I have told many people -- and I mean this -- that my years at UF shaped me in ways that still mean the most to me.
A couple of years ago, I was in Gainesville with my adult daughter, and we walked through the campus. We sat in the Plaza of the Americas, and just next to us a student was meditating. (Some things really never changed.) All the memories came back to me at that point, and I was able to share them with my daughter. I'm proud that my years at UF in the late '60s and early '70s helped make me a better parent, too. I learned to teach my daughter about justice and the importance of speaking her mind. My daughter has grown up to be a caring, involved and open-minded person.
Now I am feeling more concerned than I have in many years about the direction our country has taken, so I'm putting whatever money and effort I can into a change in November. I just wanted you to know that your story was well received by this UF alum -- and I suspect there are others out there as well.
-- Terry Redman, Avondale Estates
Your article about protests in the '60s certainly struck a chord in me (Fishwrapper, "We overcame once," Aug. 19). We were at Kent State during the killings. I worked in the honors college, my husband was foods director at KSU, our daughter a junior and she was right out there with the protesters that morning and our son was in the University Lab High School adjacent to the campus. It was a horrible, horrible time that took us years to recover. In fact, every time May 4 rolls around, my daughter, Diane, calls me and we both cry.
I agree that the campuses seem so very apathetic today. I was back at KSU last year for an honors reunion and couldn't believe the lack of concern or dissent.
Thanks for writing about this memorable period in our lives. I hope we can revive some of the protest movement and direct it toward our present so-called president.
-- Helen M. Friese, Stone Mountain
Keep him in line
Thank you for shining a spotlight on what's going on in our town with your article on Councilman Charles Phillips' travel expenses (News & Views, The Weekly Scalawag, Aug. 19). The press plays such a vital role in keeping government honest and that's why a piece like yours is appreciated by so many of us in College Park.
-- Russell Riediger, College Park
Can we all stop kissing local "artist" Ronnie Land's ass for just one moment? I'm not an art historian, but I can tell when someone regurgitates the same tired shit in every piece of his "art." It's not hard to be a big fish in a small pond, and his two cents in the pointless cover story wasn't necessary, funny, or the least bit entertaining ("That's fugly," July 29). Let's focus on locals with actual talent.
-- Chris Black, Atlanta
Stepping over the line
I can take having my party, Republican, and my President, Bush, bashed; however, your quasi-mock religious article (Fishwrapper, "The Republican beatitudes," July 22) was trash, and should not have been printed. Leave God alone.
Your writer implies that Republicans aren't Christian because we don't care. If religious-right Republicans don't care, then why are we the ones who speak up for the persecuted church as well as unborn babies? Christians in the Third World and babies in the womb need love and support, which we give.
Your writer writes about ancient homosexuality. Judas Iscariot was a disciple, but he fell from grace. This shows that even at the beginning, there were some who fell from the fold with false teachings.
I know CL is for free thinking, but this article goes well over the line. You really should consider some standards as to what you print.
-- Kenny Houck, Pineville, N.C.
Who are the real terrorists?
In response to the letter regarding "Pursuit of the enemy" (Going Postal, July 22), the writer states they are interested in facts, so I'd like to point out a few facts to them:
- The war in Iraq was and continues to be under the false premise of that country being in league with the Taliban, even though there has never been any evidence to support this. Even Bush himself denies that he ever said there was a connection (although we all know he did say there was one), and the 9/11 Commission has confirmed that there was no connection. We also know that there were no weapons of mass destruction (although if there had been such weapons, they were quickly taken out of Iraq since we left all their borders completely open and unprotected so that anyone and everyone could come and go as they pleased). Bush and his cronies were planning to take us to war in Iraq from the moment he took office. This is also confirmed in the 9/11 Commission's report. Their only problem was how to the get the American public to accept going to war in Iraq yet again. Then along came Sept. 11. How convenient.
- There will NEVER be an end to the threat of terrorism (especially now that we've pissed so many people off). Are we to live in a state of filtered news and watered-down rights from this point forward? If so, the terrorists and Bush have won (and are one).
- Military resources were taken away from the war on terrorism in Afghanistan to focus on the war in Iraq. The only reason we went to war in Iraq was to secure the largest oil field in the world and to protect Halliburton contractors while they get the oil fields up and running.
- We don't need to wait for chemical weapons to do the damage spoken about in the writer's letter, such as genetic defects, poisoned agriculture and tainted water -- our corporate entities have been given a blank check by Bush to do whatever they want to our environment with little or no consequences and no oversight.
My last point is to anyone who cares to answer -- why aren't people like Eric Rudolph called terrorists? And why isn't he being held in Guantanamo Bay?
Don't get me started.
-- Tina Lee, Atlanta
Legend lives on
Many thanks, Hal, for your beautifully written, personally revealing essay on a visionary and courageous activist for the power and meaning of artwork ("A fine disregard," July 15). People like Kirk Varnedoe pass quickly from this world, and deserve to be remembered for their contributions to our humanity. I'm working on a Bud suit now.
-- Alex Clark, Charlotte, N.C.
Dig a little deeper
Andisheh Nouraee, in response to the Saddam-bin Laden link query (Don't Panic, July 1), recited the left's talking points rather than addressing the complexities of the issue. The media, in its capacity as successor to the Oracle at Delphi, has determined that the war in Iraq has no correlation to the overall war on terror and seeks to undermine it by proving that the administration's rationale for action was erroneous and therefore illegitimate. The president would not be the first to have maneuvered the country into war and probably won't be the last. FDR schemed for years to get us into World War II in spite of public opposition to it. It was the right thing to do. The peace-in-our-time crowd was wrong then, wrong on Reagan's Pershing II, MX and SDI, and just might be wrong now. Implacable foes tend not to go away just because we want peace.
Thoughtful debate with regard to the above would be a welcome improvement over what we've been getting thus far from the press.
-- Dwayne Keith, Valrico, Fla.