Letters to the Editor

From the week of December 16, 2004

Keep the Home Fires Burning

The light stuff:Regarding Amy Haimerl's "Religious Rite," in the December 9 issue:

The neon horseshoe spits in the faces of those low-income families who have only the utilities on their sides begging the rest of us for help heating their homes. Lotsa luck! Why not give the cost of lighting the lights (a project that also goes begging for public financial support) to warm those same people who lie next to the City and County Building for a little radiant heat? Too Christian? Too Saturnalian? Too heartwarming? I imagine all the gods and satellites have seen our Vegas glow-show from space for light years by now. In the spirit of the season, whatever the hell that means, we might try Holy Sacred Cow!, sacrificing that extra-fancy religious habit of lights. Instead, we could light fires in our hearts and offer something real to those who really need it.

Lisa Gentner
Denver

All together now:"A way to bring our community together"? Amy Haimerl mentioned that quote more than once. If that was one of the purposes of "Religious Rite," she failed. Her article is biased toward those who do not want the display, which is clearly apparent with comments that are mostly negative. How does this help in bringing us together?

The New Yorker "was speechless, equally bemused and horrified." Why? Is New York a better place for not having something like this? Why horrified? Are we here in Denver a bunch of dolts and unsophisticated cowhands? Do her comments bring us together?

Let us move on to the comments of Bob Tiernan, who states: "The mayor caved in to these fanatic right-wing Christians." Does name-calling help bring us together? Did the mayor cave, or did he listen to the will of the people and make a compromise that reflects Denver's diversity? In addition, when does taking the Lord's name in vain help to bring us together?

Moreover, for Westword's friends at the Anti-Defamation League who would prefer no public expression, I will never give up my right to express my faith and religion in public. Our ability to express publicly our faith is both freedom of speech and religion -- true American values. How does the ADL's "no public display" stance bring us closer together?

In the end, the problem is extremists. They want it their way and only their way. The great thing about Denver's display is that diversity is as quirky and campy as it may be. Rather than trying to limit our expressions and beliefs, maybe we need to learn how to tolerate each other's beliefs. Sadly, it appears that Bob and others like him clearly miss the joy, hope and peace of this season. They have chosen the negative; let us chose the positive. I am thinking of a small shiny statue of Buddha, a sign with the words "Assalaam Alaikum" (i.e., "Peace be on you all"), a Kwanzaa candleholder, even a microscope with a snowflake might be nice additions, if some of my fellow Denverites would want them. Let us share this season of peace and joy, for there is room for all of us.

Gordon Smith
Littleton


Shock and Awful

The power of depress:Derf's December 9 The City wasn't funny -- more like malignantly depressed. The Grinch Who Stole Falluja was a vacuous, callous attempt to shock; humor at the expense of those who have already given all. I suppose an apology would be too politically incorrect for you.

Ron Parker
Denver


Class Warfare

Don't forget the folks at home:I understand that Westword is a liberal publication, but even though I don't agree with all of the points of view presented, I continue to read the paper due to the sharp, contemporary, talented writers. But with the December 2 cover story, Helen Thorpe's "Head of the Class," you might as well rename your publication Immigrants Deserve More.

Now, I agree that Mexican immigrants deserve a chance at a comfortable life in a comfortable neighborhood, but why are relentless efforts being made to reward them with more opportunities than afforded the average American? It is easy for an upper-class American whose parents went to college and then had his way through college paid completely -- the lucky Americans, if you will -- to say "equal opportunity." But there is a middle class of Americans who do not bathe in luxury, wealth and opportunity just because they were born American.

I am white, born and raised in America. I am twenty years old. My family has been renting my whole life. My dad has supported this family with over ten jobs in three states in my life span. We have been through so much just trying to survive comfortably. The deep wrinkles in my father's face prove it. Like Pablo, I have never been to Europe. My family cannot afford to put me through my dream college to pursue my dream career. Instead, I strive to work the best job I can find for a person with no college education to pay off rent, car payments, etc. (without resorting to prostitution, which seems to be more "socially acceptable" with every article I read in your publication). I am currently applying for a Pell Grant to attend a community college, where I can possibly move my way up. But it is a long, tedious process for which you have to be severely underprivileged.

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