Letters to the Editor

Impeached credibility

Regarding Jack Lessenberry's comment that impeachment would be "a distraction." ("Saying farewell to fascism," Metro Times, Nov. 15). John Nichols of The Nation has a great article in the December issue of Washington Monthly magazine tracing the results of impeachment efforts. In every single one of nine impeachment efforts, the results have been good for the party opposing the president in terms of increasing or helping maintain their control in Congress. More importantly, the party promoting impeachment has won the next presidential election every time.

Moreover, the legal case for impeaching and convicting serial liar and Constitution defiler George W. Bush is overwhelming.

How did something that is both morally right and politically smart become "a distraction?" —John Gear, Lansing


Fostering understanding

I wanted to applaud Jack Lessenberry on spreading awareness about the number of kids who "age out" of foster care and are left many times with nothing to fall back on ("Worrying about the least of these," Metro Times, Nov. 8). I work for Covenant House Michigan and hundreds of our kids come from the foster care system.

For your information, 90 percent of our residents are high-school dropouts, and an increased number of youth have a mental illness. Without helping these kids to get educated, as well as getting proper treatment and counseling for their illnesses, they are unable to gain independence and break the cycle of homelessness. Check out our Web site below for more information about our upcoming events. —Melissa Golpe, Public Relations Coordinator, Covenant House Michigan, Detroit


Greens not allowed?

Re: the modest proposal from Pradeep Srivastava ("Too Green for their good," Letters to the Editor, Metro Times, Nov. 8): Starry-eyed idealists will be prohibited from voting and running for office; only mature pragmatists will be allowed. No doubt, Srivastava will volunteer to decide who's who.

Josef Stalin would be proud.

Silly me, I always thought the American concept was that anybody could run for president — or any other office — and form new political parties whenever the old ones aren't representing them.

Srivastava couldn't be more wrong about differences between the Green and Democratic parties. There's common ground in our platforms but the similarity ends there. Democrats talk a good game about standing up to special interests, but grovel for lobbyist money and accept lobbyists' money. Green Party candidates reject corporate contributions, PAC money and soft money. We have unilaterally implemented campaign finance reform and remain 100 percent lobbyist-free.

Green candidates do not take votes away from Democratic candidates. We earn each vote directly from a voter. To prevent spoiled elections, the Green Party has promoted instant runoff voting, a voting method in which voters mark their first and second choices. The Democratic Party hasn't been interested.

If you earn a minority of the vote, you should lose. Why do Srivastava and Democrats believe the opposite? —Douglas Campbell, Ferndale, Vice-Chair, Green Party of Michigan


Fire in the belly

Meghana Keshavan begins her recent article on the Bellydance Superstars ("Belly booty," Metro Times, Nov. 8) by painting a very unflattering portrait of belly dancers:

"You hear the word 'superstar,' and you think Champagne and spotlights, you think Jem and the Holograms, you think Molly Shannon's armpits. Hear the term 'belly dance,' and it's dish-sized sequins, middle-aged white women, tit tassels and a dimpled gut wobble."

While I appreciate the humor, I am very sorry that Keshavan has never before seen quality belly dancing. Yes, there may be many middle-aged white women who pursue the dance as a hobby but it's unfair to characterize them as the main proponents of the dance. They aren't the only or the major portion of the belly dance community, which is now worldwide and growing in popularity.

Besides, a skilled dancer of any race, size or age can knock the socks off a discerning audience. That means an audience that appreciates the dance and the music, not just looking at hard bodies.

By the way, belly dancers do not wear "tit tassels." Was the writer thinking of strippers?

Just wondering at such ignorance and blatant stereotyping of an often misunderstood dance which is dear to my heart and the hearts of many. —Denise Gilbertson, Eugene, Ore.


Defending the dance

I find your article on the Bellydance Superstars to be narrow-minded and condescending! Belly dance highlights the beauty inherent in all women, and — though not all of us sport a six-pack of abs — others are very fit. And, by all standards, belly dance requires a great deal of coordination and stamina, in all levels of the dance. So, before you start slinging "tit-tassels" and "dimpled gut wobbles," I suggest you try the art form yourself.

This article highlights why women in this country don't feel good about themselves or their bodies, and have self-esteem issues. I hope your readers will overlook your stereotyped, shallow article and discover the dance for themselves. It's empowering, beautiful, sensual and confidence building. Try it. You might become a convert. —Barbara Lyons, Denver, Colo.


Sweet freedom

Thank you for your article on "The New African Americans" (Metro Times, Nov. 1). Freedom House is a shelter in southwest Detroit housing refuges seeking asylum. As executive director, I see hundreds of Africans who are seeking asylum either in the United States or Canada yearly.

We are pleased of the recognition given by author Jonathan Cunningham of the tremendous value and assets Africans continue to bring to our nation. Given the current trend of "fear-based" response to immigration and immigrants we sometimes forget that some come to this country after hours, months, years of unspeakable terror and fear of death.

Over this past year, Freedom House has housed more than 296 people from around the world who have been personally affected by terrorism, violence, war and have chosen to break the cycle of violence.

We currently have 35 residents at Freedom House representing Africa; from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Congo and Ivory Coast — all are hopeful in becoming our newest "African" Americans! —Pegg Roberts, Executive Director, Freedom House, Detroit

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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