Letters to the Editor

From the week of May 5, 2005

Ward Churchill is the strategist and theoretician for Colorado AIM, but it seems the group has become a one-trick pony. Of 72 accomplishments listed online by Colorado AIM from 1990 to 1994, 26 of 72 listed accomplishments center on Columbus Day protests.

The fellas' routine was neat and predictable, with Russell Means flying into Denver to take his bows and garner the headlines in advance of the event, since Russ looks like a real Indian and has a real history of Indian activism. Although absent from the headlines in 2004, one wonders if Russ will be back this year. One wonders, in fact, if the legions of protesters have yet realized that Russell Means is now an activist within the ranks of the Grand Old Party, and what this says about the politics of local protesters.

George Vendegnia, moreover, may want to ponder other things than the irony of Ward Churchill's First Amendment rights.

Since various tribal officials of the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians -- and the larger Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma -- have now definitively denounced Churchill's loud, longstanding and extremely dubious assertions that he is a "Cherokee" (or "Creek Cherokee Metis"), maybe what Vendegnia should ponder is whether Ward's Columbus Day bandwagon may be coming to a halt.

After all, it is one thing to protest on behalf of American Indians, and a completely different thing to undergo a scripted arrest for a belligerent white guy from Peoria, Illinois. Maybe the chickens really are coming home to roost. Finally.

Ernesto B. Vigil

March of progress: Thank you for pointing out the city's cooperation with the anti-Columbus Day Parade protesters. The Denver police were ordered to take down the barricades as part of a deal between the City of Denver and the protesters; this was done without the permission of the Sons of Italy or the parade organizers. How can the city negotiate the First Amendment rights of the parade organizers by assisting the protesters in violating our First Amendment rights? So many constitutional laws are being violated in this case that I believe it is time for the federal government to step in and enforce the federal laws. If the City of Denver continues to ignore the U.S. Constitution and negotiate our rights away, it is going to be facing both criminal and civil lawsuits in this matter.

I've marched in all four parades since 2000. Three of them have been illegally stopped by the protesters. They have never been punished for their actions. If there are no consequences to violating the law, what's to keep them from doing it again in 2005? I think what we have learned about the protesters in the past few months is that it is more than the symbol of Columbus. The radical element of the American Indian Movement hates the United States of America and anything that represents European influence. They support the enemies of the U.S. and believe in violence and breaking the law as a legitimate option for protest. They certainly don't respect the Constitution or the First Amendment rights of the Italian-Americans in the Columbus Day Parade. Unfortunately, the City of Denver continues to be a partner in this flagrant violation of the Constitution.

I am hoping 2005 will be different. I know the people who hate what Ward Churchill and his thugs represent will be out in force celebrating the First Amendment side by side with the Italian-Americans this Columbus Day. In fact, let me extend an invitation to anyone who loves this country and believes in the Constitution to join us in October -- and that includes Patricia Calhoun and any other journalist who understands and respects the value of the First Amendment.

Steve Antonuccio
Colorado Springs

Getting Hammered

For kidults only: Jared Jacang Maher nearly hit the nail on its head with "Betwixt," in the April 28 issue. It was an insightful effort, and for this I hope his thumb and index finger weren't smashed in the process. I am a 28-year-old going through what he described as a "quarter-life crisis." For the most part, my experiences were illustrated nicely in his piece: chronic resumé fatigue, underemployment, reoccurring delusions of graduate school, the service-industry blues, student-loan remorse, and the urge to stuff a backpack with T-shirts and socks and hop on a jet back to Asia.

But what about those of us who aren't having trouble deciding what to do? What words of wisdom and condolence can Maher provide to someone who graduated top of class from a leading university, has an extensive clipping portfolio, practiced journalism in three countries from the age of seventeen -- and still can't find a bloody job?

While I empathize with the indecisive twenty-somethings out there, I feel us underemployed quarter-lifers with focus and solid goals were either ignored or lumped into the same category as "kidults." Either way, I feel like Maher could have really banged that nail home if he'd just aimed a little higher.

Everett Sizemore

Scrip Doctor

Where there's a pill, there's a way: Regarding Luke Turf's "Breast Friend," in the April 21 issue:

It is astounding that the good doctor is being charged with eight felony counts. Had he been getting other "services," and not sex, this would not be an issue. When you boil it down, there is no real difference between him asking for sex in exchange for a scrip and other doctors charging money (usually excessive amounts) for their services.

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