Letters for March 10, 2005

Soulless rich boy
I am writing in response to the essay, “A Bush hater Finds Salvation” [March 3]. Initially, I read the essay expecting to find some half-wit desperately trying to convince me that Bush is a better man than he actually is.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the sarcastic nature of the essay and found Jaime O’Neil to be a most excellent writer. I especially liked the quote (the one that was enlarged and put center page) where Bush talks a lot and doesn’t say a damn thing about anything relating to anything he began talking about.

In a media that seems largely unwilling to put an “idiot” in his place, I heartily congratulate CN&R for publishing such a well-crafted voice about what drives us mad—a soulless rich boy with no apologies and no sense of integrity. Thanks for the closer look.

Mike Dent

The Invisible Man
In Chico, the only honest municipal memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. would be—none at all: Let absence speak truth.

Stephen T. Davis

Who speaks for pacifism?
To pacify means to make to make calm, an action taken to defuse violent circumstances. You’re a pacifist when you break up a schoolyard fight or walk away from an escalating argument or refuse to raise your voice in a threatening way. Pacifism opposes war or violence as a means of resolving disputes.

When detractors confront the pacifist with a hypothetical extreme like, “Would you kill to prevent your child from being murdered?” they’ve already missed the point. And when the pacifist is forced to concede that he probably would kill to save his child, his detractors assume they’ve exposed his pacifism as fraudulent. But pacifism isn’t a theory reserved for drastic circumstances; it’s a way of living.

When violence erupts, the calm is already broken, so the pacifist devotes his life to preventing violence before it occurs. A disheartening anomaly for the American pacifist to witness is the near complete failure of religion to question this nation’s reliance on militarism, weaponry and war. How have Christians so readily forgotten the pacifism of Jesus who, like Socrates before him, refused to defend himself by flight or force and bore instead the morning cross up Calvary to be nailed to it in the afternoon, and who in his agony forgave his executioners—"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."—and who taught us all to love our enemies?

Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam all have deep strains of pacifism in their traditions. Who today speaks for this ancient wisdom?

Lin Jensen

Praise the messenger
I want to thank you for your heartening story about the real possibility of the removal of the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Yosemite National Park ["The lost valley,” Feb. 24]. I frequently share news and views with friends from Alaska to North Carolina. These days, with Bush Inc. and the Republicans running so much of the show, much of that news is exceedingly bleak. I was thrilled to be able to share some uplifting news with my network thanks to the Chico News & Review.

Bruce Amsbary

Mutual respect park
I don’t mean to ridicule Robin Clark’s suggestion to name the 20th Street Park after her nephew who was killed in Iraq [“Clark Park?” Letters, Feb. 24]. From the suggestions of names for the park, I gather that Chicoans want to honor a fallen hero by naming the park after him. It seems to me that there is room for a compromise so rational and inclusive that probably nobody will agree to it.

My suggestion is to name the park “Senseless Sacrifice Memorial Park of Chico,” or something along those lines. This will allow everybody to honor their own martyrs, in their own way, in a fashion that acknowledges and respects that all of our heroes leave us before we are ready to see them go.

No religion. No politics. No war. No arguing about the value of the dead. Can Chico handle mutual respect?

Jeff Woodhead

Social truths
As President George W. Bush has been traveling around the country to promote his plan to privatize Social Security, he has told America that there is an imminent crisis in funding for Social Security. The American public should not be fooled. Privatization is a benefit cut in disguise and weakens the program, making its financial problems worse, not better.

Privatization is the crisis; it would balloon an already huge deficit and increases the debt future generations will have to pay by trillions of dollars.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Social Security is more than just a retirement program. It is a comprehensive life and disability insurance program as well. When someone retires or becomes disabled, or in the event of a death, families receive desperately needed monthly benefits. Privatization ignores the need for disability and survivor benefits and replaces lifetime guaranteed benefits with a private account containing a finite amount of money. For women, who tend to live longer than men, this means we could literally outlive our benefits. Further, the value of such accounts would fluctuate at the whim of the stock market. Anyone having the misfortune of retiring during a bear market would be out of luck.

As a woman, I join with the American Association of University Women in opposing privatizing Social Security. I know that Social Security is of particular importance to women. I also know that privatization is nothing but bad news for women.

The American public should make it clear to our president and our members of Congress that we’re not willing to gamble our guaranteed, inflation-protected benefits on an ill-conceived privatization plan. American workers and their families deserve better.

Lucinda De Young

Goin’ solar
On Thursday, March 10, the Northstate Renewable Energy Group, of which I’m a member, will be hosting the first-ever solar power conference at Sierra Nevada Brewery. The conference will highlight local solar projects, and I will be giving a layman’s presentation on how homeowners locally can benefit from and apply this technology, plus how it can be financed, state rebate programs, and the increased home equity it affords.

It’s open to the public, and details and signup forms are at www.nsrenergy.org,or you can signup by calling Terry Battle at 898-4898. There will be seminars and exhibits, plus a luncheon.

I encourage everyone interested in making solar power a personal reality to attend.

Anthony Watts