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Opening the Danehy Mailbag--letters on home schooling, Ronald Reagan and more

Obviously, when I write about home schooling one week, and then offer a clear-eyed view of the mess Ronald Reagan and his minions made of America the next, I'm going to get some letters. But the volume and vitriol shocked even me.

Most of the e-mail goes to the Weekly's editors, but somehow, one of the hackers at the main Home Schooling Bunker in Montana got hold of my regular e-mail address, and I was flooded with junk. The weird thing is that they all sent the same letter, and I mean the SAME letter. Same crappy syntax, same spotty punctuation, exact same misspelled words. They obviously download some form letter from we'reafraidofideasgangsthegovernmentandpeoplewhodon'tlooklikeus.com, affix their name to it, and send it off to me.

In all fairness, I did receive a few heartfelt letters from people who support home schooling. A letter from a woman named Jaimie Lindsay was absolutely exhilarating in its clarity and delivery. She made several good points, and the letter was actually a joy to read.

She (like the majority of home schoolers, according to a recent survey in a home-schooling magazine) agrees with my contention that home-schooled kids should not compete in interscholastic athletics. She writes, "When you are given the right to do whatever you want with your child for education, you give up the benefits associated with public education."

That's the only point I was trying to make. My outrage comes from parents who loudly preach of the evils of public education, then try to sneak their kids in the back door when it suits their ultra-selfish agendas.

You want your kids out of the schools? Fine, just take them out and KEEP them out, all the way out.

Alas, Ms. Lindsay's letter was in the distinct minority when it came to readability. One must be fired up to a certain extent in order to take the time to write a letter to the editor (or, in this case, the columnist). I suppose that some of that passion causes mistakes to be made in haste, but gee whiz, people. Hit the "spell check" button.

Here are some (sadly) representative samples of what I've received recently:

From Heather H.: "I just finished reading your most resent (sic) opinion piece...and as you where (sic) most likely hoping for you have riled up a few people. I maybe (sic) young enough to recall what socialization was in high school, that would be the all mighty (sic) "clic" (sic)...and kids in elementary school are now worried about who they look (sic) and who they know."

More from Heather: "It is a helpful and nessaccary (sic) skill to be able to talk to and deal with people outside of your one year age group."

I have no idea what "one year age group" means. Was she trying to say "own" age group or talking about people who are within one year of age, either way, as oneself?

Concerning the definitions of certain words, Heather continues: "Are you honestly saying that families that home school no (sic) none of this?"

Know, I'm not. Finally, Heather asks,

"Could it be that one of your kids was beat (sic) by this home schooler?"

No, Heather, at the regional meet, the home-schooled kid won his event, the 1,600 meters, and my kid won his event, the discus. They both won championships, only my kid did it the right way.

Good luck to you in the future, and when your kids "graduate" from "high school" and enter the workforce, please tell them for me that I drink diet soda, and I don't take butter on my popcorn.

Jim G. took me task for writing about Reagan. As with many of the brain-dead Dittoheads and Sean's Fawns out there, he uses the term "liberal" as though it's synonymous--or even interchangeable--with "traitor." He suggested that I look at some surveys that USA Today did about Reagan's popularity and added, "You will find your liberal mind and attitude in the vast majority, of being an extreme minority."

Okee-dokee.

In defense of Reagan, he wrote this sentence that's too riddled with errors to "sic" them all: "No man is perfect, but your article portrays his as one of the worse in all time." Then, he challenged me with, "Shame on you, if you do not recognize and release these static's (sic) to your readers."

I wrote back and pointed out that at different times in American history, a vast majority supported slavery, the internment of Japanese Americans in prison camps, and the genocide of Native Americans. The majority is often wrong.

I then asked Jim, "If you believe in surveys and polls, what do you make of the fact that just a few months ago, two-thirds of all Americans felt we had good reason to invade Iraq and believed that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, but today, barely one-third concur with those stances?"

Well, whaddya say, Jim? I have the static's right here in front of me.

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