Green and green
Regarding "Out of sight" (cover, Dec. 21):
One question that never seems to be asked is, why don't the immigrants just get green cards? Is there a problem in acquiring the cards?
If our need is so great, then the industries and individuals that need these workers should be correcting the situation (we do have the best government money can buy) ... unless, of course, those industries and individuals enjoy the ability to abuse the workers via labor and wage laws because they are illegal.
The story "Out of sight" was emotionally myopic. The author uses the sympathetic and benign term "undocumented" to describe certain Mexican immigrants for whom she obviously feels sympathy. I wonder whether she would apply the same term to someone here under the same circumstance from Iraq, China, Syria, Russia or Myanmar.
In the end, we are a nation of laws that are to be applied to everyone equally. We cannot apply one standard to Hispanics, and another to Muslims (or other groups).
To another point, the author's illustrative stories did more to make her critics' points than her own. She'd have been more effective at eliciting sympathy if she'd picked examples of otherwise law-abiding immigrants who didn't want us to believe that after three years of opportunities to gain citizenship, somehow all the paperwork had been "stolen" almost overnight.
Rights and wrongs
"Out of sight" states that undocumented immigrants fear deportation. And well they should.They have no more rights to government funding or protection than I would if I were to illegally set up housekeeping next door in my neighbor's home.
The funds meant to assist deserving legal residents are being siphoned away by illegal aliens. The next time you become concerned by the plight of poor residents, find out why there isn't enough money to assist them.
Prince of Provocation
Regarding "Slayin' and prayin'" (News, Dec. 21):
It is deeply disturbing to see that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and their religious publishers believe the best way to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace is to create a violent video game in order to score a killing in sales. It seems they believe that when they do it, it's all right, but if Quentin Tarantino does it, it's not.
And what's the difference between their desire to convert or be killed, and the actions of Islamic radicals who believe the same?
Dr. Linda Seger, author of Jesus Rode a Donkey
I'm sure I'm not the first to let you, and Mr. Mondragon ("Where's the love?" Letters, Dec. 21), know that there is indeed Saturday jazz on 88.7 KCME-FM, starting at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. I was mildly surprised it wasn't mentioned in your "Kind of blue" article, but figured that was because one usually thinks of KCME as strictly for us "classically" minded folks. Not so.
Cynthia Lang asks: "Where were you?" (Letters, Dec. 14) when a Palestinian "ambassador" named Afif Safieh was speaking at a Colorado Springs church. The answer is simple: I was not at the church where the "ambassador" spoke.
The Lang letter is ill-conceived. She refers to the "ambassador" as a dignitary; he is not. If he represents the Hamas government, he represents people who are determined to destroy Israel, a sovereign state, the only democracy in the Middle East. He represents an organization (not a country) that wishes to destroy the only ally the United States has in the Middle East.
She wonders why more people didn't attend the speech. Use me as an example: I did not know about the event. The reason must be the inept manner that those behind the event dealt with its publicity.
Lang uses platitudes comparing the "ambassador," a man whom she heard for a few minutes, to Martin Luther King and to Nelson Mandela; neither of these two visionaries ever called for the destruction of their adversaries in the manner that Hamas, which the "ambassador" represents, does regarding Israel.
Continuing, Lang says the United States is in control of Israel, which she refers to as a "puppet regime." This clearly demonstrates how ignorant people like her are about the world. Even though Israel is a very young democracy, it is one of the most truly representative democracies on the planet.
Finally, the reason the word "ambassador" is put in quotation marks has to do with the fact that in order to be an ambassador, one must be a representative of a sovereign state, and Palestine is not such a state. Not only that, as long as the Hamas government of Palestine is on record as not recognizing Israel's right to exist, and moreover, as one planning to destroy Israel, it is not likely to become a sovereign state.
Love, share and help
In the Dec. 14 edition of the Indy, Scott Graves ("Defending Douglas," Letters) laments about the "progressives" wanting to oust Douglas Bruce from a position of governance in Colorado Springs. He states that Mr. Bruce is a staunch supporter of lower taxes and smaller government.
While I agree that we need less government and lower taxes, can I ask you, and Mr. Bruce, what may seem like a stupid question? How are we, as a people, supposed to help those who barely make a living, have no income due to an inability to work (i.e., the disabled or elderly), pay for roads, pay for police, fire and rescue services or public schools in a debt-based economy without taxation?
You see I, along with many others, believe that we were put on this earth to do three, and only three things. Those are, in no particular order; love, share and help. I feel if someone who has a significant extra income does not want to share or help his fellow man, then it is up to government to redistribute his wealth, within reason, by taxation.
So Scott, what are you, and Mr. Bruce, doing to assist your fellow man?
I recently learned some interesting, but very disturbing, facts about how illegal diamond trade has helped to fuel and finance armed conflict in Africa from the movie Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Gold mining, too, bears the scars of conflict, destruction and human rights abuses.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, armed groups fighting for control of gold mines and trading routes have tortured and killed civilians, and used gold sales to buy weapons. Rather than bringing prosperity to a nation, gold has been a cause of enormous human suffering.
It is one of the dirtiest industries in the world, not only causing conflict, destruction and human rights abuses, but also fueling a war that has led to more civilian deaths than any war since World War II.
I have also learned that indigenous peoples in Guatemala, Ghana, Peru and Indonesia encounter intimidation, abuse and even violent suppression when voicing opposition to mining projects. Since most of the gold is used to make jewelry, jewelers can take an important step by endorsing the No Dirty Gold campaign's "Golden Rules" and supporting an independent certification system to weed out "dirty gold."
An October New York Times article, "Philanthropy From the Heart of America," chronicles giving in America. New Tithing, a San Francisco philanthropic research firm, estimated liquid assets of households with more than $200,000 in annual income and measured giving by comparing federal tax data. The results of its "Wealth & Generosity by State" report are intriguing.
Utah, Oklahoma and Nebraska were the Top 3 giving states in relation to percentage of assets, giving 1.63, 1.05 and 1.04 percent, respectively. Colorado came in eighth at .82 percent. The study raises some interesting questions, especially in this "season of giving."
People give for a variety of reasons: self-interest, guilt, a sense of social responsibility, a faith imperative. Whatever the motivation, there is a benefit to giving for the donor as well as the recipient.
In his book Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life, Robert Bellah demonstrates how Americans who are committed to helping others and their community have a sense of fulfillment and meaning in their lives. People who give a percentage of their annual income to charities say that such giving increases their connectedness to the community, their appreciation of a simpler lifestyle, their involvement in making the world better.
The New Tithing report found that America's most generous giving occurs in the Rocky Mountain and Plains states. Perhaps Colorado can become a model for the rest of the country in generous giving. Imagine a community where we gave away 10, or even 5, percent of our incomes.
Could it mean an end to hunger? Clinics for the sick? Better volunteer after-school programs for kids, fewer mentally ill on the streets, people choosing cars with better gas mileage, a citizenry that appreciates life, rather than feeling entitled to it?
Perhaps the notion is too sublime, given our consumer culture. And yet, just because it's not a reality now doesn't mean it's not the right thing to dream.
Jim Chapman and Scott Lovaas, Broadmoor Community Church