Regarding Joe Tarica’s column and Evelyn Cole’s letter to the editor regarding the Pledge of Allegiance (“Here’s how to be a true patriot,” Feb. 12, and “In agreement,” Feb. 17):
In the few seconds it takes to say the Pledge of Allegiance, a valuable lesson is imparted to our children. The pledge tells them what country they live in, that we are a nation of people who honor God, that we are a Republic that has standards and morals and that we offer liberty and justice for all.
We are asking the students to recite this in the hope that they will make a commitment to their country. We are asking them to realize that America became the great country it is through the sacrifices, dedication and hard work of generations of Americans and that they have a responsibility to continue in that vein. If that is indoctrination, then so be it! It is positive indoctrination.
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Teaching students to have respect for their country is a good thing. It gives them a sense of belonging and pride. Why would anyone want to make our country less and not more? I’m baffled!
Patriotism vs. idolatry
Joe Tarica, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your column in which you discussed patriotism and presented your ideas for how to be a true patriot (Feb. 12).
As a retired public school teacher who led third-grade children in recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance each school day, I tried to explain the meaning of the words: allegiance, republic, indivisible, liberty and justice.
These are not words we commonly use in daily conversations, and 8-year-old children do not understand them. Yet they are expected to stand and repeat them at the start of each school day.
I do think there may be some value in exposing young children to patriotic statements such as the Pledge of Allegiance, because when they are adults, those remembered recitations will come back to their more mature minds.
I am truly grateful that I was born a citizen of the United States, but at times I have wondered if our obsession with declaring our patriotism sometimes lapses into idolatry (especially of the American flag). Do we really need to fly it over every used car lot, grocery store and shopping center? The Ten Commandments tell us not to lapse into idolatry. Maybe we should remember that.
What people want
Regarding the article titled, “County to fight against climate change” (Feb. 13): Why is the government spending our money to control our lives without our request in something obviously not scientific nor believed or wanted by the people?
Government should be doing what the people want, which is to protect them and provide services they cannot do on their own, such as building streets, building jails for the criminals of society, etc.
It is not government’s position to tell people how they should think or live, but to let them live as they choose as long as it is not to the actual detriment of others.
Look at Egypt’s people and government, what they want and do, compared to what our people want and our government does. Both groups of people want government out of their lives.
Write about how government is not providing the wants of the people and not about the liberal agenda of providing more and more employment and expense at the detriment of capitalism.
Joseph J. Laraneta
Connecting the dots
I wholeheartedly agree with Cathy Gibbons’ letter about maintaining the “funky little beach town” that attracts both visitors and residents alike to Pismo Beach (“Joetopia? No thanks,” Feb. 13). However, connecting the dots as Joe Tarica suggests could be a good thing.
A strand, boardwalk, bike/walk/jog/run/blade path extending from the upper reaches of Shell Beach to the lower reaches of Pismo Beach would bring people closer to our special coastline.
Pismo Beach and Shell Beach are segmented by streets that run perpendicular to the coastline. A boardwalk paralleling the entire length of our city would create an attraction nobody could deny and could potentially negate the city’s ignorant building code that allows three-story building heights right up to the waterline.
It could effectively tie in the Bob Jones trail to our north and Oceano/Grover Beach to our south. This would not destroy the “funky,” but it would emphasize the “California Classic” theme being promoted by our city leaders, while providing an unobstructed view of our coastline for visitors and residents to casually stroll or seriously exercise.
Connecting the dots would be challenging, but what a goal!
Thanks for donations
On Feb. 4, the Central Coast Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) held a food/sundry drive throughout San Luis Obispo County.
We wish to thank Vons in Atascadero and Albertsons in Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande for allowing us to use their facilities.
We also wish to thank all of the very generous donors who gave so much. The goods received were delivered to Loaves and Fishes in Atascadero, AIDS Support Network in San Luis Obispo and the Nipomo Food Pantry in Nipomo.
Regarding the letter to the editor by Oscar Sheboygan titled, “Squirt smokers” (Feb. 15): I cannot believe such a letter was allowed to be printed in The Tribune. It is just one more bashing the Fire Department.
Sheboygan, how dare you! What a lack of knowledge to write such a letter. You feel time well spent would be squirting smokers? Are you for real? Perhaps just badly informed.
I suggest you buy a scanner and listen to the day’s work of a firefighter.
Mary Mac Donald
San Luis Obispo
After rewatching Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” I once again came away with the thought that certainly something must be done regarding a more comprehensive answer to all that occurred since 9/11.
Moore clearly explains with hidden satire the roles that big money and oil played and the role the failure of our courts and our legal system played.
He also brings to our attention just what that final day in March 2003 in Baghdad must have been like. People enjoying themselves with their children, and then Armageddon.
Moore also brings out so succinctly in his footage the faces of those who had such an important role to play, from Taliban visitors, to the United States, to government officials presenting their fraud-studded case against Iraq.
More then anything else, Moore makes the imperative case for a better, more in-depth investigation into all of the incomprehensible events that occurred, beginning in Florida in 2000 and leading up to the attack on Iraq in March 2003. Certainly our status as a viable nation based on law and reason demands it.
Snuff out chew
The week of Feb. 21 is national “Through with Chew” week. The week emphasizes the tobacco companies’ newest enterprise to get teens deathly addicted to their products.
As the perception of smoking has become increasingly negative, tobacco companies have adapted. They are now pushing smokeless tobacco products to make their profits soar. Snuff, snus, e-cigarettes and even mintlike dissolvable tobacco tabs are smokeless tobacco products receiving record-breaking advertising and promotion.
These products are being advertised in places where there is high youth readership. The message from the companies is simple: smokeless tobacco is safer than cigarettes.
The reality is that smokeless tobacco is quite harmful. One tin of tobacco contains four times the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Finally, boys who start with smokeless tobacco have a significant chance of becoming cigarette smokers within four years. Smokeless tobacco is the same poison sold by the same calculating, greedy companies playing the same game with a new face.
Please visit the “Through with Chew” booth at Farmers Market on Thursday or call the San Luis Obispo Tobacco Control Program at 781-1157 to learn more.
San Luis Obispo Tobacco Control Coalition, co-chair