The Need To Hold On

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[Re: Newscity, “Set in Granite,” Sept. 4-10] The City Council’s plan to construct a war memorial to honor those New Mexicans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan is worth consideration.

I agree with Councilors Don Harris and Sally Mayer that politics should be left out, and I agree that veterans deserve every bit of honor we can muster.

As a veteran, we see it as political when you add the “why” of a thing. For many of us, the why is unimportant; the only important issue for us is from the ground—it’s you and the one next to you coming back with as may body parts as you left home with.

The “why” might help one from the outside understand, but from our (veterans’) point of view, it’s all too clear. So if you do this memorial, I must say to add the “why” of it is more for you than for me. As mentioned above, it affects me not, and if it’s for me, then any shared mention other than your thoughts for us takes away from us who serve and is not about veterans. If it’s for some other purpose, then leave us out. Don’t make another false claim to us or for me at the expense of veterans again. … Haven’t we been used enough already? And for those who gave their last measure of service, they deserve better, don’t you think?

I also agree with Mr. Powell (Veterans for Peace) and Mr. Anderson (Stop the War Machine) when they offer that we might also, in our honoring of veterans, respond a little to the needs of the living who sacrifice for country and service. For many veterans, the sacrifice is an ongoing process, short in the making of it and long in the enduring of it.

As a strategy in honoring veterans, veterans who have served ask if we might offer a suggestion: When we served, we gave more attention to those still living so that we might better serve each other, and for those gone we acted with respect to that loss. We thought it best to remember those who were lost to slow or stop as many other losses as we could. We thought it a worthwhile endeavor. For me, when I’m having a hard time going on, it’s the thought that I would be doing our lost veterans a disservice if I did not do all I could to live, because if the shoe was on the other foot, that is what would be expected of them. But many times, help is needed.

In Albuquerque, we believe there to be in excess of 5,000 people experiencing homelessness; about one-third we think are veterans, many more in and around are unaccounted for. New veterans enter homelessness in every return of our Iraq, Afghanistan veterans.

$300,000 would go a long way in providing housing, offsite clinics, mental health care options, job training, education opportunities and support of a GI rights hotline.

For those who say the VA already provides these services, remember there is not enough to go around; reinforcements are needed on all fronts in access to care.

As you think of what to put on memorials of honor, remember, for many veterans the sacrifice continues. The “why” for many veterans is not as important as the need to hold on.

Letters Neopalin

I just love the hypocrisy the neocons have shown in their pathetic scramble to portray VP candidate Sarah Palin as qualified. They have been reduced to claiming now that having five children alone should be more than enough to qualify her for the second-most powerful position in the free world! Let’s face it—it wasn’t easy to find a woman who hates women and loves war, so they had to take what they could get—but that by no means makes her qualified. There are certainly more qualified women in the Republican Party, but they’re all old and ugly, so there you go.

Imagine what the Republicans would be saying if she were a Democrat! Just think for a moment about what they’ve been saying about Hillary Clinton (a woman who actually is qualified) for the last two years. Oh, I don’t expect most people to recognize this sort of blatant hypocrisy for what it is, because I know many of my fellow Americans occupy a parallel universe where hypocrisy and critical thinking simply don’t exist … but still. I’m just saying.

Palin’s choice as VP is a cynical slap in the face to the women of this country. The Repubs actually assume women are dumb enough to vote for a woman—any woman—just because she’s a woman. Fortunately, none of the women I know are that stupid. They see it for what it is—a cynical ploy to pander to disgruntled former Clinton supporters. And also because a lot of really lonely men think she’s "hot." Apparently, just being hot is the only qualification she needs for the likes of the Limbaugh crowd. How pathetic is that?

The women I know aren’t interested in voting for just any woman simply because of her gender. They want to vote for an experienced, competent woman whose knowledge and accomplishments can stand up to any man’s—not someone they have to make excuses for.

Letters Limited Ambitions

[Re: Blog, “Retrospeculative #3: Red Dawn ,” Sept. 12] All I ever wanted to be was a Wolverine. I hope I one day will get the chance. If I can’t be a Wolverine, I want to be a bouncer at a Road House. If I can’t be a bouncer at a Road House, I want to teach Dirty Dancing at a Catskills resort. I wonder if I have a Ghost of a chance.

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