Pledge is Presumptuous

The outrage over the court opinion on the unconstitutionality of including "under God" in the flag pledge demonstrates that, in the name of God, otherwise rational people speak and act in silly, sometimes dangerous ways.

Rather than lament that the meaning of the pledge and life has been diminished, maybe a cool-headed study of the pledge will raise some questions that should be answered.

Could the phrase, "One nation under God indivisible" be a tad presumptuous? Where's the evidence we Americans are God's chosen people? Was God watching over us as we decimated the Native American population or enslaved the Negroes? Was God, as the popular hymn suggests, walking and talking with us, telling us we were his own as we exploited others around the world so that we could live more comfortably?

To make the absurd claim that, under God, we are indivisible indicates either God has failed us or we have betrayed God, because we are sharply divided on many issues: on race, abortion, the war on drugs and capital punishment. We even disagree on whether George W. Bush was legitimately elected or is punishment from God for our civic laziness.

To state that we have liberty and justice for all in America is too ridiculous to merit comment.

The composer of the original pledge felt the best way to achieve the pledge's ideals was to replace our capitalism system with socialism. Given that fact and the divisiveness caused by reference to God, maybe God wouldn't mind if we simply dropped the pledge altogether.

Buell Hollister

Post Falls, Idaho

Stroke Victim Speaks Up

I read the article about Erika Jones in the July 25 edition of The Inlander and I can relate to everything she feels.

I have had three strokes; one in 1988, one in 1989 and the last and the most devastating in 1996.

I have AVM(Arterial Veaneous Malformation) of the brain. My malformation is about the size of a golf ball in the back of my head. I was born with it but nobody knew, and as I grew, it grew too. The malformation is a tangle of nerves and arteries, and the blood has a hard time getting through the tangle. This last time, I had some aneurysms and that caused the stroke. It is inoperable.

The last stroke I had was a major one and now I need help walking. I too, had to go through grueling physical, speech and occupational therapy.

Like Erika I was determined to get my life back. I wasn't about to let a stoke get the best of me.

She talks about people, the looks she would get and feeling like a freak. I still get those looks and I still feel like a freak. Some people act as if I am retarded! I might be in a wheelchair but I still understand. It's THEIR problem if they treat me that way.

Like Erika, I have changed. One thing I could before the 1996 stroke was to bite my tongue, but now I don't hesitate to tell you a thing or two. I am much more outgoing now too.

Like Erika I don't remember much about being hospitalized. I still have trouble with my short term memory. I have to think if I am asked what I had for dinner last night.

I have been married for 17 years to the same person and he has been through a lot. After the last stroke, the surgeon told my husband to make funeral plans, as I wasn't expected to live. But after 48 hours of being in a coma I woke up.

But now I have a lot of challenges. I have two children; both girls. One is 16 and one is 10. My 10-year-old thinks it is fun to see me struggle. But anyway I am here for a reason. Reading Erika's story I can relate to what she goes through every day.

Janet Landsiedel

Spokane, Wash.

Support Local Business

What has happened to the small business owner in Spokane? It seems like we have gone from mom-and-pop owned and operated businesses to corporate overrun. Just look at what is happening on the South Hill. In the last month, two very popular locations have gone out of business, not because they don't have customers walking through the door, but because they are unable to compete with chains. Or because of landlords who are unwilling to stand by and support a hardworking mom-and-pop type business.

Portobello's Italian Restaurant and Studio K Bar and Grill have both shut their doors, a tragedy to those who loved them. Portobello's has been forced to close because of greediness and a lack of old fashioned faith, the almighty dollar has once again reared its head. The owner, Ken Fransen, was a staple in the South Hill neighborhood, running two very popular restaurants at the same address for over 27 years.

Downtown maybe in the midst of a revitalization, but at what expense? We may be bringing in Chili's, Chevy's, Banana Republic, and Abercrombie and Fitch, amongst other chain restaurants and shops, but do they provide the same down-home feeling that a locally owned and operated restaurant or shop would? Can I go into a chain restaurant and be greeted by someone who knows my name, what sport my child is in, or what my favorite dish is on the menu? I think not. Are we revitalizing downtown at the expense of hard working small business owners?

I tip my hat at those who support 'the little guy.' There is a reason that Spokane still has spots like Luna, Gordy's and Italian Kitchen, but for how long? Are we going to be forced into a life of Chili's and Outback Steakhouse? I hope not. Spokane, please step up and support your locally owned and operated restaurants.

Joshua Hall

Spokane, Wash.

Our Legacy: Our Voice, Our Action, Our Power

Thu., Sept. 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
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