Consumers should know whats in food


As a person who saved her own life by being religious about what I consumed, I want to know what's in my food! We're getting too sophisticated to keep using the 'oops, we didn't know' theory when our food supply (or the pharmaceuticals taken to counter the acidity of the bad food we eat) harm us because they turn out to be not-so-innocent Ñ such as the recent news flash that fried potatoes can be carcinogenic. Those of us who already understand the dangers of genetically modified foods deserve to know what foods are altered that way so that we can avoid the carnage. End of story Ñ we have a right to know and should vote yes on Measure 27, which would require labeling of genetically engineered food.

Denise Martin

Southeast Portland

War resolution

threatens democracy

We have, of late, been subjected to an immense presidential campaign to take us into war against Iraq. Without more direct actual injury, we would be ill-advised to enter into such an action. War, as anyone who has ever been engaged in it can testify, is terribly destructive to life, well-being and property, and it is to be avoided if at all possible.

But there is something even more disturbing about the president's recent actions. He has been actively seeking the power to declare war at his sole discretion. Nothing could pose a greater threat to our democratic system. Under our Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war. To remove this power from Congress and give it to the president alone would return us to the political environment of kings and emperors, a completely undesirable development. George W. Bush and his warmongering advisers should not be rewarded with our consent.

Mason Janes

Southwest Portland

Football fans should

be polled, too

I think Dwight Jaynes' column, (Football fans know better than poll voters, Sports, Sept. 24) is the truest thing ever said about poll voting for college football. The fans and the people who actually watch and assess college football teams should be the ones doing the voting. The coaches and other poll voters even said that they don't put much time into what team they are voting for and that the coaches don't have time to look at other teams because they are busy trying to get their own teams ready for the season. As if we, the people who watch college football, didn't know that for a fact.

Maybe sometime later on in the polls, the voters will consist of people who watch college football and of people who actually assess these college teams. I think that many college football viewers would agree that this would be a wise decision.

Nabil Kanso Jr.


Emotional depression

can serve a purpose

While reading the story about Douglas Bloch's book 'Healing from Depression and Anxiety,' (Author offers a guide out of depression, Portland Life, Oct. 1), I was dismayed by its one-sided view of depression as an intrinsically bad thing, as a disease that needs to be 'cured.' Or as the article puts it, to be 'managed' by therapy, by antidepressant drugs, by relaxation techniques, by exercise.

Of course, I'm not saying that depression is a good thing, and I can identify with wanting to be free of it. I can also identify with the desire of those who want to be free of the social stigma of depression as a character flaw and how thinking of depression as a disease can help remove that stigma.

The only problem with this view is that what we call depression may not necessarily be bad. I strongly feel Ñ and others agree Ñ that there are other kinds of depression that have to do with the process of psychological growth. This kind of depression is a process of 'psychological dying' of obsolete ideas and self concepts, allowing something more mature to be born. In this case, the process of being 'cured' means going through the process to emerge wiser, freer of illusions, more realistic about life and ourselves.

In this sense, depression is neither good nor bad but simply a necessary aspect of being a human being (a view that also frees us from the stigma of depression as a character flaw). I strongly recommend the book 'Care of the Soul' by Thomas Moore, especially the chapter 'Gifts of Depression.'

I would add that there is an awful lot going on in the world that can cause a sensitive soul to become depressed. Hopefully, this becomes motivation to do our part in changing the world for the better.

I do not think that drugs or the other methods to manage depression are wrong, but my concern is that we are merely 'taking a Prozac' to cover up some challenging realities we do not wish to face.

Scott Erickson

Southeast Portland