University of Denver Magazine
Regarding “Can immigration be reformed?” [spring 2010]: I remember working in the fields alongside the “braceros.” This was a good program while it lasted. They made enough money during harvest time to last them all winter back in their home country, where living is much cheaper. Then along came some “reformer” congresspeople who thought they had a better idea: Make them U.S. citizens so we would have a permanent agricultural work force. Only one problem: U.S. citizens don’t do that kind of work. Now I read that DU is recommending the same solution to the same problem all over again, a solution that will once again multiply the problem rather than solving it. Has anyone at DU ever heard of the principle of unintended consequences? What do you think is going to happen when word gets around to an overpopulated, underfed global population that all they have to do is sneak into the U.S. illegally and we will make them citizens? Boatloads of the poor and desperate are already arriving on the shores of European countries, and it doesn’t take much imagination to realize we will be the next target—especially if we unwittingly issue an invitation. What a wonderful opportunity for terrorists to blend in with the hordes, thereby bypassing pat-downs from customs!
Palmer Lake, Colo.
It seems astounding that for all the enlightened leaders brought together to draft this “immigration road map,” not one of their recommendations dealt with the influence of U.S. foreign trade policy. The lessons of NAFTA alone should teach us that border porosity and domestic immigration policy are not the only issues at hand. By inking exploitive economic policy with other countries and reducing real wages and sustainable living opportunities there, shortsighted free-trade agreements are largely to blame as well. When the quality of life for foreign populations is suppressed and they are more than motivated to migrate, so it goes that it affects our interests. Until these gabby “experts” see and act on what’s happening on both sides of the fence, don’t expect enduring solutions anytime soon.
I commend the University of Denver policy panel for its excellent proposals regarding immigration reform, with which I wholeheartedly agree. As for my own family history, my great-grandparents fled Jewish pogroms in the Ukraine and settled in the San Luis Valley [in Colorado] in the 1890s. They operated a family store, living among the Spanish-Americans, most of whom, although practicing Catholics, were descended from Marrano Jews. In 1917 my grandparents, also fleeing Jewish pogroms, settled there as well. My father, Ely (BS ’48), tells me that his parents, although they could speak many Eastern European languages, insisted on speaking English in the home. To become an American citizen, my grandfather diligently studied the U.S. Constitution and other documents and came before a federal judge in Missouri. The judge questioned him extensively, and my grandfather feared that he might be sent back to the Ukraine. After he took the oath of citizenship, however, the judge praised him in front of the other immigrants and cited him as an example of learning to which they should all aspire. My view: Let those who come here and are willing to study, work hard, obey our laws and speak our language be welcomed with open arms.
Marc Birnbaum (JD ’78)
Overland Park, Kan.
I was pleased to see the story about Rosie Meyer in the spring 2010 issue of the magazine. I knew Rosie while we were fellow students in the late 1940s. Contact was lost after we graduated but one day, some 50 years later, my telephone rang. It was Rosie calling to say that she had come across my novel, War’s Wake, which is based upon my time at DU as a GI Bill of Rights student. She had found a picture of herself among the photos I used as inspiration for the story and recognized her father, Professor Elwood Murray, as the model for one of the fictional characters. Afterward, we exchanged correspondence and pictures and enjoyed reminiscing by way of several delightful telephone conversations. We had planned to meet, but Rosie passed away before that came about. I never knew about the Richard and Rosalind Meyer Family Kitchen at the hotel, restaurant and tourism management building and her generous support of the University. In characteristic humility she never mentioned it. Anyone who knew Rosie never forgot her laughter and zest for living that enlivened many a gathering during those heady GI Bill days just after World War II.
Allan Howerton (BA ’48, MA ’51)
Don Burgess’ letter in the spring 2010 issue stated his skepticism regarding global warming, declaring it to be a fraud and a tool for those with socialist political agendas. Skepticism is an integral part of all scientific inquiry. Challenges to scientific thought are the means by which erroneous concepts are discarded and valid ones are made stronger. Over time, the scientific community gravitates toward positions that are generally defensible, although unanimity is seldom reached and dissenters serve to keep the majority honest. Regarding global warming, it is notable that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and comparable organizations in more than 30 other countries have come to the position that global warming is happening and that human activities are a significant contributor to it. These groups, and the respected scientists in them, are risking their reputations by concluding that global warming is a real and serious problem. Such positions are not taken lightly. It seems highly unlikely that all of these groups have been fooled and that they support a common political agenda. We should all be skeptical of evolving science, but we should also be open to changing our positions as evidence is collected and authoritative bodies weigh in to the debate.
Steve Johnson (BSME ’67)
It’s not a choice
After reading your article “Full House” [winter 2009] and the letters to the editor in regard to it, I am again reminded of the long struggle gays and lesbians have against being demonized in our society. And it seems that DU continues to blindly follow along with that demonization by publishing letters that continue to portray being gay as a “lifestyle,” one that is unfit, unhealthy, etc. If DU were truly concerned with diversity and inclusion, I would not have to read how my life is again put down by certain people, who with their letters make being gay a sin or something to hide. While I am all for freedom of speech, where are the letters denigrating certain religions or interracial marriage, etc.? Of course you won’t find them here, because those types of letters are not acceptable. So why is it acceptable to publish letters demeaning gay men and women? Is it because gays are the only group of people left that it is still acceptable to demonize? DU has a choice to not partake in this action, to stop this cycle of denigration. Americans have the right to their viewpoints, but if you want to denigrate, save, change, scorn or belittle gay men and women, keep it to yourself. Being gay is not a lifestyle, not a choice. It is not a sin, it is not a shame, it simply is. How many Ted Haggards, Mark Foleys, Larry Craigs and others do we have to hear about because certain people think that being gay is wrong or sinful? How many times do we have to hear that sexual orientation can be changed? How many times do we have to hear religion used as a basis to discriminate? I look forward to the day when I won’t have to read or hear people say I should be “treated with dignity” yet be told that my life is unhealthy, immoral or abhorrent. I personally don’t want or need acceptance or tolerance; what I do need is for people to stop using my life as an excuse to tell me how awful or immoral I am. The next time you write an article about a gay family or individual, I want to say thanks, but please write it with the knowledge that while it is good to hear about the acceptance of gay families and individuals, it is not good to hear about the misconceptions, lies and twisted ways that people think my life and those of other gay men and women are supposed to be.
James Rogers (MLIS ’08)
According to your editorial policies, the alumni magazine aspires to accuracy: “The University of Denver Magazine will correct all errors of fact,” and requires that “submissions … may not malign specific individuals or groups.” I was therefore surprised and deeply saddened that several letters regarding the “Full House” article do both. I enjoyed the article and commend you for publishing it in the first place. Ronald Munoz’s letter suggests that LBGT lifestyles are “biologically unhealthy.” William Brown’s letter calls LBGT people “aberrant,” and compares “homosexuality” to a “physiological and/or psychological dysfunction” akin to alcoholism. He also suggests that gays can be turned heterosexual. As a master’s candidate in the University of Colorado at Denver’s counseling psychology program in marriage and family therapy, I feel compelled to note that homosexuality (an offensive and outdated term that implies disorder) was removed as a form of psychological dysfunction from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973. It is no longer considered “aberrant” or any form of psychological disorder by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association or the American Counseling Association. Furthermore, “reparative” therapy (turning gays “straight”) is considered unethical and unquestionably psychologically harmful. Contrary to Brown’s claims that being gay is not predetermined, or inevitable,” most research suggests that sexual orientation is a predetermined trait caused by the biology during gestation—in fact, it is more predetermined than the left/right handedness of an individual and cannot be changed after birth. I found both of these letters full of factual errors and an attempt to malign gays and lesbians, and I am frankly surprised that they were published in our magazine. Gays, lesbians and transgender individuals continue to be the most blatantly marginalized and oppressed group in our society, and DU does no service to them by publishing letters that are uninformed and perpetuate misinformation that is used to rationalize their further degradation. I understand the magazine is interested in providing “fair and balanced” coverage and reader input, but allowing it to be a vehicle for misleading, false statements; supporting a culture that causes unconscionable harm to an entire group of people; and allowing the suggestion that they can be “changed” (contrary to opinions of mental health professionals and scientific research) does nothing to advance and support the development of mankind, which is the purpose of DU.
Robin Ruscio (BM ’01)