‘I Have a Dream’: Words

echo through the ages

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is worthy of our celebration. We often listened to those poetic words at the Congress of Racial Equality office in Watts before we left to build a fire in a garbage can, hold hands and sing “We Shall Overcome.” We had a nonviolent hero. His attempt to lead us beyond that dream by calling for an end to the Vietnam War in 1967 was so powerful, he was silenced by a slave of the violent status quo.

“We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation,” he said. “Somehow this madness must cease. … I speak as a child of God and a brother … to the suffering poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes. … I speak as a citizen of the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken.”

In the name of the Rev. Dr. King, this madness must cease.

Gretchen Nielsen


I agree: Parking fines

are way too high

Re: the July 29 letter to the editor “Tucson loses overall when fines are too high.”

Three years ago, my 17-year-old son received two free tickets to a University of Arizona basketball game. After attending the game, he got something else — a $175 parking ticket.

He did not park in a handicapped parking space. He was not blocking a driveway or a pedestrian crosswalk. He was not in a lane designated for emergency vehicles. He parked facing the wrong way and deserved the ticket — but $175?

He had one month to pay the fine, or else he would be responsible for the delinquent amount of $245. I thought the financial punishment was excessive at the time. I wonder what it is now. It would be interesting to compare Tucson parking penalties to those of other similar-sized cities. Do our fines represent the norm?

I agree with the letter writer. Fines should be high enough to get a driver’s attention, but this is someone’s entire paycheck.

Marcy Schneider


Writers aren’t confused;

they have an agenda

Re: the Aug. 9 column “The first lexicological war: Throw the dictionary at ’em.”

For us old English teachers, Charles Krauthammer’s column recalls George Orwell’s famous essay “Politics and the English Language.” The latter is a must-read for anyone interested in how ideology skews language and meaning. (You can Google Orwell’s essay — a short read, delightful and powerful.)

Krauthammer writes about fuzzy phrasing currently used by politicians, phrasing intended to cover up actual meaning. For example, the evacuation of our embassy in Yemen was a “reduction in staff,” while the Nidal Hasan massacre at the Texas military base was “workplace violence.”

Note that it is usually those of collectivist and tyrannical mind-set, whether politicians, scholars or preachers, who use fuzzy language. Krauthammer calls such writing a “confusion of language,” but those using such language aren’t confused. They have an agenda that would be rejected if readers knew exactly what they were reading.

Jim Douthit

Retired teacher, Tucson

Politics reared its head

at Tucson rodeo, too

Re: the Aug. 13 article “Rodeo clown banned from Mo. State Fair for Obama skit, mask.”

I should relate our experience at the Tucson rodeo about three years ago. A rodeo clown had been performing when all of a sudden he acted like he had stepped in something bad like horse or cow manure and shook his foot vigorously. When the announcer asked what the problem was, he said, “Oh, I just stepped in Obamacare!”

A lot of people cheered wildly and many booed him just as loudly. My wife emailed the rodeo chairman, stating that we and our family and friends did not think the Tucson rodeo was the place to interject politics. He promptly made light of the complaint, saying that it was just a joke and we were taking it too seriously, offering no apology. We had attended the rodeo every year since 2002. Needless to say we have not attended the since.

Harold Barden

Retired, Vail