Bob's Links and Rants

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I got my first hate mail yesterday. Those who have been following the blog closely know that local peace activists, including me, lobbied the Ann Arbor City Council to pass a resolution opposing war in Iraq, which they did on December 2. In the Sunday, December 8 Ann Arbor News the editorial staff wrote a brief "Talk About Town" article which put down the council for passing the resolution, citing a person "at the water cooler" saying he just wished council would get his leaves picked up. The writer(s) snidely concluded by suggesting that the White House doesn't care what the Ann Arbor City Council thinks, and that the council should stick to "local" issues.

Along with several others, I sent a letter to the editor objecting to this piece:

To the Editor:
As a member of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace who attended the City Council meeting on December 2, I take exception to the "Skip Iraq, Get Leaves" article in Sunday's "Talk About Town." First, there was nothing "aggressive" about our support for the resolution: we assertively exercised our rights as citizens to contact our elected representatives and express our wish that Ann Arbor speak out against war. About 100 of us showed up to show our support, but no one was threatened into anything. No one expressed any displeasure at Mike Reid's thoughtful statement or vote against the resolution. And no one from the “water cooler" or elsewhere showed up to express opposition to the resolution.

As for the remark about council member Herrell and her colleagues being a non-issue at the White House: well, that’s our point. Our national government IS ignoring us. War in Iraq has been estimated to cost $200 billion. Ann Arbor’s contribution in taxes will be approximately $70 million, money which the city could use to improve leaf collection (which isn’t really much of a problem, no matter what the water cooler gang says) or for other, more important services.

Michigan voted for Gore. Both of our Senators voted against Bush’s war resolution in October, as did Representatives Rivers and Dingell. Our voices don’t seem to have gotten through yet, but we’re going to keep expressing our support for peace in any way we can, and we thank City Council for its vote.

This was printed in last Sunday's (12/15) paper. On Tuesday I received a nasty letter from a Dennis Smith of Belleville, Michigan. I don't have the patience to re-type it, bad spelling and all, so I have scanned it. You can read it: page 1; page 2 (you may need to save the images and open them in an image editing program to be able to read them--the pictures themselves are clear, but they appear very small in some browsers).

I tell you, my cat understands the issues better than this yahoo, and she's much nicer. Dennis Smith of Belleville is one child who was definitely left WAY behind in school, and worse, he doesn't care. It is scary to think how many millions of morons like Dennis there are in this country.

I told the staff person of our organization about the letter; she said she and one other member had received similar letters, although theirs were more threatening. We are going to compare the letters tomorrow to see if they all came from the same source.