Letters to the editor December 16

Vast differences in two movements

The Acts Matter opinion piece quoted many Ashland residents who see the similarities between the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements. But a focus on the underlying anger directed at government gives a mistaken impression that these two movements are just different expressions of the same root feelings. I think it's often wise to seek out underlying commonalities between opposing opinions and to emphasize the common ground that can lead to understanding or compromise, but not in this case!

The differences in worldview between these two movements are so vast they make the perceived similarities trivial and completely beside the point. The Tea Party believes that sound environmental science is a politically-inspired campaign to rob people of their rights to live as they please. In fact, they take a dim view of science in general. They believe the good times were when big business had a free hand to do as they please with no regard for the rights of working men and women. They believe that taxes are the government's legitimizing its robbery of hard-working folks. They believe that America's greatness and true patriotism are tied to Christian fundamentalism. They believe that God meant man to tame and subdue nature, rather than to live harmoniously with it. They have little interest in equality among people. In fact, they glamorize the past, when folks were unaware of environmental issues, or the prospect of running out of oil, and when gays, black people, and hispanics knew enough to keep below the radar so proper folks wouldn't be troubled by them.

The Occupy movement knows that trying to live in that past is a death sentence. That to survive and prosper we need to respect nature and its limitations, that government has an indispensable role in regulating society and preventing greed from running society into the ground, that there must be room for all belief systems and minority populations to exist without discrimination and fear. They know that individualism is sacrosanct to a free society but that cooperative action is even more important to a healthy future. They know that taxes will pay in large part for the future we all want to build and that they are an investment in our own well-being, not a punishment for being successful.

So how similar do you think these movements really are?

Avram Chetron


Did we win?

Dear Mr. Bush,

So your war is finally over. Did we win? To the victor goes the spoils, it is said. The only spoils I can see are 45,000 of our men dead, many many wounded and their lives ruined, and over 100,000 Iraq people dead and/or wounded. If this is what winning is, I'll take losing any day.

So, sir, did you get what you were after?

Paul Moss


No phobic citizens

I must respond to Robert Simms' letter (Tidings, Dec. 14) regarding light and darkness. Mr. Simms states that "Before the City of Ashland and its phobic citizens rush to light up the bike path and tennis courts, we should consider its effects."

I walked the bike path yesterday by Hunter Park with my poodle Angie, and was greeted with multiple smiles, good mornings and woof woofs. I saw no "phobic citizens." I was particularly delighted to run into a beautiful senior citizen walking alone with her Santa cap on, and her two pups. Her smile and self-assurance made my day.

We are saddened beyond words with the passing of David Grubbs. Let us do whatever his friends and family want regarding lighting the bike path.

I am proud to say I believe in Santa, prayer, and the beautiful and resilient people of Ashland.

Peter Toogood


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