I think it is unfair to call the election that was run by hard working and honest Democrats in the three counties that Gore won and then wanted recounted again, dirty. Do you really believe Democrats would try and pull some dirty tricks just so Gore would win? Well, you may be right. They just might.
Maybe the reason for the Deafening Silence Ana Simo hears is that 75 percent of the people may not see things the way she does.
Duane E. Spears
Sitting Still for Tyranny
I carefully watched the coverage of the Florida vote, and noticed the press did little or nothing to give the public the real truth regarding the law, past practice, or even the politics of the Supreme Court. Maybe in this time of great prosperity we find the idea of conflict too messy for our soft tastes. My hope is that George W. Bush will get some really ugly legislation passed and people will learn a tough lesson about sitting still for this tyranny.
I Thought Americans Would Rise UpThey Didn't
My opinion was always that Gore should take this as far as possible, even though I knew Bush had this whole thing in the bag regardless of the will of the American people because Republicans would go to any lengths to ensure his presidency, be it through his brother, Katherine Harris, the Florida legislature, the Supreme Courtwhatever.
The Republican party has no honor, no love of country. There is no United States of America. There is no will of the people, by the people, for the people. A political coup d'etat has taken place and my country is lost to me. As imperfect as it was, it's gone.
The very thing that astonishes me the most is that the people sat back and let it happen. I thought Americans banded together and fought in the face of injustice. I thought people would rise up and take to the streets over this.
The election shows us all exactly the power of the will of the people, and that is zero. I've also learned voting doesn't matter, because the results can be made to be whatever the party in control wants it to be.
The destruction of our country's foundation is far more serious than the fact that some flaming idiot that can't construct a third grade sentence will be running the country.
The Bush Coup Is Only a Sideshow
Our mythology, still intact, reflects an imperialist history. Consequently, we still imagine we're a competitive, no-nonsense people, unwilling to compromise on issues critical to our national interests. But at least since World War II, we've become drones, very much in line with the theme presented in George Lucas' 1968 film, "THX1138."
Certainly there was a remarkable upsurge against this droneish trend in the late sixties (precisely when Lucas' film was released); a conjunction of civil rights interests and anti-Vietnam War protests fueled by the sudden infusion into the younger middle classes of marijuana and LSD. And though the energy from that social explosion still resonates, the more recent confluence of corporate hegemony (in the "marketplace") and the extremely complex and sophisticated technologies that make corporate hegemony possible, have rendered average citizens impotent, and they know it.
Not a single sane person has any idea where we're headed, and that's frightening. "Toys-R-Us, Dot Com" will not carry us through, any more than a Bush presidency. We don't know what to do. That's why we're not doing anything. If we march on Washington in the millions, drag the Supreme Court politicos from their lodgings and successfully turn Bush back to Texas, what then? Do we run the country ourselves or turn it over to Gore who, by himself, could do nothing?
I don't think our inaction has as much to do with "Right Wing" shenanigans as with the seismic shift in America's psychological harmonics. We are now a huge country with a huge appetite and far-flung interests. We are all teamed up on a great ship of commerce and industry and we can't stop pulling the oars for fear the whole trillion trillion tons of it will collapse on us.
Who has the guts, or the time, to protest anything? Maybe a march here and there, but nothing like the mass rallies of the sixties would be tolerated by the culture that has emerged as much under the "Left" as under the "Right" over the last fifty years. Now we are almost afraid of our own perceptions, and so turn to the cooling corporate mind of the airways that lulls us down the smooth slide into the safety of the womb as the American dream. The Bush coup is only a sideshow. Of course there's no outcry.
They (the media) are merely part and parcel of the corporate interests that will benefit from the theft of the presidency. So they are not covering the real story. I can't speak for the silence of the Democratic "leadership." (And where has Nader disappeared to?) They seem to be aiding and abetting the crime by not denouncing it in the strongest terms. But I assure you, there is a Silent Majority that is organizing, planning strategy, and will not be mollified by the pretense of a Bush coup.
This army is catching its breath after the trauma of being collectively mugged, assessing what can be done, and planning how to carry it out. The holidays have been the calm before the storm, but the storm is on the way. I think perhaps we should thank the acquiescent media for allowing us to operate under the radar.
Peeps Falling on Deaf Ears
Thousands of people, myself included, are writing letters (good old fashioned snail mail and some email) to Democratic members of Congress, to Janet Reno at the Department of Justice, to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to newspapers and magazines and TV news, to the U.S. Supreme Court, to President Clinton, and on and on. We're making hundreds of phone calls.
We are demanding that the clearly tainted Florida electors be challenged, that the voting fraud and civil rights violations be immediately investigated, that everyone stop pretending that this is a normal election outcome when it's not.
Just log onto the Internet and go to any one of a hundred web sites devoted to fighting this coup, or to the dozens of mailing lists recently formed for the same purpose, or the many, many, many petitions circulating.
We're expressing outrage and horror and disgust. We're letting it be known that Bush is NOT a legitimate "president" and we will NOT accept him! Our peeps are falling on deaf ears. Inexperience in fighting coups is perhaps one factor. A Democratic "leadership" that is utterly ignoring us is another huge factor. A mainstream media that is pretending everything is normal is yet another factor. We simply don't know how to get our peeps heard.
You see, the recipients of these letters knowthey DO knowhow we feel and what we want. The DNC and Democrats at every level knowthey DO knowhow we feel and what we want. Yet we are resoundingly and consistently being ignored.
Apparently if an angry populace doesn't run outside and throw bricks through windows and overturn cars then they are perceived as being without peep. We would like to think there are other ways. But we've been trying the other ways for weeks and are still perceived as silent.
So please, please. By all means Ms. Simotell us. How can we the people make the peep heard round the world?
Protests Won't Work
Does anyone have any suggestions, so that the election does not get swept under the rug? I have been heartsick since the results were decided. Something nasty happened in Florida, and we will never be told the total truth. There are too many rugs to sweep it under.
I proudly voted for Gore...( here in Texas), and I wouldn't have Bush for love nor money. In spite of the election results from Texas, he has been an uninspiring and low-profile governor.
The only saving grace through all of this, is that he is now out of Texas, which come to think of it, may be why Texas voted for Bush. We have had four years of this stupidity. I can only hope that Dubya's Daddy's advisors will pull him through. He sure isn't smart enough do it on his own.
This is one voter who will never forget! Bush will never be the legitimate president. He won on a fluke and God only knows how much chicanery.
Beth H. Leavitt
A Fearful Nation
What is going on out there with other people? How do they feel? What can we do about protecting our rights and freedoms?
Widening Gap Between the Governing, and Governed
I have written to so many newspaper editors that I lost count, and I have gotten just one thing in return from each of themsilence. I have also written to my state's representatives (senate and house) and I got one thing in return from them alsosilence. What avenue does the average person have when their own governmental representatives cannot be bothered to involve themselves in taking a stand against a coup d'etat? Why bother screaming if nobody is listening? Our only apparent choice is to not vote for them in the next election, too late to handle the problem at hand.
The real apathy for what just happened in Florida is not in the peopleit is in the media and the government officials that claim to represent us. Senators, like other elected official, don't even read their own correspondence. The way things are done these days, even a staff worker may or may not bother to read it, and should you be lucky enough to merit a 30-second glance at your email, all they do then is toss it into some generic category like the "not happy" box, or the "negative" box. Now how does that give this elected official any clue as to how I feel or what I wrote about? It doesn't, and it only goes to widen the gap between those that govern us and those that are governed. They are completely out of touch with the people and I firmly believe they like it that way.
On January 20th there is to be a 750,000 person march on Washington D.C. for support of voter rights. Even that seems to be useless, because the people are fighting the wrong fight. They march to regain that which they already had, and was stripped from them in the 2000 election. The Republicans must love the fact that they're so busy tossing out balls that we can't even keep our eye on the right one. The Republicans broke laws, skirted the Constitution, defied the Constitution, and had the Supreme Court in their hip pocket, so I ask you.... what can I do?
I Am Not Silent
Media Is In Republicans' Pocket
How about an article on what we can do to rectify the situation other than voting (that's a given)? I've sent emails to the media, Congress (the email to one of our senators (a Republican) was bounced, friends. I hope the marches will get some positive press attention, but doubt it.
I am not a complacent American. I am still angry. Bush is not my president!
Only The Media Is Silent
Kari Ana Smith
Ashcroft Will Bring Christian Values
Reverend Donald Spitz
A Loving Saviour
Personally, I am sick and tired of the liberal tripe that is printed today. As far as the particulars on the issues in the article, people should consider the ramifications of their actions before they choose to have sex. If they choose an unnatural life style, that is between them and their creator. In the future, why don't you print the facts instead of verbal attacks on God-fearing men. There is great joy in following a loving saviour. Having been in the sewer once, I speak from experience. May the Lord touch your heart.
Bush's Cabinet of Thieves
Despite his image as a mythic military hero, Colin Powell's prior experience with foreign affairs is telling. He has been a coverup artist for his Republican bosses throughout his career. He was an investigator into the My Lai massacreand concluded that nothing had happened. He was a loyal understudy to Casper Weinberger and Frank Carlucci during the Iran-Contra scandal. His military genius consists of the Gulf War, in which his forces rained death on a near-helpless Iraq, defended by a pitiful Elite Republican Guard.
Condoleeza Rice, the "Soviet expert" (a natural anti-Communist) has no knowledge of other regions. Rice is a chairman of the board of Chevron. Her tactless comments during the campaign calling for a retreat from any involvement in Kosovo speaks of isolationist tendencies.
Al Gonzales, the Texas Supreme Court Justice, has been a long-time chum of W. His finest moment came when he argued to get Bush out of jury duty to cover up young Bush's drunk driving record.
It is no surprise that the vitriolic, lying spokeswoman for the Bush campaign, Karen Hughes, will get the chance to lie and spew more hatred for the next four years. Mel Martinez, an anti-Castro Cuban exile and chief bully of Bush's Florida campaign, will become HUD chief, as a reward for helping seize Florida. Kay James, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and past executive of the Family Research Council, may get the nod as Health and Human Services chief. This could mean the end for Roe V. Wade.
With this group of hires, and angry, right-wing white males still to be named, America had best prepare for a merciless bludgeoning of civil liberties and environmental protection laws, corporate welfare to the hilt, and a pro-military agenda.
Al Gore Won, Right?
But as millions of people around the world watched TV election newscasters projecting Al Gore the winner in Florida, Florida's Governor Jeb Bush could be seen rushing from a televised Bush Family Gathering to make mysterious phone calls to Florida, setting off 36 days of cataclysmic partisan political chain reactions.
Many political shock waves later George W. Bush won his first compassionate machine vote count in Florida by 1784 votes. In Florida, as in most states, all close elections require an automatic machine recount of all votes. This automatic statewide machine recount of all counties increased Gore's total votes, in more than 90% of all Florida counties, and thereby decreased Bush's vote lead from thousands to hundreds of votes.
Statisticians note that, while there were electoral inconsistencies between counties, there were also consistent, reliable and valid vote counting procedures within each county. With such internal consistency, statistical inference suggests that Bush should have won some counties' hand recounts and Gore other counties, in some proportional random order, simply by chance. However, as the data indicates, with every allowed machine or hand recount of votes Gore gained votes everywhere, and Bush's lead was consistently narrowed. Why? Maybe external influences?
I guess some contaminating variables and influences might well have been: fraud, Butterfly Ballots Jews for Buchanan, registered voters denied the right to vote, black, minority and poorer election districts disenfranchised, local election boards' secret decisions, political and legal partisanships, outdated election systems, and mysterious phone calls by the candidate's brother.
Arthur R. Bertoldi
The Environmental Crisis Dwarfs Racism
Trash the Electoral College?
Electoral College is Fair
Also, I don't believe either party will follow the Constitution when in office, so why should we worry about it now?
More Than a Presidential Election
People, nations, have two ways to bring about changes when needed, either reasonably through sitting down at a table and making these changes, or over the sights of a gun. Either way, change will not be denied, perhaps delayed, but change still comes.
As a people in the year 2000 A.D., we should have come to realize changes are best made by sitting at a table and making them, not with bloodshed and grief. The choice for now is ours, but only now, tomorrow is another matter. I pray we take the easy choice.
Biased and Ignorant
PS. You neglected to include the campaign's official website, so that people can find out where he really stands on these issues. [www.votenader.org.]
*Editor's Note: The link to Nader's website has been added at the end of the article. Thanks for bringing the omission to our attention.
Torn in the Class Debate
As a white immigrant woman from a working class background who lived for 9 years on welfare from the 70's to the 80's with a single, uneducated mother in southeastern Massachusetts, I find myself very torn by this debate.
I thoroughly agree that Nader's silence on what is dismissed as "identity" politics is deafening, though I honestly believe he does support the issues for which gays and lesbians, feminists, and people of color are fighting. However, Nader should be publicly addressing issues such as violence against women, against gays, and against blacks. Police brutality is an enormous problem in this country and people of color suffer a disproportionate amount of it. That is no small issue.
I fully sympathize with those who criticize Nader for telling them that these issues are just to be lumped in with the more high-profile issues of class. As a feminist, it reminds me of the male-dominated Left movements of the 60's in which male leftists told women "trust us, we'll take care of your problems after the revolution." Women in Cuba are still waiting for the fulfillment of such promises.
But isn't that exactly what happened with the replacement of identity and cultural politics over class?
Ana Simo's valid criticisms against Nader and his supporters can be made with just as much validity against the so-called "identity politics" sector (a categorization I don't much care for) for excluding labor and poor white folks (most of them women and children) who are almost always absent from their writings and their consideration.
My mother is an uneducated poor white immigrant living on disability. My family is comprised of people who are either unemployed, sporadically employed, working in low-paying service jobs (higher paying manufacturing jobs are almost all gone in southern New England), or on public assistance.
Contrary to stereotype, no one in my family "blames" any particular group of people for their lotthe only ones they blame are themselves, and local and national government policies. Not one of them has a college education. And only the younger family members have high school educations.
I listen to Pacifica Radio's WBAI every morning before I go to work, and appreciate their thorough coverage of issues relating to gays and lesbians, blacks and Hispanics, Asians andto a lesser extentwomen. However, not once since I began listening in 1993, have I heard any segment on the poor and working class majority in this country: whites, whether immigrants or native-born. There have been very few labor segments, and they are always told 'exclusively' from the angle of race.
The mainstream press, and both the liberal and conservative elites of this country are also very silent on poor whites. Like the "identity" political Left, they portray poverty only in racial terms, thus pandering to racist whites who view poverty as only a problem blacks and Hispanics endure.
I genuinely do accept Ana Simo's criticisms of Nader. But I am also greatly troubled by the snide dismissiveness of critics like Simo and Willis toward so many people who are suffering under the corporate policies supported by both parties. And while putting a woman or a black man on the Supreme Court is a great stride in inclusiveness, I admit that I am tired of being satisfied with the inclusion of a woman on the Supreme Court as a major victory, while that same woman continues to support the battering and improverishment of so many poor women all over the country, of all races, in her decisions.
There needs to be some self-examination on all sides. And I see very little coming from anyone, including Nader's critics.
Your Article Is Self-Loathing
Despite your own minority status, you are a product of this society. Want change? Wouldn't it be nice if your minority status really were a non-issue?
Seriously. Ralph, and those of us who back him, are on your side. Solve the issues of economics, you've solved the issues of power. It's not romantic, but it's the only practical answer to the very real concerns that you raised.
Have a nice day.
We're the Problem, Not Nader
More gays/lesbians have been kicked out of the armed forces since 1992 than before. The wealth gap has increased more than during the Reagan years. The prison population has exploded and most are non-violent drug offenders (I guarantee not one of those are in the top 20% of income bracketregardless of their skin color or sexual orientation). More poor of all colors are in worse shape than anytime in our history and the super-rich are now mega-rich. I could go on.
Is it possible most 'exclusive' thinkers (it's not us, it's our little group and that little group, etc.) have let the forest succumb to clear-cutting in their effort to save an individual tree? The big picture is this: it doesn't matter if you're male, female, gay, straight, black, white, or brown, Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Agnostic; all that matters is being an elite and exploiting the rest by believing in the system.
If this were not true, there would be no Log Cabin Republicans, no Clarence Thomas, Margaret Thatcher or that Buchanan VP whose name I can't even remember (she joined the John Birch Society because the Klan won't accept blacksjoke). There would be no Michael Knight, Thomas Friedman or Joe Lieberman. Phyllis Schlafley, Dr. Laura, Lynne Cheney, JC Watts, Alan Keyes, etc. Get the point?
We (as liberals, even libertarians) need to stick together to eliminate this class system we have now. We are tolerating a resurgence of the robber baron era, while the planet and all its inhabitants are in real danger of perishing.
We must end this division amongst ourselves and realize that the elite is the problem, not the one man who dares to expose that system for what it is, even if he is slow to acknowledge the myriad of sub-groups that comprise us.
If Gore is so much better, why were the 1990's practically indistinguishable from the 1980's economically for most?
C. H. Wallace
Retract Your 'Race-centric' Remarks
Mr. Nader proposes policies (such as universal health care, living wage of $10/hr, slash defense spending) which will help the impoverished and destitute. When Mr. Nader looks out over the great expanse of 35 million Americans without health care coverage he sees peopleonly people.
When did 'colorblind' become a dirty word on the Left? If you insist that the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow still linger in our society, then I suggest you take another look at Mr. Nader. He actually supports reparations for the Native American and African American communities. Let me hear Gore take that stand!
Did you know that in this election cycle Microsoft has given over $700,000 to the Republicans and over $500,000 to the Democrats? They are not exercising political speech. They are purchasing policy.
Rather than focus on our greatest hopes and dreams for society, Ms. Simo's article panders to our fear and our prejudice. Ms. Simo, please help lead the Left back onto the road of equality and justicefor all. Mr. Nader has and will stand in the brink and force us to see ourselves as one people.
I urge you to do the right thing. I urge you to retract your race-centric remarks and replace them with the dream of equality for all humankind. I urge you to support the only candidate who cares enough about the minorities in this country to fight for them as peoplenot ethnicities.
P.S. Are you at least willing to allow his voice to be heard in the debates? Or is silencing dissident voices the only way Democrats know how to face an ethical challenge?
Class Should Come First
Nader is fighting against the notion that those who own the country ought to run it. Getting the system to be less prejudiced won't change anything very much. If the top one percent of the country were perfectly balanced, if the CEO's and stockholders who control the means of production were to become integrated, colorblind, or gender neutral overnight, not much would change for the other 99%.
I think it's unfair to attack Nader for putting issues of class first in his campaign. Class issues should come first. No progressive movement that fails to challenge the class system is truly progressive.
On the other hand, given that women and minorities are disproportionately shoved into the impoverished classes, Nader should be making more of an effort to show how his anti-corporate agenda is really a civil rights and feminist agenda, and how gay rights and class warfare share common ground.
Identity politics alone doesn't challenge the prevailing social or economic climate one bit, but people do have identities and working to end corporate dominance is in most people's self-interest. Nader ought to be working harder to reach those people whose interests he shares.
NBC Wins No Medals
My family and I happened to be traveling in England and France during the '96 Atlanta Olympics and even though, just like the U.S., they primarily focused on their own athletes, they switched from sport to sport and it was much more exciting! As soon as an event ended, they would move somewhere else and perhaps back again to the same event. The pace was thrilling.
I'm 44 and wrestled in high school. I remember as a child being able to watch significant amounts of almost all the events on TV (table tennis, wrestling, judo, kayaking, equestrian, volleyball etc.)
We can find out about the U.S. athletes' lives later. Many athletes trained, sacrificed and competed to be there in all the sports. NBC's goal should be to show all of them if possible, and settle for as many as possible if they can't get them all in. That's how NBC should be representing the U.S. NBC competed for advertising dollars to be there. Now, they should give us what we Americans and our athletes deserve, Gold Medal Coverage!
Defense of The Big Purple Bully
Of course you know it's offensive, but you act as if it is the Pope "the big purple bully" who is intolerant. You disrespect and mock another's beliefs and then cry crocodile tears when those people react. The world is a 2-way street. Go out of your way to mock Catholics, commit blasphemy, insult other's beliefs and show open contempt for others, but please spare us the violins and damp hankies when no one greets you with open arms. Your minds are as closed as any can be. Your arrogance and insolence do not occur in a vacuum.
We will all be called into account at some point. A search for tolerance begins within, it is not your unilateral right.
God bless you and keep you safe.
Rice for Cuba
Contrast those two to George W. Bush and Al Gore, who've waffled and pandered for seven months. Jim Hightower was right on when he titled his book, "If God Wanted Us To Vote He'd Have Given Us Candidates."
The Gay Agenda Takes Over Our Identities
There is dissent within the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bi-, and Transgendered] community as to how wise it is to use, extend or increase the power of a racist, sexist, homophobic system of justice that has time and again proven that it is no friend of people of color.
Objections by people of color regarding the selective enforcement of hate crimes legislation as racist and classist have not been addressed. I wonder if these safety measures have been neglected for the sake of getting the legislation passed. If this is the case, this would be the moral equivalent of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act's neglect of transgendered people in order to pass that bill. Trans people and people of color are expendable when it comes to bottom-line gay politics.
Hate crime schemes have already turned explicitly into death penalty rationales in the states of California, Delaware and Nevada. In communities of color, we know very well that it is our communities who have their friends and loved ones languishing in death row. What will prevent the hate crime rationales from being incorporated into New York State's death scheme? What reassurances are there for communities of color that the same prejudice that permeates death sentencing will not extend to the imposition of death on hate crimes? After all, a system that labels harsher punishment an enhancement can only see killing as the ultimate enhancement.
Cuba: The Power of Home
While reading your letters section on the Elian case, I noticed that one writer actually claimed that Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's father, wanted to come to the U.S. before all this happened. This is part of the right's argument about Elian's fatherthat he is not expressing his real desires, that he's held hostage by Castro, etc.
The truth is that Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, has a consistent record of declining to come to the U.S. Over a year ago he even dissuaded his younger brother from applying for a visa to come to the U.S. Tim Golden of the New York Times did an excellent piece in that paper's magazine section in which he explained the political divisions within the Gonzalez family:
Elian's great-uncles Delfin, Lazaro, and Manuel Gonzalez immigrated to Miami either because they always opposed the revolution, or were later disillusioned by it. On the other hand, their brother Juan GonzalezJuan Miguel's fatherchose to remain in Cuba, despite his brothers' constant attempts to convince him to come to Miami. Juan instilled in his son, Juan Miguel, a strong attachment to his country and to his government.
It has been astounding to see so many pundits and average Americans refuse to believe that anyone in Cuba would freely CHOOSE to live there, would turn down offers of money to stay in the U.S. I have travelled all over the world as a freelance journalist, ESL teacher and occasional human rights researcher. I have visited many poor countries with dictatorships. And I have met plenty of people with absolutely no desire to come here, despite their country's problems.
I am originally from Brazil. During the years of my country's military dictatorship, several members of my family could have joined us here in the U.S., but chose not to. I have been on four extended trips to Cuba and I discovered plenty of Cubans willing to confide in me (once they felt I could be trusted) how much they hated the Castro regime. Some wanted to come to the U.S. But others preferred not to for various reasons.
The CIA itself estimates that about 1-3 million Cubans would like to leave the island while the rest (8-10 million) freely choose to stay. Reasons include a refusal to part with their families, fear of change, fear of the physical and political dangers involved, and genuine love and loyalty for their homeland.
Why is that such a difficult thing to believe? Why is it that the Miami Cubans and the anti-Communist hysterics in this country totally discount the Cuban dissidents who have made it very clear that they do not support the Miami Cubans in their struggle for Elian. Cuban dissidentspeople who risk their lives every day criticizing the regime, with jail terms to prove itrightly complain that their fight against Castro has been undermined by this Cuban-American lunacy.
The only thing worse than Castro's regime would be its replacement by the deeply racist, undemocratic Miami Cubans running the Elian show.
On my last trip to Cuba, I spoke with a young boy who was beaten by two of Castro's security officers because he unfurled a protest banner at a political rally. I asked him about the Miami Cubans. His response was like so many Cubans I metdisgust. I asked him if he would prefer Castro or the folks at CANF running his country. He said that was a choice between cutting off your right or left leg. He then said "That's not a choice. We Cubans have suffered too much to deserve only those two choices."
NCC is a Commie Front *
Money to pay the $800 an hour 'lawyer' of Clinton the Pervert? Have you no soul? Your National Council of Churches [NCC] is not an organization of churches, it is nothing but a front for Communists!
Liberty for Elian!
* Editors' note: THE GULLY got spammed with a quantity of similar letters. To whoever initiated it, thanks for the free publicity!
Elian in Perspective
The thing that no-one here can understand is why nothing has been done regarding your gun laws. What with the school shootings, zoo shootings, gang drivebys, and gun fairs you don't need to be Einstein to figure where the root of the problem lies. So why has nothing been done? And why do the grassroot rednecks have so much power to prevent such changes being effected?
An Open Letter To Miami Mayors
Alex Penelas, J. Carollo:
I beg you, please stop disrupting our lives. Stop bullying us. The Gonzalez family is sick, literally, just look at their dependence on Elian, their unstable behavior and lawlessness. You've stood by their mistreatment of this child because all you care about is your Cuban votes.
I used to love the Cuban community, but not now. If I express my opinion I am threatened and degraded. You've both said Miami's exile community is non-violent. I beg to disagree. It has a very long history of bombing and violence directed at anyone who opposes their opinion. I am currently a Miami exileunable to live in my native neighborhood because of my opinion on the Embargo, and other issues.
Thank you, Reno and Clinton and the INS, for stepping in! It's a relief to see someone in authority following the law when you can't count on Miami Dade's politicians or law enforcement. No one is above the law. Not even Cubans.
Exercising my first amendment rights,
And to Brother to the Rescue.... Where were you the day after Elian arrived and 400 Haitians (all oppressed) were seeking freedom from tyranny? Where were you? You don't seem to care about human freedoms, only Cuban privilege.
If You Like Cuba So Much, Go Live There!
I left Cuba in 1992. I was a member of the Cuban intelligentsia, a specialist in social communication (read manipulation) and you know what? Most Cubans don't give a shit about what happens to Elian. Many, believe me, many would like to trade places with him. But they won't tell Lucia Newman, nor anybody else, because in Cuba nobody speaks his or her mind.
You have no idea what living in Cuba is. It is not a problem of more or less food. It is a problem of liberties, the basic liberties you need to live a regular life. You treat Cuba as if it were a democratic system and not a hopeless dictatorship.
There are almost one million and a half Cuban exiles around the world. Families have been separated by Castro. We are talking about a dictatorship. If you defend it, why don't you move to Cuba and have a taste of it. Don't go to the hotels. Don't eat in restaurants. Taste the real thing. Live like a Cuban. You are going to love it.
Go Back There Yourself!
The boy belongs with his father, there should be no debate on that question. Elian was taken from his father in Cuba, kidnapped would be my discription. The relatives should have no rights to the boy at all, not as long as he has a living parent.
Reno did what was right by returning the boy to his father. It was the relatives that forced her to use agents. Janet Reno had no alternative.
And so far as the protesters around the house, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for causing all the turmoil. If they do not want to abide by our laws they should also leave this country. That's their alternative as far as I am concerned.
Finally, in my opinion, the boy and his father should be allowed to leave this country and go back to Cuba without delay, so Elian can live as a little boy, without the constant media coverage. His father has a life that has been disrupted also. I say let them go back to Cuba and get on with their lives.
Denying the Humanity of Cubans
It is a time-honored tradition to dehumanize your enemies. In the case of Juan Gonzalez, it means assuming he could not be a real father or that the Gonzalez' can't be a real family under the yoke of Fidel and Communism. And it doesn't stop with Juan Gonzalez.
People who support the simple notion that Elian belongs with his father are labeled "Castro supporters" by the likes of Mr. Family Values Newt Gingrich. In reality, our disdain for Mr. Castro does not preclude the notion that even a Communist is a human being capable of loving his or her children. President Kennedy once said he was optimistic about the eventual outcome of the Cold War because 'human nature was the same on both sides of the iron curtain.'
The specter of armed, federal agents grabbing that sweet little boy in "the dead of night" was abhorrent to everyone. But the blame rests squarely with the Miami family and those in leadership positions who have emboldened them not to turn the boy over to his father, and allowed them to think they were somehow more deserving, more human than Juan Gonzalez.
Defying the Country That Gave Them Asylum
But now that they have their fingers wrapped around a political pawn that they don't want to give up, they are more than willing to blatantly defy the laws of this land, and at the same time bad-mouth this government, and essentially the American people.
Their actions show a total disregard, not only for the safety of the child, Elian, but for the citizens of Miami. I have to question how far these people are willing to go to make their point, and as American citizens what we can do to protect the interest and welfare of our country in the wake of what is appearing more and more to be a siege.
They have already chased a police office, Lt. Schartz, knocked him down, and proceeded to beat him until he could be rescued by other police. They are burning debris in the streets, blocking traffic and threatening to burn Miami to the ground.
I don't understand why their actions, which are incomprehensible at best, are going unpunished. Many of us (American citizenry) are getting stressed out because we feel, or at least I feel, we have no recourse in the matter.
Before the dust settles we need to take these issues to our Congressmen, and put pressure on the President and federal government to prevent a situation like this from reccuring.
We live in a time in which terrorism is seen as an acceptable solution. I don't believe that this whole affair is over yet for the Cuban community in Miami. Can we look forward to letter bombs maybe, or a bombed federal building? But I also want to note that I did recently read Ana Simo's article White Woman's Burden and fully agree with her that the foot-dragging, and poor choice of action in the very beginning, have brought this to an explosive conclusion which we will feel for a while.
Letter From the Heartland
I couldn't have said it better (even if I knew how).
From here in the heartland of Iowa, the consensus is SEND THE BOY HOME! period. May the Bushes and the Gores suffer the consequences of this fiasco.
Thomas L. Smock
Are You, Or Have You Ever Been... ?
Do you realize that Fidel Castro has many, many times referred to the U.S. as the "enemy", and was willing to allow nuclear weapons to be placed on his island in order to threaten the U.S.?
Do you realize that Elian's father wanted to come to the U.S. before all this ordeal came into public light?
In my humble opinion, your support for Elian's father is just a clear sign of ignorance regarding the situation in Cuba.
I am not Cuban, and I was not born in the USA either. I do know many Cubans, and many of them do not live in Miami. Most of them have the same feelings regarding the Castro government.
So what's the story here? Are you communists? If so, why don't you go over there and help, or maybe start sending your hard-earned dollars to the Cuban government so they can use it to help the Cuban people. (Do you really think they would spend a dollar to help the people?)
Enjoy the freedom most Cubans living in the isle don't have. Say whatever you want to say, and agree with whatever issues you want to agree with. But please, mind your own business. This poor kid came to the U.S. in order to live a free life, and his mother died in the attempt.
There should be legislation in this country to expulse people like you into the one that you admire. As far as I'm concerned, you are not better than any of Castro's soldiers. Your ideas are obviously deviant, and there must be some selfish agenda you are trying to follow.
It is very easy to talk here in the U.S., and it is also very easy to support idealistic heroes, but why don't you give it a shot and move to Cuba for a couple of years, live like the people over there, and then come back and decide if it is really the truth you are expressing, or if you are just blindly following a crazy man?
Well, since this is a free country, please do me a favor and go screw yourself and all your staff who supports the communist government of Fidel Castro.
Cuban-American Actions Are Counter-Productive
I believe that the Miami Cuban-American protests attempting to prevent the fulfillment of the INS order to return Elian to his father are counterproductive. They are contrary both to widely accepted family values and the rule of the law.
Continuing the protests, especially if they get violent, will just isolate them politically, and weaken support for them among the majority of Americans, including other minority groups, and the rest of the Hispanic community.
The protests are also increasing anti-American feeling and Cuban nationalism in Cuba. This will consolidate support for the Castro regime and retard the successful struggle for democratic reforms.
The most intelligent thing that the right-wing Cubans in Miami could do is to convince Elian's Miami relatives to comply immediately with the INS order to hand over Elian to his father. Since arriving in the U.S., Juan Miguel Gonzalez has repeatedly shown that he is expressing his own free will, not Castro's, when he states he would like to raise Elian in Cuba. However, the right-wing Cubans have gone too far to turn back, and they cannot be expected to behave more rationally, and less self-destructively.
At the end of this affair Elian will be in Cuba with his father. The political influence of the right-wing Cuban groups will be weakened, and they will be unable to block the end or significant softening of the embargo, and the coming effort to improve relations with Cuba.
The final result will be the increasing likelihood of more human contact and exchange of ideas between Cubans and Americans, which will probably contribute to the development of future democratic reforms in the island.
You know, now that I think about it, there might just be something to that Miami Cuban-American claim that God sent Elian Gonzalez to help guide his people back to freedom. However, I think that there might be some disagreement between us about the way He decided to go about it.
Very truly yours,
P.S. Elpidio Valdes is a Cuban children's comic-strip character. He's portrayed as having actively participated in the Cuban independence struggle against Spain. I would like to use this pseudonym because Cubans are very intolerant in political matters. My own family and friends, both in Cuba and the U.S., have widely divergent views on these matters and tend to get very emotional about them. Signing with my real name something they did not agree with might bring about serious repercussions. Besides, I travel to Cuba occasionally to see my family and friends, and the Cuban government sometimes does not give visas to those that criticize it in the media.
Where is La Migra When We Need Them?
When Mexicans and others from situations much worse than Elian's are returned by the thousands, including children, seeing all the effort put in keeping this little boy in the US when he has a decent life back in Cuba makes us ask--where is La Migra when we need them?
I just found your website and I like how you call the saga what it is--a farce. Are these the same Cubans under Batista? I can see how Fidel won.
Finally, I have only two words for our Vice President: Que pendejo.
Everything you say about Cuba before Castro is true. It's also true what Chuck 45 says, that a Cuba without Castro would not have necessarily been a paradise today. However, you seem to be praising Fidel by default by not mentioning what happened in Cuba after the first years of the revolution.
You talk about the agrarian and urban reforms of the early years, but do not mention that everything good achieved at the beginning went down the drain later. You also do not mention the many problemsthe so-called "errors"that the Cuban government has provoked over the years.
People like me, who stayed in Cuba believing that next year things would be different, were tricked to keep hope alive for twenty or thirty years, while suffering small indignities in our daily lives, such as not having a toothbrush or a comb, or an iron to iron our clothes, or shoes without holes, or having to carry buckets of water up a flight of stairs from the street because the building pump broke and was never fixed.
But the mayimbes [the elite] were not lacking for anything. Little by little, instead of services and hospitals for all, we had one kind exclusively for people in important positions, and another kind for everybody else.
In Cuba, Fidel, and only Fidel, rules. That is why so many monumental errors have been made, like the failed ten-million ton sugar harvest, the attempts to grow strawberries and mushrooms in presumed microclimates, the destruction of all trees, particularly fruit trees, and other ecological disasters.
I wish you had said something about the incredibly stupid things that the government did, like crossing Cebu bulls with Holstein cows hoping to get stronger milk cows. A consulting French scientist told them this was a big mistake, but Castro dismissed him. Naturally, it failed.
But every new yearI don't know whywe were hypnotized by Fidel. We would forget all the stupid, monumental "errors" of the past year and welcome the new Year of the Whatever, gladly sacrificing ourselves and hoping for a happy ending.
Why am I here in the U.S.? Because Cuba is a disaster area and I got fed up waiting for it to improve.
I wasn't going to say any of this in public because I was afraid it could hurt Elian's chances of being reunited with his father in Cuba. That things have been the way they are in Cuba for so long should not prevent this child from being reunited with his loving father. That's the right thing to do.
THE GULLY writers should be careful because Cubans in Miami and New Jersey hate anyone who doesn't think like them. They also hate people who have stayed in Cuba or, at least, they brand them as stupid because they haven't left. And although they send dollars to their relatives, they complain about it.