A peace of the action: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Speak Your Peace," in the September 21 issue:
It seems fitting to have PeaceJam here in Denver. Colorado has so many great things that attract people from around the world, but Denver has a long way to go in the "peace" department. When you think of mass psychology, you think in general terms about cities. New Yorkers, as a mass, are stereotyped as being pushy and rude. People from L.A. are granola-eating Pilates freaks. And how are Denverites viewed? My experience has been that people in Denver are not very cool to one another. I haven't seen many strangers going out of their way to do something positive for one another.
One example: You're driving on the highway, need to get over to your exit because it's coming up in a half a mile, put on your blinker and look over your shoulder to signal to other drivers that you'd like to get over -- and then people do the "dick" thing and speed up to cock-block so that you can't get over. Seriously, there's no need for that. In another city where I used to live, you could sit on your front porch and have neighbors say "What's up?" as they walked by. Now where I live, in Wash Park, I swear almost everyone looks down at the ground and won't even make eye contact. And if one more uber-chic club opens where everyone is beautiful and pretentious and I have to spend $200 on a bottle of booze that would normally cost $35, I'm going to rip the hair out of my freakin' head. They're all the same, no originality.
Having so many Nobel Peace Prize winners here hopefully planted some good vibes into our culture so that we can start being cool to one another. Things have been crappy enough with Bush in office; we don't need to make it worse for one another.
Super man: The September 21 What's So Funny? is awesome! If Adam Cayton-Holland really has Dealin' Doug at his party, that would be frickin' sweeeet! And it would be really sweet if he would show up as Super Dealin' Doug, cape and all! I want an invite.
Thanks for keeping me laughing.
Booga-booga blues: In the September 21 Ask a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano is only repeating the propaganda he has heard, that we need more immigrants in the U.S. to work and to reproduce in order to meet the obligations of Social Security for the current generation of retirees because Americans' birth rate is flat.
First, Social Security is not supposed to be a pyramid scheme whereby we import 12 million warm bodies every twenty years to shore up the bottom of the system and get our checks cut. We have millions of people, incarcerated on drug crimes or high-school dropouts or homeless, whose lives would be improved simply by holding down the kind of jobs that now go to illegal immigrants. If we stop pouring our revenues into that bloody hole in Iraq, clean up government corruption and properly tax Big Biznez, we'll meet our obligations now and in the future without massive immigration, thank you.
Second, Americans have a flat birth rate not because we hate babies or don't know how to make them, but because we are concerned about the environment and the planet. In the '60s, my generation campaigned for ZPG -- Zero Population Growth -- and we got it! The people's benefits belong to those who curbed their reproduction rates in order to preserve our forests, our air and our open space, and we're not going to watch Corporate America steal that accomplishment by illegally importing cheap labor while screaming "Growth, more growth!" (read: profits). Mexico, among others, needs to curb its birth rate, not export illegal immigrants to ease its misery and then argue that they are simply responding to a demand. There's a demand for meth, too, but for the good of the whole of society, it is prohibited, even against the wishes of a select few.
The issue of illegal immigration is not racial or emotional; it is economic and environmental and rational, and I don't believe Mexicans hate Americans, either. That is a word Arellano is placing in the mouths of millions of people for whom he does not speak. I am tired of propaganda that tries to instill fear in me, whether because of Islamofascists (!) or the collapse of Social Security or the economy. It's hype, it's booga-booga politics.