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Anger and lager

I am writing to accept Kevin Feldotto's offer to have a beer and be listened to ("A taste for granola," Your Turn, Sept. 14).

I may be the guy that he saw with the bumper sticker about "pissing off the religious right." That slogan is, I feel, a very appropriate statement for myself and many others who see that right-wing religious people have turned into a herd of hypocritical zealots that refuse to think for themselves.

I often have the sense of being a target, even though I am never personally attacked. That feeling causes fear; fear creates anger. That explains why I want to piss off the religious right. I want to make sure they feel the anger by putting mine in their faces.

An example of why I do not like fundamental right-wing zealots comes from New Life Church leader Ted Haggard, who claims that efforts at the Air Force Academy to reduce the evangelical stranglehold there are attempts to make the Air Force into a secular institution. The Air Force is and always has been a secular institution. All branches of the military and all branches of every federal, state and local government are secular bodies.

That fact is glossed over by the religious right, who want to tell me that I live in a Christian nation with Christian governors and a Christian military. I have no desire to give into such dangerous tyrannical polemic just to get along with the religious right.

I think Kevin Feldotto is, like me, a radical centrist. He does not seem to be a zealot, a petty tyrant or a misguided hypocrite. He is thinking on his feet, for himself and for a plurality of voices. That, I can live with! The center is not a calm place. It is where tolerance is forged.

Kevin, I accept the invitation. Let's meet somewhere centrally located; leave your grenade launcher at church.

Jim Adams

Palmer Lake

Can I get one?

Regarding Kevin Feldotto's "A taste for granola": He says it all, except that I might add, "Amen!"

James Mariner

Colorado Springs

Feeding stereotypes

I was recently visiting Colorado Springs and was very happy to see the independent news reporting in this paper. I was especially impressed by the article on the top censored stories of 2006 ("See no evil," cover, Sept. 14), including one pointing out that the World Bank is essentially partly funding the wall in Israel. One does not often see this type of news reported in the mainstream media here in the U.S.

But I was also dismayed to see an ad in your paper titled: Dragon Man's Machine Gun Shoot in particular, the part of the ad reading: "Wanted: 100 Iraqi Terrorists to hold targets," featuring a stereotypical image of an Arab (and, I might point out, the dress of a Saudi, not an Iraqi). It was one more testament to the fact that George Bush's propaganda has been highly successful in, among other things, linking 9/11 to terrorism to the war in Iraq.

I would expect your paper to turn away such ads, which highlight the political and cultural ignorance and racist tendencies of some Americans.

Karin Dydell, M.D.

San Francisco, Calif.

The pacifist threat

How disheartening it is to be represented in City Council by such as Bernie Herpin ("War torn," News, Sept. 21). He does all of us a disservice in his otherwise legitimate attempt to honor American soldiers and to end the war on terrorism by, in the process, discrediting the American Friends Service Committee.

This highly respected Quaker service group, a Nobel Peace laureate, he says, is not to be trusted about their commitment to nonviolence. If that were not enough, he wishes to limit our memorialization of soldiers in Iraq to only the living ones. And, finally, he politicizes this event to honor the dead in the Iraqi War by labeling the memorial as an attempt "to weaken our citizens' resolve to see this war through to its end."

We are Christian pacifist Quakers who are against all wars and, as such, apparently because of our family and spiritual values, have also become a threat to the City Council. Herpin is not alone. Others members of the council object to this peace vigil; the mayor sees it as irrelevant for city sponsorship.

Have we as a nation, as well as a city, found enemies to hate everywhere, so that we can't even respect the dead? If we allow such attitudes and practices to persist in our elected officials, we are simply guaranteeing that those who have died have died in vain. The sponsors of Eyes Wide Open and the volunteers working toward the success of this holy vigil are attempting to honor those who died and to help heal the pain of our nation.

Bill and Genie Durland

Colorado Springs

Thinking big

I think we are really missing the whole point of being able to vote ourselves bread and circuses. "Boon or Bone" (cover story, Sept. 21) notes that many hourly jobs already pay more than is proposed in this constitutional amendment. Let's raise our thinking a bit, shall we?

I think it is critical that we write into the state constitution the requirement that every hour of labor in the state is paid at $100. Just think of all the problems this would solve. This equates to over $200,000 a year for a 40-hour-a-week job, so this would immediately make everyone rich.

Poverty would be completely gone from the state. All those teachers struggling under the tremendous fiscal burden of holding down three jobs to keep hearth and home together would now be able to concentrate on just their students. Every underpaid government bureaucrat would be fairly compensated. Every downtrodden Wal-Mart associate would be able to buy their own health insurance even if their heartless employer won't do it for them.

We will need to do something for the self-employed, like farmers and small businesspeople. So we would also put into the constitution of Colorado that every acre of land in the state cannot be sold for less than $100,000. We should make the constitution set a minimum selling price for any dwelling as $1 million. Every small business will have a constitutional minimum value of $2 million.

The list of what needs to be set into the constitution is almost endless. A gallon of gasoline: 50 cent maximum. Electricity: 2 cents per kilowatt hour. Mobile phone service: $10 a month. Shoes: $3 a pair regardless of type, style or size. Clothes, food, transportation ...

We can make Colorado a paradise! Just think bread and circuses.

Bryan Mullinax

Monument

Double standard

Wanda Beliz's response ("Attack dogma," Sept. 21) to my letter made some assertions that were not correct. She stated that my point of view is that anyone who does not accept the Christian view, is imposing on Christians.

I'm not sure where she got that idea from, because I don't believe that at all. You can disagree with me all you want, and it is your decision to do so. And further, you are free to "perceive" anything you want about anything, and I have no problem with that.

The problem comes when one puts into action what they perceive to be the right political philosophy. Even then, in our system of a constitutional republic, the idea is to have a free exchange of ideas, research what candidate best represents your views, then vote for that person. If he/she wins, hopefully he/she will represent your views in the Legislature.

It's the double standard that I object to. It seems that if the liberal wins and gets laws passed, that is not injecting one's views into the political process, nor is it a violation of the mythical separation of church and state.

As for comparing apples and oranges, you can perceive that anyway you would like.

People being "the captains of our ship, the master of our souls," is why the world is in such a mess. I just happen to believe there is a better way, and you are certainly free to disagree with me, as the vast majority of the world does. Even if I were a minority of one, it would not change my view that there is a God, that He is sovereign, and His will rules, not man's so-called "free will."

Don Fahrenkrug

Pueblo

Left breathless

I'm sure actual rape victims citywide nodded in approval at Brent Koleno's letter ("Peddling fear," Sept. 14) describing his reaction to President Bush's speech. "I felt like I'd been raped," he wrote. "I wanted to shave off the top three layers of my skin and burn them."

For my part, when I read Koleno's letter, I felt like I'd been boiled in oil. I wanted to plunge rusty corkscrews into my eyes and gouge them out.

Hey, this breathless hyperbole stuff is fun!

Greg Hartman

Colorado Springs

Correction

Last week's issue of the Independent listed an incorrect phone number for the County Clerk & Recorder's Office. The phone number is 575-VOTE (8683). We regret the error.

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