On a cold Jan. 18, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) addressed a pitifully small crowd of 40,000, in Washington, DC. They had assembled to protest the government’s planned invasion of Iraq.
Mr. Conyers, the distinguished ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee who has served since 1965, called these Americans “America’s most patriotic citizens.” I cried as he spoke.
I thought about the men and women being deployed around the world, under our Constitution, and wearing American uniforms. War, whether justified or not, produces many casualties.
The cesspool of modern American politics is filled with divisiveness and alienation. Statesmanship has been replaced by the thirst for re-election. Mr. Conyers’ words were reminiscent of the cruel treatment we gave our soldiers from Viet Nam. Was this man praising the protestors and simultaneously denigrating our children in uniform? It clearly seemed so.
I have been a demonstrator for peace and a politician for justice. I write this letter as a proud veteran of the Viet Nam protests. But one mistake that was made was unforgivable: our generation was irreparably divided and scarred. Protesters, warriors and bystanders are all Americans who should respect each other as citizens under the same Constitution.
I have delivered many speeches and made mistakes. But getting caught up in the moment, if that is what Mr. Conyers did, is unacceptable. We are one nation, at peace and at war. We must always question authority, but never with disrespect. Passion need not be tempered by civility, but only by thoughtfulness.
On Feb. 15, we saw the divisiveness on display across America. Neither President Bush and his oil interests nor Rep. Conyers should divide us. Neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties can be allowed to separate America simply for the next election goals.
The politics of division, between people, must be replaced with the politics of confrontation, over the issues. Only then can we strive for integrity, rather than settle for electioneering. We must have the courage to confront our enemies as well as our friends for the benefit of our Nation.
Roger D. Hartstone
Time to change destructive ways
“Koyanisqatsi” is here and very strong among our Hopi people. But there are a very few, a handful, who see and recognize the corruption we are living. No one seems to be concerned except these very few who choose to live spiritually. There is great denial among the majority of the people.
Stop! Let us begin to observe and listen to ourselves. We need to ask ourselves: Who are we? What are we doing? Where are we going? When are we honestly going to make spiritual change? Hopiqatsi is deteriorating. It is at the brink of termination.
Hopinavoti (prophesies) are unfolding right before our eyes. Our spiritual ways have become fun and games. Why? It is because some have accepted a foreign way of life, which we really don’t know anything about. We don’t have sufficient education and work experience. Therefore, we are not ready for a foreign way of life. We have too few doctors, lawyers, scientists, hydrologists and architects. Maybe in our great-great-grandchildren’s lifetime it may look different and we may reach this goal one day.
Let us recognized at this time, the two-hearted among our Hopi people. It’s our own people who are the oppressors. We know who they are. They are the ones who always want to be recognized and to make the decisions for our Hopi people. And many of the decisions they have made have been wrong. To name a few, the Peabody negotiations, our water, the Reliant coal-fired power plant, our high school and Cellular One. They have no shame.
These two-hearted people who have been oppressing our Hopi people are involved at the Hopi High School, the Hopi Tribal Courts and Jail, the village community offices and the Hopi Tribal Government. They live very boastful lives. They pay themselves large amounts of money that we very well know they do not deserve because they lack formal education and experience. Today, many have evil ways. They terminate from one place of employment and quickly seem to find another job among their followers. Their sting is potent and contagious. Therefore, we must wake up and fight this contagious disease of greed if we all want to revive our Hopi way of life.
These people have never received any kind of reprimand for their wrongdoings. Nothing! Regardless, of how severe it may have been. However, we as Hopi know, that they will amount to nothing when the final moment comes.
It is the moon for healing and wellness. It is the time to look at our wrong doings and to do something about them. It is the time to accept the Creator’s teachings and try our best to live by them. It is the time to remove ourselves from our old, self-promoting, boastful ways. Do not have doubt in the Creator. Start to have true faith and belief and live with prayer for the rest of your life.
I ask you, my fellow human beings, to not wait for tragedy to occur to start praying. Everything begins with prayer. Start right now! And continue to pray for the whole world, for the entire life we are given.
Education can solve world’s ills
It appears that another Viet Nam is in the making with the impending Gulf War. Already the protesters are taking to the streets across America.
America is divided and our allies are not united behind us. In spite of this, the president is going full steam ahead, just as the Johnson administration did in 1964. With economic recession at home, with our allies divided, America is not in a position to shoulder the cost of war. Sure, terrorism is a real threat but is war the answer to such a threat? Terrorism is all over the world, not just in one country. Our foreign policy is rather dubious at best and lacks the justification for committing our troops to a shooting war.
In 1964, LBJ thought his manhood was at stake and by expanding the war in Viet Nam, he was hoping to prove to the world that he was not a sissy. In 2003, it seems that President Bush believes that there is little respect for America and by going to war in the Middle East, America is going to gain respect. How absurd!
In Viet Nam and now in the Middle East, America is perceived as rich and powerful and that is the root of anti-Americanism around the world. By going to war against a small dictator is not going to change that image and in fact will add to the perception that America does not care about the rest of the world. People in Baghdad and Kuwait are indifferent to the prospect of war in their midst. The rest of the world is just watching and waiting to see if America, will carry out its threats. While terrorism is an international concern, in the minds of the rest of the world, war does not appear to be the solution to ending terrorism.
The real threat to peace in the world, the real threat to the safety of the world is caused by the population explosion of the past 50 years. Hunger, poverty and diseases are the real cause of instabilities in the world. America has the resources and the means to fight these conditions that create these human sufferings.
In addition to fighting hunger and diseases, education is another weapon we can use to eliminate ignorance and prejudice in the world.
The human conditions that breed terrorism and despotism in the world can be addressed with our humanitarian efforts by expanding the Peace Corps.
America is the hope of the world, and we can put hope in the people of the world by making people self-sufficient again through learning, reading, writing and other basic skills in the hands of the people of the world. With education and skills, people can strive again.