Article 2 – Point/Counterpoint (Zulma Prieto, Editorial/ Joe Rueff, Response)

( documents in both English and Spanish )

Zulma and I talked about the interest we hope we are creating with the inclusion of articles that she has written. I suggested that we present a “Point/Counterpoint” series in which she will share an editorial that appears in El Puente and I will write remarks related to her topic from my perspective. — ED


Editorial by Zulma Prieto 

Today I find myself writing before the forthcoming Thanksgiving celebration and 54 days away from Christmas. I cannot help but think that I am writing from the land of discontentment. We give thanks between two totally different celebrations and we are thankful for nothing.

This is the land where you are constantly invited to pursue more. The ?American Dream?, the same as the ?Alliance for Progress?, is continuous propaganda to acquire more. It does not matter if you use most of your life trying to reach one more goal (usually associated with ?getting more?); the important thing is to spend like hamsters do, always running without ever asking where you are going.

This is the land of fast food, instant coffee, and nowadays you can even have drive through churches. The question is, by running so much, do we have more time to spend in reflection or just merely enjoying what God has given us?

After a long day of work, do you have one or more errands to do? Or perhaps you have a couple of meetings to attend and some shopping before you reach home? And by the time you get there, can you get past the everyday conversation to some meaningful dialogue with the people that surround you?

Are you content with what you have? This is the land of abundance. Everywhere you look there is more than enough to choose from. Look at any supermarket and you will see aisle after aisle of any product in several versions and modalities. Sometimes you have difficulty in making choices.

While we live in the land of overabundance and discontentment where there is always a good reason to buy something that we really do not need; people elsewhere have to go without everyday things that are truly necessities in their lives.

Maybe the best way to stop the killing and misery in other countries lies in stopping the way we consume. How many cars does a household need? How many TV’s do we need? How much food do we need to store?

A short while ago while in conversation with a group of Latinos, I asked them to think back to five years ago. How many shirts and how many pairs of shoes did they have and how many had they bought during the year 2005. I continue asking the same questions of myself and others.

I am asking the same question today to anyone who reads this editorial.

How many lies do you believe from a system that wants you to lose your life buying what you do not truly need? How many people engulfed in the current economic globalization are in the most tragic poverty because in the Northern Hemisphere people are in permanent discontent.

I do not celebrate Halloween, in my case is a matter of belief, and I also do not feel like celebrating a day that does not honor the natives of this land. They gave everything; above all they gave of themselves with kindness and generosity. How did the discontented newly arrivals return that generosity? Do we do the same today? Do we take away other peoples treasures, land and products and later ask them to celebrate democracy with us? After Thanksgiving comes Christmas.

The season for presents and best wishes for all. What is our present to the world? Do we share what we have without taking away from others? That maybe is the best present that this ?Christian country? can give the world. What are we celebrating?

En Español

Hoy me encuentro escribiendo antes de la pr?ima celebraci? del D? de Acci? de Gracias y a 54 d?s de la Navidad; y no puedo evitar pensar que estoy escribiendo desde la tierra del descontento. Damos gracias entre dos celebraciones completamente distintas y no estamos agradecidos por nada.

Esta es la tierra donde a usted siempre se le est?invitando a obtener m?. El ?Sue? Americano?, as?como la ?Alianza para el Progreso?, es una propaganda continua acerca de adquirir m?. No importa que usted emplee la mayor parte de su vida para obtener un logro mayor ( usualmente asociado a ?tener m??); lo m? importante es pasar como lo hacen los hampsters, siempre corriendo sin preguntarse nunca hacia donde vamos.

Esta es la tierra de la comida r?ida, el caf?instant?eo y hoy en d? usted puede tener incluso iglesias con drive through.

La pregunta es, al correr tanto, tenemos m? tiempo para pasar en reflexi? o aunque sea solo gozando lo que Dios nos ha dado?

Despu? de un largo d? de trabajo, tiene una o m? diligencias que hacer? O tal vez tiene un par de reuniones a las que debe asistir y algo de compras que hacer antes de llegar a casa. Y para cuando llegue all? puede pasar de la conversaci? diaria a un di?ogo m? profundo con la gente que le rodea?

Esta contento con lo que tiene? Esta es la tierra de la abundancia. A cualquier parte que mire, siempre hay m? de donde escoger. Mire en cualquier supermercado y ver?pasillo tras pasillo, cualquier producto en variedad de versiones y modalidades. Algunas veces hasta es dif?il escoger.

Mientras vivimos en la tierra de la sobreabundancia y descontento, donde siempre hay una raz? para comprar algo que en realidad no necesitamos; la gente en otros lugares tiene que subsistir sin las cosas m?imas que son verdaderamente necesarias en su vida.

Tal vez la mejor manera de parar la muerte y la miseria en otros pa?es yace en el hecho que tenemos que parar la forma en que consumimos.

Cu?tos autos necesita una familia? Cu?tas televisiones? Y cu?to alimento almacenamos?

Hace poco en una conversaci? con Latinos les ped?que pensaran hacia cinco a?s atr?. Cu?tas camisas y pares de zapatos ten?n y cu?to hab?n comprado durante el a? 2005. Contin? haciendo la misma pregunta a m?misma y a otros, y ahora la estoy haciendo a todo el que lea este editorial.

Yo no celebro Haloween, en mi caso es una cuesti? de creencia, y tampoco me siento en disposici? de celebrar un d? que no hace honor a los nativos de esta tierra. Ellos lo dieron todo, dieron de s?mismos con bondad y generosidad. C?o devolvi?esa generosidad el descontento de los reci? llegados? Hacemos lo mismo hoy en d?? Estamos tomando los tesoros, la tierra y los productos de otros pueblos y despu? les pedimos que celebren la democracia con nosotros?

Despu? de Acci? de Gracias, viene la Navidad. La temporada de los regalos y buenos deseos para todos. Cu? es nuestro presente para el mundo? Compartiremos lo que tenemos sin quitarle a otros? Este tal vez es el mejor regalo que este ?pa? cristiano? puede darle al mundo. ? Qu?estamos celebrando?

Counterpoint by Joe Rueff         

As I read Zulma’s editorial I kept looking for major points with which I could disagree. I found none. Oh, there were a few spots in which I might have used different words, couched my language, but in so doing I would have lost the poignancy of her statements. We are a culture awash in abundance. And we find ourselves embroiled in a war that seems to leave few options for a successful end. Our guns and butter tendencies have left us with little opportunity to make major contributions to really help the billions ravaged by natural calamities both here and abroad — Katrina, Wilma, the Tsunami, earthquakes, starvation in Sudan, AIDS pandemic in Africa.

When I was in Graduate school at Indiana University I took a course in Speech Interpretation. In it I ran across a poem by James Oppenheim, titled “1914 — and After.” There is a paucity of information available on either the author or the book from which it was taken, War and Laughter, The Century Company, 1916. Nevertheless, it rings as true today as it did during World War I (“The War to End Wars”!). Since then we have had the anguish of the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, Viet Nam, and the wars in and with Iraq. So instead of reacting directly to Zulma, I urge you to read both her article and Oppenheim’s words. Remember, as we enter the forthcoming holidays in a gift-giving mood, that perhaps the greatest gift we can give is to rededicate ourselves to the service of humanity and to allocate our resources more effectively to benefit the billions of our brothers and sisters world wide.

(The underlines are mine for emphasis. Please forgive the use of the masculine throughout. It was the style of that period and should be taken in a generic sense.)

Joe Rueff


Would you end war?
Create great Peace. . . .

You rave at the war, do you?
Do you know that the war has struck in the face with a fist
A race of clerks,
And turned them to men?
The flabby boys of London died athletes Ypres. . . .
The Lords of large estates proved in their deaths equality. . . .

Vast millions have ceased to whimper over the coffee at breakfast,
And ceased from family cowardice,
And from industrial bondage,

And now the mother gives the son she feared to release for a night’s
And the man who demanded safety first leads the charge from the
And life is so real that men are ready to lose it. . . .

For in war they have found Peace:
The Peace with oneself, the being used for a great purpose,
The releasing of the spirit in the heart, and its victorious sweep in
the soul,
The assertion of manhood, which means courage, hardness, discipline,
and adventure.

Such is Peace. . . .
But that which we call Peace?
This monstrous machine that weakens millions in factories,
This lust of money for its own sake: to swell one’s social stomach
larger than one’s neighbor’s. . . .
This poor little personal strife and family pride,
This softness of muscle and cowardice of spirit. . . .
Is this Peace?
Is merely keeping alive, Peace?
Better the young die greatly than live weakly. . . .

Would you end war?
Create great Peace. . . .
The Peace that demands all of a man,
His love, his life, his veriest self;
Plunge him in the smelting fires of a work that becomes his child,
Coerce him to be himself at all hazards; with the toil and the mating
that belong to him:
Compel him to serve. . . .
Give him a hard Peace: a Peace of discipline and justice. . . .
Kindle him with vision, invite him to joy and adventure:
Set him at work, not to create things
But to create men:
Yea, himself.

Go search your heart, America. . . .
Turn from machine to man,
Build, while there is yet time, a creative Peace. . . .
For if you reject great Peace,
As surely as vile living brings disease,
So surely shall your selfishness bring war.

James Oppenheim, 1914 — and After

En Espańol

El Contrapunto

Como yo le?el editorial de Zulma yo mantuve el buscar los puntos mayores con que yo no podr? convenir. Encontr?ninguno. Ah, hab? unos pocos lugares en los que podr? haber utilizado palabras diferentes, formularon mi idioma, pero a tan hacer habr? perdido el patetismo de sus declaraciones. Somos una cultura inundada de sobra. Y nosotros nos encontramos nos enredamos en una guerra que parece salir pocas opciones para un fin exitoso. Nuestras tendencias de fusiles y mantequilla nos han dejado con oportunidad peque? para hacer contribuciones mayores para ayudar realmente los mil millones destrozaron por las calamidades naturales aqu?y al exterior — Katrina, Wilma, la Tsunami, los terremotos, el hambre en Sud?, pandemia de SIDA en Africa. Cu?do yo estaba en cursos de posgraduado en la Universidad de Indiana yo tom?un curso en la Interpretaci? de Discurso. En ello yo me top?con un poema por Mermeladas Oppenheim, titul?”1914 — y Despu?.”


hay una escasez de informaci? disponible en o el autor o el libro de que se tom? la Guerra y la Risa, La Compa?a del Siglo, 1916. No obstante, anillos hoy como verdadero como hizo durante primera Guerra mundial (” La Guerra para Terminar las Guerras” !). Desde entonces hemos tenido la angustia de la Gran Depresi?, de la segunda Guerra mundial, de la Guerra coreano, de Viet Nam, y de las guerras en y con Iraq. As?que en vez de reaccionar directamente a Zulma, yo le insto a leer sus palabras de art?ulo y Oppenheim. Recuerde, como entramos las vacaciones venideras en un humor de obsequio-dando, eso quiz? el obsequio m? grande que podemos dar deber?dedicar nuevamente al servicio de la humanidad y para asignar nuestros recursos para m? beneficiar efectivamente los mil millones de nuestro mundo de hermanos y hermanas lejos. (Las rayas son m?s para ?fasis. Perdone por favor el uso del masculino a trav? de. Era el estilo de ese per?do y se debe aceptar un sentido gen?ico.) — Joe Rueff


?Terminar? usted la guerra?
Para crear gran la Paz. . . .

?Usted delira ante la guerra, verdad?
Sabe que la guerra ha golpeado con un pu? en la cara
Una generaci? de empleados,
Y los hizo hombres?
Los chicos fl?idos de Londres murieron atletas Ypres. . . .
Los Se?res de grandes propiedades demostraron en su igualdad la muerte. . . .

Vastos millones han dejado de lloriquear sobre el caf?en el desayuno,
Y salieron de la cobard? familiar,
Y de la esclavitud industrial,
Y ahora la madre entrega al hijo que ella temi?liberar para una aventura en la noche,
Y el hombre que demand?que la seguridad dirija primero el ataque desde las trincheras,
Y la vida es tan real que los hombres est? listos a perderla. . . .

Pues en la guerra ellos han encontrado la Paz:
La Paz consigo mismo, de ser utilizados para un gran prop?ito,
La liberaci? del esp?itu en el coraz?, y su victoriosa asolaci? en el alma,
La afirmaci? de la virilidad, que significa el valor, la dureza, la disciplina, y la aventura.

Tal es la Paz. . . .
?Pero que de aquello que llamamos Paz?
Esta m?uina monstruosa y la debilitaci? de millones en las f?ricas,
Esta lujuria del dinero para su propia consideraci?: hincharse su propio est?ago social.   
mas all?que el del vecino. . . .
Este pobre y peque? orgullo personal, de la rivalidad y el orgullo familiar,
Esta blandura de m?culo y cobard? del esp?itu. . . .
?Es ?to Paz?
?Est?simplemente manteniendo viva, la Paz?
Mejor que los j?enes mueran grandiosamene a que vivan d?ilmente. . . .

?Terminar? usted la guerra?
Crear? la gran Paz. . . .
La Paz que demanda todo de un hombre,
Su amor, su vida, su verdadero ser;
H?dalo en los fuegos de fundici? de un trabajo que se convierte en su ni?,
Obl?elo a ser ? mismo en todas las labores y el apareamiento que le pertenecen:
Apr?ielo a servir. . . .
Dele una Paz dura: una Paz de disciplina y justicia. . . .
Enci?dalo con una visi?, inv?elo a la alegr? y la aventura:
P?galo a trabajar, no a crear cosas
Sino a crear hombres:
Si, a ? mismo.

Vayan a buscar su coraz?, Am?ica. . . .
tornen de la m?uina al hombre,
Construyan, cuando a? hay tiempo, una Paz creadora. . . .
Pues si rechazan la gran Paz,
Tan seguro como lo vil trae la enfermedad
As?seguramente su ego?mo traer?la guerra.

James Oppenheim, 1914 — y despu?
Est?meramente mantiendo
viva, la Paz?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *