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Past opinions provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

Ain’t a big surprise – May 31, 1993

An S-R editorial saw more than the decline of language in a dictionary’s decision.

“The rumbling noise you just heard was the sound of several thousand old-school English teachers collapsing in a collective swoon. Without apology or disclaimer, the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary now lists “ain’t” as an acceptable part of the English language.

It continued: “It was bound to happen eventually. Vulgar language, nudity and explicit sex used to be scorned in popular entertainment. Now they’re not only in movies (as a prerequisite for box-office success) but in the home on television.

“Drug use once was universally condemned. Now public agencies distribute needles to intravenous drug users to protect them against AIDS. Premarital sex was once considered shameful. Now it’s just another lifestyle choice.

“Determined behavior has a way, over time, of wearing down standards. Who can be surprised by ‘ain’t.’?”

Collective bargaining, May 30, 1965

An S-R editorial criticized the naivete of school directors who asked for no “hard” bargaining in response to a new law that allowed teachers to negotiate pay and other areas.

“The law, which goes into effect June 10, provides that employee organizations may represent teachers in negotiations with school boards on matters including not only salaries, but curriculum, textbook selection and hiring practices.

“It seem rather naïve of the school directors to request there be no ‘hard’ bargaining, and it seems rather purposeless to pay lip service to a law that has within it elements that threaten broad-scale invasion of the principle that management has both the responsibility and the privilege of managing.”

Memorial Day, May 31, 2004

On this day, The Spokesman-Review published seven pages of names and photos of U.S. military personnel who died in Iraq. An editorial reflected on this.

“Nearly 800 names are listed along with most of their photos. It is dramatic, sobering and thought-provoking. It may be controversial, but it need not be divisive.

“For those who believe in what the United States is attempting to do in Iraq, the photos and names highlight the personal sacrifices of military family members and friends. It harkens to the tradition that there is nothing more noble than giving your life in the cause of your country. For those who oppose the war, the publication of the names and photos today illustrates the real cost of war. All those faces, all those futures – gone. And to what purpose?

“The photos make it hard to escape the reality of this war, though it is sometimes easy to deny. It is not being fought on U.S. soil. Citizens here are free to go about their daily work and worry. Will interest rates climb? Will the employment rate improve? Will gas prices go down? And what’s up with those Mariners?

It concluded: “For the military men and women who died in Iraq, the light died too soon. This is the sad and somber remembrance of Memorial Day 2004.”


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