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New Mexican (Newspaper) - October 2, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico Opinion K2 Kellers U llio editor K3 My F3 inions Why doth Delay rage Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins deals with representatives indictment PageF2 F SUNDAY OCTOBER 2 2005 THE NEW MEXICAN INEZ RUSSELL Commentary Cut us slack when it comes to old religion Keeping religion and government separate is never easy in New Mex ico not in a place where the two earliest established cultures the Indian and the Spanish keep religion close in their daily lives and have for centuries How then to follow the interpreta tions of the Constitution to keep religious and public life separate while still respecting the traditional life of the people who were here before the Consti tution and before the United States I say cut ussome slack Slack has no legal definition and cant be argued in a court of law but surely in New Mexico we can figure it out Sam Pick former mayor of Santa Fe was a master at cutting some slack When the American Civil Liberties Union got hot and bothered perhaps rightfully so over the large Cross of the Martyrs being located on public land thenMayor Pick and the city figured out a way to put the Fiesta Council in charge of the cross and avoid government aid ing an establishment of religion I attended kindergarten at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Las Vegas a fine establishment that stopped being a Catholic school years before the name changed In many parts of the United States it would be out of the question to have a public school named after the Virgin Mary But the school stayed OLOS for almost 20 years until the school board finally changed the name Perhaps someone cut them some slack The Fiesta de Santa Fe features reli gious processions through town The pilgrimage to Chimayo each Holy Week is similarly religious in nature Our local and state government officials use the commonsense notion that public safety demands their involvement despite the religious nature of the events Up in Taos much bitterness occurred when newcomers questioned why schoolchildren were taking part incentu riesold but admittedly religious plays in school around the holidays The answer was simple It was easier to grab the kids at school where everyone had to be and teach them about their vanishing culture Too bad said the people who moved here because they loved our quaint cul ture To them religion had no place in the public schools Id agree with that notion but I always wondered and still do why people who love our culture so much try so hard to change it once theyve moved into their adobierthanthou haciendas Religion doesnt have a place in school but surely the traditional plays could have been taught in schools as history Santomaking can be taught in art class after all not necessarily as a religious expression but as a cultural tradition honed to perfection in North ern New Mexico Its all a matter of true tolerance for a way of life where religion isnt reserved for Sundays The people who want religion out of schools also seem to take a much severer view of Christianity than they do other religions No one objects for example to taking schoolchildren on field trips to pueblo feast days Little in New Mexico contains as much religion and spirituality as a pueblo religious ceremony but field trip organizers dont seem to mind that intersection of church and state These battles are nothing new Back in 1951 Presbyterians from Dixon success fully won a case to prohibit nuns in their habits from teaching in New Mexico public schools In 1985 Bernalillo County lost its battle to keep a cross on its seal Now a federal lawsuit is seeking to remove three crosses from Las Graces seal although the suit does not seek to change the towns name which trans lates from Spanish as the And so it goes My solution A care fully applied constitutional exception to traditions that precede the Constitution thus enshrining the principle of cutting each other some slack Inez Russell a longtime New Mexico journalist can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org TUSSEARE EKGCUTNK W3ULPNT LIKE WCALLFbl The most experienced wait longest for raises I am happy that the governor is approving higher pay for state workers As a master teacher of 23 years I qualify as a state employee But alas last year and this year my raises have been 1 percent not enough to keep up with increases hi insurance or in taxes Those of us at the third tier with advanced degrees and training will not see significant pay increases until 2007 Why is that The state hasa surplus Santa Fe Public Schools was fined recently for having surplus funds How is it that those teach ers with the most experience and training who are expected to mentor new teachers and take on addi tional responsibilities in their schools continue to be insulted with such meager pay If parents value expert teachers they should demand a 6 percent pay raise fhis year for thirdtier teachers which would allow 3 percent costofIiving raises Millie McFarland Cerrillos Stand up now Recently a lifelong friend labeled me a flaming liberal because of my strong opposition to the Iraq war Since my political leaning is moderateconser vative I was quite surprised Unfortunately many people characterize war support or opposition in terms of a conservative or liberal political stance But for me it is really an issue about the judgment and common sense of em otional leadership independent of party affiliation Now our great country finds itself with a clue less president abetted by a timid feckless Congress pursuing illegal senseless and destructive foreign adventures The option of last resort between elec tions for all who love America is to speak out pub licly via peaceful demonstrations and letter writing I have been trying to do this myself and I urge Americans of all political persuasions who oppose the Iraq war to do the same I am convinced that ultimately the judgment and common sense of our informed citizens is greater than that of the politi cians Don MacFarlane Santa Fe Gas gouging I recently returned from a week driving through Kansas At its highest the price of regular gas there was over By the Friday of that week it was dropping When we left on the subsequent Sunday regular had dropped to around This was con sistent with all the prices we saw in Oklahoma and Texas on the drive home But of course on returning home I saw that Santa Fe gas stations had kept the prices high Thats par for the course Anyone who drives out of state realizes we inhabit an island of overpriced gas And this trip was proof that while everyone else is dropping prices back down quickly we are being gouged with continuing high prices Mary Kirst Santa Fe Good job When plans were first announced for the repav ing of the Old Las Vegas Highway I could imagine flagmen and long lines of traffic standing still How ever this has not happened since the paving has begun Traffic is diverted to an unpaved section or to a recently paved section while an adjacent section of asphalt is laid down All the while traffic flows smoothly I think the company doing the job should be commended for a wellplanned project John W McClure Santa Fe Level field Why are big multistate corporations such as Wal Mart allowed to avoid paying their fair share of New Mexicos corporate tax This gives them an unfair advantage over local businesses that dont have the option of playing a shell game that allows them to report their New Mexico profits elsewhere and avoid paying New Mexico taxes on them As state Rep Peter Wirth DSanta Fe said in a recent New Mexican opinion piece corporations operating in multiple states should not be allowed to shift on paper their profits to another state they do business in that does not have a cor porateincome tax This loophole which benefits only these large multistate corporations should be closed I support Wirths solution combined reporting that will require corporations operating in multiple states to report their New Mexico profits here and pay New Mexico taxes on them just as our local businesses do Ellen Pinnes Santa Fe Statue of Responsibility A true democratic system is not founded on lib erty alone On the contrary without personal and collective responsibility there can be no democracy and no real freedom True freedom is a fundamental value that must be cherished and protected by each and every one of us And this can only be accomplished if we hold ourselves and our fellow human beings respon sible In the 1960s Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl warned Americans not to forget the responsibility side of the freedom equa tion by recommending the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Respon sibility on the West Coast There is a worldwide initiative led by the non profit Statue of Responsibility Foundation that is committed to building a Statue of Responsibility monument on the West Coast of America before the end of the first decade of the 21st century Find out more about the foundation and the pro posed design of the monument by visiting Alex N Pattakos Santa Fe Poor little rich boy Maybe it wasnt such a good idea to have a rich boy president George W Bush has never had to balance a check book Hes always had unlimited funds that he didnt have to earn himself If his business ventures failed friends lined up to bail him out and to bank roll his next project the baseball team becoming governor buying his way to the presidency Bush wanted a nice shiny war like his daddys so he could strut around in his flight suit and savor the triumph of a great military victory lyirtg to the American people so we would buy it for him Now hes bankrupting the country to try to buy back his preHurricane Katrina support to improve his standing in the polls What if he gets bored with reconstruction What will he want us to buy for him next Sean Gardner Santa Fe Patriots all LaRowe writes that patriots support their country and its policies and therefore that patri ots have to support the war in Iraq and that anyone who does not is not patriotic My dictionary says a patriot lovesones but does not say anything about policies By LaRowes thinking Nazis in Germany were just good patriots Or to look at it another way if our next president changes our policy toward war in Iraq does that mean that unless LaRowe changes his or her think ing is no longer a patriot Do patriots just change their thinking every time our policies change I think not I am sure LaRowe is a patriot as are the people who opp os e our o ccupat ion of Iraq Robert Garcia Santa Fe More Letters to the Editor Page F3 ORLANDO ROMERO Commentary If democracy is failing were to blame Recent events including Katrina and our prolonged involvement in an unjustifiable war over oil have made me take a long hard look at the term justice According to Webster the term signifies the quality of being which leads us to the term just that is to be guided by truth reason justice and Lets discuss some current issues that are affecting us based on the term jitst and keeping well in mind that the basis of any lasting democracy must be based on truth reason justice and fairness How is it just that we got involved in a war on the pretense that a petty dictator had to be overthrown to keep us from his fictional weapons of mass destruction Were we as Americans denied one of the principles of justice that is the truth when President Bush and his neocons pushed us into this conflict And were we not lied to when the real reasonfor invading Iraq was oil lots of it In the words of Michael Savage pre eminent right wing neocon and talk show host This war is about oil and our coun try needs oil Where is the truth and fair ness of our young men an women dying for a material commodity rather than for a just cause How will history and the final reality of this conflict balance with not only the loss of American life but also that of innocent Iraqis who got in the way Maybe in a larger context the question should be Have Americans lost their sense of what is just Have we become so selfabsorbed and materialistic that we no longer have time to sit down analyze question our own actions and morality Or have we arrogantly believed all along that because we are a powerful and rich country we have the right to preemptive strikes without considering the consequences And with a weak dol lar being in debt up to our eyeballs to China the cost of the Iraqi war Katrina and Rita how long will it be before we become a poorer nation Philosophically we can take the ques tions further Has our country always been a poorer nation morally because truth fairness and justice have been denied to millions of Americans How can we say we are a just and fair country when for example close to 50 million Americans dont have health insurance Is it just and fair of a rich country to have 25 percent of its African Americans living in poverty or 36 million Americans going hungry while there is so much obesity Where are our political leaders espe cially the Democrats who long stood as bastions for social and economic justice Why has it become so difficult to distinguish one party from the other Ive always believed that at times politi cians become a reflection of their con stituents If the constituents are selfish selfabsorbed materialistic and reaction ary can we expect any difference in our political officials While the rightwing spin doctors try in vain to put a positive face on and even ignore our current administrations failure both abroad and domestically many Americans are asking the same questions Why are we failing our own citizenry so badly According to Webster if we are not being guided by truth reason justice and what does guide us as Americans Could the answer be so simplistic that it could be described as the possibility that we have abdicated our responsibility as citizens and let politicians rule over us as sheep And even then doesnt a good shepherd take extraordinary care of his flock One can sit and philosophize our decline as a country We can point fingers in many directions but it always comes back to us as citizens We and our politi cians sit on our hands because we are being led by laziness rightwing reac tionaries and special interests rather than being guided by justice If democracy fails it is because of us Orlando Romero may be reached at Nambel@aol.com Section editor Ml Waters email@example.com Design by Gina Lcyba firstname.lastname@example.org
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