Letters to the editor
In and around Springfield
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WHAT GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT?
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and Beni Kitching think President George W. Bush should be impeached [see “Letters,” Aug. 18]. Let’s look at their “reasons.”
(1) Bush got us into an “illegal” war. First of all, Congress approved the operation in Iraq, so there goes any attempt to impeach the president for that. The cessation of hostilities in the 1991 Gulf War was brought about by a cease-fire agreement, not a surrender or peace agreement. We ceased hostilities as long as Saddam Hussein abided by United Nations resolutions. Hussein chose not to do so, as evidenced by these pertinent points from U.N. Resolution 1441 [adopted Nov. 8, 2002]:
Recalling that its resolution 678 authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 and to restore international peace and security in the area [the Security Council]:
1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687, in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA [the International Atomic Energy Agency].
2. Decides [. . .] to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with this disarmament obligations [. . .]
We gave Saddam Hussein more chances than he ever deserved to abide by the UN resolutions, and he refused.
(2) Bush is “trying to destroy the social safety net that protects the poor, the disabled, the sick, the elderly, and the middle classes.” As far as I know, proposing an alternate way of funding Social Security isn’t an impeachable offense.
(3) Bush is “trying to destroy the separation between church and state, a bedrock of the Constitution.” I don’t see how “separation of church and state” can be the “bedrock of the Constitution,” because that phrase doesn’t even appear in the Constitution. The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Congress can’t pass laws establishing a national religion, nor can they prevent us from practicing our religion. Please point out a single instance where President Bush has submitted legislation to do either, and we’ll talk impeachment.
(4) President Bush is “building a gulag archipelago of torture prisons throughout the world that deny basic rights and due process to detainees, and ignore the Geneva Conventions.” I’ve seen the reports on Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons, and I never saw any mention of President Bush’s being one of the perpetrators. The people who were involved are being punished. As an aside, the Geneva Conventions pertain to uniformed combatants for an enemy country. The detainees are not uniformed combatants; they’re terrorists.
(5) President Bush is “giving tax cuts to the rich, which, along with hundreds of billions of dollars for an illegal war, has recklessly put our country intro serious financial debt.” First and foremost, everyone who pays taxes got a tax cut, not just the rich. So can we please drop that tired old lie? Repetition will not make it true. Because our country was in serious financial debt long before President Bush took office, it seems kind of silly to impeach him for that.
(6) President Bush is “fudging the figures on global warming.” Now this is really interesting, especially because scientists just recently admitted that their global-warming theory was based on flawed data.
Grounds for impeachment? Not quite.
MARKET ADAMS HOUSE TO TOURISTS
OK, the Audubon Society owns the Adams House, fair and square. It has the right to raze it and build whatever it wants. Maybe what the society build will be really nice, but what its members may want to consider is that if they want tourists to visit their headquarters and sanctuary, it will have more appeal if it’s connected to Springfield’s past.
If the Audubon Society is only interested in preaching to the choir, then it should go ahead with its current plan — bird fanciers will probably still visit the location. But I would think the organization would want to draw as many people as possible to its sanctuary to see the merits of its conservatorship.
The Audubon Society obviously sees the merits of a Springfield base. I just don’t think its members are seeing the whole picture.
I’d have to check with the visitors’ bureau, but I’d be willing to bet that tourists aren’t spending a week or more in Springfield. It’s probably closer to a three-day deal. And in that short time, tourists are making hard decisions on what to see — the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Old State Capitol, the Capitol Rotunda, the Illinois State Library, downtown Springfield, the Lincoln Home area, the Dana-Thomas House, the Vachel Lindsay home, the Lincoln Tomb, Camp Lincoln, the Grand Army of the Republic Museum, the Henson-Robinson Zoo, Lincoln’s New Salem, Edgar Lee Masters’ Petersburg, and so on. And just where would the Audubon Society’s headquarters fall on the average tourist’s to-do list?
The Adams House, because of its location on Clear Lake Avenue, could be tourists’ first view of historic Springfield. The Audubon Society has the opportunity to make a big first impression. It can either build a headquarters that looks like anything else, anywhere else, or have the Margery Adams House and Wildlife Sanctuary, home of the Illinois Audubon Society — a genuine historic tourist attraction.
I know it’s an old house. The Audubon Society would need to build a new headquarters and fix up the Adams House. It’s an added expense, but it’s also added value.
If you’re going to be in Springfield, you need to think Springfield. The past is the key to the future. If the Audubon Society wants to have an impact and promote its cause, it should take advantage of the tourist population. Connect the Adams House with the Lincoln era, market it, and reap the rewards. There’s a saying in the marketing profession: “Don’t look at this as an obstacle; look at this as an opportunity.” And that’s my message to the Audubon Society: The Adams House is your opportunity to connect with Springfield’s past, with tourism, and ultimately with the hearts and minds of those tourists to promote all that is important about being good stewards and protectors.
THANKS FOR GIVING HOPE TO KOOKS
I believe Fletcher Farrar is onto something when he calls for us to act on our beliefs in ways that match our abilities [“Summer in the city,” Aug. 11]. His way of calling us to action seemed to evoke understanding and compassion. That is unique, and we need more of that style. I enjoyed hearing that Vachel Lindsay was considered a kook — it gives the rest of us kooks hope. Nice piece.
THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE AIR
I’m from Decatur, and people who are from Springfield tend to make fun of the way A.E. Staley can cause a stench around Decatur. People often refer to Decatur as “Stanktown” or “Stinktown.” This does not offend me, because the stench coming from A.E. Staley can be pungent. I am sorry to say that Springfield is acquiring its own stench.
While driving on I-55 to get to the Lowe’s on the North End, I started smelling the stench of sewage. I know there are a few places that handle sewage on the North End and figured this was no big deal. I then started noticing it in more places.
While taking Veterans Parkway to get to Peoria Road, I could start smelling sewage after I passed Browning Road. I didn’t smell it at the fair because of the many other odors but noticed it again while driving back home.
We went to the Route 66 Drive-In on a recent Saturday, and could smell that familiar sewage while sitting there. I don’t like sitting through two movies and, when I breathe, it smells like I’m always near a sewer or bathroom. Yes, the stench was that noticeable.
I’ve heard a lot of people make fun of Decatur and the Staley stench, but I’d much rather smell that than a city sewer. Maybe I just haven’t lived in Springfield long enough to get used to it?
Kyle D. Waddell