We have forgotten
In his letter of May 1, Cmdr. Don Morris exhorts us to not forget Vietnam and asks the question: “What did the United States learn from our involvement in Vietnam?”
If we are to remember only our losses, then we have learned very little. While the sacrifice of our soldiers should not be diminished in any way, along with Cmdr. Morris, we should look at the “Napalm Girl” photo in the June 7 issue to be reminded of the horrible misery we unleashed with napalm on that region.
As well, we should not forget the massacre of some 400 civilians at My Lai by our own soldiers. Let us not forget Pol Pot and the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Let us not forget that our involvement in Vietnam was due in part to our paranoia regarding the “Domino Theory” of the Eisenhower years, where it was believed that if one Asian country fell to the communists, others would soon follow.
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I fear, Cmdr. Morris, that what we have learned in Vietnam has been forgotten long ago. Iraq and Afghanistan are the proof of that amnesia.
When I asked my granddaughter during a recent visit whether she had decided whom and what to vote on in the November election, she surprised me by saying, “I don’t vote.”
When I asked her why, her quick reply was, “Elections are bought and paid for by wealthy people and big corporations, and they surely don’t represent me; the system is rigged, Grandma — didn’t you know that?”
I have always voted and always believed my vote counted. Yet, sadly, I couldn’t give her an answer with any degree of conviction. Why? Because I’m afraid she is correct. Cynicism is a terrible thing to see in the young and the old.
San Luis Obispo
Eye of the Camel
The June 5 article on homeless parking was a disappointment after waiting about five years for the project to begin. If we are going to help people find a more comfortable life, then we first need to respect them.
Parking for the homeless can be managed in a more caring and humane way, but first we have to go through the “Eye of the Camel.” One of the gates into the old city of Jerusalem is shaped so tall and narrowly that in order for a camel to enter it, the owners had to take off all of the camel’s burdens and cargo. Then and only then would the camel be able to enter the beloved city.
Plastic bags no joke
My wife and I were lucky enough to have spent some time in Kauai recently. I am so amazed at what a beautiful and clean place the island is.
The Hawaiians are a good people; family and land are priorities in their life. So come to find out they passed a plastic bag ban over a year ago. They took it all in stride and are proud to participate. SLO County is one of the most precious places on Earth. When I hear the Tea Party types here scream about how fascists are killing us by taking our plastic bags away, I laugh. The truth is, this is no joke. These little parachutes are winding up in the waterways and ocean and they look like hell. Take a look at the trash along Atascadero roads; 40 to 50 percent are plastic bags.
I wish people could just take responsibility for themselves so we could have less government. But it appears this issue has become a political football. The ban is a simple solution to a problem that shouldn’t need to be approved by a political party or news station. I know deep down that most SLO County residents are for our land also.
The Tribune on May 24 had an article about the vote on the NCSD request for a pipeline from Santa Maria (“Nipomo Community Services shuts off future faucets”). Board member Larry Vierhelig is quoted as stating, “We need to hear from the community. We need to get them working on the process so there’s some ownership out there.” I thought the community had made a statement to the board by the results of the vote. It seems to me the “no” vote states the community does not want to support the pipeline.
One board member apparently wants to keep building and over-drafting the basin. Does he want a broader voter base for incorporation? Plus the board has already approved 276 “will-serve” letters.
Read the last few lines of the article, which state, “... district officials say the problem on the Mesa hasn’t changed. ‘The reality is we haven’t had enough water to allocate for construction in three to five years,’ ” board member Michael Winn said. Yet, the district continued to provide water, though, based on the assumption that the pipeline project would move ahead. So, where is the leadership and protecting the community water supply in that decision?
If they had stopped three to five years ago, would we have the problem?
Better use for funds?
I realize that people have a right to spend their money however they wish, but $60,000 for a flag pole memorial in Atascadero? We already have a huge, expensive veterans memorial at the entrance to the lake park.
What does this say about the values of a community, where children and their parents are sleeping in cars because there aren’t enough beds in the homeless shelter; where people are lined up at Loaves & Fishes and the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) dinner because they can’t afford to feed their families?
I know because they come to my door at our church parsonage looking for a place to park their cars, money for bus fares, looking for any kind of work we might be able to offer.
A vibrant, attractive community is one that reaches out and looks after their neighbors, not one building memorials to impress. How we spend our money, public or private, speaks to the heart of a community.
How far could $60,000 go to better the lives of those struggling next door to you? ECHO is about to buy the Baptist Church to expand the homeless shelter. I would imagine they could use a little help.
The Rev. Susan Brecht
Community Church of Atascadero, UCC
Shame and praise
To Kevin Rice, who according to The Tribune was responsible for the inaccurate phone calls claiming Adam Hill’s lack of support of Rep. Lois Capps, I say shame on you.
To Ed Waage, who waged a most unpleasant name-calling campaign, I say shame on you, too.
Sometimes the good guys do win — congratulations, Adam Hill, and for keeping your message civil.
San Luis Obispo
Let them eat liver
I predict that Debbie Arnold’s first official act in office will be to mount a campaign to reverse the ban on foie gras in California.
It’s the least she can do for her supporters.
San Luis Obispo
Horrors of war
Paul Fussell, one of the hundreds of enduring authors who experienced combat in the Second World War, passed away recently. Of the 16 million Americans who served in uniform during The War, only about 3 million are still with us. Having been raised by this generation, I find myself quite reflective with a sense of loss nearly every week now when news of their passing finds me.
I read Fussell for the first time more than 20 years ago with the publication of “Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War.” This book began my transformation from hero worshipper to compassionate realist. The war of John Wayne and Sergeant Saunders on which I had been raised was only mythological with little resemblance to the truth, which Fussell learned very young as a 20-year-old infantry platoon leader seriously wounded in Germany.
Most Americans do not understand the extreme horrors experienced by combatants of the “Good War.” We have transferred this ill-conceived glory to our contemporary wars, having become more able to send our sons and daughters into harm’s way under the illusions of blind patriotism.
My deepest wish is that this misperception of war will be replaced with a stronger respect for the sanctity and preservation of our young Americans’ souls.
Thank you, Mr Fussell, for opening my eyes.
San Luis Obispo