Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Might Be Being Picky.....But ....

The Press & Dakotan published a thoughtful letter from Duane Grimme today.  Mr. Grimme writes,
Dr. Evelyn Hohf, academic dean during my time teaching at Yankton College back in the 1960s, said something like, “It is in our differences wherein greatness lies.” Any such greatness is in defending others’ rights to say something different (defending to the death, as Voltaire once put it).

There have been arguments thoughtfully put for and against the opt-out, positions begging child and adolescent needs and interests and where Yankton schools budgetary limits need be. And so there are “Yes For Kids” and “Citizens For Sustainable Education,” both for kids but differing in the extents this community and its schools can and need go while striving to educate its youth.

Let us hold high the right to disagree, to let our differences be heard, respectfully.
First, it's always good to see allusions to classic thinkers such as Voltarie.  Second, I agree wholeheartedly that differences and disagreements need to be aired and heard respectfully.

In the same letter, Mr. Grimme takes issue with Press and Dakotan's applying the the term "foes" to opt out opponents.  Mr. Grimme limits the definition to "a term defining one or any group who “'hates or seeks to injure another.'"

According to The Free Online Dictionary, "foe" means
1. A personal enemy.
2. An enemy in war.
3. An adversary; an opponent: a foe of tax reform. See Synonyms at enemy.
4. Something that opposes, injures, or impedes: taxes that were the foe of economic development. [emphasis mine]
Lest I be accused of picking an inferior dictionary, the Free Online Dictionary is version of the "The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved."

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines "foe" as
1: one who has personal enmity for another
2 a : an enemy in war
  b : adversary, opponent
3: one who opposes on principle --a foe of needless expenditures
4: something prejudicial or injurious [emphasis mine]
I hope that Yankton gets through the next week without prejudice, enmity, or injury.  At the same time the bolded definitions indicate that the P&D was not prejudicial or biased in its word choice.  In fact, the example phrase accompanying the second bolded definition indicates that their word choice was exact.  Opt out opponents claim that the school district has been making many needless expenditures.
Once again, let's have a civil debate, but let's also have an accurate one.  The P&D correctly used the term, and their use of the term does not reflect a bias nor is it a case of the “'pot calling the kettle black.'”

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