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Readers' Forum

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More Art and Community

I thoroughly enjoyed your most recent issue, “Art and Community.” I wish every organization and person building community through art could have been featured. In particular, there is one based in Boston: Art Street, Inc., run by “Sidewalk Sam.”

 

I first met Sidewalk Sam and ArtStreet through a mural painting project with students in SquashBusters, an after-school program for urban kids from Boston. Art Street's method is simple: Use art as a catalyst to bring people together in support of community

 issues. Place art directly in the path of busy people and reach a large audience with an important message. Art Street works with schools, community organizations, government agencies, and corporations to develop and manage effective cultural

programs that reach diverse audiences and promote public support for civic and cultural issues. Thank you for your inspiring, centering work.

 

Mary Beth Horn

via email

 

Iraq Tragedy

I was surprised to see a photo of Phil Steger and myself in your Spring 2002 issue.

Iraq broke my heart. I am a family nurse practitioner and cannot imagine going to work every day to care for my patients knowing that they will die of easily cured diseases. I saw children dying in the hospitals for want of the free samples I had back in my office in the US. The few medicines we were able to bring with us, illegal under the sanctions, were just a drop in the bucket of need.

 

I talked to a doctor in Basra who had delivered 34 babies with major fetal anomalies between January and August of 2000. In the 14 years prior to the Gulf War, she had seen one such baby. Pregnancy has become a time of terror for many women who wonder if they will deliver monsters. The sanctions being imposed against the people of Iraq are by far the worst ‘weapon of mass destruction' in the Middle East, killing 160 children every day for over 11 years.

 

Larry Kerschner

Pe Ell, WA

 

Kucinich's Future Not Positive for Women

An important piece of information was left out of Sarah van Gelder's interview with Rep. Dennis Kucinich in issue 22: Kucinich has a strong anti-choice voting record in Congress that has earned him low ratings from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. It's clear that if Rep. Kucinich has his way, it won't be a very “positive future” for millions of American women who cherish their reproductive freedom.

 

I, too, am hopeful about many of the issues Rep. Kucinich cares about, but his anti-choice actions, which are a direct attack on women's rights, contradict his dedication to the just world his proposed Department of Peace would work toward.

 

Maureen Cain

Tucson, AZ

 

Kucinich Loses My Vote

I was encouraged to read about Dennis Kucinich by Studs Terkle in The Nation magazine several weeks ago and to see your article about him, until I read Katha Pollitt's column “Regressive Progressive?” in the May 27 issue of The Nation, where I was appalled to learn that Kucinich's voting record on abortion rights is zero for and 100 percent against.

 

As opposition to abortion rights is to me the core of hard-core misogyny, I could not possibly support Kucinich for anything, despite all of his other fine ideals. I don't know how other readers of YES! feel, but don't they at least have a right to know this? And in the list of the progressive issues listed in the “New Political Compass” article by Paul Ray, women's rights are not included.

 

Sue Nash

via email

 

New Progressives, Vote!

I enjoyed reading “The New Political Compass” by Paul Ray in the summer issue of YES! I certainly fit his definition of a “New Progressive.” However, after pondering his statistics, I have to ask myself, “Why is Bush president?” Ray claims that 12 percent of the population is “Liberal Left” and 36 percent is “New Progressive,” which together add up to 48 percent of the population. “Social Conservatives” and “Big Business Conservatives” together account for 33 percent of the population. In order for Bush to have come close to a majority, most of those Ray identifies as “Alienated/Uninformed” would have had to vote for Bush, though the category implies many nonvoters should be in there as well.

 

Even if I'm a bit off on my mathematical reasoning (never my strong suit), I'm still wondering how such an anti-progressive man like Bush could have been (s)elected if 38 percent of the population or 45 percent of likely voters, as Ray further claims, are New Progressives. I hope that any New Progressives out there who tend to abstain from voting will realize the importance of voting against this regressive and repressive administration, its congressional allies, and its at best incompetent public figurehead. The future of our global environment, civil liberties, and democratic traditions may be hanging in the balance.

 

Mark Archambault

Nashua, NH

 

Ray Responds

Voter participation rates were back down again in 2000, which favors conservative candidates like Bush. Normally a tight race raises voter participation, but not this time:

our folks tended to sit it out.  Campaign 2000 was a cowardly centrist campaign that did not favor emerging issues. None of the New Progressives' issues were discussed in the 2000 elections, so there was no way to mobilize them. No one was speaking to them, and people won't respond unless they do.

 

If emerging issues, for creating more positive futures, get a lot of discussion, you'll see the New Progressives shine. And they're 45 percent of likely voters, and Liberal Left are 15 percent of likely voters, so that if any competent coalition building is done, they'll walk away with any election campaign that is run by New Progressives on their issues.

 

Sue Nash obviously has not seen my longer article, available online at www.culturalcreatives.org, which shows that women's issues of all kinds, especially women's rights, are at the center of New Progressive values. She should also remember, on the subject of Kucinich, that one-issue politics is a loser's game. We'll never build the political big tent if we have to have every candidate of ours just right on every issue, even one as important as a woman's right to choose. I predict Kucinich will find a way to carry the abortion issue to a higher level and transcend this unproductive conflict that feeds only the radical right.

 

Prison Issue Still Important

I realize it is a bit late for comments on this issue, but as a woman who served time in California for killing her batterer over 22 years ago and am now a practicing psychologist with women who are currently incarcerated for killing their abusers, I found your issue on prisons [YES! Fall 2000] most informative and I have taken the

liberty to share much of it with my clients. They often lose hope that anyone cares or is trying to protect their rights and those of their children. You have helped to reaffirm that they are not forgotten.

 

I have been a contributing author to The Verdict magazine for the California Coalition of Legal Professionals and I find your journal to be a wonderful addition to that publication. Thank you for such a well done product.

 

Linda Braun Lopez, Ph.D.

via email

 

Not My Opinions

I am writing in response to Preston Enright's letter in the Summer 2002 issue. I am Preston Enright, and I would never have written the letter that was attributed to me. Apparently, there was a mix-up during production and my name was attached to somebody else's sentiments. Usually, I concur with the letters printed in YES! Unfortunately, the content of this letter could have been authored by one of the military's public relations firms.

 

To take one example, the suggestion that, “America's problem is that we would really prefer that the world go away and leave us alone” ignores the American Empire's long history of violent intervention in regions that wish this superpower would go away and leave them alone. An honest look at the casualties in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Wounded Knee, East Timor, Colombia, and other locations we have invaded or sanctioned or sprayed with Monsanto products to “impose peace” would dispel such delusions.

I suggest that the actual author explore the work of Global Exchange, Noam Chomsky, and others.

 

Preston Enright

Denver, CO

 

 

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