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Thursday, June 22, 2006 01:40 am

Letters to the editor

In and around Springfield

We welcome letters, but please include your full name, address, and daytime telephone number. We edit all letters for libel, length, and clarity. Send letters to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail

OK, Danny Faulkner, we both know that you need more than one block area of nice houses [“Letters,” June 8]. You need to come out of your house and take a walk around your neighborhood — and not allow what you see in your neighborhood. The only way a neighborhood can turned around is if you have concerned neighbors. I could care less if Pillsbury is a mill or a factory. All I know now is, it is shut down. Quit living in the past and [help] clean up that neighborhood. LaDonna McClanahan Springfield
I’m 65 years old and a four-year veteran. “Sarge” used to tell us that “freedom is more precious than life itself,” but that was then, when men were men. The current self-serving generation doesn’t believe in that. Because no one in leadership speaks up for freedom anymore, we will continue to have more and more restrictive laws until we are no different than a communist country. Glenn Stevens Cantrall
I read with interest and slight amusement the announcement that Illinois Times staffers were finalists for awards from an association of “alternative” newspapers [“Cap City,” June 8]. As a regular reader, I was familiar with the fine contributions recognized for awards. However, I can’t understand how a mainstream publication like Illinois Times could qualify as an alternative newspaper. I grew up in the ’60s, when it really meant something (different) to be called alternative. No offense folks, but to paraphrase a famous debate line from Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, “I knew alternative newspapers, and you’re no alternative newspaper.”
Michael J. Hart Springfield

It was with great loathing and disgust that I read the commentary by Rod Helle defending Ward Churchill [“A double standard,” June 8]. I felt I had to say what I know of Ward Churchill and to fill in some information that Mr. Helle left out. First of all, Churchill did say that everybody who died on Sept 11, 2001, deserved it and got what was coming to them. His label of “little Eichmanns” was applied to every individual. It was only after he received a lot of heat (and probably some prodding from aides and colleagues) did he recant and say that the label only applied to certain people. He’s still not repentant for applying that label, and that I find very repugnant. Even if his label only applied to stockbrokers and bankers, it’s still inexcusable. More than 3,000 human beings died that day. It doesn’t matter if they were bankers, janitors, or airline passengers. They were all people with families and loved ones, and not a single one of them did anything to deserve being murdered that day. Not one. If “feeding the capitalist machine” is a crime, then all of us — even Mr. Churchill and Mr. Helle — are guilty. We “feed the machine” every time we buy goods and services or go to work. But, you see, living is not a crime. Working at a job in a capitalist society is not a crime. Being an American is not a crime. But those who hijacked the planes thought so, and they acted as judge, jury, and executioner. Don’t be fooled by what the leftists tell you. We were not attacked because of the “genocidal world order” that Americans have created. We were attacked by cultural imperialists, yes, the same label that others put on Americans. The difference is that these cultural imperialists don’t use the media or merchandise to spread their culture. They spread it by hijacking planes, beheading civilians, and threatening violence to anybody who misrepresents their culture or causes the slightest offense. We were attacked because we were supposed to be afraid and give up our culture and way of life. We were attacked because we don’t accept the terrorists’ view of a world order. Equating the 9/11 victims with Nazis was not the only vicious statement made by Churchill. He’s also stated that a conscientious objector to the war who happens to be in the military should not go AWOL. Rather, he suggests that they kill their superior officers in the field, for “fragging your superior officers will have a much more impactful effect.” That’s an exact quote as I heard it from one of his taped speeches. Again, Churchill states that certain people deserve to die. According to him, murder is justifiable if it is used to make a statement. This is the type of message being taught in our schools and universities — and needs to be stopped cold. Churchill is not some innocent victim here. Plagiarizing academic works is not the only charge leveled against him. He’s also sold artworks that are clearly copies of another person’s art. I’ve seen two paintings, one by Churchill and one older work done by another artist. Churchill clearly copied from the other artist but sold it as original artwork. Even his tenure as a professor is based on a lie. He made it known that he is descended from Native Americans. That earned him minority status, so he obtained his position through affirmative action, meaning, he got his job for being a Native American and was selected over possibly more qualified white Americans. After that, it’s been revealed that he doesn’t have Native American blood in him whatsoever. He is affiliated with a local tribe, but that affiliation is purely honorary. Lying about your heritage to achieve status is apparently no problem with Churchill. Ward Churchill and his defenders are nothing more than America-bashers. He’s not questioning authority and causing you to think — he’s just spreading hate. He’s not cutting through American myths; he’s just creating new ones. Sure, you can listen to him. Free speech protects what he says, but I’m here to tell you he has nothing truthful or honorable to say. America doesn’t have a spotless history, but we’re not the genocidal maniacs that Churchill and Rod Helle would have you believe. Yes, we’ve had slavery in our past, but there are a number of countries that still practice it today. We’ve treated the natives of this land unfairly, but there are even more heinous acts of genocide being perpetrated today. We consume the natural resources of this planet, but other nations do it to a greater extent in many ways. We do support democracy and freedom in other countries, despite what Mr. Helle says. We need to stop listening to people like Churchill. We need to stop beating ourselves up for our nation’s past and look toward the future. We need to stop focusing on the negative in ourselves and see the true wrongs that are being done in this world. We need to recognize the threats to peace and take care of them as necessary. We need to be diligent in preventing another 9/11 from ever happening again. That is how we can achieve peace and make this country as great as it’s ever been, if not greater. Steve Marley Springfield
The AFL-CIO’s recent endorsement of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, because he supports labor in Illinois, was the biggest joke I have heard of in a while. I’m a member of AFSCME and a state worker, and I have seen up close and personal what this governor has done for labor. He has laid off union employees, expecting one to do the work of three. He laid off and hired in lots — and I mean “lots” — of needed administration (another joke), at unheard-of salaries. Has anyone asked him what he would do with the employees currently working for the state lottery once he sells it? Apparently he has never thought or cared about those families. This man never stays in the governor’s mansion when coming to Springfield but at a hotel. Why is that? If I belonged to this union, their endorsement would cause me to quit! People of Illinois, please wake up and let this man know come November, in no uncertain terms, two things he has failed to realize: The state of Illinois is far more than just Chicago, and we are not for sale! This comes from a person who voted for this man, but, like the song says, I will not get fooled again! Anna Page Divernon
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