It takes a revisionist to know oneJ. Bradford Coker, in...

Letters

September 22, 1996

It takes a revisionist to know one

J. Bradford Coker, in his letter in the Sept. 1 "Howard Viewpoints," refers to Norris West's distortion of the record "as just another example of ignorance in the media providing us with revisionist history to support an editorial viewpoint."

Talk about the pot and the kettle. Mr. Coker plays fast and loose with historical fact when he condescendingly says, "Mr. West may not know this, but," and then goes on to make some statements about President Eisenhower which, while technically true as stated, are very misleading without context. Mr. West more than adequately addressed Mr. Coker's statistical oversimplications, but I think the issue of President Eisenhower as integration/civil rights advocate needs to be straightened out.

To wit: Yes, President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock to enforce the court-ordered integration of the schools. However, he did it as a matter of law, not belief in the principles of equal

rights or integration. In fact, he did not believe in school integration and made that clear in more than one public statement.

And, yes, he appointed Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and it was under Justice Warren's leadership that Brown and other civil rights decisions were issued. However, that is small credit to President Eisenhower, who publicly stated that he did not agree with Brown and, further, when asked, in retirement, what he thought of Earl Warren, replied that appointing him chief justice was the greatest mistake of his presidency.

So, when it comes to "distortion of the record," it seems clear that Mr. West could take lessons from Mr. Coker.

Harris Factor

Columbia

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I though Norris West responded effectively (Sept. 1) to pollster J. Bradford Coker's defense of the Republican Party on civil rights. While the percentage of civil rights opponents or segregationists was higher on the Democratic side of the Congress in 1964 and 1965, that situation didn't last long. As Mr. West said, a good many seats then held by segregationist southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) soon fell into the hands of like-minded Republicans. Sometimes, they were even the same people. Strom Thurmond set an example for such later party-switchers as Phil Gramm.

When CRA opponent Barry Goldwater was chosen as the GOP presidential nominee against President Johnson in 1964, there was no question as to which of the parties would be the party of civil rights.

C7 And nothing has changed since to make it otherwise.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

No pass, no play won't work

Norris West in his August 11 column supporting the new pass/fail scheme gives a great deal of space to Coach Doug DuVall, who seems to be on the right track for whatever reason.

Mr. West cites statistics about how few athletes ever make it to the big time. That is true. But the "big time" is what drives many to over-achieve and build self-esteem. All high school actors are not budding Oliviers or musicians, Yo-Yo Mas, but they represent a desirable focus for youngsters. The same in the world of sports. I would wager that most high school athletes spend as much time practicing their physical skills as they do their mental ones. Some students flunk courses and some do not. I doubt that threats will vastly change the attitude of young athletes, other than to find ways of circumventing them.

Drama and music students spend a large percentage of their time engaged in preparation for performances. Are they any less susceptible to failing courses? Should they be dealt with in the same manner? Today's youngsters are inundated with extracurricular activities. But should they be taking courses simply to avoid being ineligible? And are teachers going to be able to avoid padding grades a little here and there for the "team"?

This law seems to parallel similar rules on alcohol and smoking. It's kind of like the wine-drinking escapade in Paris where several students were reprimanded by the school system for having a glass of wine with their dinner. These types of rules are generally coercive and suggest that threats will prevent misdeeds. As more and more examples of breaking the rules occur, the good guys merely tighten the noose as a method of controlling these actions. This is hardly the way to solve the problem of failure and misbehavior in school. It frequently only seems to result in hurting more than helping.

Can't we merely say that if students find themselves behind and unable to normally progress to the next grade, these individuals should not be involved in any extracurricular activities?

D. Bush

Columbia

Sun's coverage shameful on Circuit Court election

As a member of the local legal community and a lifelong resident of Howard County, I am disappointed, to say the least, by The Sun's recent coverage of the Circuit Court judicial election campaign. It appears that The Sun is doing everything it can to drag this election into the gutter, despite the desire and determination of the candidates and incumbents otherwise.

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