Letters for Monday, June 11, 2007

• Who wants a better America?

• Immigrant response

• To seat belt

• A Garden Isle Angel

Who wants a better America?

In yesterday’s issue of the The Garden Island the author of the letter “Trading places” suggested that those who are in dissent of his president, the big corporations, the environmental records and the military should leave the United States and live in the countries where the illegal aliens came from. At the same time he welcomes views with positive solutions.

Oh, dear.

According to the latest polls 66 percent of the Americans disapprove of George Bush, with thousands of highly qualified scientists, economists, politicians, teachers and just honest workers among them. Can you imagine if two-thirds of America pulled up stakes and relocated to another country and were replaced by the illegal aliens who are mostly manual workers? They were not lucky enough to get their education, and regardless how honest they might be, as a replacement force their impact on our economy and progress would be anything but positive. And just because they want American citizenship, are you sure that they all would be supporting your president? Their primary goal is to make a living, better than the one they could manage at home. This is a heck of a positive solution.

History is a good teacher, but not every student is a good student. Those who skip the most important pages in the history book will fail to see the big picture. Without criticism there is no progress. Those who criticize the current leadership, the big corporations, the environmental records etc., love this country more than those who follow blindly.

Why? Because they want a better America, they want an honest president who does not lie to the people he is supposed to serve, who can make announced visits even to the country that he claims to have liberated and shake hands with the everyday citizens in the open market. Those who criticize want to change the perception of the world about Americans so that the Americans and not their wallets are welcomed and loved wherever they travel. And to achieve this our government and policy must change, then the world will follow suit.

János Samu


Immigrant response

I appreciate that Gordon Oswald shows a minimal level of respect for the humanity of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Yet, in his clever exhortation that those of us who criticize our government “trade places” with those immigrants, he misses a crucial point: Most immigrants who cross the southern border of the United States would much rather stay in their own homelands and earn enough to feed their families. However(and here I go criticizing U.S. policy again) due to a history of U.S. support for brutal regimes and counter-insurgents, as well as the recent imposition of NAFTA, citizens of Mexico and Central America have found it increasingly difficult to stay, and thrive in their beloved homes. NAFTA has played a significant role in driving Mexican agricultural workers off the land and raising the price of staple foods. The price of corn tortillas, for example, has risen by more than 50 percent. Factors like displacement, food prices, and U.S.-supported political repression have combined to put unbearable pressure on the poor of Mexico and Central America.

Incredibly, some people stay in their countries and fight for justice and fairness. Yet history shows that when such actions begin to make progress, the U.S. is waiting in the wings to crush the uprisings. Few U.S. citizens recall the torture manuals created by the United States and provided to the counter-insurgency death squads in El Salvador in the 1980s when Salvadoran peasants rose up to demand economic justice. Or the training, arms and finacial backing we supplied the brutal Contras in Nicaragua. Not surprisingly, there was a surge of immigration from Central America at that time. And those are just two examples out of dozens.

We in the United States will eventually have to face the fact that the policies we enact in the global South to “protect our interests” and sustain our ever-more-gluttonous standard of living have devastating effects on the people of the region. It should not surprise us when millions from the very impoverished populations we helped create come seeking jobs.

Katy Rose


To seat belt

To seatbelt or not to seatbelt, that is the question.

Most of my life I would buckle up or not depending on where my memory bank was at the moment. Then in 1993 an amazing event convinced me I should always buckle up. I was ‘toodling’ along in traffic in Southern New Mexico, in a very large 14 passenger van, following a line of cars moving about 60 miles an hour. A drunk driver, who apparently thought he was qualifying for the demolition derby, decided to pull onto the freeway from a side road and than decided about half way across it should be a u-turn, right in front of me.

Have you ever come to an abrupt stop from 60 miles an hour? Wow, cut his car right in half.

Me? Well, if I didn’t have my seat belt on, I would have gone thru the windshield, face first. I’m way too cute to end up looking like Quazimoto. The drunk driver was carried from his car. He wasn’t hurt, just too drunk to walk.

Will I ever drive without a seat belt? Not in this lifetime.

To seat belt.

Billy Whelan


A Garden Isle Angel

This letter tells a story about a Christmas miracle, and a ‘Garden Isle Angel’ named Sechiko Takayama.

I had my purse stolen on Christmas day from my rental car, parked near a beach on Maui. They got all my money, ID, credit cards, checkbook. I was flying to Kaua‘i the next day. I landed on the island with the 27 cents I’d had in my pocket. I’d paid for, but couldn’t rent my car without my credit card or ID. I had no cab fare. Budget Rental (thank you very much) gave me a complimentary ride to my hotel. The woman driving me inquired about my stay. I told her about my stolen purse, and apologized for not being able to tip her. She dropped me at the hotel, wished me well, and drove away. As I waited in line to register, I felt a hand reaching into my pocket. Quite surprised, I turned to find the same woman placing a hundred-dollar bill into my pocket. She said: “Have a few meals on me, enjoy your stay.” I told her I couldn’t take her money but she insisted. I asked for her name, but she was gone as quickly as she’d come. She expected absolutely nothing in return. It took me a while to find out who this woman was, and I wanted to share my story. She is a true inspiration to the way more people should view life.

I had something valuable taken from me, but received much more in return. I was reminded that good people still exist, and I was lucky enough to meet my Garden Isle Angel. Thank you Sechiko, I’ll never forget your kindness.

Suanne Estey

Missoula, Mont.


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