Bucks County Herald

Charles Meredith:

Students need to be challenged

Dear Friends,

Good morning. One of my readers sent a sobering letter concerning my column about Barbara Bush’s passing.

Here’s what Stephen Hanover of Plumsteadville wrote:

“Your eulogy about the passing of first lady Barbara Bush was evocative and, unfortunately, a sad commentary on the state of the nation. The fact that her invitation to the school [Wellesley College] she attended was deemed ‘controversial’ is particularly astounding. In spite of that, she had the grace to ignore the pique of the immature student body and win them over with her commencement speech.

“We should expect better of schools like Wellesley and the eight Ivies. Alexander Pope was credited with proclaiming ‘As the tree is bent, so the tree’s inclined.’

“Parents that have done their due diligence would not have produced children that could be so easily swayed against having open minds and common courtesy.”

Good thinking and sound advice Stephen Hanover.

Turning to another subject, Paul Clymer served the Upper Bucks region as a state legislator for decades. He was so popular that the opposition party often didn’t run anyone against him. Paul has always been, and continues to be, a strong conservative. With the exception of his stance on abortion (he opposes it), Paul and I have similar views on social issues. Here’s a thoughtful letter that he recently sent to me:

“On many of our college campuses, the radical left continues to block and harass conservative speakers,” he began. “Why is most of the news-media ignoring this abuse of First Amendment rights? To challenge and invigorate students, to defend and debate public policies and social issues, free speech is a basic requirement.

“Our democracy is strengthened when open dialogue is available to all. Ignorance will flourish when the radical left is the only voice in the market place. The enclosed news article from The Wall Street Journal represents a courageous conservative student at Mt. Holyoke College, taking a stand for her First Amendment rights. Bless her!”
Here’s the gist of what Kassy Dillon wrote in the WSJ:

“Outside of the conference venue, I was greeted by signs prohibiting photography and recording,” she wrote. “Audience members weren’t permitted to ask questions directly to the speakers. Instead, we had to write them on note cards and only prepared questions would be answered during the 15 minutes dedicated to Q and A.”

“I have worked to promote free speech throughout my four years in college,” her nine-paragraph letter to the editor concluded. “I believe in civility and real discussion, so I would never disrupt an event. Instead, I prefer to ask tough questions. This event only allowed scripted ones, because the Women’s March founders knew they couldn’t defend their ugly and radical ideas.”

Meanwhile, Quakertown schools got some good news. Trumbauersvile Elementary School Principal Adam Schmucker was named Pennsylvania’s National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. “No principal can or should do anything in isolation” he said.

Schmucker, 43, is in his third year as principal at Trumbauersville. “This recognition speaks to the overarching support of the district, the foundation established by the teachers, and the work and support of our community members and families,” he said.

And last, freshman Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick talked about his recent meeting with President Trump. Fitzpatrick and fellow freshmen have introduced legislation concerning term limits. Like his brother Michael (the former congressman who stood for term limits and refused to run again after six terms) Brian Fitzpatrick told the president that during his time in the FBI, he saw a direct correlation between officials’ time in office and a propensity for corruption.

Fitzpatrick believes that a limit of 12 years in office would work well … but it would take a constitutional amendment to achieve. It’s a lofty ideal, one that would have widespread support … but unlikely make it the law of the land.

Friends, how many elected legislators would actually throw their careers away for the public good? There are 435 congressmen and women, 100 U.S. senators, and thousands of state legislators at the public trough. How many would willingly abandon that gravy train?

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

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