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News of Otsego County

Paul Conway

Cooperstown’s Critical Race Theory debate is a missed opportunity to editorialize

Cooperstown’s Critical Race Theory debate is a missed opportunity to editorialize

The question of whether AllOtsego should publish any editorial opinions was raised, weeks ago, on these pages.

The importance of timely editorial opinions for readers who are often ill-informed or baffled by complex issues was obvious after the recent, very controversial, Cooperstown Board of Education meeting. Many attended or subsequently read about that meeting. The issue was whether “Critical Race Theory” should be taught in Cooperstown or elsewhere. AllOtsego had no timely editorial on the subject. Fortunately, the Oneonta Daily Star did.

As the Star editors suggested, no one has suggested that teachers should be required to teach or believe Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT is simply a theory that teachers can consider and perhaps discuss with high school students. Citizens and parents should be encouraged to google CRT online to determine for themselves whether the theory is dangerous in any way. The Star editorial suggested that teachers should not be prohibited from discussing the concept of race, or why racism exists, or whether it is systemic in our society, with their students. Presumably very few—on the political left or right—want to allow students to be politically indoctrinated. But teachers should be allowed (and encouraged) to discuss many important theories without being intimidated by hysterical parents or administrators!

Paul Conway
Oneonta

CONWAY: Editor’s should write editorials

LETTER from PAUL CONWAY

Editor’s should write editorials

To the Editor:

To the question of whether All-Otsego’s new Editor-in-Chief should (continue to) use the editorial page to express positions on a variety of topics: Of course he should. He must!

It would be an abrogation of his responsibility not to provide editorial guidance to area citizens.

Editorials are widely anticipated to inform, educate, and — maybe least of all — persuade citizens on issues they might otherwise ignore or take for granted. The paper would be far less interesting and less useful without them. As to whether the editor might be too liberal or conservative for many readers, the question is irrelevant unless the editor is politically timorous. Many
issues such as infrastructure, reparations, or correcting misinformation deliberately spread in other media, are not necessarily ideological nor are they “yes or no” issues.

As a Political Science professor in past years I urged my students to realize that citizens need to see and hear thoughtful views to the left and right of positions that they might view as moderate.

There may be many more than two reasonable arguments they should consider. The old cliche, “the devil is in the details”, is often apt on many presumably ideological issues. Editorials
can help readers like me get beyond generalities and my preconceived positions. As a long time reader of newspapers, I turn to the editorial page for enlightenment and look for clarity, conviction, and sometimes even courage on the part of the Editor-in-Chief.

Paul Conway
Oneonta

Rebel Flag Ominous To Many; Do We Want It At Fairs? NO!

LETTER from PAUL CONWAY

Rebel Flag Ominous To Many;

Do We Want It At Fairs? NO!

To the Editor:

Jennifer Hill’s article “… A Matter of Freedom,” raised the issue of whether Confederate flags should be marketed at county fairs such as ours, in Morris.

One side of the issue is well stated there. The vendor quoted was a reasonable individual who articulated the rights of all citizens to symbolically express themselves with displays of flags. There is “more and more buying both the rebel flag and the American flag together,” he remarked.

Historically, Confederate flags have symbolized support for slavery and secession from the USA. Most recently the flag in question has become a symbol that inspires defiance by Alt-Right and White Nationalist groups that promote random violence against non-white people.

Recall the photos of Dylan Roof in Charleston, S.C., and recent mass murders in other American cities. Just as the Nazi flag is seen as a dangerous perversion of contemporary German nationalism, the Confederate “rebel” flag is now ominous for many of us, a symbolic perversion of American nationalism.

No one should question the Constitutional right of individuals in this country to possess or display confederate flags: They still mean many things to different people.

Rather, given the context of increased polarization and mass murders by domestic terrorists, the question is simply: Do we want our county fair(s) to permit the display and sale of Confederate flags? For many of us here, as in Delaware County and throughout the state, the answer is NO!

PAUL CONWAY

Oneonta

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