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Francis Scott Key High School principal set unrealistic goals after incident of homophobic vandalism | READER COMMENTARY

Francis Scott Key High School principal set unrealistic goals after incident of homophobic vandalism

Two issues have had my attention for a while now. The first is exemplified by responses to an unfortunate and deplorable incident (homophobic vandalism) at Francis Scott Key High School as reported by this paper on Wednesday.

What grabbed my attention was a statement by the school’s principal. She reportedly said, “Vandalism like this is a painful reminder of how much work we must continue to do to become a safe, supportive, and inclusive school free of hate and intolerance.” My issue is the last five words “free of hate and ignorance.” A lofty and worthy goal, but unrealistic.

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Morality and human behavior cannot be legislated, controlled by policies, or mandated. I do not mean to imply that it cannot be influenced, but there exists a vast difference in the methods utilized. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.”

Instead of talking about making the world (or even a portion of it) “free of hate and intolerance,” how about we set a more logical and attainable goal? Let us work to discourage hate and intolerance wherever and whenever we encounter it. Persuasion is better accepted — where mandates generate resistance. I believe that acknowledging the limitations of legislation and mandates will influence the use of alternative methods (e.g. persuasion) to an extent and in such a manner as to make efforts to positively influence bad behavior more effective. Insisting that we will wipe out bad behavior will be as effective as was prohibition.

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It seems that adopting reasonable, achievable goals will encourage a more positive response.

Subject number two is Joe Biden. We were forewarned and ignored it.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (served under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama) wrote in 2014 that Biden had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Forty years.

Asked if Biden would make a good president, Gates responded “I don’t know.” When additionally asked if he stood by his book’s comment about Biden being wrong on policies and issues, he responded in the affirmative.

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Biden, himself, in a campaign speech said “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man!” Adding “ … [China] is not competition for us.” Yup, POTUS said that. It’s recorded on video.

I wonder if Robert Gates was prescient or simply a careful observer of the facts.

Rick Blatchford, Mount Airy

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