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July 10-17, 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Be proud of America
(Re: “What is patriotism to you?” cover story, July 3.) As a recent transplant to Boulder, I often feel like the only person who doesn’t agree with the worldview of my neighbors.
Reading this week’s Boulder Weekly brought that home in a powerful way for me. As I read a couple of articles about people having a difficult time celebrating Independence Day, I wondered what the rest of America would think of these viewpoints. It’s no secret that those on the left are uncomfortable with patriotism in the traditional sense of the word. They’re quick to point out American shortcomings and arrogance. They’re quick to seek moral equivalency between America’s actions and those of her enemies. As I am surrounded by these messages, I find some comfort knowing that most of America doesn’t think this way; and many of our friends around the world have a higher opinion of America than many Americans do.
I’ve spent almost a decade living and working in Asia and Europe and have seen what a force for good America has been in promoting democracy and freedom on those continents, something that’s hard to understand by looking at a map. More countries are democratic and free of totalitarian leaders due to American leadership and power than from any other organized force. It’s just a fact. It’s a fact I’m proud of, and so should any American.
As for your columnist this week who refused to stand at the pledge of allegiance and was so rudely victimized by one of her neighbors for not joining in, maybe she could stand for the people I described above whom America has fought for (Re: “Enforcing patriotism,” Uncensored, July 3). But I guess this subtle message might be lost in a sea of guilt and idealism.
But I’ll stand, and thankfully most of America will, too, save for those seeking cheap moral superiority.
George Carlin rap
(Re: “The importance of being offensive,” That’s Irrelevant, June 26.) Big thanks to Dale Bridges and his article on George Carlin.
Mighty fine thoughts on multiple levels. Right up there with Ben Corbett’s rap about Hunter S. Thompson from three years back. I suspect George and Hunter are having some great discussions right now on a whole shitload of subjects.
Ripping on nursing homes
(“Grandpa’s rotting in his bed,” In Case You Missed It, July 3.) I was irritated by your gratuitously outrageous description of nursing homes as “warehouses for the elderly” who allow their residents to die because their “maggot-infested bedsores got infected from long-term exposure to... feces.” Promoting old stereotypes like this might make some easy filler for the paper, but this isn’t worthy of a real journalist. A couple of angles a more interested journalist might have considered: What connection is there between our free-market health insurance system and the fact that the nursing home industry is really the only branch of our health-care system dominated by for-profit institutions? Is it really true, as litigators like to claim, that making a few plaintiffs rich and a few lawyers really rich is a more effective way of promoting nursing home reform than, say, government regulations? Is there any importance to the fact that Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., sponsor of the bill in question, made his fortune as a trial attorney and likely has support from lawyers who make an awful lot of money suing nursing homes (money that would not be generated by arbitration)? Is it possible that some negative outcomes — think of the late Christopher Reeve, who died of complications of a pressure ulcer (bedsore) despite the fact that he received the best care a chronically ill person could buy in this country — are not the result of negligence? Does the continued promotion of negative stereotypes of nursing homes hurt the industry’s ability to recruit quality staff? Who respects the elderly more: those who work for the long-term-care industry or the second-rate hack who denigrates their work without a second thought (or really, a first thought in this case)?
Megan Emmerich/Fort Collins
It’s not the Bill of Needs
(Re: “The gun-control debate,” letters, July 3.) Joe Bialek writes, “The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun or rifle is more than adequate to satisfy these purposes.”
Say what? Libertarians insist that free people don’t have to justify exercising any right. It’s the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Needs! Can you imagine being forced to justify the need to print a newspaper or to justify the need to not be unreasonably searched?
Of course there are other legitimate reasons for owning a firearm besides the two listed by Mr. Bialek. Not only do Americans own firearms for self-protection against home intruders, they also own them for protection outside the home. Thousands of Americans collect firearms much the way other Americans collect coins or postage stamps. Some Americans own firearms for target shooting, which is an Olympic sport. Some own firearms to be prepared for situations where the police are not providing protection, like during the 1992 Los Angeles riots and Hurricane Katrina. Others Americans own them as an insurance policy against the unlikely event that the government becomes tyrannical. Still others own them just because they can (it’s not the Bill of Needs).
Mr. Bialek goes on to write, “Accordingly, all handguns, shotguns and rifles must be licensed and registered to the degree necessary to match weapon to owner at the click of a computer key.” Americans should be frightened by the prospect of their rights being licensed and registered. Should pens and printing presses be licensed and registered, too?
Also, firearms licensing and registration has been a first step toward banning firearms and has provided the information the government needs to confiscate the banned firearms. Libertarians say Americans shouldn’t have to show a need before exercising a right, and they shouldn’t have their rights licensed or registered.
(“Oil shale,” Danish Plan, June 26.) Paul Danish’s article on oil shale erroneously suggests that oil production increases are nearly universally resisted by Democrats today. This is untrue.
Joe Whitcomb is running for State Senate. He proposes encouraging clean oil-production methods. One such method is in situ oil shale production using solar power to literally separate the oil from the shale. Joe suggests that by cleaning up oil production, we can protect the environment, protect Colorado and make domestic oil independence politically feasible.
Not another brickhead
Some are critical of Obama because he says that visiting Iraq, consulting with generals and troops on the ground, might influence his opinions. Would it be better if he stated that no facts and no opinion, no matter how well informed, will ever cause him to modify his position on Iraq? Do we really want a leader with the mindset, “I’ve said what I said, and that settles it once and for all”? Obama prefers a timetable for troop withdrawal. That preference puts him at odds with the Republican establishment that equates a timetable with surrender. A timetable is where Obama stands, but to state on the eve of an Iraq visit that this withdrawal plan is immutable and untouchable no matter what — well, that’s not leadership, that’s foolishness.
We already have a president whose view of the world, even after seven years in office, remains reality-free. We don’t need another brickhead, even one from the other side of the spectrum. Indeed, there’s all this talk of the duplicity implied in Obama’s “moving towards the center.” I really don’t think voters much care if a candidate moves to the center or not, but whether he uses his brain.
Over the next eight years, what will happen with Social Security, health care, education and national defense?
A candidate who cares about solutions will not lose sleep over the ideological purity of his proposals, but whether they can garner sufficient votes to be embraced, whether the solutions are broad and attractive enough to cut through our current red state/blue state impasse.
Desi Shiran/via Internet
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