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Listen and learn

I was saddened to read the responses in the IQ column titled "Raging apathy" in the Aug. 17 issue of the Independent. It indicates to me how out of touch our society is with the youth of today. I wonder how many of the people quoted have children themselves, or have contact with them on a regular basis in some capacity.

While the youth of today may not be marching in the streets, make no mistake that they are concerned about the world they live in. The majority of kids I know are concerned about the environment, terrorism and wars that they cannot comprehend, among many things.

When we as a society dismiss them as self-indulgent, TV-watching, electronic gaming beings, we miss multitudes of opportunities for meaningful exchanges with them on what they dream of and what they fear and how they envision the future. For no matter how we view the youth of today, they are the future of us all. And by giving them the chance to contribute meaningfully, we have the option of helping to shape our shared tomorrows.

So the next time you see kids somewhere, take the time to see what they are doing and what they are interested in and what they have concerns about. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised. As someone privileged to be the parent of three growing kids and a volunteer in some of our community schools, I constantly am learning from our youth.

Remember: We were all young once. It can be very powerful to have adults listen, as we were once listened to by our elders.

Cathy Reilly

Colorado Springs

Good plums

God bless City Manager Lorne Kramer for having the plums to "tell it to the GT," as it were ("Alpha dogs fight in the Gazette," Public Eye, Aug. 17). Luckily for our fair city, most of us see Gazette editorial page editor Sean Paige for precisely what he is: a horn-blowing dunderhead with a chip on both shoulders, and a well-nurtured disdain for all things governmental.

One fine day, we'll rise up and run Mr. Paige's sorry ass out of town on a federally subsidized commuter rail. As for Mr. Kramer: We're lucky we have you. Keep it up.

Pabs Zickefoose

Colorado Springs

A question of integrity

For the record, your following allegation (in "In the rights direction," Commentary, Aug. 10) is demonstrably false:

"During the [2004 campaign to ban gay marriage], the American Family Association of Michigan assured citizens that the last five words "similar union for any purpose' were intended only to add emphasis, not to reverse existing benefits."

In fact, the campaign committee that opposed our Marriage Protection Amendment issued a news release specifically praisingme for saying exactly the opposite of what you allege above.

Additional documentation to the same effect, presented under oath to the Michigan Court of Appeals: afamichigan.org/final.amicus.brief.pdf

As well as in the Lansing State Journal's"Story Chat" section (at the bottom): lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060710/opinion01/607100321/1086/opinion

Hope you'll have the integrity to correct the record.

Gary Glenn

President, American Family Association of Michigan

Editor's note: How this measure was publicly presented to voters has been an important issue during ongoing court proceedings related to Michigan's Proposal 2. Our reporting was based on a September 2004 publication of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which is an independent, nonpartisan group that analyzes issues for voters.

In reference to the clause "or similar union for any purpose" in Proposal 2, it says, "Proponents maintain that the clause intends only to add emphasis to the proposal, and is not intended to reverse existing policies." In another section specifically referencing the threat to existing benefits, it says, "According to the American Family Association of Michigan, the clause is part of the ballot proposal solely to make the ballot language as strong as possible."

The Independent stands by the validity of its source.

Who's behind that guy?

The word "representation" corresponds with the word "representative." So, which candidate for representative will represent our district the best?

Republican congressional candidate Doug Lamborn's people assume that this, as a conservative district, will choose Lamborn to represent it. But the people in this district are not fools. A wise voter would want to think, "What issues are important to me?"

We value a good education for our children. With the number of servicemen and vets, we value our military and those who served. We value successful, as well as fair, business. We value our families. We value our rights, as well as security.

Which candidate represents our values? In choosing my candidate, I looked toward their endorsements a candidate's friends and allies tell who he is.

Lamborn: He has no endorsements from educators, military men or vets, businesses or unions. Who has endorsed him, then? Of the endorsements listed on his Web site, all but one come from politicians or groups with purposeless agendas. That last supporter is Tom Minnery, a single official from the bigoted Focus on the Family, which would rather break up a family because a child is different than teach families to accept and love one another.

What does this say about who Lamborn represents? He represents a reactionary agenda, and not the voters.

Democrat Jay Fawcett: Fawcett has endorsements from Superintendent Mike Miles (Harrison School District 2); Colorado Veterans for America, VETPAC and Gens. Wes Clark, and Hugh Shelton; Brig. Gen. Owen Lentz; a score of servicemen and vets; Colorado businessman Rutt Bridges; the United Food and Commercial Workers, American Postal Workers Union, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Planned Parenthood; Chris Gates (president of the National Civic League) and US Secure PAC.

I'm voting for Fawcett because he represents the people.

Jane Madden

Colorado Springs

Pennies on the dollar

We've all seen the ads that hawk the latest miracle product for just pennies a day. The implication is that we could easily spare the change and buy the product.

Now, what if the product were good works, international goodwill and enhanced faith?

Relatively speaking, for pennies a day, compared to what the United States is spending to prosecute the War on Terror, the country could put that money where its mouth is on valuing every life.

I read in a recent periodical that 10,000 to 20,000 children a day perish from preventable disease, due to the lack of clean drinking water. Are these lives not valuable?

Think in terms of international goodwill. How many Osamas would there be? How much more difficult for them to recruit new members against the United States if the United States was seen more as a patron saint than as the great Satan?

Still doesn't catch your fancy? Apply this reasoning to education, or health care or economic equality within our very own country. Our people are important enough to safeguard against losing menial jobs to illegal immigrants, but not important enough to give a decent educational opportunity? Or access to decent health care?

For pennies on the Iraq war dollar, we could provide free trade school or college education to every able bodied, motivated person in this country.

And with a decent education, I suspect we'd accrue additional benefits, such as reduced health care costs nationally. A better-educated populace usually chooses better, healthier lifestyles, and also results in a more egalitarian society.

So ask yourself, what would you value for just pennies a day?

Dan Marvin

Colorado Springs

Four of a kind

Speaking on the topic of the United States invading Iraq ("Training wheels," Letters, Aug. 17), Bob Szekely writes, "The truth of the situation is that it's a strategy of proactive self-defense."

It is a shame that after four years of United States involvement in Iraq, there are those who still believe that this was an act of self-defense. Just what were we suppose to be defending against?

Saddam Hussein did not attack the United States. The United States attacked Iraq, and for reasons that are yet to be explained. I'm bothered by the fact that those who dodged service in the military find it so easy to continue sending our servicemen and -women into harm's way.

If Mr. Szekely was seated at one of the many poker tables across the United States, losing money while knowing he would not come out ahead, would he continue sitting there losing his money simply because he is involved in the game? I don't think so! Why should the United States stay in Iraq, knowing that the war has been lost? And unable to see another way of ending the war other than leaving? Staying doesn't make sense!

As the Republican Party continues stating that "leaving would be to cut and run," moms, dads, sisters and brothers are continuing to lose loved ones in Iraq. This would not be happening if George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Condi Rice had a son or daughter in this war. Or if any of them had served on the ground in a combat zone.

Bobby McGill

Valrico, Fla.

Corrections

Last week's Student Survival Guide included the incorrect date for voting in El Paso County. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

In "Targeting paradise" (cover story, Aug. 10), an Allosaurus footprint was mislabeled as an Apatosaurus footprint.

The Independent regrets the errors.

Editor's note

To our home-delivery subscribers: Due to printing problems, the Independent was delayed in distributing last week's newspapers. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

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