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Political Reality Can Kick Your Ass

Jim Nintzel's "Campaigning 101" (Nov. 1) was my idea of quality journalism--fearless, articulate and above all, REAL.

Yeah, we all have our fantasies and ideals about the good stuff that makes life worth living. The truth, however, is that the world is the way it is, and however it might be in the future, reality has a terrible habit of being ... well ... real.

In politics, reality can kick your ass.

I know. I ran for the Tucson City Council as a Libertarian in 1997. I did well enough that I didn't get soured on the system, so I served as a campaign manager for three more Libertarian candidates (back when the Pima County Libertarian Party actually had some reality to it). Hey, one of my candidates, Jonathan Hoffman, now writes for the Weekly!

When Jon ran for City Council, we tried to actually follow Nintzel's guidelines--for the simple reason that they make sense to sensible people. For instance, we followed simple rule No. 2, "Have a Plan," by spending huge amounts of skull sweat on working up a 32-page political platform in which we spelled out what we would do and how we would do it. And we checked and revised it with several folks who know how Tucson government works (simple rule No. 3: "Have some idea about how government works.").

It was a good campaign. And it's been great seeing some of our ideas finally implemented. (I believe we were the first folks to really stress using bus pullouts as a means of improving traffic flow.)

Anyway, Mr. Nintzel, you've done a service to the political parties, potential candidates and thus the people of my town with this article. Well done, sir, and keep it coming!

Dan Starr


'Campaign 101': The Best 'Weekly' Political Article Ever?

Thanks to my grandmother (Margaret Robinson of Lead, S.D.), who was the first woman to serve on the platform committee at the Democratic Convention (when they meant something), I got an early education in politics. I met George McGovern at her house when he was just a state legislator.

As a result, and thanks to the voters, I was elected to the Sierra Vista City Council in 1981 and 1985. I decided not to run for a third term. Figured I was ahead of the game to quit while people were asking me to stay.

Your article "Campaigning 101" was outstanding and should be given to everyone taking out a petition for public office. It's probably the best article ever in your publication regarding politics.

Mike Hicks


A Rebuttal From a Pro-War Guy, Including a Little Name-Calling

Seeing as my Oct. 4 letter ("Veteran: Anti-War Demonstrators Aren't So Innocent"), which countered Gretchen Nielsen's account of the anti-war protests at the Speedway recruiting center (Guest Commentary, Sept. 13), generated three published letters in response (Oct. 18), I feel obliged to reply.

I concur with Kim Mathews; most anti-war protesters don't cause trouble. I don't agree, though, that she needs to be near the recruiting station in order to "protest the recruitment of young people to be cannon fodder in an illegal war of aggression." The recruiters are doing their duty. If you want to stop the "illegal" war, why not protest at the two congressional offices in Tucson? Their tenants actually can stop this war, by defunding it. Also, as I mentioned in my original letter, this issue excites passions on both sides. If pro-military and anti-war demonstrators maintain their distance from each other, trouble is less likely to occur. (If anti-war demonstrators really want to get closer to the recruiting station, spots on the sidewalk are first-come, first-served. Try waking up earlier!)

Matt Peters' letter was a tour de force of snark and facile thinking. Because I only listed three examples of anti-war-protester boorishness, Peters chose to conclude that anti-war rudeness is most likely "isolated." Sadly, no. Here are some more examples: hitting pro-military protesters with signs; telling the siblings of fallen servicemen that their brothers were dead because of the stupidity of their parents; telling those same siblings that they should go and get shot, too; insulting the mothers of deployed servicemen; deliberate attempts to provoke fights; and many instances of foul language. All of which we can document. (And, Matt, as for your advice to avoid Tucson Mall during Christmas: Actually, I shop at Old Town Artisans and the local craft fairs for the holidays.)

Finally, World War II veteran Milton Schweibel wrote that I wanted to deny the troops in Iraq the "truth" about our efforts over there. While I respect Mr. Schweibel's service, he's kidding himself if he thinks that the loony thinking and childish opinions on display in most Tucson anti-war protests approach anything even remotely resembling the "truth." Don't believe me? Go see for yourself. Take one look at the freak show that is the Tucson anti-war movement, and you'll see why they richly deserve the pro-military movement's nickname for them--moonbats!

Don Smith


Speaking of Gretchen Nielsen ... Where Was Peace-Demonstration Coverage?

Raytheon, Tucson's own suicide bomber, employs 11,000 war profiteers and generously supports many of our local charities. Can that be the reason for the total lack of coverage of the orderly and enthusiastic demonstration for peace that took place on Saturday, Oct. 27, that David Ray mentioned (Guest Commentary, Oct. 25)?

Despite the fact that Raytheon is a major contributor to our economy, most Tucsonans are opposed to the wars of aggression that are being planned by our ruthless leaders. It is not easy to "bite the hand that feeds us," but that is what we must do in order to restore our self-respect.

Gretchen Nielsen


Get Rid of Drug War, and You Free Up Cash, Individual Freedoms!

Thanks to Jonathan Hoffman for this piece (Guest Commentary, Oct. 17). There are several rights incorporated in the Constitution that "trump" the drug war, but the ongoing assault on an individual's freedom seems to numb folks out to the point of giving up.

By some estimates (from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Drug Enforcement Administration), the drug market is now around $100 billion per annum. Half of that amount could be used for the salvation of the social system, and the grower/distributor would stay fat, and the consumer would be happy.

Sam Smith


This Is Your Mailbag on Drugs. Any Questions?

Mike Carey is correct on one point: An international treaty does supersede constitutional rights ("The U.S. Does Have Authority to Prohibit Drug Usage, and the People Can't Change That," Mailbag, Nov. 1). However, the idea that a treaty is carved in stone and cannot be amended is an error.

The United States can abandon the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty anytime it chooses to do so. Moreover, there will be no repercussions among other signatories, because the United States has been the main promoter of international drug prohibition. Most of the countries in Europe would end the drug war in an instant if it were not for pressure from the United States.

Furthermore, there is some question of whether a treaty that violates the U.S. Constitution is valid.

If America's drug crusade can only be justified with an outmoded, Constitution-violating treaty, it is time to end the farce that drug laws accomplish anything worthwhile.

Ralph Givens

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