Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 4/18/02
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Letters 4/18/02

Various - April 18th, 2002
Slavery & reparations

Your comparison of Irish indentured servitude and African American
slavery in this country, is ridiculous (Random Thoughts, April 4). Although I am not particularly pro reparations, I think a better case can be made for it than against
it, using the half assed reasoning you use.
When was the last time you were called a mick? And yet I have heard the
word nigger almost as much since I moved to Northern Michigan as I heard
in the thoroughly integrated, but seethingly racist, high school I
attended in the sixties.
When was the last time you stood waiting for too long for a seat in a
restaurant? When was the last time you were prevented from purchasing a
home because of your Irish heritage? Or moving into an apartment?
These are things that still take place and are documentable through
first hand experiences even here in Northern Michigan.
Only an apologist interested in protecting the racist status quo would
find and try to draw out comparisons between African American slavery
and indentured servitude. In the first place, as bad as indentured
servitude was, Irish people, and others, VOLUNTEERED, to do it. No one
chained them into the hold of a cargo ship and dragged them over here.
Please see the movie “Amistad“ if you would like a truly horrific and
realistic depiction of a slave ship and then compare and contrast to
most immigrant Irish travails: none of those tiny crude drawings which
were our only lesson in our high school history texts on how slavery was
I also suggest you do some reading about how, during the Civil War, the
Irish used vehement racism to propel themselves out of their lowly
station in the U.S. social order. There were race riots started by Irish
against blacks in New York City which permanently fractured what had
been a relatively friendly relationship between the two groups. Start
with sections on the subject in Howard Zinn‘s “Peoples History of the United States.“ Are you sure you want to continue THAT heritage?
In addition, indentured servitude for blacks in America only began AFTER
the Emancipation Proclamation and, in parts of the south, still exists
in one form or another as it did through the Jim Crow era. And it ain‘t
the shanty Irish who are living in the shacks in Mississippi.
So while reparations may not be an ideal way, and perhaps in the long
run an ineffective way, of healing racism and preventing the
perpetuation of racist habits in this country, I believe there is
justifiable reasoning behind reparations being presented as an option to
be considered. After all, we discuss the cost of every other social
malady, from homelessness, to disease, to the arts, to welfare. Why not
the cost of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and racism?
If, as in the African American community now, one third of all the men
of Irish heritage spent time in prison, I do believe the Irish would
think that something more was going on besides men of Irish background
being bad and natural law breakers. They might even consider that, in
containing one third of their male population, the prisons start looking
more like concentration or work camps. The Irish would certainly believe
there was a problem of crisis proportions. Hell, in the 1860s they
rioted about what might be considered a comparable situation.
Unfortunately, as is the case in most acts of violence, even for a
justifiable cause, the wrong people were targeted and hurt.
What kind of reparations do you think are owed for terrorizing a whole
population of people through lynchings and other terrorism during the
100 years after the war that supposedly freed them? Is there
anything comparable to that in Irish American history?

Bob Vance • via email

What is an athlete?

“...three most accomplished athletes ever to have origins in northern Michigan.“ (Random Thoughts, March 28) How can you make such a biased, subjective statement? What is an athlete? Was Cary Adgate of Boyne City an “accomplished athlete?“ I would think eight years on the U.S. Ski and Olympic teams would qualify. What about Jeff Drenth from Charlevoix? Five years (before he died) on the U.S. Cross Country team (a team of the seven best cross country runners in the U.S.) would also qualify. And the McMullen runner from Cadillac who has competed in Olympic trials, world events, etc.
Being an athlete is specific to the sport. Lance Armstrong is one of the best endurance athletes in the world. There is not a single basketball, football, baseball or hockey (the BIG FOUR) player good enough to carry his shoes in terms of endurance. The BIG FOUR are the “chosen“ sports in America. To be called an “athlete“ in America one has to be an athlete in the BIG FOUR. This is outright biased, subjective bullcrap.
Do you really think Michael Jordan, A Rod, Shaq, etc. could outrun Jeff Drenth, out-ski Cary Adgate, or out bicycle Lance Armstrong even if they started early in life? The answer is a big NO. Athleticism is sport specific. Each sport has specific athletic/body variables and requirements to attain world class status.
The only honest, correct thing to say is that each athlete is good at his/her sport. To say one athlete is the best is only accurate when discussing that specific sport. So please don‘t make such biased, global statements again. It shows lack of critical thought. It‘s more indicative of “random thoughts.“

Gerry Brindel • via email

Elk Rapids disaster

Thanks so much for printing the article about the wetlands fill in Elk Rapids (April 18).
Six members of the Traverse Group of the Sierra Club, including myself, visited the Elk Rapids Preserve on Sunday, and were horrified at what we saw. 20 acres of wetlands have been filled with tons of clay. There are no trees left; no habitat for the wildlife that once depended on this area for their food and shelter. There is, in fact, nothing left whatsoever except clay, mud, run-off and the “for sale“ signs that line the road, most of them half-covered by water that is accumulating in large pools.
The fact that developers didn‘t pursue the proper permits and circumvented the environmental laws that were supposed to protect this wetland is outrageous and should not be tolerated. We question how this situation got as far as it did, and are looking to not only the DEQ and the developers for answers to our questions, but to Antrim County officials who allowed this to happen.
As the article points out, this is the largest wetland fill in over 20 years. Residents of Northern Michigan should be outraged. In a region where wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, where ground water is being contaminated and sediment run-off is polluting our lakes and streams faster than we can contain it, there is no excuse for this blind-sided attack on the environment. With Earth Day right around the corner, it would have been great to be at the preserve celebrating the beauty of the area. Instead we will gather with other environmental groups, lake associations and concerned citizens to bring public attention to what has happened and to work together to help prevent further devastation.

Monica Evans, Chair
Traverse Group of the Sierra Club

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