Letters to the editor
Skipping classes an exercise in active citizenry
Editor, The Times:
At 17, I am not old enough to vote, yet I feel that my voice counts. My photograph appeared in The Seattle Times' article about last Thursday's student walkout ("Students march against war," Local News, Dec. 6).
Some skeptics felt students "were just using the walkout as an excuse to get out of class." Perhaps these skeptics should consider what we have been learning in class.
How can we read about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and not be worried about the state of our civil liberties today? How can we learn about George Kennan's Containment Theory and the military action we like to call the "Vietnam War" and not suspect the Bush administration of having a hidden agenda when it comes to selecting where terrorism exists?
Henry David Thoreau wrote that dissent is the best gift a citizen can provide his government because it fosters progress — and I read Thoreau in school.
Though young people were the primary contributors to protests of the 1960s, Seattle's recent protests against war in Iraq have been lacking any notable surge of youth up until this point. Skipping a couple of classes on Thursday gave me a chance to do something school encourages me to do: Be an active citizen. That is an attitude I hope the youth in Seattle will keep and take into the future.
Alexis Lainoff, Seattle
Lessons in democracy
I'll agree that this one students' protest will not change President Bush's stance on Iraq. But this does not necessitate putting a negative spin on an article about a student antiwar protest. The headline ("Students march against possible war") emphasizes the war as "possible," as if the protests were premature. Why are protests any better when it is too late and a war is already in progress?
The article also fails to mention that they students marched to the Henry M. Jackson Federal Reserve Building in Seattle with the intention of targeting the point of military funding. Would it be too much to admit that students have the ability to think and organize?
The article presented the claim that protests are, for all practical purposes, ineffective. What about the truth that all change springs from collaborative action?
If the media continue to disrespect student efforts of political activism in these subtle yet effective ways, everyone loses. It's not difficult to see that this discouragement of young people's passionate efforts can only result in widespread resentment and apathy. Media have the most important role in democracy — to inform and encourage diversity of opinions. However, it seems that many outlets have forgotten that, including this newspaper.
Lala Wu, Seattle
Stumping for Saddam?
Iraq has gotten rid of its weapons, apologized to the Kuwaitis for the 1990 attacks on their country, and, it seems, is finally cleaning up its act. I'm absolutely sure that there is no hidden scheme behind this. And pigs can fly.
By coming clean, Saddam Hussein is attempting to swing international favor toward himself, and away from America. He's gaining friends while we are losing allies. If we continue to just let him do this unchecked, President Bush will look like an imperialist warmonger and Saddam will look like a saint.
This war is evolving into a public-relations battle. Bush is going about this war all wrong, and in doing so he will be costing America thousands of innocent lives.
Bush needs to take off his blinders and realize the damage he's doing to his own cause. By not sharing his "proof" with anyone, including his own people, he is practically winning the war for Saddam. Saddam needs to go, but balancing the entire operation on him having weapons of mass destruction, which when push comes to shove we might not even be able to prove he has, is playing right into his dirty hands.
Benjamin Miksch, Burien
Show us the proof or lose propaganda war
Can someone please explain to me why I am being told there is distinct proof of Iraqi involvement in "weapons of mass destruction," yet when the State Department is queried as to specifics, the reply is that the burden of proof rests on the government of Iraq?
My father was a Marine who served in the Pacific Theatre during WW II. He was wounded twice and decorated for his sacrifice. He raised his sons with the "family values" that included the U.S. Constitution, and the adherent belief that one is assumed innocent, until proven guilty, with tangible evidence.
It galls me to invoke his memory, in order to question the men, in the current administration, who depend upon either my complacency, or gullibility, as to how they can reconcile this approach to justice and the values our nation purportedly holds dear. Yet, then again, most of these men, who ask the next generation to sacrifice themselves and the lives of countless others, have no personal history in the type of engagement they, themselves, purpose.
Lawrence Kida, Seattle
Open-door policy to waste
While visiting Seattle, I stopped for my first visit to University Village shopping center. I was shocked to find most stores there had all their doors propped wide open to the cold outside. Heaters were blasting inside as shoppers came and went, as the heat was pouring outside to warm the great Northwest. When I asked salespeople about why they were wasting so much heat, they said it was the management's "open-door policy."
There seems to be a huge disconnect between the Seattle retailers' attitude toward the environment with the reality of the need to conserve energy. With our current drought situation, Seattleites should be aware that the three dams on the Skagit River make their electricity. The Skagit River also is home to over 30 percent of Puget Sound salmon. We cannot afford to waste these resources.
Wendy Scherrer, Bellingham
Burden of dreams
Low taxes and high services
It is admirable to remain skeptical about a state income tax. However, dishonest editorials like the one on Dec. 8 won't help ("Staying skeptical about an income tax"). Writing, "the system does work. It allowed the economic boom of the 1990s ... It also allowed for a good deal of state spending" is either naïve or deliberately misleading. Back in the 1990s, the state had money from car tabs available as a substitute for a state income tax.
Now the car tabs are gone, with nothing to replace them. Pretending that the fantasy land of lower taxes and higher services ever existed is a disservice to your readers.
Adam Barr, Redmond