Printed Letters: September 26, 2017

NFL schedule included displays of disrespect

Sunday, Sept. 24 was National Gold Star Mother’s Day. As to be expected, little or no mention was made in the media across our nation. For those 90 percent of Americans who don’t know about this day, it honors those families who have lost a loved on active military duty.

We are one of those families, having lost our daughter Sgt. Brooke Caffrey, USAF after 17 years of service and four deployments. Sadly, we are not alone on the Western Slope and the number grows each year.

With that said, Sunday’s NFL schedule included disgusting displays of disrespect to our nation, the flag, the national anthem and to those who have served or are currently serving in our armed forces. Once again the disrespect was to protest real or perceived social injustice in the USA. I fully support the right of free speech, yet abhor the national venues that these overpaid professionals use to show their protest.

As the Sunday games became a showcase for their selfishness, one bright moment occurred. While the Steelers were kept in their locker room during the playing of the national anthem (coaches did not want to put players in “a tough position”) Steelers lineman Alejandro Villanueva took the field alone and with hand over heart stood at attention during the playing of the anthem. Alejandro happens to be a West Point graduate, Army Ranger and served three combat tours in Afghanistan subsequent to his making the NFL. What a courageous and selfless act while his teammates hid in the locker room.

Yes, our president chastised pro athletes for their disrespect. He is being shredded by the media for his insensitivity in telling it like it is. Like him or hate him, the president spoke for millions of Americans when he called out these pampered athletes. I am one of them. I hope and pray that the NFL and the NBA get hit where it hurts them most — in the pocketbook.

WAYNE C. TELFORD
Grand Junction

City needs to address the issue of deadly First Street curve

While they are going about expanding Two Rivers Convention Center with a hotel and ballroom I hope the city doesn’t forgot to address the issue of the deadly First Street curve.

They say they plan to tear down the old pawn shop and build a parking lot. No. They need to realign the curve before they do anything else. Period!

JEREMIAH HABECKER
Clifton

Perception that District 51 wastes money not based in fact

I am a Republican, a fiscal conservative, and also the vice president of the Mesa Valley Education Association. As I’ve been talking with people about why they should vote yes on 3A and 3B, I hear some talk about how much money District 51 wastes.

If anyone should be concerned with our district wasting money or spending too much on administration, it should be the teachers’ association! Any dollars wasted are dollars that aren’t going to classrooms. So MVEA sent the district’s budget to our parent organization in Denver, the Colorado Education Association.

CEA combed through the budget for several days and they reported back to us that District 51 is incredibly lean and incredibly efficient. Only about 3 percent of the budget goes to administration. CEA could not find any misallocation of funds or any waste. They basically said, “There’s not much money there and what is there is wisely spent.”

It’s important to know the facts when voting. The perception that District 51 wastes money is not based in fact. I’m voting yes on 3A and 3B for two reasons: the ballot language states exactly where every dollar will go, and I know the district will be held accountable to continue being good stewards of our tax dollars.

DAN WORTH
Scenic Elementary Teacher
and MVEA vice president
Grand Junction

United States has never 
been a Christian nation

I’m writing in response to the person who was afraid that “In God We Trust” was going away. That phrase has only been used since 1952 when Joe McCarthy and his fanatics demanded it be put into the Pledge of Allegiance and on our money. And for attacking “Christian” values: Those “values” gave us an excuse for the Confederacy to justify slavery. Those values are used to discriminate against gay marriage and for racial discrimination.

We have never been a Christian nation. There are a lot of Christians in America, they vote and elect other Christians and then say, “We own it all.” Sorry, no. The Founding Fathers wanted religion kept away from government.

Christians control both houses of Congress, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court. Tell me again how powerless and persecuted you are. Your Bible has no more power than my Lord of the Rings. Yours “proves” the existence of God; mine proves the existence of Frodo Baggins.

Keep your religion to yourself.

MARK DeMIST
Palisade


COMMENTS

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As Wayne Telford notes (“NFL schedule included displays of disrespect”), Sunday was “National Gold Star Mother’s Day” – cynically declared so on Saturday by President Trump to obfuscate his racist rant against Black athletes at his Alabama rally on Friday (prior to which repeats of Colin Kaepernick’s lonely example were minor distractions), but with no apology for his despicable insults of a Muslim Gold Star Mother last year.  Thus, Telford should blame “the bum” himself – not “the media”—for the fact that “Gold Star Mothers Day” got lost in the news cycle.

As a Viet Nam-era veteran myself, I express my deepest sympathy for the Telfords’ loss – but wonder what his valiant daughter herself would have thought about the “flag issue”.  In a recent episode of “The Viet Nam War”, someone opined that the families of “the fallen” there were more likely to cling to “My Country, right or wrong”—because they were unwilling to confront the possibility that their loved one died in vain.  Like me, Sergeant Caffrey swore an oath to defend the Constitution – not the anthem or the flag.

Wayne seems to equate the mere action of “kneeling” (which is commonplace in church and thus not inherently “disgusting”) with flag burning or desecration – and thus with “disrespect” for “those who have served or are currently serving in our armed forces” (and, understandably, his daughter).  However, half the fans in every stadium see the flag displayed upside down – an accepted “signal of dire distress” (36 U.S. Code § 176).  For some veterans, silently kneeling in protest of white racism is even more appropriate.

Apparently, Wayne “fully supports the right of free speech” when racists use “national venues” (and Twitter) to spew divisiveness, but not when the targets of their insults push back.  About 80% of the “overpaid professionals” Wayne/Trump criticizes are Black, while all-White NASCAR still embraces the “Confederate Flag” at its televised events.

Also revealing is Wayne’s self-reinforcing misinterpretation of Alejandro Villanueva’s “courageous and selfless act” on Sunday.  As the former Ranger himself explained, it was all just an embarrassing “mix up”.  See:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/steelers-villanueva-mix-up-led-to-anthem-flap/ar-AAsswJF?li=BBgET5V&ocid=spartanntp.

Meanwhile, with “tax reform” now on the horizon, perhaps—instead of more gratuitous tax cuts for the already wealthy—Telford will support a 70% tax rate on incomes over $1 million, which would hit “these pampered athletes” (as well as their millionaire owners, even wealthier Republican donors, and both Trump and his billionaire backers) “where it hurts them most – in the pocketbook”, but would generate the revenues needed to begin remedying the many social injustices that actually tarnish (if not desecrate) both our flag and its anthem.

Mr. Telford refers to those “pampered” athletes, and supports their criticism.  Has Mr. Telford even considered the fact that perhaps their actions were not for themselves (which they would be if they were that spoiled) but for others and the social and economic injustices they suffer?  On the other hand perhaps Mr. Telford (as well as others)should ask themselves what motivates them, except for personal discomfort, thus (just like the President) demanding that they either silence of be silenced. 

I would submit that it is the athletes who show real courage by speaking out for others, and that they are the ones who honor veterans, the fallen, and others.  Their critics, to be honest about it, are the ones who dishonor them, their service, and their sacrifices.

Yes, Mr. Telford has suffered a great loss, and we can empathize with that, just as we do with any type of personal pain which any other human being may be afflicted.  However, it is necessary not to allow that pain to turn into any type of self-pity on the part of one so afflicted.

Trump, it is quite clear (while as Mr. Telford correctly pointed out)“spoke millions” but all he was doing was (and still is) using the actions of those players in nothing more than an “appeal to emotion”.  Those who believe in what he said and continue to do so, are having their heartstrings “plucked like the strings of a base fiddle”.

Mr. Telford, dissent isn’t just American, but patriotic. Without it, the Revolutionary War would not have taken place. The U.S. wouldn’t have civil rights, women wouldn’t have the right to vote, and we’d still live under a feudal system of government.

The NFL players are protesting racial inequality and all too frequent mistreatment of black Americans at the hands of the police. That’s what their protest is about. It’s not about disrespect of the flag or their country. They are utilizing their right to freedom of speech to draw attention to this fact, raise awareness that grave injustices are still being perpetrated against minorities in the U.S., and to endorse making this country better for all Americans. You can’t seem to acknowledge that.

The First Amendment to the Constitution was created to not to protect just speech we like, but to protect speech we don’t like. If you don’t want America to be a better country where everyone IS treated equally in the eyes of the law as the NFL players are urging, then just look away from their protest and ignore it.

It amazing to see how little the people of this country actually understand about current affairs, their country’s history and the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. It’s also amazing to see how so many Americans refuse to acknowledge that horrible injustices persist in the U.S.. As long as they do, there will be protest.

The letter from Mr. Telford in the paper today mixes a number of things that represent his opinion relative to public displays of ”patriotism”. He has a constitutional right to make his feelings known. So do the people he disparages for their expression of displeasure in our country not attacking a variety of situations existing that we claim are acceptable, but are not either constitutional nor what we tell the world our country is all about.

We have an element of the local population that claims they want us to return to following our national constitution. I’ve heard their cries but I have yet to hear about just how we have deviated from the constitution except for irrational ranting about how certain parts of the constitution are being interpreted falsely.
Nowhere in the constitution is there is a requirement that saluting the flag, publicly verbally proclaiming allegiance to the flag and standing in a certain way is required when the national anthem is being played. In fact, there is nothing about “how to be patriotic”.

This is where Mr. Telford’s letter goes astray. Part of the public display pf protest at a number of sporting events were about our presidents display of uncalled-for distaste of the actions of the protesters. Mr. Telford claims the president was merely ”telling it like it is”. The protesters were somehow disrespecting our country, or it’s habits or those who did respect the entire scene as having been a patriotic event. No, Mr. telford, there is nothing about the supposed ”patriotic” preliminary ceremonies that determines who is and who is not a patriotic American, as our demented, juvenile president seemed to allege. Yes, the public display of hatred from him was nothing new and was part of his right as an American. But it was not what one would expect from any elected official, least of all the president.

In this area of extreme respect for capitalism and and efficiencies of the market the comments of Mr. Telford and the president relative to the earnings of athletes is ludicrous to the extreme. They are no more outlandish in dealing with life than those of anybody fortunate enough to equal or surpass their earnings. Are athletes earnings not expressions of their ”worth” according to the market? Assumedly Mr.Telford was watching the event(s) in question on TV. His viewership contributed to what the market felt the ”worth” was of the athletes he was watching. Pampered and selfish? No more than anybody with their earnings and accumulated worth.

Finally, irrational displays of ”allegiance” in public do not determine who is and who is not a patriot.  I don’t think genuine patriots have to tell the public that is who and what they are. I think modesty is one of the most important elements of a patriot’s makeup. We have more than our share of loud, self-described ”patriots”, these days.

Mr. Telford wrote a similar letter on the occasion of Gold Star Mothers Day last year (when Black athletes were just beginning to protest police shootings of unarmed Black citizens). My response to him then follows:

As a Viet Nam-era Army veteran and the father of two children who did not serve in the U.S. military, I can only inadequately imagine the unquenchable grief experienced by Wayne Telford (“Ignorance of athletes protesting is shameful”) and the other Gold Star parents who convened in Durango to commemorate the sacrifice of their daughters and sons who gave the last full measure of devotion on behalf of a grateful Nation.
I also appreciate that Telford refused to allow his daughter’s death to be for nothing – by joining a panel commissioned by our own Senator Michael Bennet to identify how to tackle the issues that led to the tragic loss of AF Sergeant Brooke Leigh Caffrey.  See:  http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/deployment-depression-and-sometimes-death.
However, I would remind Wayne that the oath of service we, his father, his father-in-law, and Brooke all honorably took was to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same” – an oath that makes no mention of either the flag or the “Star Spangled Banner”.
Indeed, the poem that later became our National Anthem was written in 1814 – well before enactment of the 13th (1865), 14th (1868), and 15th (1870) Amendments, and it has been unconstitutional to compel recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance” to that flag since 1943 (in the middle of World War II).  Rather, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, our Supreme Court held that Telford’s perhaps grief-driven brand of ideological dogma is antithetical to the principles of this Country, concluding that:

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

Thus, it is particularly ironic that Telford cites the ethnicity of the Fallen, including those minorities for whom—relative to we “whites” – the Constitutionally solemn promises of “equal protection of the laws” and unabridged voting rights remain too-often unfulfilled.
Therefore, it is hardly “selfish” or “ignorant” for athletes to peacefully call attention to the continuing disconnect between the cherished words of our Constitution and the disparate treatment of minorities by our criminal justice system.  To the extent that our flag still symbolizes persistent structural racism, it arguably deserves commensurate “disrespect”.

As between 2016 and now, what was true then is even more relevant today.

Here’s what another “Gold Star Wife” had to say about “the bum” in the White House:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/pat-tillmans-widow-says-his-memory-shouldnt-be-politicized/ar-AAsua2Z?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

The draft-dodging “bum” in the White House is at it:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-ramps-up-nfl-fight-calls-for-ban-on-kneeling-during-anthem/ar-AAsurFa?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

Although I know that none of you really care but I plan on canceling my subscription to the Daily Sentinel.  I am tired of paying for a liberal newspaper that constantly runs liberal op-eds from the New York Times and the Washington Post along with biased articles from the AP wire service.  The final straw was when the Daily Sentinel removed my on-line comment to Letters to The Editor in the paper on Friday, September 22 without any good reason.  I will gladly use the money I will save to buy poop bags for my daily dog walk since the best thing that the Daily Sentinel provided was the bag it came in.

Blosser, sayonara, go with God, whatever. Do the name Krauthammer and Will mean anything to you? And many others.  Yes, the Sentinel goes both ways. You may not like that, your choice, but maybe good riddance is another way to say good bye. Unless you are a regular advertiser, who cares?

As a long time Denver Broncos season ticket holder I attend games fairly frequently. In the moments leading up to kick-off volunteers unfold a huge US flag that covers most of the playing field.
The national anthem is played, and as the last notes fade away (day games) military jets do a fly over. This is all carefully coordinated pageantry to make the game day experience memorable. It doesn’t get much more patriotic than this ... and the football crowd loves it.
Then the NFL allows its players to essentially disdain all of this ... the NFL is killing the goose that laid the golden egg. The NFL will never fully recover from this debacle.

P CURRIE-MILLS , first, the ceremonies won’t stop and then dedicated football enthusiasts won’t watch or go to games ever again? You are letting your politics get way out of hand. Maybe one weekend attendance and audiences will drop slightly and then it will be over. Most thinking people think the whole thing has no business as part of football, from high school Friday nights to the Super Bowl. Some traditions are valuable and contribute to societal inclusiveness. This is not one of them. Why anybody should be considered unpatriotic to demonstrate is ridiculous.

Mr Hugenberg
  Thank you for your kind words, ha ha!!  Good riddance to you too.  As my last comment on this site, Obama being the best president is truly laughable!

Ms. P. Currie Mills.  While many may be addicted to sports, football in this instance, this country is not about sports.  It is about human beings.  Perhaps you should keep that in mind.

And, as far as the “flags” covering fields, you should take a hard look at flag etiquette, and that is a violation of flag etiquette and for nothing more than “entertainment” purposes;  i.e. the fans like it.

Perhaps you should also take a look at how this singing of the national anthem came about prior to games, as that was not always the case.  Do some research on that, and you might be surprised at who and what was behind it, and for what reason.

Thanks to P. Currie-Mills for aptly focusing on and clarifying the issues implicated by this weekend’s demonstrations of unity by NFL players and owners.

First, the “carefully orchestrated pageantry” of pseudo-patriotism has been the hallmark of authoritarian regimes since Hitler and Mussolini through Saddam Hussein to North Korea today.  It should not be surprising that such sentiments can also be exploited for financial gain – by making
“the game day experience” genuinely more memorable (particularly for those already psychologically predisposed toward authoritarianism).

Second, NFL players and their employers are dissenting from artificial appeals to the superficial trappings of patriotism by expressing their “disdain”—not for the flag or national anthem, but for the hypocritical disconnect between the pomp and circumstance of game-day patriotism versus our continuing failure to achieve the “equal protection of the laws” promised by the 14th Amendment.  Given the intent of the 1st Amendment, such protests are even more patriotic than the flag itself.

Mr. DeMist is quite correct, but he will never convince any of the “true believers” as the foundation of their beliefs is really a different version of what some thought was done away with centuries ago (at least in civilized countries), the so-called “divine right of kings”.

Blosser, what is laughable is “your” evaluation of Obama. I realize that is the way your “news” sources have you programmed but it would have been nice to see evidence that you actually tried to think these things through. That never happened. Bye, bye.

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