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Character and virtue

To the Editor:

Cara DeGette merits a nod for pointing out the grandstanding for votes by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, with his media demonstrations surrounding the Boulder Library penis exhibit and his proposal to create a domestic violence U.S. postage stamp [Public Eye, Nov. 29]. I am also happy to see her, in the same column, immediately juxtapose Nighthorse Campbell's transparent media release with that of Rick Stanley, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, who plans to get himself arrested, on what he believes to be constitutional principle, outside the state Capitol for carrying a loaded weapon.

After dressing down Nighthorse Campbell for his self-serving motive, DeGette reports on Stanley's media release which, in part, reads, "Please stay away if you are a coward, a psycho, a liberal whiner ... "

DeGette observes, "That's the kind of talk that really translates into votes." I'd like to commend her for contrasting the difference between Nighthorse Campbell and the obviously highly principled Stanley, who seems more interested, as a candidate communicating with the voter, in the integrity of the public expression of his conscience than in vote-getting. Whether or not one agrees with Stanley's stand, it's good to see a journalist placing such rare emphasis on candidates' character and virtue.

-- Dave Therault
Colorado Springs

Man with a penis

To the Editor:

I agree with most everything that Cara DeGette wrote [Public Eye, Nov. 29] regarding the commotion in Boulder over the flag and penises. However, with finding fault in the various parties involved, she failed to recognize that Marcelle Gralapp, director of the Boulder Public Library, exercised poor judgment in allowing the artist, Susanne Walker, to display art that sends a message of hate and violence towards men. My business, Gravity Play, has spent countless hours in organizing and conducting a fund-raiser (Chalk It Up Challenge, around $ 3,500 raised) for T.E.S.S.A. (formerly the Center for Domestic Violence). As a psychology college professor/counselor for 13 years, I counseled many victims of domestic violence. I have looked right into those black eyes on numerous occasions.

I am a man and I have a penis. I do not appreciate a public entity supporting stereotyping and prejudice. This type of display can foster a belief that all men are aggressive/violent and should be "hung out to dry." This type of "male bashing" is wrong and very misguided. The artist, Susanne Walker, has every right to generate art to express her feelings however she wishes, but not in a publicly funded institution. Imagine for a moment if a male artist hung breasts in the library and described his art with some derogatory and violent message directed toward women.

-- J. Scott Bulter
Colorado Springs

Keep Peregrines in the Wild

To the Editor:

The Colorado Hawking Club recently petitioned the Colorado Wildlife Commission for the right to remove four peregrine falcon chicks from the nest for use in the sport of falconry. There are many compelling reasons to refuse this request.

The peregrine falcon, just removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species (August 1999), is still in the early stages of a complete recovery in Colorado. A tremendous amount of time and money by public and private groups went into this recovery. The removal of birds from the wild for the private use of any group would demonstrate disregard for these collaborative efforts.

In 1998, the Wildlife Commission agreed to a five-year monitoring period with "no take" of peregrines. The previous Wildlife Commission and the public accepted these terms in good faith and this Commission has an ethical responsibility to stand by this agreement.

Contact the Colorado Wildlife Commission before their final decision on Jan. 10 and let them know that you do not want peregrine falcon nestlings removed from the wild for use in the private sport of falconry. Comments can be sent to: Colorado Wildlife Commission, c/o Human Dimensions Unit, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216. You may also e-mail your comments directly to:

-- Rachel Hopper
Ft. Collins

Free press is vital

To the Editor:

On one of the news networks I recently saw a report of a newspaper in Kabul that is operating now with a much-increased circulation because the paper is allowed much more freedom in its reporting, although still not with the freedom that our papers enjoy. However, they are having difficulty in that much of their capital has been damaged or destroyed. Another problem is that they suffer from a lack of ink and paper. Needless to say, a free, or at least much freer, press is vital to a society trying to get back on its feet. Perhaps the Independent, or the Independent in concert with other independent papers, could initiate a charity campaign to raise funds for the Kabul press to at least obtain the ink and paper needed to publish. Just a thought.

-- Fred Lausch
Colorado Springs

A utopian philosophy

To the Editor:

Libertarians seem to view government as a thing, an evil, an abstract force that seeks to deny us freedom or take what freedoms we have away. Michael Seebeck's letter ["Acts of Treason," Nov. 30] typifies a libertarian's thought process in itemizing a list of anti-government grievances attacking Democratic and Republican principles alike -- gun control, school vouchers, military tribunals, racial profiling and, of course, the IRS. He doesn't propose any solutions, but a strong inference is evident -- get rid of big government.

As a just-left-of-center Democrat, I find it amusing that libertarians who blame government for everything but good times, have had good times for nearly seven decades provided in large part by a very large government. Libertarians won't admit it (neither will most Republicans), but they know the big government programs started in the 1930s, fueled capitalistic know-how and American productivity that built this nation into a economic colossus that energizes the world. Think of the WPA, which put America to work. Think of TVA, which economically electrified a large part of America. Think of the FHA, which helped millions of Americans buy homes. Think of the GI Bill, which educated adult Americans. Think of government working with business to take us to the moon, Mars and beyond. Think of government working with farmers to provide food for all the world. Think of all those big government programs and then try to think of any libertarian programs that have done as much for modern America. Hell, try to think of one that did anything!

Now, Seebeck is right to worry about government taking our freedoms away, especially with Bush/Ashcroft because there is always that danger, but he should understand freedom, just like libertarianism, cannot exist without government. He must also realize that the only true reason for the existence of libertarianism is to warn America about excessive government intrusion. For you see, libertarianism, like communism, is a utopian philosophy that could only work in a perfect world and as long as we're in it, the world ain't gonna be perfect!

--Phil Kenny
Colorado Springs

Giant of the North

To the Editor:

Thank you for an interesting article concerning the School of the Americas [School of Terror: The continuing battle to force the United States out of the business of training terrorist, Nov. 28]. The School of the Americas (SOA) has been one of the cornerstones of the United States' foreign policy with Latin America. The United States has asserted its hegemony over Latin America beginning with the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. Since that time, the United States has intervened in Latin America under the guise of "democracy." In some instances, the United States has been sincere in its attempt to support democracy in these countries. But far too often the opposite has been true.

What our media or leaders fail to let us know is how Latin Americans view us. We are "The Giant of the North" who frequently steps on the political and economic sovereignty of these nations. The people of Latin America are all too familiar with those "Washington bullets" and our support of despotic governments who kill, rape and torture their citizens. The U.S. has been implicated in the assassination of democratically elected leaders who were a threat to our business interests. We support "Death Squads" to suppress land reform movements that would have ended sharecropping and debt servitude. We have invaded many countries in an attempt to end socialism and nationalistic movements. Our support of despotic governments from Mexico to Chile has been contrary to the U.S. government's claim that we support democratic governments. Those individuals who protested the School of the Americas know the hearts and minds of Latin Americans.

What we really need to ask is why the United States has pursued such a policy. It is unfortunate that your article failed to view this from the lenses of national security. In no way do I condone the SOA or the terrible destruction the United States has caused to Latin America. In the world of realpolitik, our government acts to protect its national interests and this happens to include you and me. We must always keep in mind that these interests also include business and corporate interests. As Pogo would say, "I have seen the enemy and he is us." Because of the high standard of living we enjoy, each of us must shoulder the blame for our nation's foreign policy. I must admit that I can become very complacent when my belly is full, my house is warm, and my family is safe. I hope that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will one day reach our neighbors to the south.

--Alejandro Echevarria
Colorado Springs

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