Buena Vista, indeed
On Nov. 6, the District 11 board announced results of a study designed to help resolve the budget crisis. Hard decisions will have to be made. One recommendation is closing Buena Vista Elementary, which in the past five years has transformed into a Montessori school.
I moved here to attend Colorado College in 1990. My husband is also a CC alumnus; his father taught in Colorado public schools for 30 years. I work in a family practice office; my husband is a freelance illustrator and stay-at-home dad. Our daughter is 4, our son 11 months.
Last year we felt the need to relocate from east of downtown. We spent months searching for an appropriate school for our children and a neighborhood where we could walk to a coffee shop, a grocery store, a farmers market. We looked in Old Colorado City, stumbled upon Buena Vista's Montessori program and fell in love with both. In March, we sold our house; in June we moved to a close walk from the school.
Buena Vista is unique and historic; teachers and parents are committed to a new style of learning. Our daughter started preschool in August and we are delighted. Many classmates live across town; their parents drive them here. The experience these children have is unparalleled in D-11.
We are committed to this city, this school district, this school. To close Buena Vista and abolish the Montessori program is to rob District 11 of one of its brightest shining stars. I urge D-11 to keep Buena Vista open, invest in its uniqueness and give parents who believe in public education a chance to keep our children in this fantastic program.
I didn't get to the downtown Obama jubilee on the night of Nov. 4 that Ralph Routon so artfully described ("We can celebrate, too," Between the Lines, Nov. 6). 'Twas my loss.
But I was downtown on a dark, bleak, cold November night in 1994 when Democrats here, there and everywhere got their rumps bumped. It was so depressing, but little did I know that the hole we had dug had bottomed out and the long, steep climb out begun.
The road we found ourselves on took us through two unending wars, a White House ruled by two deceitful, dishonest, unlawful and incompetent despots, resulting in America's name disdained around the world and an economy that threatens the nation and the world with another Great Depression.
It won't be easy getting where we need to get, and it's gonna take all Barack Obama has and all we have to get there, but I have faith in our new, young Caucasian/African-American president. I'm confident that most Americans will do their part, if not out of pride, then out of necessity.
We made a choice on Nov. 4 and a good one it was in my biased, but very American, opinion. Did race play a part? You betcha, because we are all racist to a degree, but a barrier was broken, the torch has been passed and the hand holding it isn't lily-white. Let's not drop it.
Burden of change
Barack Obama has now won the presidency on the promise of "change." So it's time to consider what was not a major issue in the campaign: the human rights of American citizens, soldiers and of those persons whom America impacts by its presence internationally and militarily.
My concern comes from the lack of attention on issues of surveillance, detention, rendition and torture, and the treatment of returning U.S. soldiers who have been damaged mentally and physically in our wars. Will "change" restore rights lost under the Bush administration?
The violations of international and constitutional law in regard to these events should be of major significance now. Obama and John McCain differed on most issues, but they both seemed willing to violate, either publicly or privately, the sovereign rights and boundaries of members of the community of nations, respect for the United Nations, the independence of Palestine, individual human rights of foreign civilians and non-combatants, and economic rights of Americans unprotected by trickle-down economics, all in the name either of national security or unregulated egotistic capitalism.
It certainly is time for change a change that makes its first priority the human rights of everyone as world citizens of this planet.
Barack Obama has won. The lovefest may begin. This bodes ill, though, for alternative newspapers, as the hatred for George the Second has provided countless fodder for the vituperation of many "progressives" across the land. Of course, for many years we will be able to blame Bush for all our problems.
It does not matter whom I voted for. The secret ballot is one of our country's many blessings. Obama is now my president. If I disagree with his policies, I get to throw the bum out in four years. My opinion can be shared (see: First Amendment).
What has been disturbing, though, has been the hateful vile-spewing that has sent countless liberals into a paroxysm of rage lasting eight years. The invectives generated in his name are without limit, and provide a self-sustaining storm of loathing for our still-sitting president. "He's not who I voted for, and he's not my president!" rhetoric continues. Alec Baldwin decided a paycheck is more important than his principles, too.
Live with it, folks. The choice has been made for me, and it's my turn to live with decisions I may not agree with. I won't, however, demonize Joe Biden as our current vice president has been, and will attempt to show more grace than has been shown to our outgoing administration and all things Republican and/or Christian.
Remember, those must be the mark of the Debbil. Enjoy, people.
Pols like piatas
This election was like having someone stand in front of you with a stick and blindfold in one hand and two piatas in the other. They say, "Put on the blindfold and hit the right piata with the stick. It's very important that you hit the right piata; the country is relying on you. Hit the right piata."
You start asking which is the right piata, and after you put on the blindfold you start asking, "Where are the piatas? Which one is the right one? What's in the right piata? What's in the other one?"
Let's just hope we hit the right piata.
I was touched and humbled to learn Councilwoman Margaret Radford considers me a "winged monkey" ("Radford's world of Oz," Noted, Nov. 6). Although many people know winged monkeys only from L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I quickly divined Radford's true meaning.
Scholars believe Baum's winged monkeys have their roots in Hanuman, the Hindu Winged-Monkey God. After King Ravana kidnapped a woman named Sita, Hanuman led a volunteer army to defeat the wicked ruler and rescue the powerless captive. Hanuman's other feats include outwitting a mean-spirited female sea-monster. Hindus worship him as the god of power and strength.
The Winged-Monkey God was a mischievous youth, which led the established sages to place a mild curse on him. Nevertheless, he became a prodigious warrior, and the people loved him for his good deeds.
The election results are bittersweet: I am excited about our country's new leadership but disheartened that Amendment 51 did not pass, even with the bipartisan support it generated. Over 10,000 Coloradoans with developmental disabilities will be waiting years for basic services, and the wait list continues to grow. My brother, Marty, is 46 and developmentally disabled ("Waiting it out," News, Oct. 16).
Marty was born with congenital heart disease. At the age of 1, he underwent open-heart surgery to close two holes in his heart. He received too much oxygen, and his brain was permanently damaged. Marty is partially paralyzed on his right side and is prone to respiratory illnesses and lockjaw. He takes three medications three times a day to control grand-mal seizures. At times, these seizures have rendered him comatose. He has developed osteoporosis and cannot be removed from the medication that caused it.
While Marty needs daily personal care, he also needs employment services so he can be supervised while doing meaningful work; speech therapy, and other recreational and therapeutic programs in which he can participate; and transportation to and from where he needs to go. As Marty ages, he will need more services due to his seizure activity and his osteoporosis.
Individuals with developmental disabilities are living longer, and many live with caregivers older than 60. Funding and support must happen now. As Charlie Lakin stated in 1998 when he wrote "On the Outside Looking In," an article on the developmentally disabled and waiting lists, "Nothing seems more futile than waiting without a sign that people remember you are there."
My sincerest thanks to all who voted yes on Amendment 51.
Life in paradise
Imagine the following conversation in our wealthier suburbs:
"Daddy, I've read about class warfare. Are we in another war? Can you explain it before the game comes on?"
"No trouble, Muffy. This is a war we always win. Rich folks want to keep all their riches, and poor people want a bigger piece of the pie. But they'll have to pry our money out of our cold, dead hands."
"I've heard our city can't get enough taxes to provide services. Should we help the city and raise taxes?"
"Bite your tongue, Darlin'. We'll give a little money to politicians who will raise sales taxes that the poor have to pay, not luxury taxes, excise taxes, or taxes on our boats and limos and vacation homes. Heaven forbid they hurt you, honey, by raising estate taxes so that when I die, I can leave you only a couple of homes. I love you too much to let the tax-and-spend crazies cut into my will."
"But Dad, I read the city will cut bus service, and some poor folks don't even have one car and ride the buses across town to sell their blood!"
"Oh, princess, that's baloney. Let them walk, anyhow."
"But Daddy, at church the pastor said Jesus told us to give our money to the poor, and a rich man has as much chance to get to heaven as a camel has of getting through the eye of a needle!"
"Dang it, Muff, that's socialism. Jesus would never say that! God wants us to be rich."
"Dad, I feel sorry for people who can't speak English well and don't know how to get help."
"Muffy, it's their own fault. Let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps."
"What if they don't have boots?"
"Shush, honey, the game's coming on."