Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Tying one on: Mike Paterniti tries his luck on the Animas River on Monday./Photo by Todd Newcomer.

In defense of Dave

Dear editors:

Dave Stephenson is a Native American writer who lives in Durango. He was one of my fellow students and a fellow Fort Lewis College employee before he graduated. He is a widely published newspaper columnist and short story author who consistently condemns injustices perpetrated toward Native Americans in his work. I’ve seen his work in both U.S. and Canadian publications.

As a Kiowa Indian woman, I celebrate and support his skilled writing and his messages.

And as a Kiowa Indian woman, I agree that sometimes Euroamerican radical feminists can be a little self-interested and aggressive, and they exercise a disproportionate amount of media control.

The fact that both the Telegraph and Fort Lewis College Independent have black-balled him seems to prove the accuracy of his fears: that often radical feminists are opposed to free speech and free press and stifle those with whom they disagree.

And the irony of the Telegraph’s letter policy, which states, “we’ll print damn near anything,” juxtaposed with the statement that “Dave Stephenson will be barred from further participation in the Telegraph’s letter section” is an irony and contradiction that has probably been noted by many of your other readers.

Durango media should be proud to have a Native American writer who has been published across the continent, in their town. Instead, Durango media are condemning him because of ideological bias.

– Amanda Kershner,

Fort Lewis College employee and student

Overqualified and unemployed

Dear editors and employers of Durango:

In regards to your unemployment article, I’d like to know who Mr. Lieb considers unemployable? Would it be someone like me, who is 25, overqualified, female and pregnant? I’ve suffered the low wages of Durango just like everyone else and couldn’t be more tired of it. I know business owners need customers to make money, but do they realize that well-paid employees make happy and loyal employees? I am six months pregnant and a massage therapist. Business is slow, and so I’ve been on the prowl for the past two months looking for

a part-time job. The result? Sorry, we can’t hire you because you are pregnant, and you will be giving birth when the busy season starts. This is illegal. If an employer needs help now, then why can’t they hire me? Unfortunately, my boyfriend now supports our household, and it’s hard with Durango wages. I guess I’m what Mr. Lieb considers unemployable.

– Liz Potter, Durango

Fighting for Freedom?

Dear editors:

I am not a pacifist nor am I for peace at any cost, but I feel that at all costs we owe it to our servicemen and women and the Iraqis, to exhaust every avenue for a peaceful resolution, or to at least let the inspections work. The eight years’ worth of inspections after the Persian Gulf war were responsible for vastly more disarmament than the war itself. The lesson from this is that inspections work and need to be given the time and resources to work again. With no credible evidence to the contrary, the military and security analysts don’t think that Saddam is a threat to our nation, and his neighbors don’t have any great fear of his puny regime. While Saddam is a bad man, the charges against Iraq are trumped up and do not justify a unilateral, preemptive, invasion costing Iraqi and American lives. In all probability, tens of thousands of lives will be lost in a best-case scenario. In the end, lives lost may be the least of our worries. The damage caused by adopting the “preemptive invasion” policies that the Nazis utilized in their quest for world domination, and losing the moral high ground, are what will ultimately undermine any greatness our nation aspires to. When our most decorated veterans, warriors and generals, from Norman Schwartzkopf to Wesley Clark, oppose unilateral war on Iraq, perhaps this administration should listen. When FBI and CIA analysts warn against an invasion because it will spawn a large-scale upsurge of terrorist retribution for years to come, perhaps we should listen.

What scares me worse than Saddam or even Osama (what ever happened to bringing Osama to justice?), is how this administration has used our fear to pass legislation (the Patriot Act I and now Attorney General John Ashcroft is pushing for Patriot Act II) that takes away the basic freedoms this country was founded on. The terrorists have won by default when we willingly give up the freedoms that have made this country great and the envy of the world for more than 200 years. I believe that this world has become more dangerous for Americans. But we don’t correct that by being a bully on the world stage. We don’t correct it by giving away our freedom. Why is it that every time this administration loses popular support, it runs crying “wolf” under the guise of contrived terror alerts and bangs the drums for war? The powers that be tell us that the terror alerts should not change our behavior – by all means travel and spend money, just be alert (read “scared”) and let us take care of you. These terror alerts, then, have no other purpose than to scare the public and con us into willingly giving up freedoms so we will be “safe” and accept the inevitability of war...a war that will not end but simply have the marquee changed from “War on Osama” to “War on Saddam” to “War on Iran” to “War on North Korea.” The world is not a safe place, and no amount of war, or lack of freedom will change that. For perspective, in 2001 you were 15 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than at the hands of terrorists.

In 1759, Ben Franklin said, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” What act of patriotism is greater than assuming the risk of living in a free society? It takes an unshakable belief in our system to accept that those precepts in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, which have protected our freedoms for more that 200 years, are worth the risk of potentially being a target of terrorism. When you take away those freedoms, then there is nothing left to believe in or fight for. As a Patriot, I am personally willing to risk my life if it means preserving our freedoms. Right now, our freedom needs defending not from the “Axis of Evil” but from our own government. Whether our government means well or not by taking away our freedoms, it is our duty as Americans to oppose any actions designed to take away our freedom, even if that means we are less safe from terrorists. It is a sacrifice all patriots can and should be willing to make. If we don’t defend our freedoms at home, who will?

Let the inspections work.

– Brian Brown,

Durango, via e-mail




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