Mail October 15-October 21, 2008 

In the World's Melting Pot, We're All the Same

Both candidates for our presidency talk about change. But while it sounds nice, to really bring fundamental changes to an established system usually requires something dramatic, something fearful. We now have a set of conditions so frightening that we may be forced to look at our system seriously. Good things can come from bad things. Sound odd? During WWII, we needed help in production so much that we hired women, oh my. Some of us remember Rosie the Riveter in ads. Women, for the first time, came out of the home and took jobs. It changed our culture, and changed the role of the woman. This change is still in progress. Then there was the Great Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt led our country in developing things like Social Security and the Civilian Conservation Corps, which gave people the chance to serve their country in improving greatly our national landscape.

My point? We now, for the first time, have an African-American who is very likely to become our president, partly because we are so worried about things as they are right now that we will take the gamble that change requires of us. Those who have imbedded themselves in the system, and who make big bucks, will fight against change to the end. But Obama really does advocate change, and has from the beginning. About 75 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction in which our country is headed. We may even take a serious look at our health-care system. And we might even drop the dash from Mexican-American, African-American, or Polish-American, and just become Americans, at last.

—Tom Edgar, Boise

State of Idaho: Made in China

Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008, I attended the AARP-sponsored Mature Worker Job Fair. While cruising the potential employer displays, I came upon our wonderful state of Idaho's display. While talking with one of the representatives, I reached over and picked up one of the miniature capitol building "frustration" squeezers. While still talking with the rep and absent mindedly "squeezing the capitol," I rolled it over in my hand and there on the bottom was a "made in China" sticker. Without saying a word, I handed it to the rep and walked off. Disgusting.

—Stanley Huffaker, Caldwell

The New Marlboro Cowboy

Excuse me while I nearly choke to death ... It's a fact that these oversized diesel pickup trucks spew more carcinogenic particulate matter into the air in one four-second burst of acceleration than is contained in a whole pack of filter cigarettes. Really. So if there are four stop lights per mile of urban driving, that's like smoking four packs of cigarettes per mile. Now that's a serious habit. Of course we must acknowledge that all the school buses and heavy dump trucks and such also play a dangerous role in this environmental disaster, but nevertheless the rest of us continue to fork over the annual Ada County emissions testing fee and just hope we don't die of lung cancer. I wonder if our government ever plans to wake up to this problem and start doing something about it.

—Jim Spicka, Boise

Singed, Disappointed and Disgusted

I have been a regular reader of the Boise Weekly since my first semester at Boise State. I usually enjoy the witticisms and local media coverage, but today I was severely disappointed. While reading the 2008 Editors' Picks Public Eye article online, I noticed this particular entry: "Best Political Nepotism, Anna Sali. Rep. Bill Sali's daughter was honored earlier this summer with a Congressional Award Gold Medal, a noncompetitive award bestowed apparently on any 14- to 23-year-old who sets some goals and attains them. Singer Anna Sali set out to learn about the music biz, put out a CD and do a little volunteer work at her school. Maybe someone should have told Michael Phelps there was an easier way." (BW, Feature, "Best of Boise," Sept. 24, 2008)

Now, I am all in favor of mocking Sali and his ridiculous political fiascoes. Mocking his daughter seems a little of a low blow, but what really irked me was the way the Gold Congressional Medal was portrayed. I am a proud recipient of the Gold Congressional Medal, which I achieved when I was 17 years old, and it was no easy task. It is meant as a public confirmation of the hard work completed by a young American citizen. It takes a little more than just setting some goals and attaining them. In case you were unaware, in order to get to gold-medal status, you must complete 400 hours of community service work, 200 hours of personal development work, 200 hours of physical fitness work, and to plan and execute three exploration/expedition trips for a minimum total of seven overnights. For each level, (bronze, silver and gold), you must set one goal for each category, for a total of 12 goals completed by the end of it. It is a hell of a lot of work and for you to mock it, and those who labor in their efforts to achieve it, in your paper is unacceptable and displays your own ignorance for the subject. You can be sure that I will not read your rag again.

—Karissa J. Adams, Boise

Correction

Last week's citydesk column contained an error about absentee voting procedure: People who request an absentee ballot can still go to the polls on Nov. 4 to vote, as long as they have not sent in the absentee ballot already.

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