Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current, April 03, 2015, Image 4

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    PAGE A4, KEIZERTIMES, APRIL 3, 2015
KeizerOpinion
KEIZERTIMES.COM
Don’t legalize discrimination
The to do about Indiana’s Gov.
Mike Pence signing into law that
state’s Religious Freedom Restora-
tion Act is well placed by those who
will boycott the Hoosier state for
what they call legalized discrimina-
tion.
The act says the government can-
not burden a person’s ability to fol-
low their religious beliefs, unless it
can prove a compelling interest in
imposing that burden. A majority of
people outside of Indiana think the
gay and lesbian community is the
target of the new law.
Oregon recently experienced its
own discrimnation case regarding a
same-sex couple that ordered a cake
from a Gresham bakery and were
turned away. An administrative judge
ruled that the owners of the bakery
discriminated against the couple and
the question of compensation is un-
derway by the director of the state
Bureau of Labor and Industries.
That case and the Religous Free-
dom Restoration Act in Indiana
highlight bedrock American ide-
als of freedom as well as our social
compact. The price of living in a
free country, whose citizens’ person-
al rights are codifi ed in our constitu-
tion, is allowing others to have their
own lives and opinions. Discrimina-
tion at some level is part of the hu-
man condition; it is nigh impossible
to legislate it out of existence.
Discrimination should not be
helped along with legislation. Spon-
sors of the Indiana bill have said re-
peatedly that the new act does not
allow discrimination against gays
and lesbians. In media interviews
Gov. Pence, when asked if the act
allows legal discrimination, dodged
the question over and over. That says
something right there.
The Religious Freedom Resto-
ration Act does not mention sexual
orientation; it protects businesses
who refuse to serve anybody if it’s
against their religious beliefs. It
should not be just the gay and les-
bian community and its supporters
up in arms. People of a different re-
ligion or beliefs, regardless of sexual
orientation, can potentially face a
hostile buisness.
There are 320 million Ameri-
cans, holding a myriad of opinions
and beliefs. At one time the United
States was held up as the melting
pot of the world, welcoming peo-
ples from around the world, people
who wanted to be of the American
experiment. Most assimilated and
became productive members of so-
ciety.
Maintaining one’s heritage and
culture is important. By adhering
to the values of our way of gov-
ernment—by the people, for the
people, of the people, as Abraham
Lincoln said, we live under an agree-
ment that the freedom and liberty
we enjoy needs to be enjoyed by all.
No one wants to impeded a per-
son’s freedom to observe the religion
of their choice. By the same token
we should tolerate the beliefs and
gender identity of our fellow citi-
zens. And least of all we should not
make it easy to discriminate against
those who are different from us.
—LAZ
Government vs.
religion
g ove r n m e n t
has the right
to override re-
ligion
beliefs
and throw the Bible or Koran in the
trash. The next step for government
is to outlaw the sign “No shirt, no
shoes, no service.”
Bill Quinn
Keizer
To the Editor:
There’s been a lot of news about
Indiana passing a freedom of religion
law.
Both sides in favor or against the
law have voiced their opinions. My
personal feeling is people who have
strong religion reasons for not pro-
viding services should have rights
under certain conditions. If there
were only one baker in a town then
that baker should relent and provide
a service. If there were many bakers
locally then that person should have
the right to use their religious beliefs
in not providing services. It is not a
matter of life or death. It may hurt
someone’s feelings, so get over it. The
same thing is true for a pharmacist
who will not dispense birth con-
trol medications. If there were many
pharmacies readily available then I
believe that pharmacist has the right
to follow his or her religious belief
and not provide a service.
Most business people want to
do the correct thing. They wish to
make a living and respect the rights
of others until it is an offense against
their religious beliefs. I do not feel
letters
Fire board election
To the Editor:
I am supporting Betty Hart for
the Keizer Fire District board. Betty
has demonstrated her dedication to
community service by years of ef-
fort on boards of various organiza-
tions such as Girl Scouts. She mani-
fests her high sense of responsibility
by attending required meetings and
community involvement ventures,
and assisting with organization of
such. Due to her background in
fi nance she can interpret a balance
sheet.
For integrity, commitment to ex-
cellence and dedication to service,
vote for Betty Hart.
Elaine Orr
Keizer
Virtues of the smoke-fi lled room
By MICHAEL GERSON
The John Boehner/Nancy Pe-
losi agreement on Medicare doctors’
payments—permanently easing up
on scheduled cuts, funded (partially)
by means testing—has been praised
as an incremental gain and criticized
as a small backward step. In either
case, it is a rare bird: the result of a
March 4 meeting between leaders in
a metaphorical smoke-fi lled room
(and, given Boehner’s smoking habit,
perhaps an actual one).
The broad acceptance of the com-
promise by House Republicans and
Democrats is rooted in a shared in-
terest. Both sides hate being nagged
by doctors. This is not a motivation
easily transferable to other issues. But
the Medicare deal is a reminder of
the way strong party leaders once
regularly made law.
The suspicion about compromise
should be surprising in a nation that
resulted from the Great Compromise.
But it refl ects a broader trend that has
reshaped the attitudes of both parties:
polarization.
Political scientists disagree over
the question of whether the ideolog-
ical views of Americans have become
more extreme over time. But they
generally agree that America’s two
main political parties have become
more sorted, both ideologically and
geographically. And they tend to
agree that the views of party adher-
ents across a range of issues have be-
come more ideologically predictable.
Ideological sorting has been grow-
ing since the 1970s, and involves the
collapse both of southern Democrat-
ic conservatism and of northeastern
Republican liberalism. For the fi rst
time (at least in the modern political
constellation)
America has
a liberal party
and a conser-
vative party.
(The Demo-
cratic coali-
tion remains
more ideolog-
ically diverse, but it has recently been
sorting at a faster rate.)
This large historical shift does not
lend itself to a single structural expla-
nation such as gerrymandering (since
the phenomenon can also be seen in
Senate and county elections, not just
House races). Liberals tend to argue
that the trend is an outworking of
Civil Rights-era racial politics or of
growing economic inequality. Con-
servatives contend there has been
a long-term backlash against the
policy failures of modern liberalism,
resulting in the emergence of such
fi gures as Ronald Reagan and Newt
Gingrich.
Whatever the cause, ideological
sorting has naturally encouraged di-
vision. Conservatives and liberals no
longer see people who think the way
they do in the other political party.
And the disagreements are exag-
gerated by geographic clustering.
There is evidence that some Ameri-
cans are choosing where they live
to maximize their ideological com-
fort—which increases their sense of
belonging, as well as their partisan
contempt.
Voting patterns have become po-
larized over time. More issues (from
abortion to climate disruption) have
become high-stakes, zero-sum ideo-
logical battles. The normal processes
of budgeting and handling appoint-
other
views
ments have been disrupted. A long
period of relative political parity be-
tween the parties has encouraged the
belief that the next election might
bring a victory so complete that
compromise will no longer be nec-
essary.
But this is only part of the story. At
the same time we have experienced
ideological sorting, we have also seen
a technological and communications
revolution that has encouraged po-
litical fragmentation. Backbenchers
such as Sen. Ted Cruz (or, potentially,
Sen. Elizabeth Warren) have avenues
of infl uence and fundraising entirely
outside the parties—and ideologi-
cal PACs, talk radio hosts and blog-
gers have agendas very different from
party leaders. This is part of a larger,
accelerating social trend in which
big, consolidated institutions—big
business, big labor, big media—are
giving way to smaller, decentralized
networks. In politics, this decentral-
ization has debilitated the legislative
branch, which works through con-
sensus. (The executive branch, be-
ing more unitary, has been relatively
strengthened.)
We are left with highly ideological
parties, headed by weakened legisla-
tive leaders—a recipe for bitterness
and gridlock. And so the solution
to the deep division between parties
must (in a seeming paradox) involve
stronger parties. It is parties that
eventually have an interest in creat-
ing a broadly accepted public image
(in the current Republican case, of
reform conservatism) particularly
after they lose the presidency a few
times.
(Washington Post Writers Group)
Is CETC overpromising what it can do?
Keizertimes
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Once a local person like me learns
that there will be established here in
the Salem-Keizer School District at-
tendance area a public-private ven-
ture whose published purpose is to
develop academic profi ciency and
technical skills, I am compelled to ask
why are we doing that which will
cost many more tax-supported dollars
when our schools should have been
offering instruction in these kinds
of learnings for all its past years. There
may be several answers; however, it’s
suggested that at least one answer has
not been and will not be discussed.
There are a whole lot of high
school age youth who fi nd little or no
value, interest or advantage in attend-
ing one of Salem-Keizer Schools’ con-
ventional public high schools: They
see nothing for them there and fi nd
nothing that will help them get a job.
They are often viewed as “trouble-
makers” while attempts are made by
the teachers, school counselors and
administrators to minimize the chal-
lenges they create.
To retain the district’s fi nance-
providing FTEs, something must be
done with them and it usually adds
up to a waste of time to try to cajole
them into what’s considered good
school citizenship. So, they’re essen-
tially warehoused while they’re in
school, or, more likely, before they
drop out. Now, it’s surmised, these
kids will be encouraged to apply to
attend the Career and Technical Edu-
cation Center (CTEC).
It is truly more than ambitious
to believe that going to the CTEC
will enable these students to pick up
enough training and knowledge in
construction know-how and manu-
facturing skills (and the other areas to
be added later)
to go out and
secure a “high-
demand, high-
paying”
job.
Things like se-
curing employ-
ment in skill
areas just don’t
happen that way nowadays.
What leads me to such a cynical
state of mind on this subject has to
do with the way in which the CTEC
is going about putting itself together.
American high school principals are
not very often education leaders even
in their schools, setting a good exam-
ple for behaviors we want our youth
to emulate.
Take a long, hard look at the two
principals who will head up CTEC.
They are experienced at keeping or-
der not leading innovative education
efforts. Further, with the two guys
holding court at what’s now an empty
warehouse, we fi nd a twosome who,
it’s guessed, have never swung a ham-
mer except maybe to hang a picture
on a wall while they’ve not faced the
rigor of 10 hours on an assembly line.
What’s needed are accomplished
persons with strong backgrounds in
education and the trades who can es-
tablish and maintain direct, sustaining
ties with business and industry and
offer a relevant curriculum with on-
the-job apprenticeships. Those who’ve
worked as carpenters or machine op-
erators, and managed such enterprises,
who know from personal experience
what a person must learn to be seri-
ously considered for hire in construc-
tion and manufacturing. If you want
to see what works, visit vocational-
technical education schools in Fin-
gene h.
mcintyre
land, Germany and other success
stories in northern European nations
where education and training are no
farce.
Then there’s the matter of duplica-
tion. Oregon’s taxpayers have invest-
ed hundreds of millions of dollars in
the state’s community colleges. If
our education leaders in this com-
munity were more resourceful they’d
have gotten the Salem-Keizer School
District and Chemeketa Community
College lead persons together and
worked out mutually-benefi cial stu-
dent education arrangements, wheth-
er academic, career-technical, more
suited to community college material
and human resources, or both. Ob-
viously they have not done so or we
wouldn’t be facing the prospect of
more tax dollars for more duplication
on Portland Road.
The CTEC as now conceptual-
ized is mock preparation for work
and a real job, a mere dabbling of sorts
that will accomplish no more than
keeping some youth in school who
are led to believe they’re attendance
provides them real prospects for fu-
ture jobs. To make a real difference
you’d have to establish a new and
separate curriculum for vocational-
technical education. It will do little
good to the youth who participate if
they go for an hour or two a day, now
and again to the CTEC, and then back
to a conventional curriculum at their
home high school where the classes
are traditional high school and hit or
miss altogether learning needed to
do the kind of work they’re promised
if they “graduate” from CTEC.
(Gene H. McIntyre’s column ap-
pears weekly in the Keizertimes.)