One sets the article about the Catholic Worker Viva House ("At Your Service," Mobtown Beat, Oct. 8) that serves the poor beside the story of Noel Liverpool Sr. ("All Around Player," Mobtown Beat, Oct. 8)--part of the city's underground economy allegedly involved in crimes that ultimately rip off the poor--and wonders.
My conclusion is that a Catholic or religious upbringing can be a help rather than a hindrance. Some of the most vocal opponents of the peace movement in the '60s were Catholics, but the same Catholicism produced some of the greatest protesters--and right here in Baltimore.
Some in religion take Jesus' message, à la the Sermon on the Mount, to heart--"Blessed are the peacemakers." Others prefer to remain in the Old Testament and argue that we should take an eye for an eye and that that is justice. (Of course one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt not kill"--I often wonder how fundamentalist warmongers reconcile that?)
Others receive no-nada-zippo education in anything remotely connected to peace and justice.
One wonders how we could proceed to give everyone the same education that teaches justice leading to nonviolence and peace? But I also have secular friends who, without benefit of religion, are committed to changing the world for the better--one worker at a time. One wonders if progress is occurring. But... "take heart." At least some are educated and do have "heart."
I am reminded ("Shell Game," Feature, Oct. 1) of Mr. Wilkins Micawber from Dickens' David Copperfield and his rueful statement: "Annual income 20 pounds, annual expenditure 19 pounds 19 shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income 20 pounds, annual expenditure 20 pounds and six pence, result misery."
Mr. Micawber spoke from his cell in Marshalsea debtors' prison. Any chance some of the investors featured in your excellent article could join him there for a while?
I read "Ownership 2008" (Political Animal, Oct. 1), another provocative article by Brian Morton that was a show of organized rhetorical thoughts to explain an impacting current event--John McCain and the failures of Republicanism.
In Mr. Morton's article there was a sentence that appeared mysterious to me: "This viewer was disappointed in one thing--the absence of history."
In my opinion, the presidential debate on Sept. 26 was a historical event that will go down in history. As Aristotle once wrote long ago: "all men think justice to be a sort of equality... Democracy, for example, arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects... Oligarchy is based on the notion that those who are unequal in one respect are in all respects unequal."
As I saw it, the most serious show of history in the recent first presidential debate was done in a condescending way when John McCain refused to make eye and face-to-face contact with Barack Obama. I saw several disdainful facial expressions from John McCain that irritated my soul. McCain is in a dark place.
I have seen such condescending stares placed on me and other blacks when white folks (bigots) have perceived us America's problem--we blacks seem to be the plank of inferiority in the eyes of certain white folks with a sense of superiority of white-skin prevarication of racism in America. In other words, white conservatives want the races in America to remain "separate and unequal with a togetherness of church and state rights."
In my opinion, John McCain tried his best to bring out the "angry nigger" in Sen. Obama. It did not work. Sen. Obama did not give John McCain, the white Southerner in the audience from Mississippi, and the millions of other people who watched the debate on television a show of an "Amos 'n' Andy nigger" or the "nobody knows the trouble I've seen" down and out hopeless nigger.
I believe we black Americans represent "no" history in America because we are still people who do not count. We are not trusted. We are not sophisticated enough to understand economics or the politics of voting in America. We blacks are nonprivileged citizens in the country, and our pain from racism and poverty kept us in the web of discrimination and disparities.
As I see it, Republicanism is a form of bigotry. The Civil War cannons can still be heard in the South, and white Southerners who are racists want to keep the memory of the old South alive.
Ronald Reagan said he did not need the black votes to win an election. John McCain is saying the same, but using Sarah Palin to utter his secret meanspirited thoughts of bigotry--that's Republican ownership in 2008.
Larnell Custis Butler
I enjoy reading City Paper, but I'm not always able to get my hands on a copy. The Sept. 24 edition was the first copy I've read in a while.
I was a bit disgusted by the letters to the editor responding to negative reader criticism on ads running in the paper ("Ad Nauseam," The Mail). The "just ignore it if you don't like it" rallying cry is always uttered by people who prefer not to think or to have their deeply held paradigms challenged. Why didn't they just take their own advice and ignore the letters that bothered them?
Oh, wait, that's right. Letters don't make money. Ads do. So in a free-market society that worships dollars, criticizing advertisements will... what? Ruin the economy? That's already happened.
Shame on City Paper for allowing these hypocrites to vent. Next time, tell them to take their own advice and ignore the stuff that bothers them.
Karen Mitchell Carothers
City Paper's Best of Baltimore issue (Sept. 17) included the expected quota of sickening sycophancy toward Baltimore City's government, with genuflections ranging from thanking the city for inflicting a smoking ban on the Mount Royal Tavern that nobody at the tavern wanted, to salaaming Sheila Dixon for allegedly having lowered the murder rate. (Since how she magically achieved this was left unspecified, I'm sticking with my original theory that the reduced carnage represents a lucky break for the mayor that she's trying to take advantage of, as any politician would in a similar situation.)
I note that the listing for the Book Escape as Best Used Bookstore failed to mention that, in another brilliant move, city bureaucrats insisted on store managers removing their "Pay What You Can" book rack from outside the store because it was a safety hazard, or lowering the tone of Federal Hill, or some such nonsense. The city's pretty good at dealing with important issues like outdoor book racks and the terrifying menace of dogs in bars and cafés--you know, really crucial stuff. Housing for the homeless, and schools that teach, and buses that run on time (no Mussolini-style efficiency here) always seem to get short shrift.
As a city employee, I hope City Paper keeps supporting us no matter how badly we screw up. Above all, don't try to mount a systemic attack on government failures the way those hippie-dippy underground papers used to in the '60s and '70s--that might interfere with your mission to keep readers happy and spending, as opposed to angry and thinking.
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