Email letters, January 30, 2013

Members of meritocracy club will continue to limit admission

The headline on David Brooks’ column in Tuesday’s paper is ”Liberalism’s quest for equality is trumped by educational meritocracy.”

That is both true and false. I don’t know of any liberals personally, media pundits or anybody prominent in public life that seek equal distribution of outcomes. They do seek equal opportunities so a person can be competitive in the job market, but choose how he or she wants to live. There will always be differences in brainpower, ambition and other choices that result in different incomes.
Brooks’ suggestion that there is a meritocracy is partly true and partly questionable. His implication is that merit equates with wealth. Higher education, IQ, ambition and pure hard work are indeed meritorious.

Using that “merit,” however, to purposely take actions to limit the opportunity of others has no merit. It does imply that those fortunate enough to have the opportunities available to them should support measures to improve opportunity of others to join them in the rarefied air of privilege, if they choose to.

Instead of that, too many take the position of “I’ve got mine, and you’ll have to find a way yourself to join me. I’m not going to make it any easier for you. In fact, I’m going to take steps to block opportunity.”
Local education is primarily dependent on the local tax base. It is a self-perpetuating circle of mediocrity. Brooks makes a point of the opportunity advantages in economic high-income areas. Should we all move there?

He neglected to mention that there are low-income areas there, too, and guess what? Low income results in poor schools that limit opportunity. Until we have a national policy of putting the educational emphasis where it is most needed, the “meritocracy” can continue to limit the club membership.


JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

GOP may need to make room for ‘new kid in town’

GOP lawmakers will be facing an uphill re-election battle. I, the long-time member of the “base,” am disgusted, and here’s why. The GOP seems so worried about being liked by Democrats that it’s compromising with them on almost everything.

We didn’t elect and send them to Washington to win a popularity contest. If they believe compromise will make Democrats like them, then they’ve been taking TV reports too seriously. I was always told even a smiling fox will kill the chickens.

More and more of us are turning to an emerging third party, the new kid in town, in spite of the “good ol’ boy” coalitions the GOP has had for years. We can’t understand what’s so hard about showing some backbone and voting “no” on liberal crap.

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There’s nothing wrong with being seen as partisan. Politics is partisan. So, “deadlock” Congress. A deadlocked Congress is better than what we’ve got now.

The media say the GOP is divided, and if things go on the way they are, maybe they’re right. We expect the mainstream media to tell us we’re in trouble, because they’re biased, but now, even conservative pundits are saying it.

So, it’s time for the GOP to fish or cut bait. If not, maybe the new kid in town can do a better job. It sure can’t do worse.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

If schools cannot have guns, eliminate security in government buildings

So, the Colorado Senate panel rejects the bill to allow teachers and other employees to have guns on school grounds, preserving our “gun-free zones”... except that they are not gun-free when such tragedies as Newtown and Columbine occur.

Instead, Senate President John Morse suggests a “culture change” when it comes to gun violence. Indeed, Morse! Why can’t we all just get along? 

Meanwhile, evidence be damned, our children remain unprotected in the liberal fantasy world of “gun-free zones” while armed security watches over government buildings and courtroom proceedings. I have an idea: Let government remove all security personnel attached to any and all statewide governing assemblies and courtrooms, and subsidize their employment in neighboring schools. If the politicians want to continue their experiment with “gun-free zones,” let it be at their risk, not the children’s.

As for women on the front lines of ground combat, why are we having this discussion?  Sure, Angelina Jolie and her female action stars toss burly, macho crooks around like rag dolls, and I’ve heard that the next Expendables film will feature a female cast, but why must we celebrate women as finally achieving the “expendables” status in real life front-line combat? 

One retired female Air Force commanding officer recently stated, “People have finally come to the sensible conclusion that you can’t say a woman’s life is more valuable than a man’s.”  Yeah, we’re all created equal in God’s eyes, but somehow, that doesn’t translate into my hiding behind my wife, expecting her to deal with the intruder who just broke into our home.

Besides, women were, for centuries, considered little more than chattel. Even now, the daily news is rife with accounts of women being raped, beaten, intimidated, underpaid, under-appreciated, overworked, and generally pressured in our pornified society to present themselves, above and beyond all else, as sex objects. Seems to me no society has really gone overboard considering a woman’s life more valuable than a man’s!  What planet is this female officer from?
   
The gulf between common sense and nonsense was clearly illustrated in the recent Daily Sentinel columns by Gail Collins and Kathleen Parker. Collins gushes over the opportunity for women to engage in front-line combat. Parker acknowledges the foolishness and the dangers—not only for women, but also for combat units—of such a prospect. Still, the cancer of political, social and gender correctness seems to metastasize by the moment.

In a recent news release, some Pentagon officials claim that, with many women already being wounded or dying while serving in the armed forces, “it is clear that gender discrimination no longer makes sense.”  What really makes no sense is that this is considered an issue of “gender discrimination.” 

It is not. It is a biological issue, one of physical makeup. It’s why there are men’s Final Fours and women’s Final Fours, and both are thrilling and competitive. It’s why no women are wearing pads and helmets on Super Bowl Sunday.

Yet, we are to expect fit, well-trained female soldiers to engage fit, well-trained male enemy soldiers in the game (not!) of war?  Further, the ol’ adage, “war is hell” will take on a new meaning for women captured in combat.

I’m sorry. I’m an ol’ southern fella who still opens doors for ladies. I’ve never yet had one so insecure in her womanhood as to consider my gesture an insult, at least not overtly. And, I still believe that, in a dire situation where harm is imminent and choices are necessary, I should consider a woman’s life — certainly, my wife’s —as more valuable than mine. What man should expect less of himself? 

As for this gender discrimination issue, why is the talk always of women becoming equal to men?  Who imagines that’s always a step up?  Real progress would be the acceptance, and celebration of the inherent —and glorious and good —differences between men and women that enrich life and love, home and community.

Front lines? There are no front lines more challenging than that of being mothers and fathers of children whose vulnerable souls, minds and bodies are being constantly lured and/or assaulted by the profaneness and shallowness of our age. That’s where the real battle for our society is already engaged, and the real enemy is our own pop culture revision of life’s priorities that place faith, marriage, home and family a few notches below instant gratification, personal entitlement, smart phones and tickets to the next hip-hop concert.
My wife doesn’t seem to mind that I’m physically stronger than she. After all, why should she win all the categories?  She’s tops in skiing, and she has scaled the near 500-foot vertical cliff of Independence Monument. Me, I couldn’t handle the exposure of the first 20 feet. She’s kayaked river rapids I wouldn’t run in the Queen Mary.

Before we met, she had already raised two lovely, successful daughters during years that I was floundering around in life like a beached porpoise. I won’t begin to count the ways she’s stronger than I.

But let’s not continue this nonsense that there was ever a time when she, or any woman, should count it as progress when she has been deployed to face a vicious male enemy force in face-to-face combat.

BILL FORBES
Whitewater

Spehar converts opponent— well, at least on one issue

It has happened. There is a sheet of ice over Hell: I have agreed completely with one of Jim Spehar’s columns — that of Jan. 29.

I am sorely disappointed in our three county commissioners and suspicious of the two new members. If interested, I will tell them why, if I am asked. But they may not care, as I am not a “real” Republican.

CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

Design for Avalon’s addition degrades building’s character

I am rather appalled every time I see the exterior view of the proposed Avalon Theatre addition.

I thought the number one priority of an architect when adding on to an attractive historic building was to replicate the materials and lines of the existing structure. The elaborate brickwork and vaulted windows of the Avalon are what gives it such a spectacular character.

Wasn’t this what prompted everyone to desire an addition instead of tearing down the structure and putting up a contemporary style building? The Avalon Foundation, city officials and the architect need to revisit this design.

If not, I hope our community never gets a tour showing of original masters Renaissance art, and the local officials change out all the frames to shiny aluminum.


JOEL PRUDHOMME
Grand Junction

Gessler wrong about citizenship issue, right about fraud via electronic hacking

Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler apparently commenced his 2014 gubernatorial campaign with a taxpayer-funded “election-integrity listening tour” of the Western Slope (Gary Harmon, “Gessler predicts uniform voting process,” Jan. 29), even while Republican legislators were blocking an audit of his alleged misuse of discretionary funds for personal travel to the Republican National Convention last August.


Gessler, however, is to be commended for expressly dispelling familiar “conservative” mythology about the prevalence of widespread “voter fraud” and thus the need for “picture IDs.”


In March 2011 Gessler claimed to have a list of 11,805 “questionable registrations,” but (ala the infamous Sen. Joe McCarthy – also a Republican) never produced that list. Gessler then sent letters to 3,903 registered voters suspected of being non-citizens, of whom 441 were “non-citizens,” according to a questionably accurate federal database.


As Gessler perhaps inadvertently admitted yesterday, many suspect registrants filled out voter registration forms — apparently unaware that they could not legally vote — but checked the “citizen” box “no.” Thus, these insidious (and perhaps Democratic-leaning) registrants honestly disclosed their citizenship status, but were entered into Colorado’s statewide registration and election system anyway. No case of actual “voter fraud” by a noncitizen illegally attempting to vote was ever reported.


Meanwhile, Gessler’s expensive, well-publicized, but obviously dubious and apparently partisan “anti-fraud” initiatives (self-described as “forward leaning”) — including his 2012 order prohibiting county clerks from sending out mail-in ballots to “inactive voters” (including overseas military personnel) — have been repeatedly rejected by Colorado courts. (See, for example, “Judge blocks Gessler’s ballot rules,” Jan. 23.)


To Gessler’s credit, however, he also affirmed what experts at the University of Michigan have proven: All electronic voting equipment in use today is vulnerable to hacking and/or manipulation (as was anecdotally confirmed by several local attendees). That is why Gessler foresees a continuing trend toward increased reliance on paper ballots.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

When does federal clout over states lead to facism?

Your editorial on Friday, Jan. 25 supporting civil unions is commendable, and should be; however, deferring to a national caste system protecting untouchable homosexuals should not.

Colorado law (Colorado Revised Statutes) already protects homosexuals from all walks of life, including a caveat of “hate crimes,” a government tactic, by the way, to brainwash.

The U.S. Constitution does not declare freedom to anyone. It prohibits our federal government from taking away the freedom we already have. An open question remains: How close are we to fascism when we are told that federal law dominates over state law?

HAROLD V. BLACKMAN

Montrose



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