<center>Letters to the Editor</center>
Here is what I believe that a vote for George W. Bush or Al Gore is a vote for: low wages, corporate welfare (less taxes paid by corporations), the death penalty, the War on Drugs, the new world under the World Trade Organization (WTO), an excessive military budget in peacetime, no healthcare for millions of workers, and climbing pharmaceutical prices.
I believe a vote for Bush or Gore is a vote for: more wealth in less hands, less unions, more prisons and inmates, no limits on campaign spending, career politicians, industrial self-regulation, commercialized youth, over-employment of law enforcement, lawsuits instead of conflict resolution and a hollow electoral system for non-voters.
These issues will continue under either choice for President. Bush or Gore duck these issues and by omission agree that nothing should be done.
On the other hand a vote for Ralph Nader and the Green Party would speak to both Democrats and Republicans that these issues must be addressed.
Presently, there are not enough voters willing to vote for improvement of our electoral system. I believe voter education must include the understanding of more than the positions on issues by the candidates.
Our electoral system is meaningless without a full discussion of what is in the public’s interest. I believe that we should examine our electoral system and vote to improve it at every step.
Ralph Nader would bring same-day voter registration, a national holiday on election day and more emphasis on civics and government schools. To him, citizenship is a right that should be exercised. Who would not agree to the benefits of a country full of citizens who strive to achieve in public service?
I am voting for Ralph Nader and the Green Party because I want to vote my hopes. I hope for improvements in our electoral process where all issues are discussed to reach a better conclusion. I want to see our democracy be strong and vibrant, not sold to the corporate donor.
Despite the reports of polling data there are growing numbers of us who are voting for Ralph Nader because we want a public servant who is not for sale. He is someone who has brought us clean air, safe consumer products, purified water and uncontaminated food during his thirty-five year career in public service.
I admire Ralph Nader’s campaign for President because it is not compromised and only accepts private donations. I believe when we elect him President we will have an outstanding public servant who knows intrinsically and is willing to discuss what is in the public’s interest.
I want to thank you for publishing the fine guest commentaries by President Begaye and Mike Fillerup opposing Proposition 203, the so-called "English for the Children Proposition," which will deny choice to parents sending their children to Arizona's Public Schools. In your October 4th issue, a letter by Hector Ayala supported Proposition 203. He calls bilingual education worthless, but I spent a year at Rock Point Community School, which teaches classes both in Navajo and English from kindergarten to twelfth grade. My own observations there confirmed that students who have a good program of bilingual education do better on English language standardized tests than students who are immersed all in English, which will be required if Proposition 203 passes.
Mr. Ayala claims in his letter that parents currently have no choice in whether their children get bilingual education. He is apparently as ignorant of federal and Arizona state law, which require parents to have a choice, as he is of the substantial body of research supporting the use of bilingual education. In fact, only about one-third of students learning English in Arizona are currently in bilingual programs. In fact, the students receiving bilingual education get higher English language test scores according to the Arizona Department of Public Education than the students who are currently being immersed all day, every day in English, as will be required of all children learning English if Proposition 203 passes.
I spent four years teaching at Chinle and Fort Defiance, ten years as a school administrator (including three years as a bilingual program director), and 15 years as a university professor. My experience is that assimilationist English-Only instruction has historically failed American Indians and other minorities and that good programs of bilingual education should not be denied to children when their parents want them.
Mr. Ayala also states the punitive measures that can be taken against school administrators that allow bilingual education if Proposition 203 passes will not stop teachers from using Navajo and other languages to help explain academic concepts to children. I disagree.
My wife was reprimanded by her principal in the early 1970s on her teacher evaluation for using "Navajo words" with her kindergarten students at Chinle Primary School because it was then against state law to use any language other than English in the primary grades. She was only trying to explain to her Navajo kindergarten students what the English language words she was teaching them meant, but she was ordered to stop. This type of racist discrimination will happen again if Proposition 203 passes.
The passage of Proposition 203 will take us back to the bad old days of English Only, which robbed Indian children of their Native heritage. I urge your readers to support President Begaye and the Navajo Tribal Council in their opposition to Proposition 203. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 203