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Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 7/21/08
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Letters 7/21/08

- July 21st, 2008
Poem was a downer
The following words were broadcast to the crowd during the air show at the Cherry Festival:
“It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech,
It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press,
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us the freedom to demonstrate,
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag and whose coffin is draped in the flag,
It is the soldier that has given the protester the right to burn the flag.“
The United States Constitution has given us these freedoms; our soldiers have been deployed to make the world safe for ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Amoco, so the CEOs can continue receiving their unconscionably obscene salaries, bonuses, health insurance for life.
So far, we have lost over 4,100 of our young people to this purpose in Iraq, and the projected suicide rate of returning veterans is due to exceed this number. Over 100,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed and thousands more are homeless refugees, due to this administration’s adolescent cowboy, macho mentality.
Our military has been ordered to and has succeeded in trashing the Cradle of Civilization, for this administration’s lies, supported by the mindless, unquestioning, corporate-dominated, cheer-leader media.
The TC SkarryFest is complicit in the deaths of our soldiers and the innocent Iraqi civilians by their very sanctioning of this show of killer war machines -- a military recruiting tool disguised as ‘family entertainment’.
I wonder how it feels to live in a country where cluster bomb explosions follow the scream of these aircraft. Can you imagine the horror?

Sally MacFarlane-Neal

Wrong message
I strongly disagree with the remarks broadcast at the end of the Blue Angels demonstration.
Soldiers do NOT give citizens of a democracy the freedoms of speech, press and demonstration. These rights are created by the people themselves and then enforced by brave and honest politicians and judges.
In America, our citizen-written Constitution gave us these freedoms, which were then protected by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Soldiers do protect our freedoms when they obey just orders of an honest president and Congress, as in World War II. I am so grateful for the courageous World War II veterans still in our community. They indeed protected the rights our Constitution gave to us.
In short, soldiers protect but do not create democracy. And soldiers actually threaten our freedoms when they unquestioningly obey illegal orders of dishonest politicians, as in Vietnam and now the Iraq War.

Matthew Posner • Suttons Bay

Culture of death
Thanks a lot to the National Cherry Festival for sponsoring the “Virtual Baghdad Airshow!!”
You went back on your word and promoted war with your fake patriotism speech. Instruments of war, death and destruction are nothing to be celebrated--and is definitely NOT patriotism. Next year, let’s celebrate -- or at least hope for and promote -- peace, not this air show that celebrates the culture of death.

Laura Garvock • via email

Let‘s hear it for lawyers!
The announcer at the Blue Angels at the Cherry Festival said poets, reporters, campus organizers and protesters have nothing to do with securing our constitutional rights.
As a lawyer, I am not sure if I feel honored or slighted that my profession was not included in that class of “ne’r do wells”. Let’s hear it for the lawyers in the ACLU, the American Bar Association, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild and our own Progressive Lawyers group here in Traverse City!
These groups have taken on the mighty to protect the rights of the weak. They deserve some credit for upholding the rights now embodied in the U.S. Constitution, rights some have died protecting and some have died trying to merely achieve right here at home.
The birth of democracy and its vitality depends foremost on vigorous debate in the press, freedom songs/prose, and a citizenry often addressing their grievances in the street. A country that inverts those resources and places the military at the top of the pinnacle is known as totalitarian or fascist. A path, I trust we do not want to travel.

Marian Kromkowski
Suttons Bay
Bad idea...
I often agree with Bob Downes’ opinion pieces and always admire his writing, but this week I have to say no (re: “Are We Missing the Boat on Festivals?“ 7/14,
Random Thoughts). No more concerts-festivals at the Open Space.
We already have jazz fests, blues fests, pow-wows and other wonderful happenings in our area. If we can think regionally, we should celebrate regionally. Not everything needs to be in Traverse City which already has enough congestion and noise. What we all need is not more entertainment but more open spaces. Especially the Open Space which has a bay happening all the time. It is enough.

Karen Anderson • TC

... Good idea
I live in Traverse City and vacation in Ft. Myers, Florida during the winter. The Cherry Festival and the Film Festival are great events but I agree 100% with Robert Downes‘ Random Thoughts that we are limiting ourselves with only two major events in the open space.
The Ft. Myers area has jazz festivals, shrimp festivals etc., in areas near water, but nothing like what Traverse City has to offer with the beauty of the bay.
Can you imagine a jazz festival or a classical music festival in the Open Space? It would be a enormous success! The artists would love to perform in this type of environment.
It is time for the Traverse City Commission to open their eyes to these possibilities and change the limiting festival policy for more diversity. It would increase revenue for TC, plus bring entertainment for the residents that‘s currently unavailable.

Chuck Shreve • TC

Good attitude
Right on with your piece on Doom & Gloom (re: Random Thoughts, 7/7).
1) Auto sales: business is rather good, just not for Detroit.
2) Unemployment: good point on boomers retiring, and I’m old enough to recall a debate between professors in college as to if we could ever get DOWN to 5% unemployment.
3) Dollar weakness: this may be turning, and you are right on other countries needing our markets.
4) Northern Michigan: on some manufacturing, we have problems, but on tech, health and others, we are doing well. A great place to live draws talent. “View of the Bay is one-third of your pay.”
This year the economy is exacerbated by an odd election situation. We had two Democratic candidates in a hotly contested primary vying to outdo the other in how bad the economy is, and on the Republican side, no incumbent or VP running on good news. McCain can also talk about how bad things are.
All offer to make you feel better. None have a stake in saying you’ve got it pretty good.
Keep the good attitude and good news coming.

J.T. Hoagland • Leelanau

Spread the news
I recently read your article entitled “Enough with the Doom & Gloom.” What an encouraging article! Thanks for a little good news.
I work for a real estate office in Boyne City - Pat O’Brien and Associates. We would like permission to use your article. We are doing a mailing detailing our perspective on the waterfront market in Charlevoix County. Your article is a good fit, and we would like to include it. There truly IS encouraging news out there. We also would like to put the article on our website. A couple of our associates also have websites of their own, and they would like to post the article. Our website, if you would like to see it, is www.patobrien.com.

Jane Booze • Boyne City

Middle class in trouble
In response to Robert Downes‘ column extolling the virtue of our national and state economy, all I can say is that apparently we live in two different worlds.
The world I live in indicates that the vast majority of new jobs will be in the service sector, paying little more than minimum wage, with no job security and little if any healthcare.
The world I live in indicates that healthcare and energy costs are destroying whatever is left of the middle class in this country. All indications are that only a tiny minority of this nation‘s population will benefit in the coming years. Those with highly specialized degrees in information technology and engineering will receive substantial compensation and benefits. The vast majority of people will not become nuclear engineers or chemists or become involved in the movie industry at any level.
Traverse City and northwestern Michigan generally are highly affluent areas. I don‘t believe they represent what is occurring economically either in this nation or this state. One might as well travel to Beverly Hills to get a glimpse of poverty. Come to Gaylord or Grayling or Alpena and you will see plenty of hardworking, intelligent, creative, and optimistic people who are still losing everything in this wonderful new age economy we live in.
Downes talks about “retiring boomers,“ but retirement as we know it is a thing of the past for most people. It‘s quite fasionable to talk about the poverty in the Third World, but we are witnessing the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class in this nation to global corporations whose only interest is in cheap labor.
The surface level economic activity we see in terms of strip malls and similar developments only represents a further fleecing of the middle class. Buying cheap foreign made goods with lower salaries only perpetuates the economic misery in this nation.
Rising foreclosure rates, rising bankruptcy filings, ever-escalating energy costs, airline travel soon to become prohibitively expensive in September, and we are supposed to be optimistic? Just throw on that old reggae tune: “Don‘t worry be happy”?
I think its time to worry and its time to be mad as heck about this whole scene. Sorry Bob, but things might be going gangbusters on the Gold Coast there. The rest of us here are hurting.
It‘s highly fashionable to talk about third world poverty, but there is an emerging poverty right in your own backyard. Give this nation five years and many of us will be riding our bikes to work, earning just enough money to get our meager bowl of rice. But we will still have our cellphones and Blackberries. This is true. It will make us feel like we are relevant.

Brian Morgan • Gaylord

Elephant abuse
I just finished watching the local news coverage of the National Cherry Festival and was struck deeply and nearly to tears by just a few seconds of footage that will remain forever lodged in my memory. Everyone filmed for this segment seemed to be having a wonderful time except for the gentle giant laboriously caring his burden of children around the festival grounds.
The elephant to whom I refer appeared to be one of the most unhealthy and poorly managed animals I have ever had the displeasure of seeing in captivity.
This one-time regal creature was broken, and degraded in every sense of the word. His ivory tusks, once proudly carried, I am sure, had been savagely hacked into blunt and mutilated remnants of his birthright. Scars around his ankles and legs bore testament to the “behind the scenes” method of chaining this intelligent mammal, in order to keep him docile and “safe.” There was nothing graceful or natural about his movements; each step appeared painful to the extent that it may be his last.
What possible reason could there be for hiring an “amusement vendor” who has no qualms about committing such atrocities against ANY creature, let alone one who is so innocent and undeserving? What possible reason could there be to even have an elephant at such a festival? Are elephants somehow integral in the nurture and harvest of the cherry crop?
My final question is: How can the organizers and promoters of this event justify bringing such a criminal element into a festival designed to celebrate wholesome American values and good earth industry (not to mention family values)?
Rest easy folks, and tell the kids that slavery isn’t such a bad thing; we have just found a better African race to pillage!

James Harris • Petoskey People for Pachyderm Freedom

Supreme outrage
It has always been my impression that the members of the Michigan Supreme Court were looking out for the common good--that their one constituency was the law. Little did I know that the upcoming campaign to elect judges is projected to cost $30 million dollars for one seat and that over 70% of the contributions will come from special interest groups.
How then is it possible for members of the Supreme Court to be impartial? I, for one, plan to pay attention this time to the upcoming Michigan Supreme Court elections. I also plan to do my best to let others know the importance of court reform.
Let’s not let money buy justice in Michigan.

Susan Wheadon • Cedar

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