Letters to the editor
Regardless of who won, it's clear democracy suffers from disregard
Editor, The Times:
Having earned the dubious distinction of out-Saddaming Saddam in the slaughter of Iraqis (100,000 in the 18 months since the American invasion and occupation, according to a recent study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet), I am chagrined to find that the only lucid and informed words about our Middle East policy come not from our presidential candidates, but from Osama bin Laden ("Bin Laden warns U.S. voters," Times, News, Oct. 30):
"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked."
Dear God! To have lost the moral high ground to one butcher, and to have to look to another for coherent thoughts, instead of the play-to-the-lowest-denominator sound-bites and catchwords endlessly parroted by the presidential candidates!
No matter who wins this election, no matter how cleanly or messily it is won, it is clear to me that we — you and I both — have allowed this 215-year grand experiment in democracy to fail.
How could we possibly call this election a success if its outcome is the continued brutalization of the Iraqi people, founded on our electorate's widespread ignorance of American involvement in the Middle East?
— Ted Diamond, Seattle
The exercise benefit
One aspect of our election process that should disturb every citizen is the element of voter apathy. Repeatedly, we are reminded that less than 20 percent of eligible voters participate in the process.
Considering this appalling fact, we are approaching the point where a well-organized minority will be able to control and subvert our government.
We have often been told that our soldiers protect and defend our democracy. In truth, this is a misstatement. Their noble efforts defend our country. One doesn't protect democracy with guns and tanks; one protects it with a ballot.
I looked to another democracy that recently held elections. Australia achieved a turnout that would truly be astounding by our standards. Ninety-five percent of eligible voters participated in their national elections. How did they do it?
First, their polls are open for 24 hours on Election Day. No matter what your other obligations, you can find the few minutes required to vote. Second, and most critical, if you don't appear at the polls, you are fined $50.
Considering that, under current conditions, less than 10 percent of those eligible to vote in the United States are electing our nations leaders, isn't it time we introduced a similar system in our state and nation?
— Rolf Hokland, Everett
The exorcise tax
Excuse me? The NAACP may lose its tax-exemption because Julian Bond, its chairman, "condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush" during a speech? ("Anti-Bush remarks could cost NAACP," News, Oct. 29.)
Not on your tintype, sonny! At least, not unless the Catholic Church (I'm Catholic) and all other churches that have preached politics from the pulpit, i.e., don't vote for John Kerry (as in the case of the Catholic Church) lose their tax-exempt status also. Otherwise, I'd be hard put not to think, "abuse of power."
— Clara McArthur, Federal Way
So, let me get this straight: Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator from Oregon, thinks new voters shouldn't have to provide proof of identity when they register and/or vote ("Oregon Democrats say Republicans trying to block new voters," Times, Local News, Nov. 2)?
And he has the gall to accuse the GOP of trying to "block new voters," when all the Republicans wanted to do is ensure that those who've registered to vote, without proving their identity, are actually entitled to do so?
What did Wyden and the Oregon elections officials want — to allow unidentified persons, who may not even be citizens, to vote in what could be the most crucial election in decades? Talk about an open invitation to vote fraud!
Only a Democrat could support that viewpoint, and it only shows how seriously out of touch Wyden and his partisan cronies are... or how desperate they are for power!
— Winston Rockwell, Kirkland
Canceling out the wrong
I was disappointed to read "Fund-raising group milks vulnerable senior citizens" (Local News, Oct. 28), regarding the deceptive fund-raising tactics employed by the College Republican National Committee.
It's discouraging to hear that there are people who were deceived by the national College Republican organization. But I am also worried that your readers will get the wrong impression about the important work College Republicans do on a grass-roots level.
The University of Washington College Republicans, of which I am a member, is the only right-of-center club on a campus with over 40 leftist groups.
Additionally, the public records show that, of the money donated by UW faculty and staff to our current presidential candidates, 96.5 percent went to Sen. John Kerry.
In a campus obsessed with diversity, it seems that the most important form of diversity (the intellectual kind) is clearly lacking.
Additionally, we spend very little of our time fund raising. When we do, it is so we can fund our grass-roots, get-out-the-vote activities.
The aggressive, direct-mail campaign that our national organization pursued was clearly wasteful and disingenuous. That does not change the fact that, on a local level, College Republicans are a vital part of any college campus.
— Aaron Schwitters, political chair, University of Washington College Republicans, Seattle
The Grand New Party
My parents are Republican. Because of them, I am also. Most kids just agree with their parents' choice of candidates.
Kids don't really know what's at stake in the election, or how their life could be impacted by the election. There is no news or information directed toward us kids.
Yeah, I am 15 years old, but my generation will be able to vote in the next presidential election, so why not prepare us to make educated choices by interacting with us?
Many adults may feel that it is up to the school system to educate us on politics, but we're basically given the views of our educators.
I would like to see a debate with questions submitted by my generation. This would enable us to develop an opinion based on the candidate we think would do a better job, not on what our parents think.
— Alyssa Allen (sophomore at Cascade High School), Everett
Design on a Dem
Maybe the grandchildren of us "boomers" will go retro and, like music, clothes and home décor, rediscover American democracy, resurrecting it from the ashes left in the wakes of Presidents Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes.
The idea of civil liberties will be restored like a "fixer-upper," already gutted and awaiting the love of a new owner to bring it back to life — and live in it.
— Rebecca Masters, Seattle
Our side wins
Regarding the presidential election, in one sense, we have never been luckier: No matter who wins, we will be lucky the other guy didn't.
— Lynn McNames, Puyallup
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