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

Shedding light on invisible war

Dear Editors,

A hearty thanks to our city councilors’ moral courage! They hosted a town meeting Sept. 4 on one of the nation’s toughest issues. They studied the issue, listened to the public and acted – joining over 300 other cities in honoring the warrior and sending the message that this war must end.

City Commissioner Dave Coleman of Butte, Mont., said passing a resolution on the Iraq war was “about starting a discussion,” knowing that cities can’t dictate what the federal government does, but suggesting that “it is the first step in taking back our democratic process.” In Durango, our elected leadership began to take it back when the City Council passed a resolution on global warming, Desert Rock, and now the War in Iraq.

We are not all in this together. With no draft and no taxes to pay for the war, it is all too often somebody else’s war that affects some other part of the country. During World War II there was a sign in the city park that visibly posted numbers killed and wounded everyday. Not true for this war.

The military is at war, but the nation is not.

The recent discussions in Washington DC for the most point missed the three most fundamental questions about the war: how long are we going to be in Iraq, what will it cost and how will we pay for it? The answer: not my job.

How ironic that at the same as the Durango City Council meeting, where a nearly unanimous vote approved the passage of a peace proclamation, there was such a spirited and divided debate over whether to stop a war. In the abstract, we are all for peace. Given the details, we are not so sure.

City councilors, thanks for looking past the tips of your skis and thanks for taking to heart the advice of Mark Twain: “...the citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal; he is a traitor.”

–James Callard, via e-mail


Powerful help for a those in need

Dear Editors,

Sitting in my PJs one morning, sipping my coffee – my pager buzzes, changing my attention from my morning reading to a call for help. I check in with the answering service, return the call and am now connected in a deep and powerful way to a woman I’ve never met who has a desperate need to be heard and helped. So begins a day as an Alternative Horizons advocate.

I’m a volunteer for this dedicated nonprofit organization that provides so much assistance through the talent, ingenuity and compassion of its small staff and volunteers. Each unique story of domestic violence can be heart wrenching, yet is an opportunity for both the volunteer and the victim to grow. The thorough volunteer training provides resources, education in empathic listening skills and encouragement for each Advocate to feel equipped to do the very best job possible to meet the differing needs of each client.

From January to June 2007, we have received 1,419 requests for service from 725 different people. These requests were met by 19 active volunteers. These numbers are up from last year. When you do the math, you’ll see that new volunteers are needed in this important calling. Getting to know the great staff and volunteers has been a delight and each client call has taught me so much. Won’t you consider joining the next training beginning on Oct. 1st? You won’t be sorry. Please call the Alternative Horizons office at 247-4374 for more information. I’m glad I did!

– Ginny Brown, Alternative Horizons Advocate, Durango

A mandate for peace

To the Editors,

I understand the frustration of those against the Durango City Council’s vote for the anti-war resolution.

It’s hard to be in the minority. I was in that position on this war beginning in the summer of 2002, as one of a minority at that time opposed to the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq, for all of the reasons that the majority of Americans are now opposed to the war. (The “If we had known then what we know now” argument is hogwash. Hundreds of thousands world wide knew then what everyone knows now.)

The current City Council represented the majority will of the voting citizens (those who are represented in representative democracies) of Durango in its recent vote for the anti-Iraq war resolution. All of those elected to the council this year indicated during the campaign their intent to consider regional, state and national issues as they arose, as such issues always affect American citizens, who live their lives in local communities. Even former council member Sidney Zink had given her approval of this role for the council, as demonstrated by her vote in July of 2003 in favor of the Durango civil rights resolution in opposition to unconstitutional provisions of the USA Patriot Act. (See http://www.bordc.org/detail.php ? id=167).

The progressive vote in April 2007 for Durango City Council (according to April 4, 2007 reporting inThe Durango Herald, 7,202 of 10,998 votes = 66 percent of the vote) indicates that a strong majority of those who voted in the Durango City Council election would in all likelihood also support the anti-war resolution and

the council’s vote in its favor. While I personally prefer petition signatures presented in grassroots actions such as this, I support the Durango City Council members who voted for the resolution in their assessment that they were representing the will of the majority of their voting constituents, based on the election results, as well as on their knowledge of the membership base of the grassroots groups that brought the resolution forward, the Colorado Veterans of America, the La Plata County Democratic Party and the SW Colorado Peace & Justice Coalition.

– Dawn Farrington, SW Colorado Peace & Justice Coalition.