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Letters to the Editor

August 20, 2010

Powell failed to make his point in column



To the editor:

Allan Powell's column "Extremist Political Groups Tend to Lack Staying Power" (Friday, Aug. 13, page A4) was illogical. Powell wants to tell his readers that the tea party is a right-wing extremist group and that its influence is likely to be short-lived. He fails to make his point.

His main "argument" is one of analogy, implying that the tea party is similar to other "right-wing protest groups" of the past. He never identifies the core ideas of the tea party movement nor does he offer evidence connecting the tea party with any of the groups he discusses. He maintains that members of the groups he discusses are simplistic moral absolutists and gullible believers in conspiracy theories, but does not even attempt to show these characteristics apply to "tea party enthusiasts."

Although it might be true that many extremists are moral absolutists and fond of conspiracy theories, what makes them extremists is their distance from a generally accepted mainstream of thought. As anybody trained in philosophy should know, the extremity of an idea affects neither its truth value nor its practicality.

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Finally, Powell's conclusion that "the life span of right-wing extremist organizations is likely to be brief" is deceptive. The influence of ideas might persist far beyond the life of any particular organization. The abolitionists are long gone, and the avowedly socialist parties probably are less popular now than in the 1920s, but the ideas of both movements profoundly affect us today.

Jonathan B. Howard
Charles Town, W.Va.




BOE candidate says teamwork leads to results



To the editor:

On my campaign website, you will find the following quote by Andrew Carnegie: "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."

I believe in partnerships, citizen groups and reuniting education and community. This was reaffirmed for me after one of my recent citizen meetings. Allow me to share with you the story about a citizen named Qing.

While searching for a Clear Spring restaurant to contact, Windy Hill Restaurant came up. The owner was very gracious and allowed us to come. He was the cook for the evening, and due to the slow evening, had the time to share his story with us.

Qing talked about how he had done a math rewards program with Clear Spring Middle School. He would devise a mathematical question and the students would answer it. If the answer was correct, Qing rewarded them with a gift certificate. There was a story about it in the paper on May 9, 2006, and in the Thumbs Up section of the Opinion page on May 13, 2006. Qing then explained that, unfortunately, the school did not keep with the program after a principal change. He would love to continue his program.

Here we have a member of the community who wants to work together toward a common vision. A member of the community who sees promise and hope in the rising generation.

Talking with Qing only deepened my commitment to our students in opening every possible door for them. Strengthening the relationships between teachers and parents, schools and communities will bring us to the place where we can attain uncommon results. Results that not only will empower students academically, but teach them a life lesson as well.

Dottie Gruhler
Smithsburg

Editor's note: Dottie Gruhler is running for a seat on the Washington County Board of Education.

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