problem and how they could use the time and resources spent up in enforcing this ban to solve this problem and help those who truly need a hand?

This problem is not going to go away by pushing them away; they will still drink and still need a place to stay. It will just be moved to another location and still be a problem for someone else. Traverse City has always been a progressive city and we can do better than "making it someone else's problem."

Nick Hawkins

Traverse City

Lesson for students

Regarding local parents' concern with teaching "The Glass Castle," I support the Campbells' right to guide their own student's studies. But I feel dejected when I think of the many who might miss out on Jeannette Walls' memoir.

In my 15 years as a high school English teacher I've never had so many readers, reluctant and eager alike, engage as deeply with assigned reading as with this book in the past six years I've taught it. Nor have I had such success teaching students to analyze the author's message and themes.

These are often difficult concepts for students to master, and when a high-interest, worthwhile piece appeals to a wide audience — from all walks of life — it is like gold to thoughtful, caring educators who seriously consider their course inclusions and students' sensibilities.

I echo Ms. Clark's words. My students find similar value regarding Walls' memoir's message: refusal to give in despite bleak circumstances and an admiration for her unconventional parents — with both their shortcomings and strengths — as they teach their children self-reliance and independence. I can't think of a better common-sense lesson for all of today's students.

Anna Wassa

Lake Ann

Offers life lessons

As a freshman student who takes an honors course for English, I am extremely confused over why some adults would find the memoir "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls inappropriate for freshmen students.

There are real-life issues that come up in the book, but the big picture definitely overshadows the controversial aspects.

The book has a message of being successful no matter where one comes from; and if someone is stuck on the child neglect, language and mild references to child molestation, they are not looking at the big picture of the book. Teenagers now are exposed to so much in the media, why try to shelter us now? What makes a person too young to read a specific book?

A parent has the right to take a book away from their own child, but don't deprive others from their right to read a book that holds a huge amount of life lessons for educational purposes.

Peyton Campbell


Thanks for caring

As I was about to enter Walmart I noticed how cold the woman bell ringer was outside the store. I decided that I must stop and ask her if she would like something hot to drink. She did, so I went in to Subway to find her a nice cup of hot chocolate. I was disappointed that they did not sell that there. So I took it upon myself. Determined to find her something hot to drink I went to find her a box of hot chocolate that she would be able to make during her seven hours that she had left. Before I gave it to her I went back over to Subway to see if I could get some hot water in which to make her hot chocolate. I was blessed by the manger, Pat, who not only gladly made the hot chocolate for her personally, but also gave her some cookies to go along with her hot chocolate; he even went out of his way to make sure they were warmed up first.

I would like to thank him and Subway for their caring for another person as Pat did. This was Nov. 28.

Carol Ann Long

Traverse City

Wrong on two claims

I trust that "fact-checkers," so essential during the political campaigns just concluded, have not been laid off, for it now appears that one of the regular columnists is having a hard time getting it right.

In a Nov. 13 column entitled "A Changing America," Cal Thomas made these two statements: "America is getting younger, but not wiser," and "I doubt that many people under 40 have ever served in the military, or even know anyone who has." Neither statement is even close.

Regarding the age of Americans, census figures show that between 2000 and 2010 the age group 45-64 increased by 31.5 percent, and those 65 and over increased by 15.1 percent. The median age of all Americans increased from 35.3 to 37.2. As a nation, we're getting older, not younger.

Mr. Thomas' second statement is even worse. Contrary to his assertion, 91.5 percent of all members of our military services are 40 years of age or younger (1,291,463 persons). (The percentage under 25 alone is 47.5.)

Moreover, rather than say no one under 40 knows anyone in the military, it's probably closer to the truth to say that almost everyone that age does.

Steve Morse

Suttons Bay