What They Said … 

Letters and comments from Flyer readers ... Shelby County Democrats, the Flyer crossword puzzle, and sex education in Shelby County Schools.

click to enlarge GREG CRAVENS
  • Greg Cravens

About Jackson Baker's column, "Insularity Breeds Defeat for Democrats" ...

I said it before the election, and it has proven to be true: A reboot is in progress.

There is simply no way to ignore the concerns of young people, Hispanics, South Asians, or any of the many subgroups of people who would normally be attracted to Democratic positions at the national level, and expect to win elections. The message of hate, distrust, and identity politics has run its course.

Memphians, by and large, are bigger than that. Just travel to any other place in America, then come back home. Ask yourself, after talking to people one-on-one, where you can find such an open and welcoming populace. Is there poverty here? Sure. But we're working on it. Is there crime? Yeah, but that's improving too. Are there still remnants of structural racism that make it hard for minorities to get a fair shake? Indeed there are. But we're on the ground floor of a change. And many of us who are trying to make our hometown a better place can see it ... feel it.

No one is going to take the politics of division seriously anymore.


About last week's Fly on the Wall column ...

WTF MF? I receive The Commercial Appeal the old-fashioned way, at my door, so I have not had to endure the "rough patch" the CA hit recently with its digital editions. However, after 25 years in print, I expect the Flyer to at the least print the crossword puzzle somewhere within the classified section as listed in the index. Not only was it not in the classified section, the darn thing was nowhere to be found between the front and back pages. Perhaps a little more editing and a little less web browsing is in order

Maryellyn Duncan

About Bruce VanWyngarden's Editor's Note on the recent election ...

Without a doubt, the best assessment of what went wrong for Democrats on Election Day! As a Germantown Democrat, which makes me a rare bird anyway, I'm one of those white "cross-overs" the party leaders hate. But since they insist, as a Democrat I'm obligated to vote for whatever clown they run, and they will keep coming up short. Give us some decent candidates like Cheyenne Johnson and Lee Harris and there will be better results.


About the state of sex education in Shelby County Schools ...

Jean-Baptiste Karr said, "The more things change, the more they stay the same". There was a guest column in this past Sunday's Commercial Appeal about the state of sex education in Memphis. I'm getting on in years, and sometimes memory fails me, but as I read this I remembered a letter I wrote to the CA editor 23 years ago:

"Last night, the Shelby County School Board voted in a sex education course that is the equivalent of putting blinders on our children and sending them out into the streets. The state of Tennessee has decreed that the board must adopt a sex education program that addresses the problem of AIDS by the end of the calendar year. This is a worthwhile goal. Where the state falls short is in allowing the schools to pick and choose their programs, as opposed to setting a standard. Memphis chose a new program titled "Sex Respect," a curriculum touted as even more conservative than the much discussed "Family Life" program. The Sex Respect program does not make mention of contraceptives. It ignores the issue entirely. The basis of the program is pure and simple, abstain from having sex until you are married, and even then be careful. This is the moral equivalent of teaching someone how to drive and not mentioning that the car has lights because you don't want them to drive at night. 

It is a fine thing to teach our young people the virtues of abstinence. But please, for their sake, tell them everything. Remember there may be some people out there inclined to behave in a manner inconsistent with your beliefs and these are the ones who are being deprived of valuable information that may cut down on both the spread of disease and the skyrocketing statistics of illegitimate birth."

My, look how much more progressive we are in the 21st century. The more we as a nation try to move forward, the more ignorance stays the same.

Joey Hagan

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