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We asked for it
Lessee, our president, a failed oil businessman, recovering-alcoholic, ex-coke sniffer who sat as a silent figurehead on every board of every company he was ever employed by says he's found God and now he's the embodiment of Christian ideals? You're kidding, right? You think he made it to Yale or Harvard on academic merit?
How about the kids that didn't vote this year? My god what a mistake you guys made!! Seriously, the error of your ways will find startling clarity the day Congress reconvenes and a bill requesting the mandatory service of all youth ages 18-26 in the U.S. military passes like a glass of prune juice through a senior citizen. You thought the video game "Navy Seals II" was hard, wait till you see your best buddy take a round in the chest and lay there dying as you scream for a medic in Iraq, or Syria or Iran. Do you know what a bullet impacting bone feels like? Looks like? Sounds like?
Let's cut to the chase: World War II was a conflict that we had a responsibility to join; the danger was imminent and the enemy quantifiable. This war is simply a cheap land grab. Iraq has oil, not WMDs or Al Queda connections. Well, they do now.
The U.S. is an oil-dependant nation; our plastics and our transportation necessitate oil. We do not have an economy as of tomorrow should our oil supply dwindle. We pay the Saudis too much for their crude, so we have found an easier alternative. Invade a country, crush its resistance, rebuild its infrastructure and voila, a nation beholden to our good grace and willing to give us oil for cheap magically appears from the ashes. And along with its birth, all of the people who hate our dirty tactics disappear.
This segues nicely to another point, one that consistently irks me as it inevitably leads to some bonehead telling me, "you just don't get it, do ya?" or better yet, the one word zinger that anyone with a brain despises, "Faith." Nice comeback. The point: You kill one man in the name of the War on Terror. He and his family live in squalor. His relatives and ancestors have been fighting holy wars for thousands of years. His sons are old enough to know that their pop is dead for no good reason. Their friends and relatives are killed in aerial bombardments every night. They are tired, scared, dirty and hungry, and their pride has been violated. Let's say this takes place in Cleveland, or Boston. Could we step into
their shoes for just a moment? Could we allow for the suggestion that this war might create enemies? We label these guys terrorists and insurgents as if they were unwelcome guests in their own country. How do you win the War on Terror?
Well, we asked for it. The democratic system has finally been hijacked. We have managed to showcase the extent of our intellect by voting for the guy who hasn't got a viable platform, snubs his nose at the time-honored tradition of the separation of church and state, and takes orders from a bunch of crooked oil execs and right wing evangelists. Faith and integrity are great attributes in the correct context, but not when they lead to the degradation of the democratic ideal.
More and more of our men and women will die for a lie, our longtime allies will continue to rightfully criticize us, our educational system will continue to falter, our arts, the standard of civilization, will lose funding completely. The environment, and all of the fresh air, wild places, animals and water we hold so dear will become unrecognizable from even four years ago with the advent of new roads, new clear cuts and new mining claims all in the name of economic vitality.
Was Kerry such a threat to our economic security? The guy's rich, he must know something about the economy; do you think new roads and schools appear out of thin air? That's called taxation with representation. What's so conservative about deficit spending? What's so American about banning gay marriage? What's so liberal about critical thought? Because someone looks for the cause of terrorism instead of pointing the finger they're considered a radical? Call it extreme, call me a hypocrite, in the end however, we may all feel the repercussions of a questionable, some say "devious" agenda led by men who care nothing of our long-term welfare but instead, plot for profit at the expense of our faith. There's that word again.
- Jay Rush,
Cultural confusion in Durango
It has come to my attention that in striving for cultural diversity, our predominant American culture has become one of manipulation and exploitation. Each day I am unable to so much walk down the street without noticing this fact. Laws pertaining to women's rights are made by men, revisions to the Social Security system are made by individuals who are unaffected by it, and, most importantly, cultures are being misrepresented by a cross cultural representation as to ignobly dissolve the misrepresenting party's ethnocentrism.
In regards to culture, we in the Southwest are some of the most malicious in the bunch. Looking unto the Durango area, anyone can see the abundance of Native American arts and culture displayed in various shops, galleries and other assorted places. Yes, this is part of this area's heritage, and yes, it is a wonderful resource that promotes diversity; however, as a culture we continually overlook the proprietors of this cultural presence: nonnative Anglos. Time after time, we see that native arts and culture are not, in fact, made by those within the subsequent culture, but rather those outside of it, as pertaining to both lifestyle and ethnicity.
Consequently, these proprietors end up no longer promoting cultural diversity, instead they merely profiteer the cultures of ethnic peoples and thus degrade and exploit their cultural integrity. Not only is this malnourishing to our cultural climate, it is also immoral as it promotes yet another medium for the oppression of ethnic peoples.
So, next time you come across one of Durango's many "native" art exhibits or a "Kokopelli Conundrum," please, oh please, take this into account, as it is not only terrible for all said reasons, but also makes some of us Anglos who do respect other cultures, feel terrible.
- Nicholas Houde,via e-mail
Take River Trails to Palm Springs
What cry babies! Developers Bob Wolff and John Wessman, City Manager Bob Ledger and City Planner Greg Hoch are boohooing about losing THEIR River Trails Ranch. Twice Wolff and Wessman state that they thought they were doing what the city wanted. What about we the people? Who or what is more important? The people, or out-of-state developers who have no regard for the ones in this community who would be negatively affected. It is obvious the city leaders have forgotten that they are paid public servants who are there to do the WILL OF THE PEOPLE, not to follow their own agenda which answers only to the developers. Also, following a 34-year-old city plan aimed at county density is beyond any logical thinking whatsoever. Apparently, Ledger and Hoch believe their acts against the community were so irresponsible they deserve "torture" and "lynching," and they are right.
When Wolff suggests Renee Parsons, president of the Friends of the Animas Valley, is on drugs when she is trying to protect this Class I agricultural land that is vital to our food chain, then it is time for him and Wessman to look in the mirror. Who in their right mind would go against the wishes and concerns of the majority of a community and continue a destructive development plan with 67 trophy homes for the wealthy? Wolff is correct when referring to these homes as "morally reprehensible" since this land would best serve the multitudes by remaining a food producing parcel. Now another overlooked zoning glitch has surfaced leaving no question as to shutting this project down. The endless desert around Wessman's Palm Springs playground would be a perfect place for this "world class deal" which would draw the gawkers "to study and mimic the plan."
The residing rattlesnakes and other creepy crawling desert critters would not mind a bit.
- Vi McCoy,
Look beyond politics, religion
Thank you for the great article on Islam, "Durango comes to terms with Islam," in your Nov. 11 issue. It pointed out some important truths in our (American - Durangoan) society:
1) Everyone decries bigotry, except one's own. When we fear others, we tend to give legitimacy to that fear by pointing out differences rather than finding commonalities (look at our recent election, largely influenced by fear).
2) "Saudis are not the only Muslims in the world " just as Republican "moral values" are not the only Christian values in America. Christians with differing perspectives on which values are more important (love, acceptance, protection of "all" life, freedom to make personal decisions, etc.) are accused of being un-Christian, unpatriotic, and dangerous.
3) Like Muslims, Christians, too, "when they are not talking religion are some of the finest people in the world." As a pastor starting a new church in this community, I am too often saying, "Please don't judge Christ (or the church) by what us Christians say and do." Many of us are aware of our failures and shortcomings, but wish to find a better way of following God, loving all people, and making this world a better place. I am thankful that God loves and forgives all people and calls each of us to find our common Creator, regardless of our nationality, religion, race, lifestyle, or political affiliation.
- Pastor Kevin Arensman,
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Politics on parade
My family and I were loving the Veterans' Day parade. We adored the old tractors and all the smiling faces. Then in front of all, the parade was held up by an uncooperative donkey. This was going on about half a block away. Some of us chuckled as she was NOT willing to go. Steadfast she put her feet down.
After this continued for the rest of the block, laughter was not heard from the crowd as much as from the two (so called) cowboys who were pulling and kicking her to motivate her. When this was happening in front of me and my family, I could see no humor in it anymore. I do not know what compelled me to step out, but I did. I asked them to stop and approached the donkey and held her halter. I said I would walk her. The man on the horse who was pulling her yelled out to the crowd, "That's a Democrat for ya." Then he said, "I don't think she will walk with ya, sweetheart."
Well I was beginning to feel like it was quite warm at that moment. I continued to hold the donkey and the owner approached. I will not say anything about the owner except that I would hope never to be one of her animals, on display and frightened.
Several people approached me as we walked across the street and actually thanked me for doing what they wished they could do. What is this ... who said it has anything to do with what political party you support? It has to do with being HUMAN. We are here to CARE for the animals, and for that matter, each other.
I saw no humor in dragging an animal unwillingly down Main Street. May this young man's mother not know what her son finds fun. I will not even get into how I (as gracefully as possible) explained this situation to my son, who respects all animals.