Two weeks ago: For no apparent reason, a whole bunch of kids at Gold Camp Elementary write letters to the editor urging political action to save endangered species in the Galapagos Islands.
Last week: The Independent runs one of the letters ("Endangered," Letters, April 17), saying "Awww isn't it touching that these kids care about the environment?"
Next week: For no apparent reason, a whole bunch of kids at, say, Colorado Springs Christian School write letters to the editor urging political action to, say, protect traditional marriage.
Week after next: The Independent runs one of the letters, shrieking in outraged horror that a school would co-opt its own innocent students for political purposes by assigning them all to write letters to the editor on the same subject.
I found Rich Tosches' comments on Charlton Heston ("Ads from the edges," Ranger Rich, April 10) to be crude and offensive. I assume that humor was his aim, but I fail to see the humor.
Up the wrong tree
It's not hard to get the media to swallow whole and entire the talking points that Pentagon spin doctors dish out.
Fort Carson's local efforts to turn tree-huggers into war-machine huggers continue to bear fruit. The 2027 Sgt. Joe Rogers "story" appeared in the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission paper in December. Now the Independent trots it out for Earth Day ("Gang green," cover story, April 17).
In neither story does it say how the war machine will actually conduct war in 2027, or how that will be environmentally friendly. What happens when practice ends and the real thing begins? Will that be green? It's not just the local media that spreads this stuff. The majority of the local environmental movement is solidly on board with this nonsense.
Perhaps in 2027, or sooner, there will be magic potions that only temporarily disable "enemies" and turn them into "friends" when they wake up. Sgt. Rogers then will have only a counseling role to carry out.
Regarding Bill Durland's article ("Let's not re-create '68," Your Turn, April 17): Contrary to the hype the group has generated, Recreate-68 does not want to recreate the violent clashes of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. That would have to be up to the police. While we know the Chicago Seven and their cohorts did not go quietly, it is now also admitted that the 1968 violence was perpetrated by the Chicago police without provocation.
Recreate-68 is determined to get people engaged with the DNC, in the streets, instead of in front of their televisions as passive spectators to the usurping of their power. They want to recreate the sense of connection Americans felt in 1968.
Back then, the Democratic Party was being unresponsive. Democrats today continue to fund the war, raid the U.S. Treasury for the rich, deny Americans universal health care, take away our civil liberties with the Patriot Act, and collude with murder, torture and profiteering.
The American people are accomplices to these crimes if they go along. Because official channels do not permit people to raise their voices above a silent consent, the DNC is opportunity knocking on the streets of Denver.
When party organizations admonish you to work through the system, they perpetuate their power to deny progressive reform. The will of the people has only ever expressed itself through protest. Democracy, human rights, abolition, suffrage, child labor, civil rights, pacifism. We have only achieved these gains by collective action.
If the Democratic Party is not prepared to offer Americans a real alternative to the corrupt misrepresentation in Washington, we can find better charades. Should the Dems hear this from you? Is your representative listening or still asking you to show patience? Take him or her to the mat, in Denver, in August.
Waiting for Utopia
Regarding Bill Durland's column: It is refreshing that an academician of the left lumbers forth from the Ivory Tower (after having carefully snuffed the end of that torpedo waste being the un-conservative thing to do) and, undoubtedly in the haze induced by that same engine, fails to don the mask of "We really are just like you, guys" before publicly dispensing pearls of accumulated wisdom.
Bill, did you really mean to say "anarchic Friedman-Hayek version of capitalism," or was that Freudsky-slip "anarchic capitalism" what you intended the hoi polloi actually to read? If indeed capitalism itself and not the degraded version of someone you obviously dislike is anarchic, what then is the new improved politico-economic construct under which we are supposed to march together toward the sunrise of the New Age?
Sump'in by Danton and Robespierre? Maybe yer ol' buddy Karl or V.I., perhaps? When the Age of Aquarius arrives, will we all call each other Citizen? Comrade? Or in deference to current cultural sensibilities, maybe just "Dude"?
I assume the transition to inevitable Utopia will be overseen, of course, by the Enlightened and Anointed y'know, comrade dudes like you.
Also, professor, delve a bit as you heap diversity laurels upon the Democratic Party for bayoneting Jim Crow ... and discover just which party it was that invented, then put and kept that fellow in his exalted spot south of Mason-Dixon for 100 years. And which political party it was, born in the crucible of the Abolition movement, that sacrificed 325,000 Union lives and set the nation on its current course of equality under law for all citizens by dragging your home team kicking, screaming and cross-burning to civilization.
Better first re-light that torpedo. Some things can be hard to take without the balming fog.
Peak snake oil
Once again the freest, most independent editorial pages for miles around have been invaded by a politically diseased thought process!
Fritz Mann ("Commies and fanatics," Letters, April 17) is a legitimate example of how someone can be overwhelmed by a dedicated gang of right-wing zealots. We all know the culprits, starting with Dick Cheney, the snarly champion of chicanery. He is followed by other neocons like Paul Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith (the guy Gen. Tommy Franks called the dumbest SOB on the planet). These beltway elitists who were the "intelligent designers" of Bush's vanity war, and proud of it, have slithered away from the spotlight they once all hugged in.
The national mouthpiece of these political pimps is, of course, Rush Limbaugh.
This broad-ass buffoon has ruled talk radio ever since the Clintons gave him the ammo he needed to arise from mediocrity. Then, little Limbaughs like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and others descended like locusts, and the nation has been infected ever since.
Unfortunately, indolent minds actually believed the Cheneys and Limbaughs, and America finds itself in the most divisive, bitter, gun-clinging, church-going, pissed-off attitude since Vietnam.
Mann's letter is typical of right-wing TV, talk radio and radical chat rooms and blogs. According to them, those on the left have no balls and blame America first. They divide this country and are the reason we haven't won in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, almost forgot, they are Bush-haters too. If anyone dares to disagree, they are branded anti-American, unpatriotic. His letter would be silly if it wasn't so sad. Hell, it's both.
The 2006 election gave me hope that the power of the Republican radical element has peaked. I hope the 2008 election pounds that power down to where it belongs: the level of a gnat's ass.
"If the Bush-haters had not chosen to divide this country in their lust for power and vengeance, we'd have already won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," writes Fritz Mann.
What planet has he been living on for the last seven years? If Bush had not diverted resources from Afghanistan and oh, yes he did to launch a pointless war in Iraq, then whatever mission we have in Afghanistan would surely be in better shape right now.
In fact, if there were no President Bush, there would likely have been no war in Iraq at all. But as long as we have one, Congress has given Bush every penny he's asked for to wage it, as well as giving him a free hand to wage it for five years in exactly the fashion he's wished, which is to say: disastrously. So I don't see how we can lay the blame for that at the door of fanatical Bush-haters.
But wait a minute. Doesn't Fritz listen to his own president? There are no "wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." We won the war in Afghanistan back in 2001. And the war in Iraq has been over since May 2003: mission accomplished. What are these "wars" of which he speaks?
Someone who sees "Commie-socialists" under his bed as the cause of every one of our ills is the same sort of person who sees "Bush-haters" as the ones driven by lust for power and vengeance. Sounds more like a description of Bush-lovers to me.
I would like to thank Ray Ring for the amazing and honest story ("My crazy brother," cover story, April 10) about his brother and his family's struggle with the mental health system.
I would also like to thank the Independent for publishing this story. It is so important to highlight this incredible and tragic problem.
I am currently working on a collection of poems from survivors of suicide. Specifically I need poetry from the lowest point, just before an attempt, and from the highest emotional point since the attempt.
The Poet Laureate Project supports my efforts to pull this collection together and help people considering suicide who may be unable or unwilling to call a suicide hotline or reach out in another way. Perhaps if they have a small collection of poetry to refer to, which lets them know they are not as alone as they think they are, we can save a life.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with poems and comments.
Due to an editing error, the April 20 "Gang Green" story incorrectly stated the limit of rebates paid by Colorado Springs Utilities to customers who install solar panels. Total rebates for homeowners range up to $37,500 and for businesses up to $93,750.
Also, see "Side Dish" for a correction related to the ongoing House of Jerusalem saga in Manitou Springs.