Letters: Anti-War Movement and Hovering Parents

Listeners and bloggers comment on the seeming lack of movement in the anti-war movement, the phenomenon of "helicopter parents," and botching the national anthem.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails and blog comments.

Many of you e-mailed during our show on the seeming lack of movement in the anti-war movement these days.

I'm a freshman at Kenyon College in Central Ohio, wrote Jazz Glastra(ph). There's a sense of apathy among students or at least frustrated confusion. I was against the war from the outset. However, I do not count myself as part of the anti-war movement now. There is tremendous uncertainty and fear about what could happen if America pulls out now. This confusion tends to induce apathy. I don't know what to do. And if I can't solve the problem, then why should I continue to care? We're all stuck somewhere between supporting the war and wanting to force a troop withdrawal.

Dina(ph), a listener in Berkeley, California, cites the lessons of the Vietnam era. I am vehemently against the war in Iraq and incredibly angry, but a lot of us who lived through the Vietnam protest era feel that the anti-war movement did a lot of damage in terms of its treatment of veterans. I don't want us to repeat that. I am sensitive to how this appears to the men and women serving the U.S. in Iraq.

Ask Amy's Amy Dickinson joined us last Thursday to talk about the phenomenon of helicopter parents, the moms and dads who hover over everything their kids do. Amy, by the way, just dropped off her daughter at college and swears she isn't one.

But Scott(ph), a listener in Utah, wanted to know what's wrong with a little hovering. This is the real world, he wrote. If you work anywhere, your employer says you shall or shall not do this or that. That's just the way life is. Until someone is free from the purse strings, until they are completely independent, by golly, whoever is paying the bill has every right to demand performance and certain behavior from those they are paying to ensure, to drive, to have whatever privilege they afford them with their investment in them.

Mike, another listener warned, helicopter parents might do well do consider the future of their children beyond college. As a person who's been in a position to hire recent college graduates, I have seen the result of helicopter parents. These supposedly adult children lack two skills which are not only essential to business but to life as well. They cannot solve problems and they do not know how to learn from failure. It becomes clear in an interview when an applicant lacks these skills and the applicant goes no further than the initial interview.

As always, if you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by e-mail. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. And before we go, one last note. On Thursday, we asked for horror stories of people who have botched the singing of the national anthem. There were plenty of missed lyrics - if they remembered them at all - and some painfully off-key performances.

And Nancy Andre(ph) e-mailed us, who would forget Leslie Nielsen's "Naked Gun" national anthem, singing bunch of bombs in the air, there's no better parody.

(Soundbite of song "The Star-Spangled Banner")

Mr. LESLIE NIELSEN (Actor): (Singing) Whose bright stripes and bright stars in the perilous night. O'er the ramparts we watched, by the da, da, da, da, da, and the rockets' red glare, bunch of bombs in the air, gave proof through the night that we still had our flag.

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