Take a Chance on Refugees

Thank you for the editorial in your 8/15/14 issue [“Let the Kids In/Defund the Gangs”]. You hit all the right points and were correct about every one of them. As someone who wasn’t always fairly treated as a child and therefore never wanted children of my own, I’m surprised at my own reaction to the stories of these refugees, which is exactly what they are, that have been making their way into our southwestern states. How could anyone deny them at least fair and decent treatment and hearings, especially when our government is at least partially culpable for creating the conditions that forced them to flee their homes and families and undertake a trip so arduous and hideously dangerous that most adults wouldn’t dare to attempt it themselves, let alone send their children to do so?

After nearly three decades in the automobile business in Southern California, during which time we got to know many young, undocumented people from Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, I believe most of those who are allowed to stay will become workers, and maybe eventually citizens, we can all be proud of. Most of those we knew arrived with little or no money or knowledge of the English language after paying a “coyote” $3,000 or more to fly them into this country, but that didn’t even slow them down. They went to work for whomever doing whatever job they could find, and most did it quickly and well. They were honest, thrifty and willing to help each other — to the point that when one wanted to buy a car, for instance, they would pool their money to do so. The same went for rent on a place to live, and what astonished us the most was their desire and ability to learn English. They accomplished that in a year or less by watching television — after long, hard days at work — and soon had little or no accent! Having studied two other languages myself, I’m still in awe of their ability to do that, but it illustrates the desire they had to live the American dream.

They could have been role models for so many who’ve been born here and never realized all that meant to them. And one more thing: When they were able to save any money, they sent it home to help support the families they’d left behind. I realize there are Americans that don’t like that, but it speaks of their sense of responsibility. Besides the fact that giving these kids a chance is the right thing to do, it might also become one of America’s better investments.

Helen Mosley
Guntersville, Ala.

If Ours Was Truly a Christian Nation ...

It baffles me that so many Americans who pridefully call themselves Christian, behave so un-Christianlike when they are put to the test. That’s when they conveniently forget about the universal compassion and love which their religion is supposed to inspire.

Have they also forgotten that their founder had no patience with hypocrites?

Raising angry voices and displaying signs to children that say “GO HOME” is certainly the antithesis of Christian brotherhood. Jesus would have wept.

If ours was truly a Christian nation, those “Christians” who banished desperate Central American children from their pious assembly would instead have carried signs quoting Matthew 19:14, where Jesus said:

“Let the children alone, and do not stop them from coming to me.”

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Gender Equality Now!

While the Reformation saw the splitting of Christendom accompanied by the abandonment of medieval thinking and dogmas of the previous eras in many societal quarters, the persecution of Galileo for his scientific discovery by the Catholic Church usurped their power and the reality of the discovery was not recognized officially for centuries later. It’s not surprising that the similarly male dominated body of the Protestant hierarchy in the Church of England recently announced that women would finally be allowed to become Bishops in the church after their 20-year quest to share in participation/authority.

It took the Suffragettes 72 years to simply gain the right to vote and the myriad of issues that have been fought for and won since 1920 in the following second and third waves of Feminist causes are now in jeopardy due to male domination within our court system and especially the misogynist Judges on the Supreme Court of the United States. When the absence of equally weighted voices and concerns are thrust aside to perpetuate the antiquated and denounced authoritative male structures (Patriarchal) the Judges and Hobby Lobby proponents seek to impose; they had better reflect on why our (all male) Founders wisely chose to be a secular nation and instituted instructions regarding “the separation of church and state” for fear of what theocratic governance dictates.

Associate Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan were absolutely correct in their dissent and sentiments regarding the fact we are on a slippery slope with the Hobby Lobby ruling. Never in my life time thus far have the words of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) (philosopher, mathematician, physicist, inventor) been as appropriate in today’s “extremist world”: “Men never do evil so cheerfully and completely as they do so from religious convictions.”

The very first step in getting our Democracy back is absolute/unequivocal parity in the governance of this nation (50% male, 50% female) throughout our entire nation expeditiously.

Frank C. Rohrig
Milford, Conn.

Opportunity Missed

I’m writing to express appreciation for how your publication informs me like few others. I was grateful for James Moore’s article, “Down Where the River Ends” [8/15/14 TPP], about what things are really like in the Rio Grande Valley (surprisingly, given the stereotype, a thriving area of commerce and industry). One paragraph stood out in a bad way, however — how the area’s shale oil fields, soon-to-be gas pipelines and liquefaction plants, will become “the face of America in 35, 40, 50 years.” What a negative view of America’s future: giant fossil fuel mines devastating the landscape and the environment well before they expire forever! What an opportunity missed for a truly positive “face of America” that, instead, invests in all that free sunlight for massive clean solar energy generation that will last virtually forever! Because life is not all about the money, as we discover over and over again from your perceptive writers.

Nancy Churchill
Oregon, Ill.

Water is for Conserving

I just read Kyle Boggs’ article in the 8/15/14 TPP. The subtitle brought out one of my deepest concerns: “Water is Life, or Maybe It’s Just For Fun?”

I’ve lived in California most of my life. I know about rainfall, snow levels, dams, reservoirs, and scarcity of water.

Boggs tells us about Flagstaff’s crazy, stupid, outrageous “Dew Downtown,” where artificial snow was brought in to make Flagstaff  some sort of “Winter Wonderland”. I wrote to him care of the High Country News; I only hope my email will get to him. I told him of the outlandish things that are going on here in California. Our state puts out tv ads encouraging us to save water. At the same time, water parks like Legoland and Raging Waters are still getting water for “fun”. Their tv ads are run pretty close to the “save water” ads. AND ... our state still allows fracking! It seems to me that here are a couple places where we could save a WHOLE LOT of water. We are in the worst drought that we can remember. We need to conserve water, and there are many ways to it, two of which are to ban fracking and to turn off the water taps to water parks!

Bill Gibson
San Clemente, Calif.

Labor Needs Direction

I would like to second “Grassroots” columnist Hank Kalet’s assertion [in “‘Harris’ Decision Signals Need for New Labor Fight Plan” (8/1/14 TPP), that the “punch” of the “Harris” decision need not be fatal to what’s left of the labor movement. He points to “the efforts of fast food and Walmart workers” that have resulted in some “small victories that can be used as a foundation for a rebirth of the labor movement.” I would like to add that the Workers International League (WIL) is also striving to enlarge that foundation with its Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor (CMPL). More information is available at www.masspartyoflabor.org

Matt Hoffman
St. Paul, Minn.

New Pledge

When the pledge to our flag is recited, I can’t help but wonder if it doesn’t need some editing considering recent SCOTUS rulings. May I suggest:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the plutocracy for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for corporations and the one percent.”

Jean P. Skibinski
Newark, Del.

Business-Friendly Fraud

I have been hearing since the “Reagan Revolution” that we should have a “business friendly” atmosphere to attract businesses.  

It was urged that this was the route to prosperity for all of us.  But I have noticed since then that the main result has been to make a few people very, very rich while knocking a whole lot of other people off the middle class table and into poverty.

I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that “business friendly” is just a big fraud by the wealthy to justify their privileged position.

I hope I’m wrong, but it looks very much like it’s true.

Frank L. Schneider
Chicago, Ill.

From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2014


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