Exile on Woodward
As a friend and colleague of Mariela Griffor ("An exile's tale of Christmas," Metro Times, Dec. 20), I am always amazed with her ability to talk and write about her life in Chile since 1973, and later, during her years in exile in Sweden. Most importantly, I'm impressed with the way she recalls these events on such a personal level, in ways that are both heart-wrenching and beautiful. After all, wars, civil unrests and disturbances aren't just about the politics and major players involved; they have much more profound effects on people who have to find a way of going through everyday life young children, grandparents, neighbors and anyone else who has to go through Christmas without a Christmas tree. Thank you for sharing her story and mentioning the continuation of her life events in her upcoming book, Exiliana. Bonnie Caprara, Clinton Township
Impeach we must
Jack: I've been thinking for weeks about the question of whether we can or should impeach George W. Bush ("Terrorist State: The USA," Metro Times, Dec. 6), and I have concluded, contrary to your position, that we can and we must.
I respect all your points about the matter. Furthermore, in my heart I wish we could just move on and not get tangled up in such messy stuff.
Still we must pursue it because Mr. Bush is trying to establish the office of the president of the United States above the Constitution and the rule of law. He broke the law, then lied about it, then admitted to it and then defiantly promised to continue doing it. Lawmakers have no choice. They are obligated by oath to defend the law and Constitution, by conscience to intervene in criminal behavior and by patriotism to prevent such a precedent from becoming institutionalized.
The reason we can impeach him is that the 110th Congress was elected with a specific mandate to reinstate its oversight role. At the same time, our recalcitrant president and vice president will persist in this behavior until the Democrats have no choice but to play hardball. In addition, once investigations begin, the momentum will really accelerate as the mainstream media piles on and average Americans become more and more aware of the abuses that have occurred.
We should avoid impeachment at all costs, but the Constitution provides this remedy for a reason. There are two circumstances in which it should be considered: 1) if it is absolutely critical to our ability to intervene against activity that is damaging our country, and 2) if it is absolutely necessary to prevent such perversions of our system from ever happening again. I believe impeaching the president is absolutely critical to both objectives. John Ashcraft, Troy
Don't impeach Bush
I've also fallen off the impeachment bandwagon. I left my "Impeach Bush" bumper sticker on my car, though, just on principle.
I have a better idea: Have Bush declared unfit to discharge the duties of his office. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment provides for the vice-president and Congress to temporarily remove an executive who is, as Frank Rich aptly phrases, "completely untethered from reality."
Another novel idea: Impeach Cheney. It can be done; Article II, Sec. 4 of the Constitution. Bush can't pardon impeachment. I say expose the whole black, rotting heart of this administration. Civil and criminal liability are more difficult issues if Cheney is removed or resigns, but the point is accountability to the citizens.
Will either of these actions happen? Hell no! but they need to be discussed.
These tools are provided to remind our representatives that they're subjects of the people not the other way around. If we don't utilize all of our options for holding our elected officials accountable, they have no fear of liability and no reason to govern with accountability. Sure, they can get voted out of office, but by the time they do, they've collected their booty and gamed the system for their future benefit. Jeffrey Kaplan, Lansing
I only buy the Free Press nowadays for Doonesbury, so I probably wouldn't have noticed the article on MOCAD if the photo hadn't caught my eye. Am I the only reader who questions why the Free Press, which is maybe a mile away from MOCAD, uses a New York Times photo rather than taking one of their own? This, I think, is a good example as to why I only read Doonesbury. Dennis Summers, Royal Oak
More parting shots
Goodbye Sarah Klein. Best of Luck in "sunny, shiny California" ("Go west, young gal," Metro Times, Dec. 6). I know you're sick of Detroit and all of its woes but guess what? The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And you're at about the right age to decide that. I know this because I have recently returned after two decades away from the city where I grew up. During those 20 years I lived in upper Michigan, Alaska and Missouri. I traveled the country spending time in many different cities, big and small. When I left Detroit in my mid-20s I felt like you, Sarah: "Get me out of this hellhole!" I was sick of the crime, the racism, the dirt, the economy, you name it; I couldn't get out of town fast enough. Over the years I would remind myself "never, ever, will I live in Detroit again." But, alas, here I am.
Frankly I wasn't crazy about the idea of moving back. I remembered the Detroit of the early '80s: the Detroit that I had learned to loathe. Since then I had lived in vibrant, friendly, economically stable communities where people left their keys in the car overnight and their doors unlocked while at work. I couldn't stand the thought of purchasing "The Club" I would need for my 1993 Dodge Caravan to make sure it wasn't stolen as I slept. My father's Caravan had been stolen three times in 18 months from his west side Detroit home. My new job was going to require that I work downtown on Cass Avenue and drive through dark and vacant city streets at 3:30 a.m. I would have to spend my days among the homeless, the drug addicts and the trash. Not something that I was looking forward to.
Three months into my own "Detroit rebirth," my experience has been absolutely delightful. Maybe that's the key to happiness in Detroit: If you have no expectations about this city, then how can you be disappointed?
Since I've been back I have noticed one thing: As Detroiters, we are our own worst enemies! We talk out of both sides of our mouth, just like Sarah. In one breath we say Detroiters are gritty, proud, resourceful, determined people who don't take any crap. Out of the other side, we are the first ones to cry "woe are we." It's time to stop having expectations of the "good ol' days" of Detroit's long-gone past. Even as a kid growing up here, that residual "poor, poor pitiful me" attitude was lingering. It's as if people in this city have been waiting for the last 50 years to return to those great days. Sarah says Create Detroit and other programs are a waste of city dollars. Yep, she's right because the prevailing defeatist attitude is a virus in this city. If we don't believe in ourselves, why would anyone else believe in Detroit? The irony about it is that we don't want our dirty laundry (shootings, Devil's Night fires and the like) in the national news. Detroiters feel embarrassed by that; it's part of our pride and our loyalty. Yet, when you leave town to visit friends, I bet you're the first one to say, "Yeah, Detroit sucks, it's really bad there, I'm seriously thinking about moving."
Every major city in this country suffers from the bad stuff that each of us hopes we don't fall victim to. It's the same as Detroit. But here's the catch. In Saint Louis, which, let me remind you, holds the title for the No. 1 Most Dangerous City in the country, they don't know any better. They're not kicking themselves when they're down, over and over again. They're not constantly reminded of the heydays of Saint Louis and how the city has deteriorated over the decades. People in Missouri love Saint Louis. They see the metro area as a whole, because no one has ever told them their city isn't cool. And more importantly, these people who live in other cities that are just like Detroit haven't spent decades self-destructing and bad-mouthing their own city.
It is clear that this city is in a rebirth. My friends from elsewhere who came to visit over Thanksgiving all want to live here now. They loved the concert at Masonic Temple, they loved Layfayette Coney Island, they loved the Majestic Bowl, they loved all the great bars and restaurants, the funky architecture and the urban hip nature. As long as no one here tells them we're not lovable, we may be able to replace Sarah and her friends with a few cool new Detroiters! Amy Miller, Morning Edition host, WDET, Detroit
Keep it up, Morgan
Just an average joe from Baltimore writing to say that Mr. Jeffrey Morgan has guided and provided me with the finest in musical observation and perception. If what he says is true, that he's leaving Metro Times for greener pastures (and I hope they are "greener"), then he will be sorely missed and hopelessly yearned for. I wish him well in his future critical endeavors and wish that those endeavors will be made available to me, somehow, somewhere, sometime. Adios amigo, we never met in the flesh, but thanks to the insightful points of light you shed through the electronic night of cyberspace. I feel as though we've been buddies for years. Best to you, lad. Chaz Powers, Takoma Park, Md.Send letters (250 words or less, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.