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A true conservative

Hats off to the Indy, for reporting on an issue that needs reporting: "Mouthing Off: A Proud American Tradition at Risk." (June 5) Normally I do not agree with much that comes through the Indy, being a little to the right of the John Birch Society myself. However, I first wanted to congrats the Indy for very objective reporting on this subject.

Second, as a "true conservative" [not a religious righter] I believe in "constitutional fundamentalism." That is, don't mess with the Constitution. Period. I also support small government and am against the government putting their thumbs in everyone's pie, not only financially but through oppressive laws as well. It is from a "true conservative" standpoint that I believe that both men and women should have reproductive choices. It is also from a "true conservative" standpoint that I am as much against the religious right trying to push their agenda down everyone's throat, and silence the dissenters just as much as the politically correct society trying to silence those who don't want to adhere to their agenda of "softspokeness."

The government must get out of the business of either funding or legislating morality, and all, including the religious right and the politically correct society must respect the rights of others to voice their opinions, as objectionable as they may be.

-- Jim Bradley

Colorado Springs

Attacking free speech

I flipped to the article "Mouthing Off: A Proud American Tradition at Risk." in last week's Indy with some interest. In a world of ever increasing venues to express your personal views, I wondered what the new danger to free speech was.

I was surprised to find that the article was really about attacking the exercise of free speech by Fox News, CNN, those who take exception to the anti-war movement, and the White House for not providing a platform for anti-war activists to give political speeches at a poetry reading.

Of particular note, author Chris Hedges was upset because an audience of graduating students took vocal exception to his commencement speech comparing the United States Army to various communist and fascist militias who massacred civilians.

My friends, free speech also includes the right of others to disagree with you, even in assertive and raucous ways. Free speech is not the right to speak your mind in an echo chamber without dissent. Rather, healthy public debate requires two sides -- including the side that disagrees with you.

-- Bart DePalma

Woodland Park

Disgusting memories

The May 29-June 4 Your Turn by Molly Ivins ("Um, folks, this doesn't look like victory") really brought back to me all the disgusting memories of the prewar in Iraq sounding off by the so-called right liberals. Just what is liberal about their attitudes is beyond me.

I equate political leanings and the people who spout off in their name, right up there with Bible thumpers. What the devil do they care whether or not other people agree with them to the extent that they have to get in our face with their opinions? To me this is the most flagrant abuse of our rights of freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is indeed our right, but should it not be tempered with some kind of consideration for our fellow man? Should we not speak with compassion and understanding rather than bashing and insulting tirades against our elected president? Could any one of those out there screaming about how violently they disagree with his decisions, how he handles the challenges of that austere office, be capable of doing a better job should they suddenly find themselves in his shoes? Do they think that everything that happens, regardless of who commits the acts of outrageous fortune, can be blamed on our president who is doing his best to carry out the responsibilities of his office? No. I suggest that there will always be those who feel they are better and brighter even than the president.

There is no stopping those self-appointed, righteous do-gooders who feel freedom of speech means they can say anything they want about anyone they want and be absolved from any sort of foul insults that spew forth as fast as the words escape their mouths. I am just glad I am able to turn off the television, toss the newspaper in the fire and hit the delete button on my computer and get rid of these offensive tirades. That is freedom too.

-- Mary Enck

Manitou Springs

Hoodwinked, big time

Don't yet buy the argument that Bush tricked us into war? How much more evidence do you need? Remember the high-strength aluminum tubes? The drones? The links to Sept. 11 and al Qaeda? The uranium from Africa? The hundreds of tons of chemical weapons? The Scuds? The large-scale biological weapons production capabilities? The nuclear weapons program? All of these were loudly trumpeted and all have proved to be nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Wake up and smell the coffee. We were hoodwinked big-time.

-- James J. Amato

Woodland Park

In a parallel universe

The recent newsprint on the uprooting of Starr Kempf's sculpture garden has failed to acknowledge certain fundamental courtesies. Hedwig Kempf and daughter Lottie are actual living human beings who not only could touch the hem of his garment, but also launder and mend it! Not to belabor the obvious, but these ladies were the daily light of the great one's life and meant far more to him than any or all of the metal that he worked.

I have been their neighbor on the other side of Cheyenne Creek since 1955 and, happily, Starr's friend from the time I was grown enough to be known to him as "Crazy." Out of the deepest respect for his memory I am compelled to defend for him the outlook and feelings of the ladies of the canyon that he left behind to care for his yard.

In reaction to all the squabbling over his leavings, you may rest assured that the old boy in a parallel universe with Vulcan, his muse at his side, is cheerfully engaged in a welter of blue smoke and sparks from his torch, cutting all his stuff into pieces sized for an envelope so that every art expert and dilettante can finally be over this fixation with rust and silver paint. Then, perhaps, the mob might remember to extend a little consideration to his loved ones.

-- Peter Granger

Colorado Springs

Flying home

Folks: I have lived for almost 25 years in Starr Kempf's neighborhood and have loved his sculpture garden. When controversy started about this issue some years back, I made a modest proposal, which seems worth reiterating under the present circumstances.

What better place could exist for these magnificent sculptures than out at the entrance to our airport? What a phenomenal impact they'd present! We have purported to want to be seen as a world-class city. These sculptures exploit our air, our magnificent sky, innovation, creativity, and they are unique! They would present so far superior an image than the famous [Gateway] Arch in St. Louis.

Aside from the mountains, the garden would be the first thing and the last thing visitors would see. Somehow, I'd bet visitors would talk about the sculpture garden when they return home. Conversely, I doubt that one person would return home with a report of the hackneyed, rusted, cowboy and buffalo that is there now.

Can we use the budget that is used to purchase the little sculptures we see around the city and allocate it toward a lease with an option to buy the garden?

-- Lyn Sullivan

Colorado Springs

Truly a shame

As a resident of Colorado Springs since'50s, it's truly a shame that Colorado Springs did not fend off the next wave of self-serving fundamentalist -- the Religious Right.

-- Lilly C. Martin

Colorado Speings

The weather's fine

An open letter to Senator Rick Santorum:

We embrace you for your comments about homosexuals! You're all right. You're our kind of people. We don't imagine you hear that often enough these days.

In Colorado Springs we appreciate a man of conviction ... a man who knows how to use his elected post to ensure that our values (wink, wink) prevail from sea to shining sea. ("America the Beautiful" was written right here in Colorado Springs, ya know. Though I'm a bit distressed lately by rumors I've heard that the author was a lezbin.)

To show you that we truly are of like mind and heart, our newly purchased city councilmen (plus our token female) just cut $6,800 from the city's $200-plus million budget by rescinding same-sex domestic partner benefits during their very first Council meeting.

You would have been proud of our new City Council, Rick, they stuck to our guns like real troopers against fierce opposition from gay-lovin' lefties like the Fire and Rescue Squad, the chairman of the hospital board, the city manager, as well as other so-called citizenry.

If it's refuge from the storm you seek this summer, Rick, there's no place quite like Colorado Springs. We really hope you and the family will make Colorado your Rocky Mountain vacation destination. The visitors center at Focus On The Family has a two-story slippy-slide for the little ones. The visitor's center at the Air Force Academy has Rohypnol, gag orders and porn Web sites for the older kids. And you and the Mrs. need not worry about embarrassing protestors during your stay. We had the police chief teach 'em a lesson here 'while back with tear gas.

With our local economy in tatters, and so much of our consumer base deployed overseas right now, we could sure use a few tourism dollars from friends like you, looking to escape the heat this summer. Who knows, you and the family just might like the "climate" enough 'round here to call our fair city home.

You may be a Pennsylvanian on paper, Rick, but I know a true Coloradan when I see one. Come out and see us.

-- Harry Kreitzer

Colorado Springs

Patience, please

Since the announcement that Colorado Springs will acquire Red Rock Canyon for public enjoyment there has been an influx of hikers and bikers onto the property. We want to remind everyone that until the acquisition is completed, Red Rock Canyon is still private property and the home of the present owner. We ask everyone to honor the owner's right to quiet enjoyment of the property. Closing is anticipated late this summer.

Meanwhile, please be patient and enjoy the area's many other fine trails.

-- Joe Fabeck

Red Rock Canyon Committee

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