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Prager on School Programs

* “Remember America’s Motto: E Pluribus Unum” (Commentary, Feb. 22) demonstrates an unenlightened perception of what unifies Americans. Dennis Prager confuses uniformity with unity and sameness with equality in the mistaken belief that if only the public schools can force ethnic groups to conform to a model of what it means to be American, we will all be happy and productive.

We cannot have unum unless we are free to have and enjoy our pluribus. This is the lesson of the Bill of Rights and even the Pledge of Allegiance. According to the pledge, what unites us is “liberty and justice for all.” It is the role of the public schools to democratize our society, not to homogenize it. My hope for the future is that we can learn to respect our diversity so that we remain united by our love for freedom and democracy.

JILL KERPER MORA

San Diego

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* All applause to Prager for his well-reasoned rejection of political correctness in our schools, indeed throughout our society. The cultural and social fabric of the country is fraying around the edges as we split up into separate little Gypsy camps, each with a different agenda, heading in different directions.

A while ago, I was at one of those silly “A-list” parties and fell into conversation on all this with a stunningly beautiful, famous star (not a bad actress, either) who said, “Well, look what it says on the dollar bill: ‘e pluribus unum.’ From one, many.”

“Actually, you’ve got the Latin backward,” I replied. “It translates, ‘From many, one.’ As in one nation . . . indivisible?”

“No kidding?” she said, amazed. “Well . . . whatever.”

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And there you have it. We live, increasingly, in a “well, whatever” nation. God help us all.

CHARLTON HESTON

Beverly Hills

* Prager’s commentary has some good ideas on how a high school should be run. However, he is remiss in advocating that sex education and teaching about drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse are unnecessary. He doesn’t understand the problem of peer pressure when he states that teenagers should have the common sense to avoid alcohol and drugs. While the teaching of sex education in public schools may be controversial, it is imperative that teenagers learn of the hazards of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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NATE RUBIN

Los Angeles

Council Election

* How unfortunate that The Times would choose to focus its coverage of an upcoming city election race on a “legendary feud"--a rivalry that exists only in the pages of your newspaper (“Eastside Feud Is Re- flected in 7th District,” Feb. 20).

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Your readers will find greater benefit in reading about these candidates’ vision for the future and learning of their positions on important community issues. In this election, we are blessed to have many qualified and talented candidates from which to choose in both the 7th and 14th Council District races.

The reality is that we have been on the same side of most issues. The Latino community has grown beyond the politics of “camps and rivalries.” We look forward to The Times accepting this fact.

GLORIA MOLINA

County Supervisor, 1st District

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RICHARD ALATORRE

Councilman, 14th District

Los Angeles

Airport Expansion

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* Re “LAX Expansion Would Displace 190 Businesses, Galanter Says,” Feb. 18: L.A. City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter is still in pursuit of her program to relocate the entire LAX infrastructure--to Palmdale. Where, coincidentally, L.A. has owned 27,000 acres for the past 30 years.

In the absence of existing mass transit systems to serve such a facility (the 14 Freeway does not qualify), I cannot imagine it being a topic for discussion in the first place. And as for the “190 businesses” that would be displaced by the proposed LAX expansion--and the costs in money and lost jobs--let us have a companion study of the same costs and jobs lost for total relocation of the airport.

DAVID M. CALLAHAN

Los Angeles

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