Printed Letters: September 29, 2016

Trump a businessman, not a politician

After what we’ve had in the last eight years, I don’t understand why more than half of Americans would be fearful of Trump. Trump is not a polished politician; he is a businessman. After creating the biggest deficit the United States has ever had, it’s hard to believe that there’s something worse to worry about.

I believe that having a businessman as president would be a great change for the best. We’ve had the politicians — how did you like them? The pollsters are here again. When you have a poll for 540 people on the front page of the biggest newspaper on the Western Slope, you’ve got to wonder who is kidding who.


We are setting up for failure with homeless situation

Monday’s above-the-fold headline about drastic cuts in services for the local homeless was certainly underplayed. According to the shelter, use is up. Heck, actually according to District 51 and various providers, homelessness is a currently crucial problem in the valley. Solution? Cut services in half.

Shame on all of you so-called advocates. With the serious crackdown on camping, too, we are setting up an experiment for failure. Reality is comprised of those things that won’t go away simply because they are not convenient. Homelessness in Grand Junction is real and not going away.

Grand Junction

Refusing to stand for national anthem is shameful

As a World War II veteran, I am incensed at the sports teams and players who refuse to stand for our national anthem. When I think of their anti-American actions, my first thought is, “they should be ashamed,” but of course they’re not. Perhaps they believe they are making an important and symbolic statement about America today, but in reality, they don’t have a clue about America and what it means to be an American.

The fact that they are able to play their sports and achieve some small measure of notoriety is due to the freedoms afforded them by the country they live in and the people who have fought and died for the freedoms they so carelessly enjoy. So no, they are not ashamed. They do not have the wherewithal to know that they should be ashamed for the disrespect they show. But I am ashamed of them — and for them. They shame us — their actions shame us.

A suggestion to officials of all sports teams that many colleges have already adapted — play the national anthem before the teams come on to the field. They can show their disrespect in the locker room and spare the rest of us the shame of their actions.


Recent articles in paper 
were deceiving

We moved to Colorado in December of 2015. Since our arrival it has been one of the worst experiences of our lives. We have been on the front page of your paper twice, leading people to believe that we are squatters and that we have children. We came to Colorado to retire thinking that it would be a nice change. Due to the misleading articles we have been harassed daily.

I think the paper was very unfair. People think that we are the reason that Enoch Lake was shut down for day use only. Not one of the two emergency calls that were made while we were there were for us. We were in the paper as squatters, meanwhile another camper had been at Enoch since the first of May and was planning on staying till October and has done so for the last 10 years.

True, people break the rules, but are only given warnings. Why not tickets? I am very angry that we got such treatment. I find the articles in the paper very deceiving

Grand Junction

Are Americans naive or dumb when it comes to food sources?

There is a food resource that dwells in the American West that is grass fed, free range, low fat, antibiotic and growth hormone free. Harvesting it would provide local jobs. Some in the world (but not Americans) find it quite tasty and pay a premium price for it. While it would support numerous jobs if harvested in the U.S., you couldn’t give it away.

There is a food source that dwells in the ocean. It too is free range, antibiotic and growth hormone free, but high fat. It eats every putrid, fetid dead fish or animal that falls to the bottom of the ocean. In third world countries where human waste is dumped untreated into the ocean, it is farm raised in that same ocean. In the U.S. it is viewed as a succulent, gourmet dining experience, and people line up to pay premium prices for it.

The former is called horsemeat. The latter is called crab, shrimp, lobster, oysters, clams, etc. Go figure. Naïve or dumb?



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As a Viet Nam-era Army vet and son and nephew of now-deceased World War II vets, I can appreciate why Leroy Latham is “incensed at the sports teams and players who refuse to stand for our national anthem” (“Refusing to stand for national anthem is shameful”). 
However, I would remind Leroy that the oath of service we all took was to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same” – an oath that makes no reference to either our flag or our national anthem.

Indeed, the poem that later became the “Star Spangled Banner” was written in 1814 – well before enactment of the 13th (1865), 14th (1868), and 15th (1870) Amendments – and, in its third stanza, celebrates the death of slaves who sought freedom with the British.

It has also been unconstitutional to compel recitation of the
“Pledge of Allegiance” to our flag since 1943 (in the middle of World War II).  Rather, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, our Supreme Court impliedly held that Latham’s brand of patriotic dogma is antithetical to the constitutional 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.”

Among the core constitutional values we veterans were willing to die for was Freedom of Speech (and Assembly)—guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.  Thus, it is entirely apropos (not “careless”) that – rather than passively enjoy the “blessings of liberty”  bestowed by their athletic prowess in a free society – citizen-athletes risk their celebrity and income to peacefully protest the failure of that society to fulfill the Constitutionally solemn promises of
“equal protection of the laws” and unabridged voting rights for racial and ethnic minorities.
Likewise, it is neither “shameful” nor “ignorant” for such athletes to call attention to the disconnect between the cherished words of our Constitution and the disparate treatment of minorities by our criminal justice system.  Rather, to the extent that our flag still serves to camouflage ingrained structural racism, it deserves some modicum of “disrespect”.

A selective or short-term memory is all too frequently self-serving.  Mr. Downing’s letter is a clear indication of that. For, did not learn from the President who preceded this President, one who was a businessman and, boasted about his prowess as “decider in chief”.  Where did that take this country?  And now, such as the gentleman wants to take us right back to those “good old days”, which are not that far in the past.

When listening to such as Mr. Downing, some of us wonder if perhaps their only measure of success is business and making money, who believe that the business of government is business.  Some of us are of a far different opinion, that the business of government is people, and people as human beings, something which seems to have escaped many in what this country has become, a “country of baubles”.

What we are seeing in Mr. Downey’s candidate is the “affluenza” candidate.  Such as Mr. Downey, if a teenager gets into trouble, and (only because his parents are wealthy)gets preferential treatment before the law, they would condemn that.  However, their candidate (Mr. Trump)is a classic example of the same type of behavior in his own “business dealings”, something which he (and his supporters) will dismiss as little else than his being a “smart businessman” who, and only because of his wealth, deserves special treatment and who is not to be constrained by the rules all others have to follow, and even institute laws that all those “lesser others” have to follow, but not them, as (having appointed themselves our betters) they consider themselves above those.

Mr. Latham, because he is a veteran, is incensed because some will not sing the national anthem or stand while it is playing.  The question is, does he believe that his military service give him any right to dictate what others will or will not do, or say?  If he does, and many veterans do, he does not know what his military service was all about.  That, some of us realized (even when in uniform) that all we were doing was “defending” other human beings, and all of them. And that included their right to be who they wanted to be and do what they wanted to do.  And while we may have saluted the flag during the playing of the national anthem, and took an oath to defend the “flag” and the “Constitution”, we realized we were not above either of them, something which would have been a betrayal of what they represented.  In other words, we were not changing them into “tokens” to which we could then pay homage.

One does not “defend the Constitution”, the flag, the national anthem, and even the “pledge of allegiance” by violating the rights of any other individual, simply because it makes us uncomfortable or “offends” us. 

While the gentleman may believe differently, some of us do not measure patriotism (an all too frequently abused term) by the number of flags displayed, how loud one sings the national anthem or “pledge of allegiance”, as those are mere symbols, usually meant to impress others.  We measure patriotism by what they do on a daily basis, and if (in their actions) they display a human and thereby a social conscience and if they can recognize their obligations towards an entire country and its future.  And that means, Mr. Latham, that we are speaking of human beings and humanity.  That requires, Mr. Latham, that one needs to be looking forward, and not backwards.

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