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Letters to the Editor

Recycling programs need dose of skepticism

By now you've heard about the single-stream recycling scandal out of Fort Smith. Fort Smith has more than a recycling problem. Trust has been broken and that's a lot harder to fix than reworking your recycling system. I invite you to ask your aldermen and the top brass at City Hall how they would handle such a predicament.

Our top brass here in Fayetteville include those six-figure earners, Mayor Jordan, City Attorney Kit Williams, and Chief of Staff Don Marr. These are the folks with whom the buck stops, with whom our public trust lies. What would they do if they found out recycling was being collected but not really getting recycled?

Would they make one person the scapegoat? I mean, seriously, do you think only one person knew Fort Smith's recycle trucks were headed for the landfill? Which is more important, telling the public only what they want to hear (convenience) or providing the end-users with clean materials they are excited to receive because they can actually use them as feedstock to make new products? That means using a collection method that keeps recyclables segregated and uncontaminated.

This is a conversation that needs to occur in every community in America that has a recycling program. That is, if honesty matters. The only people who will tell you Fort Smith is an isolated incident are those who are naive, inexperienced in recycling, incompetent or in cahoots.

There's a lot of mischief makers in recycling. Anyone who doesn't know that ought not be making decisions about recycling programs.

Louise G. Mann

Fayetteville

Americans can't ignore impact of U.S. manipulations

You know, when you read Bradley Gitz's columns, you're struck by his attitude of "how could things be any different than the way I see them?" Things are just so obvious. His recent column about immigration reflects this tendency. Regarding "illegal aliens" he states, "Their behavior is not born of necessity but entirely volitional," which makes it sound like it's a purely economic decision, nothing about life and limb.

And that's just simply inaccurate. The point he scrupulously avoids making is that because of our mostly unspoken but ongoing policy of regime change and just general meddling in Latin America, many of these countries have been made simply unlivable.

You can see the U.S.-directed Guatemalan coup in '54 as a kind of post-war beginning for this policy, but our military intervention in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean goes a lot farther back. And the results -- brutal dictatorships, horrible economic inequality, suspension of the very rule of law -- are things we here in America wouldn't tolerate.

But over the years, this has been the story in places like El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, Paraguay, and also Honduras (from whence many recent emigres hail), where a U.S.-backed coup in 2009 removed Manuel Zelaya, the democratically elected president, and left chaos. And that all went on under Hillary's watch at State, lest we see this imperialist tendency as somehow a "Republican" policy. It's U.S. policy. So where Dr. Gitz questions whether there exists "some kind of compelling moral obligation to those who are in our country illegally," when you factor in our centrality in creating the situations that drive these people from their homelands, maybe we do have something of a moral responsibility.

Can you simply dismiss our heavy-handed manipulations as inconsequential? (Are we dismissing the possible Russian involvement in our own?) Now, imagine a country more powerful than Russia, with a leader more powerful than Putin, simply swooping in and removing Donald Trump from office and installing his own hand-picked successor. How would that fly?

At the least, we need to reconsider this policy of brazenly self-serving (that is, corporate-serving) regime manipulation. Gitz says, "In a democracy ... we have, as citizens, an equal right to determine ... laws." Dr. Gitz, did you vote for the genocide in Guatemala, the death squads in El Salvador? Or the corrupt Contras in Nicaragua? These mostly Fort Benning-trained goons, every bit as evil as ISIS? I didn't. This isn't something the government or the media wants you thinking about, but that doesn't make it any less real.

The government we leave in place isn't there to serve their own people; they're there to serve our interests. This isn't even to mention our major role in causing the present refugee crisis in the Middle East, because of our invasion of Iraq in 2003. And many Americans seem equally comfortable with forgetting our significant role in fomenting that ongoing disaster, and therefore can feel confident in affirming policies that reject immigrants from places like Syria and Iraq.

David Geneson

Eureka Springs

Editorial on 05/20/2017

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