As a person of several ancestries referred to in a letter in the June 26 BDN, I take exception to the letter from Jewel R. Reed titled “Native Americans.” Her letter offers rationalizations for the continued use of a historical marker in Castine that has the term “savage” in its description of the Native Americans of that day.
It is never OK to use derogatory terms to describe a race of people, whether it is today or many years ago. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Besides, the term “savage” is in this case relative. Were the savages the ones who lived within the bounds of nature, teaching their children how to live off the land sustainably and without the need to constrain a population of criminals within the walls of a prison? Or were the savages those who felt the need or divine call to sail to other lands to purge, plunder and kill the inhabitants in order to create the America that Ms. Reed feels these “natives” have now become good citizens of?
Hot, desert dogs
Are there not enough abandoned, stray, owner-surrender or abused animals in the Bangor area that the shelter feels the need to import more from overseas (“Kuwait dogs seek homes in Maine,” BDN, June 30)? Shelters are so full that they now run specials on cats; buy a kitten, get an adult cat for free. Anyone who donates to the Bangor Shelter should close their checkbooks and demand an apology and resignation of anyone involved in this waste of resources.
I point out that there are millions of families between Kuwait and the west coast of Africa that would find those stray dogs a delicious addition to their families. And desert dogs to Maine this summer? They’ll be lucky if they don’t drown.
The July 4-5 BDN AP story on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s resignation left much to be desired with no mention of the shameful hate fest this woman has courageously endured and speculation by Alaska Prof. Jerry McBeath that she’ll replace “old and cranky” Rush Limbaugh.
Evidently good experts are hard to find: The same day a BDN Page C-1 story had this gem from another source: “One of the reasons our beach communities do so well… is that they have beaches.” Well, duh.
Maybe McBeath and other experts had a bad day, but the idea that Palin will become a radio talk-show host seems patently absurd. Meanwhile Rush has never been more successful in entertaining and informing America.
But, if Rush is cranky about anything, it’s the brazen assault on freedom, liberty and free-enterprise by President Obama, who smugly dismisses any and all opposing views as “failed policies of the past.” That green energy, socialized industry, gratuitously wasteful government spending and onerous taxation will spur recovery is an article of faith, firmly held by this administration even in the face of loss of two million jobs since January.
Recently, a Chinese audience greeted a pronouncement of a sound dollar by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner with derisive laughter. This hyperKeynesian, pork-barrel spending spree, which Sen. McCain calls
“generational theft,” is not a viable economic recovery plan. It is stark-raving madness which will destroy our currency, take us to a $20 trillion national debt and consign America to indentured servitude.
David D. Wilson
Salt in the wounds
Jewel Reed’s June 26 letter suggested that Native Americans should take a cue from the Scots, whom she presumes have unilaterally got over past negative descriptions of themselves. Unfortunately, disrespectful stereotyping of many peoples, including the Scots and Native Americans, is still being perpetuated in part by such displays of “unconscious bias” in which the concerns and sensibilities of “others” are minimized or deemed irrelevant.
Ms. Reed seems unaware that many Native Americans, upon the basis of their own extensive oral histories, reject the Bering Strait migration “theory” as being erroneous. Even if this theory were deemed fact, it would still indicate that Native Americans peoples have inhabited Turtle Island for at least 20,000 years, about double the time that Britain has been inhabited. Whatever the case, there was a thriving populace of over 500 Indian nations across Turtle Island when European invaders arrived to lay claim to whatever could be had. The term “savage” was used to dehumanize the indigenous “citizens” of Turtle Island and help make the imperialist and genocidal behaviors of the newcomers seem fully justified.
Ms. Reed expresses gratification that Indians have now become “good Americans.” She suggests they be good sports and take in stride historical markers that provide no context for the word savages, and which are still being viewed by our children. Unfortunately, tolerance of such sign markers in our communities such as the one in Castine serves to inadvertently perpetuate bias and pours salt into the wounds of indigenous people.
Diana Ramsdell Newman
It’s Obama’s imperial presidency now and the hope that he might attend to peaceful voices are dwindling. News on Afghanistan and Pakistan indicates an information campaign is seen as a “solution” for the mess created by our robots bombing civilians, as if changing the message would comfort women whose children had been burned up, or silence the women who mourn with them and raise their voices in demanding that funding for the killing end now.
Afghanistan has famously been called “the graveyard of empires,” referring to the failure to subdue the mountain tribes, of whom the Taliban are only the latest generation. Our imperial forces join those of Alexander the Great, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte, Great Britain and the Soviet Union in bogging down there.
Too bad Afghanistan lies smack dab on the way from the landlocked energy reserves of Central Asia to the sea coast. It appears Congress and the president will continue to squander American lives and tax dollars attempting to subdue the region.
With 700-plus bases in foreign lands and a policy of bombing civilians, the U.S. looks poised to go down in history as the Empire of Graveyards.
If not now, when?
Maine’s senators are fighting against national health insurance, supporting the for-profit industry and snubbing the needs of their constituents by delaying attempts at reform at least until they’re out of office.
The government Web site, www.socialsecurity.gov/history/ lists all the people who have fought against national health insurance ever since Theodore Roosevelt proposed it in 1912. And further updates of that list of opponents will now include the two Senators from Maine in 2009.
I imagine they’re also opposed to those earlier “socialist” programs such as Social Security, established in 1935; Medicare, in 1965; and the Veteran’s Medical Benefits Package, signed into law in 1996. They and the AMA would probably reverse these “socialist” programs if they could. Quite a legacy they’re leaving behind.
America will never stop this out of control, rising health care cost until folks get over the irrational fear of being disparagingly called socialists and inaugurate a truly cost effective and beneficial Medicare-for-all in order to compete with the powerful medical industry. Perhaps in my great-grandchildren’s lifetime?
Eliot J. Chandler
Collins and care
A line in Meg Haskell’s recent story on our senators’ opinions regarding health care reform proposals caught my eye. Haskell stated “Sen. Collins has strong reservations about the public option, referencing a recent study predicting that as many as 119 million Americans might switch from private coverage to the public plan, potentially causing the collapse of the private insurance sector.”
Apparently Sen. Collins is more concerned about the private insurance sector, which donated more than $250,000 to her campaigns over the past five years, than she is about the 199 million Americans who might like to switch to a public health care plan. Who is it that you represent, Sen. Collins: the insurance industry or Americans?
Martha A. Grant