Cheers to Auld Lang Syne

What topics of 2017 should we have never bothered to talk about?

By Sarah Sidlow

Well folks, it’s been a year. And here at Dayton City Paper, we’ve covered it all (well, some of it, anyway).

We’ve looked at local issues [Are Dayton traffic cameras effective at increasing road safety? Should residents who don’t pick up dog poop be fined? Should Ohio repeal its Sunday liquor ban? Should parents have the right to petition to have school district lines changed to benefit their kids?]

We’ve examined national issues [Should the federally mandated minimum wage be raised to $15? Should the Corporation for Public Broadcasting be defunded? How should schools handle sexual assault cases? Should SNAP-eligible foods be limited? Are the current FDA regulations on dietary supplements sufficient? Should Congress rescue DACA? And what should be done about those pesky Confederate monuments?]

We’ve tackled public health and safety issues [Should marijuana be used to help solve the opioid epidemic? Will raising the smoking age to 21 make a difference? To what extent should the courts have a say in parents’ decisions regarding their children’s health?]

And we’ve talked about gender issues [Should public female nudity be legal? Do gender-specific scouting groups still make sense? Should men have the option of paid paternity leave?]

But, like most things in life, they can’t all be winners. And with 52 weeks in a year, a 24-hour news cycle that can turn on a 140 character dime, and a national, political, and social climate unlike any we’ve witnessed in recent years, it’s been a little hard to keep up.

We took a look through the 2017 DCP catalog and pulled out some especially deep cuts that could have, well, not been cut.

Should schools still teach cursive? Should “they” be a substitute for “he” and “she”? And who else remembers that whole United Airlines double-booking fiasco?

It’s hard to say definitively which of these topics were worth focusing on, and which were not. Is it better to stay local and focus on the things we may be able to control?

Or do we forgo local concerns in favor of adding our voices to the national topics of the day:

Immigration issues, abortion rights, sexual assault, and international concerns including Russia, North Korea, and Israel?

Or is it best of all to pepper our lives with little distractions?

Here’s to 2018, everyone!

What went wrong in Charlottesville?

Many lives were shattered by one riot

By Tim Smith

There were many tragic events that occurred in the United States this past year. The looming threat of terrorist attacks was omnipresent, and for a time, it seemed like there wasn’t a month that went by without another active shooter incident somewhere. The police versus the public was another constant struggle, with more officer involved shootings and the obligatory protests-turned-riots than at any other time in recent history. And let’s not forget how hurricanes and tropical storms rearranged the landscape in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, where our disaster response was less than stellar. 

My esteemed colleague, Sarah Sidlow, mentioned some of the topics we debated this past year in her introductory salvo, debates to which I contributed my voice several times. The one that stands out to me as the most polarizing for the country was the demonstration gone bad in Charlottesville, Virginia. We didn’t really debate this one in depth, because it was a consensus that there were many sides to this topic. We did discuss it in our Aug. 22 issue, under the banner, “What shouldn’t the debate be regarding the Charlottesville Protest?” I consider this to be one of the most significant events of this year, because it deepened the divide caused by differing tolerance levels in this country, and put the issue of free speech in the spotlight. It also seemed to bring out emotions that people didn’t know they had. 

On Aug. 12, Charlottesville was the site of the Unite the Right rally, organized by far-right groups to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. After the rally, a white nationalist drove a vehicle into a group of counter protestors, killing one person and injuring 19 others. Students from the University of Virginia had planned to gather peacefully, but in the end, there were three groups involved in the skirmish—a meticulously organized and heavily-armed company of white nationalists, a determined group of counter protesters prepared to stop the rally, and state and local authorities who seemed to be caught off guard. Despite warnings to the city manager and the police chief that a more aggressive approach was needed, including an appeal from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the local police in charge temporarily lost control of the city as people brawled in the streets.

Many of us were glued to the TV or Internet newsfeeds that day, watching the escalating protests between peaceful demonstrators, Neo-Nazis, and Klan members waving Confederate flags. Shots were fired. Rocks and bricks were hurled. And then it became a national tragedy when a young woman from Ohio was run down by a car driven by one of the protestors. Suddenly it was everyone’s problem. 

The entire protest actually centered around freedom of speech. This is a Constitutional right guaranteed to every American citizen under the first amendment. The right to protest is in there, too, although some groups push it to the extreme, as noted above. When preparing this story, I found that I was more interested in learning what has happened since the protests.

Charlottesville, Virginia (estimated population 47,000) has consistently landed on the lists of desirable places to live in the United States. It boasts a robust economy, and is generally regarded as being the kind of town where you’d want to raise your kids. It has also been noted to have an abundance of old southern charm and a liberal political climate. 

My nephew lives and works in Charlottesville. I asked him how the city was recovering from the riot and unwanted attention. He noted that the community members are still in the process of healing, while pondering how much hate speech they’re willing to put up with. Charlottesville has always been a community where free speech is respected, and it has been a source of pride for the city. He also pointed out that there is a strong sense of healing and coming together after the riots, and that there is a general desire among the citizens to push forward in dialogues regarding people’s differences. Of interest is the fact that the community has adopted an attitude of zero tolerance for hatred and white supremacy. 

There was one tremendous blunder in the wake of the protest turned ugly. This occurred when our Commander in Chief took the stage and blew his opportunity to be The Great Unifier. Rather than make a plea for tolerance and healing, he churned the waters by blaming both sides for the civil unrest, and he angered many when he said that members of the white supremacist groups were probably “very nice people.” I’m sure the fact that a lot of them voted him into office had something to do with his comment. His assertion that he owns a home in Charlottesville was also irrelevant. If you notice, he wasn’t weekending there when the protest occurred. Perhaps he knew something that the city officials didn’t. 

For the record, the statue of General Lee is still in place, but covered by a dark shroud. The city has not announced any plans to remove or relocate it. The man responsible for the death and injuries during the protest was recently indicted by a grand jury.

Its just weird

There should be no debate about incest

By Missy Mae Walters

The Dayton City Paper debate question that made me do a double-take and check the date for April 1st, was the paper’s recent Nov. 21 edition. The topic of discussion was “Should incest laws be changed when adult same-sex relationships are involved?”

This is a topic of discussion which not only should not have bothered to be talked about, but is reprehensible to even have it as an acceptable idea. I literally thought the topic had to absolutely be a joke just to see if people were paying attention. I mean, there could be no possible way there actually could be a legitimate debate for incest, right?

Well, the debate was real, and the author presented the “YAY” opinion stating, “Consenting adults should be able to sleep with other consenting adults without having to worry about the government snooping around in their lives.” Yes, I agree, government intrudes into way too many parts of our lives, but when it comes to incest, police can go right ahead and haul the sickos off to jail.

I get it, someone has to write a “YAY” and “NAY” on each presented topic of debate, and, while on some topics I can see validity in each opinion, this one left me baffled at what direction our society is heading. How can anyone agree incest would be acceptable? As a society, we are pretty far gone down the rabbit hole if incest—regardless of being same-sex or not—is acceptable to anyone.

I came to the Ohio several years ago directly from down south, where dishes like grits, succotash, and chicken fried chicken are staples of one’s meal at least a couple of days a week. Another southern “delicacy” is frog legs. Now, most would gag at the thought of them, but frog legs are common on the menu of many southern restaurants and grace many kitchen tables. They taste like chicken wings, I promise.

The process of cooking a frog is important because if it’s not done correctly, you will have frogs leaping around the kitchen, making a mess, fleeing for their lives. To avoid this, you must place the frog in the cooking pot filled halfway with room temperature water. Then turn the burner up. Meanwhile the frog sits inside the pot, unsuspecting of what is about to happen. As the water heats up, the frog will remain in the water. The frog will never move a muscle as the water begins to boil. Viola, it’s that simple.

There are several parallels to the incest debate which can be drawn from the analogy of a boiling pot of water and the frog.

Our society is filled with frogs. They leap around and go about their normal days, going to work, earning a living, creating a life for their children, and all the while, they are the unsuspecting frogs in a boiling pot of water. Right now, they disagree with any scenario where incest would be acceptable. But strategy and manipulation can change opinion. Contentious issues, if forced upon us with directness, will cause the majority to squirm and jump out of the pot of boiling water immediately. With subtlety, testing even the craziest of ideas from time to time, people are slowly indoctrinated, with more becoming open to even the most ludicrous of thoughts.

Think about it. There are many controversial issues which, with slow and moderate propaganda, have become acceptable in society over time. This is how these ideas gain more support.

The most current example I can think of is the legalization of marijuana. Nearly thirty years ago, California first approved the use of medical marijuana. Then Alaska, Oregon, and Washington followed. At the time, I am sure people in Ohio thought it was a crazy idea. People have been brainwashed over time. Now, after approving medical marijuana this past year, it looks as though legalizing marijuana for recreational use is going to be on the Ohio ballot, and the chances look good for the issue to pass. That’s right, the medical marijuana debate was won, and now it’s onto the whole kit-and-caboodle.

Who would have ever thought back in the ‘90s and before, we would one day be legalizing illegal drugs?

In another 20 years, or even less at the current rate, maybe we will also be legalizing sexual crimes. I don’t believe it is too far fetched. If we are actually having a conversation about incest, then I believe lowering the age of consent could not be too far off…Or even condoning some child pornography crimes.

Think I’m crazy for making such a prediction? The sexualization in our society is totally out of control. The Nov. 21 edition NAY writer Dave Landon gave the example of the incestuous relationship of Cersei and Jaime Lannister on the television show, Game of Thrones, it is just one of several sickening examples of how perverse our world is becoming. The list of similar examples as presented by our beloved Hollywood goes on and on. Watch anything on television. The water we frogs are sitting in continues to grow hotter.

We’re in a lot of trouble folks. 

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Reach DCP editor Sarah Sidlow at

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