Letters for February 15, 2018
Another NFL football season has come to an end and not without controversy. I suppose the most enduring thing was the many players who continued to participate in Colin Kaepernick’s thoughtful and courageous kneeling (what we do in church) during the national anthem. Because of this Kaepernick lost more money than most of us make in a lifetime.
Their protest was not disrespectful to the flag or the anthem but by using their First Amendment rights, they were hoping to highlight the catastrophic treatment of dark skinned Americans by some police departments. This is the very essence of the First Amendment, but conservatives do not seem to understand this. They just want to send young people off to war to fight for “freedom.” Well, speaking your mind is freedom. Conservatives, do not be afraid of people who think.
Re “Another year, another march” (Left Foot Forward, Jan. 25):
I physically experienced what people mean when they say “My heart sank” as I read Sheila Leslie’s column. I attended last year’s march and was in awe as I looked back from near the front of the march, to see what seemed an endless sea of humanity, many of whom I knew personally from the Reno Justice Coalition, Occupy Reno, RISE, Planned Parenthood orgs on the UNR campus, Progressive Democrats of America, Indivisible, and PLAN.
But in autumn, months after last year’s Women’s March, Peter C., a student at UNR, was caught on videotape marching in the “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, and petitions were circulated and signed, demanding that the 20-year-old be expelled from UNR and that his employment at UNR be terminated. People I had once respected were demanding that Peter C. be punished for exercising the same right to free speech that I had, with an arrogant sense of entitlement, celebrated when I had attended the Women’s March. I literally couldn’t believe some of the ignorant justifications for revoking civil rights, many of them coming from UNR professors and educators nationwide. More than once, different educated individuals who really should have known better suggested that the civil right of free speech should be re-examined and redefined, as though it was possible to surgically remove the rights of those we disagree with, without endangering our own free speech and other civil rights.
As a woman who is not of the dominating class racially, financially or in physical ability, whose rights have never been on firm ground, I now look at liberals and wonder when I’m going to take a position they disagree with and see them forget everything I thought they stood for. “How could I march with them” I wondered as I read “Another Year, Another March.” How could I have marched with them last year, when I was blissfully naïve and thought I knew what we were about. Progressives have more in common with Donald Trump than they think, including a tendency to climb onto the bandwagon, offer knee-jerk reactions instead of careful analysis and well-thought-through, complex conclusions, and an apparent desire to turn back the clock.
Move on up
They walked in the door, wondering, worried and because we were teachers, we welcomed them. Eager, bright, polite, trying, they often jumped ahead of the English-fluent mainstreamer citizen student, blessed with what’s sometimes taken for granted. And they learned, studied, behaved, respected our laws, our diversity and practiced politeness. They learned our language. We did not ask. We taught. We encouraged. We cared.
Twenty thousand Dreamers are teachers, fluent in languages, content and application. Educated, trained, motivated, I monitored them in my student-teacher supervisory capacity, and they excelled. They are teachers of science, math, language arts, music, social sciences, from the top of their classes.
They are Dreamers who are teaching dreamers—your children and my grandchildren. Trained, practiced and invested in a future which is American, they have given back. We cannot lose what we have nurtured.