Thursday, May 13, 2010

Naïve solution

Posted on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Maybe Mr. Strohmaier needs to look deeper into the drunk driving problem. His intentions are good but to me naïve. As a recovering alcoholic and sober for over 23 years, my observations are you cannot fine, scare or force a drunk into recovery. Only severe consequences ultimately work and help them reach a point where they decide help is needed. A $500 fine is merely an inconvenience to someone with a drinking problem. Loss of a driver’s license only puts unlicensed drivers on the road. Jail time is effective, public humiliation is not. Unfortunately, a problem drinker has to drink their way to a point of desperation before they seek help. I’m open to other ways but this is the only one I’ve seen to be effective. I am very pleased to see the problem is seriously being recognized. The slaughter on the highways has to come to an end.

Charley Abell

Missoula

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Not all Christians

Posted on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 4:00 AM

When I read the Independent article on the passing of the non-discrimination ordinance (see “Diversity and respect,” April 15, 2010) I was saddened to see no mention of the substantial support for the ordinance by people of faith. The article mentioned pastor Russ Smith who thanked the council for uniting Christians on one issue. The article did not, however, mention that this statement could not be more wrong. Many, many people of faith, including several pastors from different denominations, spoke out for equality.

When the Independent prints a statement that Christian opinion is unanimously against equality, and takes no steps to counter this perception, they perpetuate a lie that causes immense damage to both faithful Christians who believe in a God of love, and LGBT people who have been damaged by hateful, unchristian attitudes spread in the name of the church. I know many people who have been harmed by the vile falsehood that God hates them for who they are. It would have been nice if the Independent had not assisted in perpetuating that lie.

As I look at how churches are treating faith, I see hope. More and more denominations are ordaining LGBT clergy. More and more pastors are preaching messages of love, not fear, from their pulpits. More and more churches are realizing that discrimination is incompatible with Christian values. I only wish the Independent’s coverage had reflected that fact.

Daniel Viehland

Missoula

Clean energy now

Posted on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., were prepared last week to introduce comprehensive clean energy legislation that would mark a vital step forward in putting America back in control of its energy future (see “Happy Earth Day?” April 22, 2010). Yet due to political uncertainty over which legislative item should be of highest priority, it appears Senate leaders and one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. Graham, might miss a golden opportunity to move forward with this legislation this year that will cut carbon pollution, create jobs and strengthen our national security.

My fellow citizens of Montana and America, it is of supreme importance that we urge the Senate, especially Sens. Baucus and Tester, to get their priorities straight. We have the necessary skills, resources and technology to make America the global leader in a new clean energy economy. We just need the bipartisan leadership that will usher in a brighter future for all Americans. Baucus and Tester should urge their colleagues to seize this opportunity to pass a meaningful climate and energy policy this year.

This is what we voted them into office for, isn’t it? Their priorities should be to hear the people, to speak as the people, to move and work as the people—not to sit in meetings and luncheons, just to turn around and say to us that they are moving forward with our concerns, later to find out through the media that they have decided to put the Clean Energy Bill on the back shelf!

We need to act fast and make our voices heard again before we are swept under the carpet, once again fooled by the flattery of politicians.

Robin Burnett

Missoula

Peaceful proclamation

Posted on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Today Mother’s Day is all about honoring our mothers with flowers and gifts. But the idea of Mother’s Day in the United States arose out of a desire for peace.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, in reaction to the horrors of death and carnage of the Civil War, wrote the following proclamation calling on mothers of the nation to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their sons killing the sons of other mothers. She called for an international Mother’s Day celebrating peace and motherhood.

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise all women who have hearts,

Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears

Say firmly:

“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

“We women of one country

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!

Blood does not wipe out dishonor

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace,

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

That a general congress of women without limit of nationality

May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient

And at the earliest period consistent with its objects

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

The amicable settlement of international questions.

The great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe had penned “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1902. The U.S. Congress approved Mother’s Day in 1914.

Happy Mother’s Day, Montana!

Lynn Peters

Suzanne Luepke

Polson

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