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Letters

- September 13th, 2010
Thoughts on 9/11
9/11/01 was a crime, not an act of war. People conspired to inflict
extensive destruction on other people and property. It should have
been handled as a crime, just as the Oklahoma bombing was, or as the
previous bombings of the World Trade Center were. We have an
extensive crime investigation structure. Yet, within hours, the
plutocracy was calling for revenge and war.
Afghanistan, a country with heavy US involvement, was invaded. Iraq,
another country with heavy US involvement, was invaded. An “axis of
evil” was promoted.
Torture was promoted. A perpetual war against anything the plutocracy
declared as contrary to “American interests” was instituted. And death
and destruction grew geometrically.
I’m a military veteran (Army, infantry, Vietnam). I read the booklet
“War is a Racket” by two-time Medal of Honor recipient Marine Major
General Smedley Butler and I agree. War is an excellent business. Tax
dollars flow into this business with little debate and with little
oversight. The tools of war are the number one export product of the
U.S.
On 9/11 think about how this country and the world would be if the
plutocracy had followed the rules of law vs. the rules of revenge.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

The only path...
Religions are the cause of much conflict. Here’s how it works:
I have this oak tree in my back yard which I worship because that’s
where the god Odin resides. Unfortunately, my neighbor doesn’t believe
in my worship of the god Odin. Now I have a problem: my faith is
rejected by others, which insults my sincerity and causes me great
anxiety. What if in my worship of Odin I am WRONG? Well I don’t want
to admit that I could be wrong, so I shall either convert my neighbor
to Odin worship or kill him.
We Odin worshippers know that our religion is the only way, the only
path to salvation and that anyone who doesn’t worship as we do is
doomed to hell and damnation. So we knock on doors to sell our belief.
Failing that, we go to war. If the unbelievers are all dead, then we
were right in our faith.
This is what happens if your religion claims to be the one and only
true path to Heaven, Valhalla, or Paradise. Some Christians believe
that only through belief in
Jesus Christ can one achieve everlasting life in heaven. Ah, but
Moslems believe that only through Islam can one reach paradise. Both
major religions have been bent on world-wide conversion. Columbus came
to the New World for riches and to convert the native peoples to
Catholicism -- or else.
In Biblical days when a nation was conquered, the winning army went
around destroying all the idols of local gods. The idol worshippers
then had to worship the new, imported god, or fall to the sword.
The Jews had a clever solution to that: their God was invisible. No
idols to smash. Instead, they had their holy book, the Hebrew
Scriptures. They also didn’t care who or what you worshipped, as long
as you left them alone. They did not try to convert everybody to
Judaism.
This didn’t help the Jews much, because the Christians reasoned that
if you weren’t for Jesus you were for Satan. Hence the Jews must have
horns and cloven feet like the devil. There are people in Northern
Michigan who still believe that.
No wonder we have wars. Currently the clash of cultures is between
Islam and Christianity. Each claims theirs is the only way.
I don’t care how or who my neighbor worships, just so he doesn’t chop
down my oak tree.

Harley Sachs • Houghton, MI

A nation for all
This is in response to Bob Jones’ August 30 letter, “No to the
Mosque.” I was saddened that the letter was even printed.
It’s appropriate that the foundation for his views on Islam has been
laid by “people close to him” that used to live by Muslims. Sounds
credible. It’s not wise to derive one’s beliefs anecdotally, but to
perpetuate said beliefs in print is irresponsible. Based on his
well-researched, empirical evidence, Jones goes on to purport that
moderate
Muslims are dangerous because they accept extremism (which is
oxymoronic), they reject non-Muslims, and reject our customs/ laws
(who is the collective “they” and “our” he’s referring to?), etc.
Unfortunately, for too many Americans, non-Christians and often
non-whites are the “Theys.” while, clearly, white Christians are the
“Us’s.” Jones says that Muslims reject our customs and laws. Well, I
have news for you, this isn’t a Christian nation. It isn’t a white
nation. The collective “our” he mentions rightly includes Muslim
Americans.
America is a teeming nation of nations and has been since those
friendly white Christians of ole’ invited a bunch of Africans on a
boat ride to Charleston Bay to harvest their tobacco and cotton and
birth an economic superpower. This is a country made up of the world’s
people, the world’s customs, and the world’s colors, and that is a big
part of what has made this country great.
A son of Algerian immigrants living in Dearborn is factually and
fortunately no less American than a son of Irish immigrants living in
Leelanau County. In short, all of us are “Us.” The world would be a
better place if we acted like it.

Taylor Nash • TC

Practice respect
Bob Jones suggests Stephen Tuttle “go to Dearborn and live there for a
week or so before he makes statements about Muslims and why he thinks
the mosque should be built at the proposed site.” I have a suggestion
for Jones. Perhaps he would be happy living in a country where there
is only one religion allowed, since it’s what he seems to want for
America. Saudi Arabia would be a good choice.
He says the issue is not rights or freedom of religion, but “American
pride and integrity and respect for our country and those who died
there.” I have this to say: First, it’s very easy to deny a minority
group their rights when you start by saying the issue isn’t about
rights. Convenient. And freedom of religion has to work for every
religion or it’s worthless. Do we really have to explain this? It
doesn’t count when you get to pick and choose.
If the practitioners of any religion break the law, you address that
crime like any other crime—arrest, prosecute, whatever needs to be
done. You won’t prevent crimes by preventing religions. Last, respect
works both ways. The writer makes very clear the fact that he has no
respect for anyone different than himself. Why should anyone respect
him or his opinion about the Park 51 Community Center?
America, it’s time to practice what we preach. The Constitution
matters or it doesn’t. We’re a country of laws or we’re not. We have
these rights or we don’t. It doesn’t work if only some of us count.

M. Brown • Leland

Open door
To Bob Pritele and others (re: “Nasty Attack,” Letters, 9/6. Please
don’t allow ONE person’s opinion dictate the pleasure of Leelanau
County and the Sleeping Bear Dunes beauty. Not all of use feel the
same way he does! You and your family are always welcome here.

Brian Hodge • Empire

A challenge
In his letter, Bob Jones talks about Dearborn and challenges Mr
Tuttle to go and live there for a week or so before making his
statements. I challenge Mr. Jones with the same challenge. He has not
spent time living among Muslims. I have.
Recently I relocated to Northern
Michigan from Dearborn. Living in East Dearborn, right in the middle
of the Muslim community was a wonderful and enlightening experience. I
found the most gentle, friendly, peaceful and happy people living
there. Muslims moved into an area in Metro Detroit that was in
decline, destined to be like Detroit -- filled with abandoned homes
and businesses. They bought homes and fixed them up and improved the
area. Businesses were opened and a mosque was built and a Muslim
museum was opened.
The Muslim people I met and grew to know well in Dearborn would never
have written a hateful article. They would speak from their hearts,
not from hate. Hate is a bad thing and makes people ugly.

Barry Manther • Cadillac

Cheers for McDowell
Gary McDowell, candidate for U.S. Congress, believes it is wrong to
bail out banks when tax cuts need to go to middle class families. As a
small businessman, raised on a farm, Gary knows the concerns of our
Northern Michigan citizens. Congress needs to keep taxes low and stop
rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas. Creating jobs for our
area and protecting our Great Lakes are his priorities.
Gary has served his community for years as a volunteer with numerous
organizations and he is who we need to represent the interests of
Northern Michigan residents. Vote McDowell for U.S. Congress.

Lou Ann McKimmy • via email

Support for Scripps
Dan Scripps has been our 101st Michigan House Representative for the
past two years. He has represented Mason, Manistee, Benzie and
Leelanau counties. Dan has focused on job creation and legislation
that would bring additional employment to Michigan and our district.
Scripp’s supports the elimination of the Business Tax Surcharge. He
has lead the charge to make Michigan a global center for renewable
energy manufacturing and innovation; including a leader in advanced
battery technology.
Dan has been frustrated by the number of Michigan House bills that
have been blocked or stalled in the Republican-controlled Michigan
Senate i.e.:
(1) funding for Michigan tourism promotion;
(2) stopping insurance companies from jacking up prices on the sick;
(3) reforming measures that give lifetime healthcare for law makers
after only six years of service;
(4) Michigan First legislation that would require companies getting
tax breaks to hire Michigan workers;
(5) Increasing transparency and accountability in auto insurance rates;
(6) protecting seniors from financial abuse and exploitation;
(7) prohibiting foreign money from influencing Michigan elections and
increasing transparency in election spending by corporations;
(8) and eliminate the requirement that laid-off workers have to choose
between unemployment benefits and worker retraining programs.
It would appear that Republican obstruction to legislation is not
just in Washington.
Dan has been endorsed by business leaders, professional fire
fighters, the County Road Association, Michigan Regional Council of
Carpenters and Millwrights, Michigan Township Association, Michigan
Teamsters Joint Council, Police Officers Association, UAW, Fraternal
Order of Police and the Michigan Credit Union League. You will be in
good company when you support Dan Scripps.
Make a point to attend one of Dan’s monthly updates in your area;
see his web site at dan@danscripps.com for times and dates.

M. Carroll Volpe • Honor

 
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