Letters for May 8, 2003

Flagging symbolism
Fascist governments are particularly keen on showing their citizenry’s patriotism and support by blanketing their lands with their government flags, insignias, statues and other memorabilia. In times of military conquests the fascist government’s flag display increases to a frenzied pitch (à la World War II Germany).

It sends a chill down my spine to hear a leader of our Chico community and some of its vocal citizens insisting that it is not patriotic enough for my city to fly a U.S. flag and a “POW/MIA” flag to support the troops at the city office building. No. These people insist that to be properly patriotic the city leaders all must agree to fly U.S. flags up and down city streets for an indefinite period of time. Do you see the writing on the wall?

Let us not repeat our shameful history again with this foolishness (à la McCarthyism). I think all sane people, in this country and throughout the world, dream of world peace. If we need to fly a flag to collectively express our sentiments, why not a world peace flag?

Evanne O’Donnell

Politics vs. patriotism
It seems to me that in the passions of war many of us have forgotten the difference between politics and patriotism. Politics is simply the way we operate our government—a proper subject of ongoing, lively discussion. There is a stereotype in some parts of the world that Americans can find an argument in anything. I believe that is the result of over 200 years of practicing our First Amendment right of free speech. In essence, we have a license to argue, and we do it well.

Patriotism is entirely different. This is a person’s love and devotion to his or her country. My personal opinion is that people on opposing sides of political issues can all be ardent patriots, acting on what they perceive is best for the country they all love.

There is so much more to patriotism! Obviously, the first question, if you are over 18 years old, is, are you registered to vote? Do you carry it out and actually vote? You can serve as an election officer, one of those hundreds of people required to make it possible for others to vote.

It goes far, far beyond that, and you don’t have to wait until you are 18 years old. When you picnic or go fishing, carry a big trash bag and haul out the garbage that’s there when you arrive. Observe existing laws and regulations so law enforcement personnel can spend their time on real crimes. Drive a little slower even if you can afford the gas; just a couple of miles per hour will help kept the air cleaner and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Bring jobs home to America by purchasing items “Made in America,” even if they’re a little more expensive.

I think that by now you get my train of thought. Almost any thoughtful action based on love for our U.S. of A. is patriotic. Personally, I think voting is the greatest thing you can do for our country, because we cannot have a government “of, by and for” the people if the people do not participate.

Penninah R. Sartain

Gay politics
I was a gay man, now merely happy, lamenting the loss of “gay old times” in the town of Bedrock, and at Christmas (oops, “winter holiday"—p.c. police) the opportunity to “don our gay apparel.”

Kudos to Josh Indar ["Stonewall gains funds, acceptance,” Newslines, April 24] for attempting an alternate acronym—GLBT (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender). I could hang with “gilbits” (vowels added for flavor) or even “yags” ("gay"s backwards). But as long as “hetero” is still p.c., what’s so wrong with “homo"? Alas, in his article Josh uses “GLBT” and “homosexual” but once and “gay” six times.

Who’s being discriminated against here? Before the hostile takeover, “gay” was simply the finest word in the language. Parents named their children in hopes they would live up to it. I had a friend, Gay, who had to pay money to have her name changed, like removing an old gang tattoo.

And Stonewall gets a $49,500 grant? I belong to a club with, like Stonewall, a 1,000-member mailing list, but we don’t even have the money to do the mailing. $49,500 for “…counseling and support.” Heterosexuals? I have to look in the back pages of News & Review and pay $1.99 per minute. And have you heard the joke about the feminists? It’s not funny.

Roland McNutt

Future fuel
Thanks so much for the article on hydrogen fuel [“Hydrogen now,” cover story, May 1]. Ever since I heard about the 100 mpg “percolator” carburetor invented back in the 1930s, I have been intrigued by the subject of fuel politics. CN&R has featured in previous articles that our beloved automobiles will run on many alternative fuels, including modified cooking oil, ethanol and various forms of gaseous fuels.

I like the idea of an onboard hydrogen converter; I would happily drive around with a tank full of water and a small, on-demand electrolysis canister to split the H2O back into its components—hydrogen and oxygen. This device is no more complicated than a battery, and the automotive industry has already been nice enough to provide us with some pretty good alternators to power it.

I suspect that one of our local hot-rodders could construct a water car in less than a year. Do we really want to remain dependent on Big Oil when it flicks a switch and becomes “Big Fuel Cell” or whatever the next proprietary fuel technology becomes?

Paul Hood
Received via e-mail

Limbo land
Seven elementary classrooms from Chico Unified School District and 100 adults participated in the Bidwell Ranch Wildflower Tours held in March and April this year. Encouraged by the mild winter and late spring rains, the wild flowers were spectacular. Fry pan poppies, tidytips, yellow carpet and brodiaeas were among the numerous flowers on the property.

The Stop Bidwell Ranch Group along with Yahi Group/Sierra Club and Butte Environmental Council are continuing their efforts to preserve this special property. These groups are calling on the city council to permanently preserve this property and make it part of Bidwell Park so that children and adults may continue to enjoy the spectacular vernal pools, swales and wild flower grasslands for years to come.

Although the city owns the property, it is still zoned for development. For six years this property has been in limbo. It is time to add this land to Bidwell Park. If you would like to help preserve this piece of open-space, call 345-7205.

Betty Volker