Wheel Of Morality, Turn, Turn, Turn

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[RE: Ortiz y Pino, “Don't Ask, Don't Tell … and Don't Pray] I would like to thank Ortiz y Pino for sticking up for us gay people. But I have a different take on the Catholic Church and homosexuals. I agree with the Church and the bumper stickers that say, “You can’t be Catholic and pro-choice,” or pro-death penalty, pro-birth control, pro-divorce, pro-gay. If you want to call yourself Catholic, you should stick to the tenets of your faith. If you have a problem with them, there are many other churches (religions) that will cater to your beliefs. Personally, I can’t understand why any self-respecting gay man or woman would belong to a church that teaches that your very being is a sin. I have heard from friends that a large percentage of priests are gay. This may be a little severe, but I liken it to a black man putting on a pointy white hat and going to a KKK meeting weekly. I’m afraid that this new witch hunt by the current pope, in trying to show he is doing something about his little pedophile club (which the Church has been protecting for years) has a lot of people associating gays with the sick bastards who pray on children. I am sick to death of religion telling me I am an immoral man–when I know in my heart that I and the majority of gay, lesbian, bi and transgender people are extremely moral, God-fearing, hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of the United States of America.

Viva La Revolución!

A few weekends ago I spent Saturday and Sunday at the Bioneers conference, sponsored by Sustain Taos, here in Albuquerque on the UNM Campus. Morning sessions were beamed via satellite from the main conference in California, while afternoon sessions were led by locals from across the state. There were inventors, business owners, scientists, musicians, civil rights leaders, bicycle enthusiasts, farmers, educators and students leading sessions. I was inspired.

New Mexico not only has the opportunity, right now, for an economic revolution, we have the people-power to put behind this revolution. We are ready to embrace a social and economic system that is for the good of all. Judging by the turnout at this conference, we are ready to become leaders in not only renewable energy (and lessen our dependence on oil), we are ready to increase our connections to people, to our land and to our planet. It’s time for us to use our resources. In New Mexico we have a group of people who are ready and willing to do what it takes to lead this state into a new economy, to help all people move into a comfortable lifestyle, to put New Mexico on the map as the first in renewable energy solutions. Let’s join together and do it now!

Wake Up, People

Looking into the inquiry of the top Republican Senator Bill Frist’s blind trust involvement, or Texas Rep. Tom Delay’s campaign donations, should be a wakeup call to all citizens. Unlike the rules that regulate elected officials’ investments to insure the trustee’s neutrality, government is not supposed to be a blind trust. Allowing the executive or legislative branches to circumvent opposition or legislate in secret demands real scrutiny. Adding amendments to unrelated bills, after they have been previously voted down, like opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, or changing the rules on environmental protection for the Valle Vidal or Otero Mesa are not transparent democracy.

Loss of credibility in government has increased frighteningly since 2000. Failure to count the votes or denying targeted eligible voters the vote; gerrymandering voting districts to insure winning seats in Congress; ordering secrecy of executive discussion and memos unrelated to national security; dismissing accountability of government officials or special interest corporations; propagandizing the media to support policies and pressuring friend or foe to toe the party line; suppressing individual freedoms without just cause; snubbing the world community instead of working with it. Oh! There is a ray of light. Our Gov. Bill Richardson is willing to sit down with North Korean leaders and discuss nuclear disarmament. Yet our Sen. Pete Domenici still wants to build a new stash of mini-nukes!

Now Congress is considering cutting back on Medicaid funding, food stamps and other necessary social programs while trying to extend tax cuts for the very wealthy and funding more military spending. If we don’t stand up and demand openness and accountability from our elected officials, then the messes they make affect us to our own peril. It’s the old proverb about the blind leading the blind. Open your eyes, folks!

Dumbing Down The Media

{RE: Thin Line, “Albuquerque Journal Plays Matchmaker,” Nov 3-9} Thanks for your recent critique of both Albuquerque The Magazine and the Albuquerque Journal. Indeed, the cover story of Albuquerque The Magazine about “Hot Singles” and the Journal‘s article about “Mrs. Right, Dream Home Up For Bid” struck me as examples of silly, “smoke and mirrors” journalism. Is this the best kind of journalism that Albuquerque can muster during this particular historic moment when we need journalists to be on their toes (and, perhaps, not on their backs)?

The only addition that I might add to Carr’s list of oddball reporting is the city-wide “cheerleading” of the recent Robert ParkeHarrision photo exhibition at the UNM Art Museum (articles gushing about ParkeHarrison appeared in Albuquerque Arts, the Crosswinds, the Journal, and the Alibi). Indeed, his images are rich with eye-candy, but one might hope that at least a single local journalist might look beyond the overly simplistic imagery.

ParkeHarrison’s depictions of post-apocalyptic landscapes are populated by one individual—a blond, white male dressed in a business suit. Duh. And this businessman (positioned as the Architect’s brother—Umm, are we talking smartly dressed deities or what?) seems to be our only hope for earthly survival. We are talkin’ Halliburton in New Orleans, U.S. war profiteering in Iraq, the World Bank pillaging, well, whatever they can get their hands on—even if it is only a post-apocalyptic, ravaged (but somewhat aesthetically pleasing) landscape. Duh.

During this time of war and empire, ParkeHarrison’s photographic work is irresponsible at best and demands a critical eye. We have enough intellectual “dumbing down” going on in popular media, do we really need more of the same reflected in art?

For a more detailed response to ParkeHarrison’s work, see AfterImage, March, 2002, “Apotheosis” by Are Flagan.

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