Last week, three letters to the editor defended Rep. Jeff Denham’s vote to shut down the government and threaten a default on the national debt as a “principled stand.” A fourth letter implies that Denham’s vote was irresponsible. Which was it?
In “The Godfather,” Michael Corleone describes an event in his father’s life to his girlfriend. He tells how Vito held a gun to the head of a recalcitrant businessman and said, “Your signature or your brains will be on that contract!” There is a difference between negotiating and negotiating with a gun to your head.
Dr. Strangelove, in Robert Altman’s movie, developed a bomb that would destroy the entire planet. The threat to undermine the full faith and credit of the United States is the financial equivalent of Strangelove’s bomb.
The proper way to implement your policies in a constitutional republic is to win elections. Threatening to default on the national debt, likely causing a worldwide recession, should not be in the toolkit of either party.
No president, Republican or Democrat, should face such a threat by a faction of one party in one house of Congress — not now, not ever.
Rep. Denham’s vote was irresponsible.
Mickey McGuire, Tracy
Tracy needs teachers
In the ’60s, The Who put out a song named “The Kids are Alright,” trying to reassure parents that, despite a seeming revolution in youth culture, their kids were just fine. Today, though, the youth are not revolting. It is a situation in Tracy schools.
During the recent financial crunch, Tracy Unified School District dealt with some of the shortfall by stopping the hiring of substitute teachers. Teachers could not understand how that represented a savings, but someone must have believed it did. It has become commonplace at school sites all over the district for classes to go uncovered when a teacher is absent for health or educational reasons. In those cases, rather than having the principal or another administrator called in to cover, the students are parceled out to other overcrowded classrooms and given busy work in the hopes that they will stay out of trouble.
Apparently, the problem is a few isolated emergencies, but it is a regular occurrence at school sites all over the district. When the issue came up at the local teachers association meeting recently, we were all shocked at how extensive the problem has become. The association has been in discussions with the district, which claims to be working on it.
We hear so much about dangers to our kids. Often, it seems there is so little we can do. Many problems take place at a state or national level. But this time, there is something you can do. Go to a board meeting and fill out an official request for information regarding how many times classes in Tracy are going without a substitute. Then come to the next board meeting and demand a change. The board listens, but for too long, they have only heard from administrative staff that tells them, “Everything’s fine, the kids are all right.”
Mike Chivers, Tracy