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Terrorists can murder, but only Americans can destroy U.S.A.

Letter from Marianne Dugan

Terrorism – February 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Editors:

RE: “Wallah!” And here I thought it was for humor. You know, as in, “real Westerners don’t use French.”

RE: The USPS. For the last two years my November issue of Colorado Central hasn’t arrived until mid-December (15th and 13th respectively), so your Maine subscribers probably receive November and December together. I don’t know why the postal service finds November so difficult, but suspect the catalogue overload is involved.

In Tucson’s defense: I know some of the women who gave up their day to stand around in the September sun (no joke) while the “people flag” got organized (it took hours), and what motivated them wasn’t exactly patriotism. More a confused feeling of connectedness with and sympathy for New York’s agony. I feel protective of Tucson, a minor Democratic enclave in a state where the only political choice is between moderate and rabid Republicans. Some of the actions when the Rabids are in power would curl your hair, like the last governor’s bounty on protected species.

Accountability is the new education buzzword, which totally misses the point: the teacher shortage. Even mediocre teachers are more effective in small classes, but we still talk about competitive teacher salaries when we should be addressing competitive professional salaries. In these United States, where perceived worth is so closely tied to income, teachers don’t even get paid in respect. Holding teachers accountable for poor pupil performance is a worthwhile dream, but this cart is so far ahead of the horse that it’s in the next county.

As for the elephant in the house (not in every room; most of us are back to sleeping and showering, O.K.), the ramifications keep proliferating. Is it naive of me to believe that the underpinning of the democracy we all claim to worship has to be respect for the rule of law? The ease with which Americans allow their administrations to jettison carefully worked out rules when they are inconvenient is more frightening than any number of terrorists. Terrorists can murder some of us, and their eagerness to do so has thrown us off balance, but only Americans can destroy the U.S.

Very truly yours,

Marianne Dugan

Tuscon, Arizona