Letters to the Editor - Courage December 04 2003

As an environmental and social justice activist, I just wanted to send you a note of appreciation for your article on the Free Trade Area of the Americas protest in Miami (“Police state,” Nov. 27). I am pleased to see a few of the underlying issues of corporate globalization getting some attention, as corporate news media outlets invariably only focus on the spectacle of “violent protesters,” leaving the real issues of exploitation unaired. As long as those of us who support peace, justice and sustainability through direct action are relegated to the fringe, our movement will languish. I can only hope that people will read your article and be inspired to look more deeply into the inherent injustice of so-called “free trade agreements.” Thanks for the courage, man.

-- Sean Tenney, Atlanta

br>?Ordered liberty
Creative Loafing rarely gets credit for the satire and comedy that grace its pages. But the coverage of what happened around the Miami protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas had me rolling with laughter. In particular, Kelly Benjamin’s “Stifling Dissent” (“Police state,” Nov. 26) was as funny as Monty Python’s Life of Brian skit of medieval anarchists protesting “the violence inherent in the system.”

The article is funny because of the ruthlessly narrow viewpoint of a person who fails to see how his area of interest fits into the big picture. With so many high points, how do I single out a few? Maybe it’s his evaluation of taking a rubber bullet in the tattoo as the “worst case of police brutality I have ever witnessed,” which merely demonstrates Benjamin doesn’t get out very much. In many parts of the world, dissent is met with bullets of lead rather than rubber; some of us remember the classic picture from Kent State.

I like how easily he passes over what he thinks was the precipitating incident as “a plastic water bottle [that] flew over the line of armored riot police.” But since Benjamin can foam at the mouth with hyperbole over a rubber bullet, why does it not cross his self-centered mind that, after the example of Seattle, the police may have thought it was gasoline in that water bottle?

My favorite joke was Benjamin’s last sentence: “These are not signs of a healthy democracy by and for the people.” Perhaps he skipped school the day they taught that the U.S. is a republic, that the founders were educated by history to fear the tyranny of the majority.

At a time when the United States endures true dangers — the PATRIOT Act’s assault on civil liberties and Sept. 11’s assault on civil life come to mind — Benjamin’s inability to tell the difference between ordered liberty and oppression is hilarious. Thanks for the comic relief, Creative Loafing.

-- Anthony Trauring, Decatur

br>?Waste no time
John Sugg: You’ve missed the point entirely about the airport (Fishwrapper, “Airport deal would fly,” Nov. 27). The airport happens to be the single largest economic engine in Georgia, right? Why would the Republicans want to privatize the only major economic engine controlled by Democratic politicians? Wouldn’t be power would it? Once they’ve removed the airport from control by Democrats, they’ve effectively secured the economic power of the airport and can extract contributions from all the businesses that run the airport, plus the peripheral businesses around it. Since we know the Republican Party already is controlled by the big businesses of Georgia, why give the airport — the only economic engine the Democrats have any control over — to the Republicans? Your idea to privatize is foolhardy, and I’m sorry you can’t see through this ruse by the Republicans. The sad thing is they didn’t even wait a year after Perdue’s election to begin the takeover.

-- Andy Hall, Atlanta

br>?Slow decline
If Bob Barr has a hard time realizing why people “stand by what our government does, regardless of how egregious the violation of our liberties” (Flanking Action, “Pre-emptive strike hits high schools,” Nov. 20), he needs only to read his own column. Liberty is not eliminated overnight. It’s done one step at a time, using myopic statements like “testing for mind-altering drugs, a step that can properly be justified.”

-- Arland Miller, Lawrenceville

br>?Spread the word
First of all, I would like to thank Creative Loafing for doing the piece on the Beltline, and thus bringing it to the attention of many more people (News & Views, “This is no loopy loop,” Nov. 20). The potential of this is very exciting, as it could reshape Atlanta and help the city realize its destiny to become one of the great cities of the world.

The rate at which this has grown from an academic study into a real politically supported transportation option is a testament to its viability. But it is particularly exciting now to watch the next chapter unfold as it continues to capture the imagination of practically everyone that learns about it. The quality-of-life impact and business implications make this too big to ignore for entrepreneurial Atlanta. This train is leaving the station. Next stop, a neighborhood near you.

-- Steve Carlin, Atlanta

br>?Grow inward
I am writing to express my support for the Beltline project (“News & Views, “This is no loopy loop,” Nov. 20). Intown Atlanta direly needs to grow its public transit infrastructure. After a decade of rapid suburban growth around Atlanta, rapid development is finally happening inside the Perimeter. The Beltline would offer an alternative to intown residents besides cars, and would encourage dense, lower-consumption living. Metro Atlanta cannot geographically expand any further.

-- Brian Harper, Atlanta

br>?Going to the chapel
I really enjoyed Blake Guthrie’s article on the Über talented — and might I say gorgeous — John Mayer, although Guthrie seemed to be playa-hatin’ on his former hanging buddy (“Mayer of Atlanta,” Nov. 20). For shame. I am also a singer/songwriter, but I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that becoming popular means one is automatically selling out. Selling out means giving in to the pressure to do something one doesn’t wish to do for money. Not the case here.

As hard as it may be to comprehend for some, many artists become popular because what they have to say, and the manner in which they are expressing it, is appealing on a mass level. Besides, music is not a competition, and fellow artists (although understandably envious) should be happy when a local boy does good.

Also, I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that I am not alone in regard to being an artist who does not drink or partake in drug usage, a lonely place to be in the music world. This means that when I get famous, and finally get a chance to marry ... err ... um ... meet John Mayer, I can tell him that I admire him for more than just his singing and songwriting ability. You go, John!

-- Alicia R. Norman, Marietta??