Letters to the editor (01/23/14)

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Veteran’s flag went missing
Editor:
I’m a disabled Navy veteran, retired some 20 years now. My wife and I moved back to New Mexico 19 years ago, built our home and settled in to retirement.
I had a flag pole in the frontyard, and I raised and lowered the flag regularly. I’m proud to have served my country and my flag was my way of showing my respect for that service.
(Recently) I returned from helping build a wheelchair ramp for one of our senior citizens when I discovered my flag pole was missing, a symbol of freedom and country service was gone.
It’s sad that there are those who have no respect for someone’s property and a symbol of service to our nation. It would be really nice to have my flag pole returned.

Joe Conner
Rio Communities

Labels can last forever
Editor:
There is a question as old as language — what is in a word, especially when applied to labeling segments of humanity held as different. Oh how some people do love the labeling of others as well as themselves (us, the betters/elect).
For example, political affiliations and ideologies are some of the favorite blessings and curses applied in labeling, used in conversations and all over the media; but, think of conservative, liberal and progressive and, what are those word’s/label’s footprints through history?
For instance, consider the label progressive because of those moments in history wherein human beings progressed from, let us call it the darkness of ignorance and the chains of stupidity (totally resistant to intellectual advancement based upon newer and more rational/factual examinations/evidence).
A person can look back at countless instances of changes in human thought and understandings by starting with early progressive attempts, like Plato’s story of the life of Socrates, who pushed for the advancement of humanity through encouraging youth to skeptical thought and, for so doing, was sentenced to death by his frightened, anti-change, conservative (right-wing) peers.
Another story, this time out of the Bible, and the most progressive speech in human history to date, the “Sermon on the Mount,” which eventually led once more to a sentence of death by that person’s frightened conservative period peers, political and religious.
We can skip by the well-known human progressions in England, the Magna Charter and The Charter of Liberties and travel to our own nation’s progressive/liberal leap for human progress, the progressive Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
But even those documents remained laced with the darkness of stubborn past evils and stupidities, such as human slavery and, further, institutionalized in law and religion, inequality leveled against women and the others.
Yet, there was more progress to come in this nation, won in the bloody Civil War and by the nation’s women in a 72 year progressive battle for the right to vote and other equalities; as always, the battle was a struggle between progressivism and entrenched, period conservatives and conservatism, political and religious.
In all of the examples above, from Socrates to Jesus and through the Enlightenment that brought forth this nation’s progressive journey through an old, stubborn, fixed darkness; the question that must be asked of all these period changes: What did the conservative population think of themselves politically, culturally and religiously?
For example, did the large segment of the population supporting slavery think of themselves as supporting a horrible evil? Well, no, if you read their period writings, speeches, and especially, sermons, they thought of themselves as the “true” political patriots/Americans, as the religiously founded, the chosen of God, the salt of the earth, the faithful with the best culture.
So, what historical burdens are in words when used as labels as defined today, looking back through human history and the darkness/evils of a human past — measured against the centuries of efforts and suffering needed for each little scrap of advancement — scientific, social and human dignity?
Well, as for me I choose the label progressive, having learned to sympathize with those forced to drink hemlock for daring to think skeptically, crucified by political/religious conservatives for liberal words, burned at the stake for thinking and speaking, held in slavery for profit, lynched as examples against perceived social threats, and spat upon for demanding the right to vote and human equality — such a partial list!
We should be careful with labels as history records our time, that we need not later to lie about our part under a different label — one that we were not!

Terry Mehaffey
Los Lunas

State should invest in the sun
Editor:
In response to the letter by Donna Crawford and shared by the News-Bulletin issue, dated Oct. 17, 2013, about the environmentalist scare.
Ms. Crawford does her best to make the environmentalist appear to be ridiculous and goes as far to label environmentalist as “greenies.”  The enthusiasm shared in this letter is much appreciated. The topic of Ms. Crawford’s letter has become my forte … oil, gas and coal and their relation to renewable energy (i.e. solar, wind  and geothermal).
Oil, gas and coal are bi-products of solar energy. It is because of the sun that we exist as we know life to be here on planet Earth. The Earth is a product of the sun.
The sun is the Earth’s power source. Human inhabitants of planet Earth learned to manipulate the abundant supply of solar energy’s natural resources, such as petroleum, and make enormous profit selling refined petroleum fuels to up link markets that make up the consumer market.
A conservative estimate of daily fuel pump sales can total $2 billion per day in the United States alone.
I understand the environmentalist scare described in the letter by Donna Crawford. The scare or the fear is from knowing the profits just described could be significantly reduced when the automobile industry and the power producing industry by-pass the oil, gas and coal middle-person and connect directly to the sun and wind.
I too would be scared and fearful of the sun and wind having vested financial interest in oil, gas and coal. It would be time for me to diversify my financial interest to include renewable energy power sources.
May the sun continue to shine and wind continue on it’s merry way producing power for planet Earth’s human inhabitants. May New Mexico take a leading role in renewable energy power production.

Michael Melendez
Los Lunas