In response to "Burning flag about loving America, criticizing government" (Jan. 4 For the Record):
Burning flag wrong way to go; Bargert had another option
Our American citizenship is a contract in which we agree to abide by the edicts of our government in return for allowing us to choose those who create those edicts. If we're dissatisfied with their performance, we should not return them to office.
Thus, it would be far more effective for Jason Bargert to campaign to remove from office anyone he believes not to be performing in the interest of the people, than to burn a flag.
I, too, am extremely displeased with the way members of Congress are working against the country's best interest - and I will be voting to defeat every incumbent congressman and senator who is up for re-election.
Robert G. Scharff
Bargert's display was symbolic protest; think Boston Tea Party
Jason Bargert expressed his patriotism and deep distress over the present government's lack of concern for the 99 percent by burning his country's flag.
You may not like his method of expression, but symbolic public protest has been part of our history since the Boston Tea Party. Sometimes the use of words fails - note our U.S. Congress - and actions are the only way left to speak.
Jane Leighton Burts
In response to "Charlotte's first baby of the year" (Jan. 3):
Observer disabled hate mail aimed at Latinos; take next step
The writer is executive director of the Latin American Coalition.
The Observer published an article celebrating the first Charlottean born in 2012, a boy of Latino heritage named Tommy. What followed was a litany of hateful and racist comments posted on the Observer website, so profane that site administrators disabled all comments.
While I commend the Observer for removing hate speech, we can do more to curb anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiments. For example, we, including the Observer, need to stop using the word "illegal" when describing undocumented immigrants. It's offensive, dehumanizing and perpetuates stereotypes and comments like those removed from the website.
By using accurate and respectful language the Observer can help reframe this issue. Then maybe we can get back to cooing over babies instead of sending them hate mail.
In response to "Police show video of woman trying to strangle herself in patrol car" (Jan. 4 CharlotteObserver.com):
Responsibility for woman's coma doesn't lie with police
Let me get this straight. You're accused of stealing a shirt, you're taken into police custody, you bang your head against the divider in the patrol car, wrap the seatbelt around your neck, go into a coma - and the police officers are at fault?
How about her parents teaching her not to steal? Then, there would not be a problem!
In response to "Applicant success belies SAT's value" (Jan. 3):
Doing away with SAT does students more harm than good
Since the academic experience at different high schools is not equivalent, heaven forbid that all incoming students be required to take a uniform test to see how they stack up; that might result in some hurt feelings when students don't get a participation trophy for academic "achievement."
Never fear though, we have the chronic complaint to fall back on that the test is biased, even when sample copies of the exams and training courses for them are readily available.
If Wake Forest or any other school thinks our global competition is dumbing down the training of their students, guess again.
Here's hoping they don't employ the same strategy at their med school.
Obama wants middle class voters so he can get their taxes
The middle class is shrinking due to President Barack Obama raising our taxes for his socialist spending.
He has added $4.3 trillion to the national debt in just 35 months, while George W. Bush added $4.9 trillion in eight years.
I have a friend who came here legally from Colombia to make a better life for herself and complains how President Obama is "killing her family with taxes."
Middle class, don't be fooled. President Obama wants your vote for your tax dollars.
In response to George Will "2012 looks bright for conservatives" (Jan. 1 Viewpoint):
Global competition contributes to job loss, but Will ignores that
Columnist George Will again seeks to impress his personal fears and inaccuracies onto the rest of us, blaming it all on "progressives."
His fears of "industrial policy" ignore the fact that competing nations use their policies to actually help their citizens, capturing good jobs from us to make their citizens more prosperous.
Mr. Will keeps hoping that "American" corporations - which are actually global corporations, a major cause of our job losses - will save our middle class.
Good luck with that.
Fort Mill, S.C.