Wake Up and Smell the Racism, Danehy!I was a little taken aback by Tom Danehy's opinion piece, "Post-Hurricane Katrina Questions About Liberals" (Sept. 22). I liked his opening, calling the Republicans the "Stepford Party." I also enjoyed his wonderment at people living where hurricanes come ashore.
However, when he states, "while a lot of poor people are black, you can't make that leap," he ignores the connection between racism and poverty.
He implies that one black family made a bunch of mistakes to end up at the Astrodome. Undoubtedly, the only "mistake" these people ever made was surviving slavery and living in a racist county.
The link between poverty and racism is based on the fact that minorities are often unable to secure steady employment, being that they have no way to get to work. New Orleans showed America tens of thousands of people who didn't even own a car. I guess that's anti-American, to not own a car, that is.
The questions about Bush's, and apparently the Republican Party's, response to Katrina remain numerous. Does any American deserve to die of dehydration? Do any Americans deserve to be left to fend for themselves during a disaster? Do we have to put up with a racist political party, wherein cabinet members are segregationists? Importantly, do we have to put up with another opinion piece about how blacks are lazy and stupid? I wonder.
Climbing Out of Poverty Isn't EasyI was shocked to read Tom Danehy's comments regarding poverty in the United States.
While I understand his point, I think that it is unjust to assume that people can work their way out of poverty simply by being smarter about it. I don't know if Danehy's spent any real time in poor communities in this country, or in any other, but I grew up in the midst of rural white and Native American poverty.
One thing that we should remember when judging poor people is that their social milieu is not what you would find among wealthy suburbanites. For example, many people grow up in families where alcoholism has been prevalent for many generations, or where improper health care and nutrition can result in both mental and physical handicaps. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for children to be unable to finish high school, because they must help out with a sick parent or look after siblings. I was lucky to have had a strong family network and well-educated, if poor, parents who protected me from the darker side of poverty as best they could. Many of my friends have not been as lucky.
Danehy's opinion that poor people can easily better their lives is an argument that I have heard over and over again from educated, financially stable members of society. However, among "liberals" in North America, this rarely encompasses urban minorities or members of "Third World" countries. Perhaps this is where being PC becomes a handicap--when it negates the struggles of people who fall outside the liberal conceptions of who can help their poverty and who cannot.
It's Good Spoiled Suburbanites Stayed Away From TCCTom Danehy's closing comments in his column, and his wife's decision not to bring a National Honor Society group to the Tucson Convention Center, were poorly considered.
God forbid Danehy should know what it is like to be the only black face in a store full of white people (or Asian or Hispanic people, for that matter). If you take several hundred blacks from a city that is 67 percent black, put them on a bus and evacuate them to a city they've either never heard of or a city they fear (irrationally, perhaps, but fear nevertheless) is a redneck enclave of gun-toting cowboys, well, it wouldn't hurt for them to be greeted by friendly black faces.
When I moved to Tucson five years ago and settled, initially, in the West University area, I joked to my wife that there were only three blacks in Tucson, because in that part of town (and others), you never see black faces. Danehy and his wife's ludicrous attitudes--which were not, by the way, based on any suggestion by church leaders or others that non-blacks would not be welcome at the TCC--makes them sound like spoiled suburbanites who expect to get their asses kissed, not compassionate Tucsonans who really want to help. Better that they stayed away in that case.
Since We're Running This Letter, We Must Have a Mental DisorderFrom time to time, I read the Tucson Weekly while enjoying a sandwich at some eatery that distributes it. Each issue I read is the same. There is nothing but hatred, vitriol, irrationality, small-mindedness, ignorance of reality, illogic and simple basic cognitive dissonance oozing from every page of every issue. A cursory read of any edition of the Weekly is convincing proof that liberalism is a mental disorder. And Tom Danehy is certainly one of the prime examples of that mental disorder. Until the Sept. 22 issue.
Instead of his typical irrational, emotional and disconnected rants unfit for anyone older than the age of 4, Danehy was thoughtful, rational and in command of reality. To read Danehy defend President Bush against charges of racism is certainly a first and completely unexpected. To even bring up the question of not rebuilding New Orleans is very un-PC, which is unlike Tom and demonstrates a basic grounding in reality. Tom's pointing out the overt racism exhibited by the local media when they wanted to have a bunch of black folks greet the people arriving from New Orleans is also extremely un-PC and uncharacteristic of the typical racist leftist. But the topper was for Tom to even bring up the concept of personal responsibility. I never thought I would live to see the day when any leftist, anywhere, would ever mention personal responsibility.
Hell really has frozen over, right here in Tucson!
I Thought I Said More...I feel compelled to make comments regarding Renee Downing's recent article "Prepping for the Dalai Lama" (Sept. 15). Ms. Downing interviewed me by telephone, and I made every attempt at being clear in my responses. When Ms. Downing asked me to comment on the Dalai Lama's well-known (and well-worn) response to a question regarding homosexuality, I likewise responded. The distillation of a much longer comment is now fixed in print.
I am disappointed that rather than clarifying the issue, it is, for many, inflammatory. I feel that I provided enough information regarding the Dalai Lama's response and the context in which these questions of him are asked. I then further attempted to provide some insight into his lack of prejudice in these matters to have allowed a better-crafted paragraph on this topic. My hope was that rather than defending the Dalai Lama or judging his statements, a kind of clarity of understanding would result. I cannot say at this point if the failure was mine or Ms. Downing's, or the editorial staff of the Tucson Weekly's; in any case, the result in print does not clarify. It inflames.
I feel the need to categorically state that I have neither personal bias nor prejudicial judgment regarding homosexuality. Loving relationships between same-sex partners are as beautiful and fulfilling as any relationship and deserve the same recognition accorded to traditional hetero-partnering. Of greater concern is how partners treat each other rather than their sexual preferences.
That certain Buddhist scriptures define unwholesome sexual acts is well-known, but given they are inclusive of such heterosexual activities as oral sex, anal sex, sex with the partner of another and so forth, who among us--gay, lesbian or hetero--is pure in this regard? Certainly not me. The important question we must reflect upon regarding our activities comes down to this: Are we harming ourselves or others?
The Weekly stands behind the story.
A Call for Tribal Languages to be Chosen Over SpanishI am writing in response to Catherine O'Sullivan's piece about Arizona, California and New Mexico being originally part of Mexico (Guest Commentary, Sept. 22).
While I agree with O'Sullivan to a certain extent, I would modestly propose something a little more radical. Before this land "belonged" to Mexico, the residents were primarily tribal. O'Sullivan points out that the United States stole this land from the Mexicans. I would like to point out that before that, Mexicans and Spaniards stole it from the many tribes that lived here for thousands of years. So perhaps the official language should be tribal, including but not limited to Apache, Tohono O'Odham, Yaqui, Mayo, Hopi and all other tribes who inhabited this land before us. However, I do congratulate Catherine O'Sullivan for sticking it to the ethnocentrists. Way to nudge their high horse!
Heather M. Lorenz
Another Call for Tribal Languages to be Chosen (Sort Of)Catherine O'Sullivan's column demonstrates how often political correctness results from ignorance. She implies that Mexico's internal conflict and lack of supplies was the cause of U.S. military victory over Mexico.
The real cause of the American victory was General Santa Anna's incompetence. He underestimated the Americans at every turn, failed to deploy troops properly and failed to recognize opportunities to do battle on favorable terms. That allowed only 10,000 U.S. soldiers to capture Mexico with minimal casualties.
O'Sullivan says the United States "could have purchased these territories." The U.S. government had been trying for years to purchase northern Mexico without success. Mexico, full of pride and little understanding of American seriousness, refused.
The author concludes that the Southwestern United States still really belongs to Mexico; therefore, we ought to learn Spanish. If one looks at world history, the past is full of examples of territory changing hands without legal or moral justification.
By O'Sullivan's logic, Mexico should be given back to the Aztecs, and the Spanish language should be replaced with Náhuatl. The Aztecs had no claim north of the Rio Grande.
As for learning Spanish, has she seen Mexico? It is one of the most poorly governed and corrupt countries in the world. Mexicans cross the U.S. border illegally because their government has failed them. The Mexican culture of governmental incompetence is borne on the Spanish language. I'll stick with English, thanks.
The Fourth Avenue Street Fair Is Already Junky, CheapI wish to respond to John Sedwick, executive director of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, who said, regarding vendors on private property, "It cheapens the ambience of the fair" ("Hidden Meanings," Currents, Sept. 8).
The fair, before it became a bloated behemoth extending well north of Sixth Street, used to be amusing to navigate. I would think that it would be difficult to cheapen a fair that features multiple vendors of pottery, photography, jewelry etc. Cookie-cutter, sub-average crafts are the norm at the fair. Now, in order to find something halfway original, one needs to look at the offsite vendors, who feature hand-wound jewelry, batik, tie-dye clothing and didgeridoos.
It's also difficult to see the offsite vendors cheapening the junky "ambience" of the beer-by-the-plastic-glass vendors, and the Polish sausage food vendors.
I remind Sedwick and the City Council that the fair was begun in 1970 by the hippies, for the hippies. Now, it's big business; the fix is in, and the hippies are the very people that the council is legislating out of sight. I hope that the City Council rescinds or modifies this ill-conceived ordinance. And that John Sedwick gets a sense of the history and remembers that 15 identical pottery vendors in no way constitute "tone."
Arm Everyone to Stop Crime!Ms. Tuttle is against teaching people how to handle guns; apparently she prefers the present system where kids with no training in how to handle guns shoot at random, hitting innocent people (Sept. 1). We could do the same thing with automobiles--a 9-year-old could drive and hit all sorts of people. She might be interested in knowing that in Switzerland, every man has a government-issued rifle and ammunition. There are regular exercises where every man must know how to care for and use the weapon. Woman can join in if they wish to, but they are not required. I might note that the violent crime rate in Switzerland is the lowest in Europe.
Stuart A. Hoenig