Editorial voices from around the United States
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States as compiled by the Associated Press:
Fifty years ago this week, a seminal moment in history was off many Americans’ radar.
This was the era before cable news and the Internet, so the only view most had of the event was on the evening news and in the daily newspaper the next day.
Even then, Martin Luther King Jr.’s address before the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington was relegated to many back pages, including in this newspaper. Had he spoken of his dream for a more just society before a quarter-million people today, his speech would be broadcast live on every news network, streaming online video and seen by anyone with a TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
That half-century span in how news was covered is only one aspect of how different our society was then and now. That African-Americans felt the need to gather in the nation’s capital to affirm their civil rights showed it was a time when such rights were not assumed.
King’s speech certainly laid the groundwork for a nation where children would join hands across all racial, national and religious barriers and “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
To some extent, we have reached this plateau; our nation’s youth now grow up in a more integrated society than their parents and grandparents, a giant step in the right direction.
It’s clear the United States of 1963 and of 2013 are not the same.
Achieving King’s vision has never been easy, nor is it a given. Even after 50 years of milestones toward that goal, more work remains, and perhaps always will.
The United States has a moral responsibility to step up efforts to identify, defuse and collect unexploded ordnance that U.S. armed forces rained down on Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
It’s been 40 years since U.S. forces flew its last bombing mission over the Southeast Asian country. But the killing and maiming from those bombs continues.
The Vietnamese government estimates that 100,000 people have been killed or injured from unexploded bombs and other ordnance since 1975.
From land, air and sea, the U.S. dropped nearly 16 million tons of ordnance on the country during the war. As much as 800,000 tons of it did not explode, leaving time-bombs behind that keep on killing.
The U.S. has spent some $65 million since 1998 to retrieve these deadly remnants of war. But that’s only a drop in the bucket, compared to the billions of dollars the Vietnamese government estimates it will take to restore a semblance of safety to its countryside.
U.S. officials have expressed desire to increase trade and economic ties with Vietnam. They should start by cleaning up the mess left behind from the ill-fated attempt to bomb the country into submission more than 40 years ago.
In a speech in Syracuse, N.Y., President Obama offered up one fact that speaks volumes about what has gone wrong with higher education: During the past three decades, the average price of a four-year degree at a public university has risen by 250 percent, while average family income has risen by just 16 percent.
Obama now proposes to help families navigate this challenge by providing scorecards that would rank colleges, and by rewarding those colleges that produce the best results. The ratings, which he said would be ready by 2015, will include measures such as average tuition, the share of low-income students they enroll, graduation rates, average debt and even average income after graduation.
Some of this information is available today in scattered places, but Obama would put it under one roof, with easily accessible software.
The idea behind the rating system is sound. It will help families make smart choices with one of the biggest investments of their lives. And it will give colleges new incentive to measure up.