A few days ago, cowardly officials at Cragin Elementary School moved students' peace signs out of public view when a few neighborhood cranks complained that the signs were anti-American.

What kind of message are the TUSD employees sending kids when they bow to pressure from extremists whose own demands are, in fact, un-American?

The children's signs derived from an annual school project that promotes conflict resolution, nonviolence and unity. They had nothing to do with George W. Bush's questionable campaign in Afghanistan. But even if they had, so much the better.

I was under the impression that unity was an American value. And so was that Constitutional right called freedom of expression.

America is the place where John McCain can preach a no-mercy militaristic response to terrorism, while other people challenge the efficacy of a conventional military assault on hidden terrorists, and still others dispute the morality of any kind of violent response to violence.

The flag-wrapped patriots in the Cragin School neighborhood, not the peace signs, should be moved out of the way. I suggest boosting the faltering airlines by giving the cranks one-way tickets to Afghanistan. There, the war mongers can put their own lives on the line with the Northern Alliance, or, more likely, they can join the Taliban, where intolerance and suppression of dissent are always welcome.

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