Letters to the editor
Across the Great Divide
A voice in the wilderness
Editor, The Times:
It is finally over and we have a clear, if marginal, winner. A bare minimum of 52 percent of the voting public elected George Bush into a second term. Additionally, the Republican Party added more seats to its congressional majority.
Taken together, this can only be seen as an affirmation, by the majority of Americans, on all that George Bush and the Republican Party have done and not done over the past four years. It states that the majority trusts and agrees with whatever plans George Bush and the Republicans have for the future. It states that more important things outweighed whatever issues and disagreements this majority has.
As a member of the minority, I can only say to others like me to take the following away from the election: Stay involved. Stay watchful. Stay informed.
For good or ill, there was an unprecedented amount of interest and exchange throughout this campaign. Take the energy and keep it going.
In our democracy, rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. We have the right to freedom, democracy and capitalism. Our responsibility is to stay informed and involved and tell our elected officials what to do.
— Jay Smith, Kirkland
Never underestimate the power of humility
This recent election cycle has shown that there are deep cultural divisions that exist in America. Most people bemoan these divisions, but I don't. As long as people on both sides obey the law, let this divide continue. This is America, right?
The reason Democrats took a beating this time was their lack of restraint in calling Bush supporters things like "simpletons." Arrogant disrespect will not endear these "simpletons" (of which I am one) to the Democrats.
Consider this: As Jimmy Breslin contemplated John Kerry's imminent victory in his Election Day column, he wrote:
"Now I am so sure that I am not even going to bother to watch the results tonight. I am going to bed early... I go to bed with total confidence. I will get up and stroll to other meadows."
We "simpletons" are not interested in liberalism's newest stylish hobby-horse (gay marriage, stem-cell cloning, etc.). We won't consider radical personalities from the extreme side. When Democrats align themselves with propagandists like filmmaker Michael Moore, it tips the scales toward the GOP.
My advice is this: Humble yourselves, get back to the basics, and quit whining about people attending church.
— Mark Odekirk, Spanaway
The body politic with two heads
There is a glaring divide in America, and it only takes a cursory glance at the electoral map to see it. The West Coast, upper Midwest and New England are united in their desire for a change of leadership, while the South, Rocky Mountain states and Midwest are solidly behind the president.
The chasm between the left and the right is widening, and this has created a crisis in our country. It is clear that residents of the West Coast have different priorities and concerns than the rest of our nation. For ours is the America of innovation, the America that embraces the future and all of its potential; we are the America of compassion, of intellectual achievement and of natural wonder.
But our country is divided, and it is up to us, the people, to build a bridge over that great divide so that we can create the America that we all desire.
It is only through our continued, collective efforts that we will be able to make this nation the living embodiment of the dream our founders envisioned.
Without that effort, we may be destined for an irreparable split, making the United States a nation in name only.
— Dan Rogers, Whidbey Island
Live with your vote by matching word to deed
To those of you who voted to keep George Bush in office, we ask that you now be prepared to live with the consequences of your decision:
You must now enlist with the military branch of your choice;
You will trade in your SUV for a hybrid to try and keep us from drilling for oil in Alaska;
You will voluntarily pay more in taxes to help offset the deficit;
You will drive anyone who asks to Canada so we can buy cheaper drugs;
You won't complain when your job is outsourced;
You will never expect to benefit from any advances in medical science;
You will not make any claims on Social Security; and
You will apologize to the rest of the world for this mistake.
— Caren McMillen and Ben Thompson, Redmond
No mourning in America
I couldn't help but note the over-the-top hand-wringing of Wednesday's letters by those from the Kerry camp ("Election afterthoughts," Northwest Voices, Nov. 3). It would seem that, to many, the re-election of President Bush represented the end of life as we know it. In reality, it just suggests a further nudge in the direction we have already been going.
Republicans contemplated wrist-slitting during Bill Clinton's eight years too, but in reality, the country came through just fine. The same will happen with Bush's second term.
The beauty of America's political system is that it moves, mostly, at a glacial speed, and with the agility of an ocean liner. Bush's second term won't result in an American ayatollah any more than a Kerry election would have meant a U.N. flag over the Capitol building.
So take a deep breath, America. The sun will rise tomorrow, and we can rest assured that we still have the best political system, and country, around.
— Craig Sawyer, Seattle
Days of whine and razzes
The people have spoken. So all the Seattle leftists, Hollywood elitists, biased journalists and lying filmmakers who tried their best to unseat him are going to have to put up with four more years of one of the greatest presidents we've had in recent decades. Let the whining begin — again.
— Mark Braden, Seattle
Don't fight for the Union
To my fellow Kerry supporters, I offer a humble proposal: Let us make a deal with all those celebrating Bush supporters. Let us promise that if they will refrain from raucous gloating, we will promise not to whine.
Then both parties can get about the far more important business of reuniting our beloved country, which is now more divided than at any time since the Civil War.
— Wallace Ohrt, Seattle
The re-election of the Republican president was:
A victory for small business over elitist and Hollywood wealth;
A victory for entrepreneurs, wealth and job-creators over envious, socialistically inclined confiscators;
A victory for George W. Bush over Tim Russert, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw.
— Bob Dorse, Seattle
You can run the country but you can't hide
George Bush will be president for the next four years, the Republicans run the Senate and Congress, and conservative judges control the Supreme Court. Now there can be no excuse for giving full credit to our duly-elected leaders for our quality of life in this great country.
The Republicans get full credit for job losses, war dead, declining wages, increasing national debt, declining environmental quality, declining stature as leader of the free world, decreasing security of our persons, and the increasingly rapid slide to oligarchy (government by the few).
H.L. Mencken said it best. "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
— John Snow, Redmond
The lower 48
Liberal Democrats are upset George Bush won the election based on a "moral values" platform ("Exit poll: Terrorism, values boost Bush," Times News, Nov. 3). I'm confused. Should we infer the Democratic left is the "amoral" or "immoral" party? That morals and values are secondary and only apply when they suit your purpose?
When a pillar of virtue such as "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker Michael Moore invades our living rooms day after day, is it any wonder people are turned off by the "new" Democratic Party?
How comforting to know we live in a society where morals don't matter to 48 percent of our citizens.
— Jerry Griffin, Duvall
The importance of being sternest
An election about morality? Wait a minute! I'm a moral guy; that's why I voted against bankrupting our country, not attacking nations that pose no risk to ours, health care for all Americans, securing Social Security, for stem-cell research, good jobs in the homeland, and letting a woman make decisions about her body, not the government.
I guess gay marriage was a more important issue to our informed and thinking electorate.
— Neil Johannsen, Bainbridge Island
Biggest piece of the pious
We seem to have invented a new form of government: Theoligarchy.
— Susan Webeck, Seattle
In keeping abreast of the election, I found myself quite surprised at the lack of young voter turnout. The media hype had me believing that every person eligible to flex their electoral muscles for the first time in their life was lining up in droves to do so.
Not the case, however, once I learned that only 9 percent of the nation's voters were in the 18-24 age bracket. That disappoints me, but they should and will be those most disappointed by their lacking turnout — whatever their party affiliation.
If they find themselves jobless upon graduation and worse, lining up for a possible draft, they'll have no one to blame but themselves.
Whether voting Republican or Democrat, I hope the next round of new voters take the job more seriously.
— Alison Crosier, Redmond
Like so many young Americans who finally woke up to the importance of the election this year and started trying to do something, I felt like I died when I learned of the results Wednesday. I lay down and shut my eyes and tears pressed out of them.
But like all the evangelicals in this country, I was actually born again. I feel so strongly about the need to work with, not against, allies in the world, to engage in dialogue, not war, with opposing cultures, and to embrace tolerance, not prejudice, as a moral value, that I cannot remain lying down and dead inside.
I will keep volunteering and looking for ways to keep our American minds opening and progressing in our thinking. I will continue to examine what is happening in this ideological civil war where it is metropolitan versus rural, religious versus secular.
I will continue to ask questions of the spiritual (of which I am one), such as: Can you force your notions of liberty and justice on others and call it liberty and justice?
— Kerstin Barker, Sammamish
Left in the future
From the opinions in Thursdays Times ("America speaks," Northwest Voices Nov. 4) and comments I am hearing on the street and in the media, I could assume the Democratic Party and the Seattle area in particular (as an area densely populated by liberals) are missing something. The re-election of a sitting wartime president and the defeat of a Massachusetts liberal are a surprise? And now you're moving to Canada?
Did you miss Democratic Senator-elect Barak Obama's results in Illinois? ("GOP expands control of Senate," News, Nov. 3.) Have you heard Obama's message?
I am a Bush supporter, two times. I am not a member of any form of organized god. I support a woman's right to choose and stem-cell research, and I couldn't care less who wants to sleep with whom. But I do not support the modern Democratic Party politics of "take a poll and give a speech that says whatever the polls tell you to." As a business owner, I see social engineering of all America's ailments as mathematically impossible.
Obama is a man who lives what he speaks, he is a bright future for America and the Democratic Party.
Put Sen. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry away; their ideas are bankrupt and their leadership is a nose-ring connected to a chain that is held by pollsters, pundits and the Ketchup Queen (Teresa Heinz Kerry). And Michael Moore, give him to Canada.
— Paul Suver, Seattle
Trample out the vintage
Regarding the letters in Thursday's Times: What a case of sour grapes. Kerry supporters — get over it. The election is over and George Bush won. The sniveling is unbecoming. You make it sound like the country was railroaded into the outcome.
The reality is there is no better example of democracy at work. Highest voter turnout ever. And the majority wins. Textbook.
Instead of complaining about where the country is headed, and making empty threats to leave for Canada, put it behind you and keep pushing for what you believe in to keep this administration focused. Because the reality is that the majority of the country's beliefs fall somewhere between those of the two candidates. It is our job to make sure this administration remembers that.
— Derek Mitchell, Seattle
In the cellar
I voted for John Kerry, and George Bush won. OK, fine. After we move past the "neener neener" stage of the election aftermath, we'll go back to looking at non-election news. And we'll see snippets like this:
"In the weeks after the fall of Baghdad, Iraqi looters loaded powerful explosives into pickups and drove the material off the al-Qaqaa ammunition site, according to a group of U.S. Army reservists and National Guardsmen who said they witnessed the looting" ("Explosives in Iraq were looted, soldiers say," page one, Nov. 4).
It's going to be a long four years.
— Michael Blake, Seattle
I'd rather be golfing
What have the voters told us by putting George W. Bush back in the driver's seat and even more Republican legislators and justices into the front seat with him? That he's the right man for today's America, a stubborn, ignorant, arrogant place that has, in its fear of the unknown and in its resistance to change, reverted to social and religious conservatism while paying no attention to the costs.
Bush is a father figure lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrified by the neighborhood he's taking us through, running out of gas, yet refusing to stop or ask for directions. Americans have chosen to ignore the fuel gauge, the pollution their vehicle is spewing, and the complaints of half the passengers. Blind to the resentment in the eyes of pedestrians and the ominous "Do not enter" signs, they urge him to drive on.
Our only hope is that in another four years — when the traffic fatalities mount and our little detour into nation-building becomes a dead end, when prayer won't pay the bills, when "shut up, you bratty kids" doesn't change the fact that we're lost, when the poor people in the back seat are hitting each other and the rich are calling for taxis on their cellphones — we'll finally lose faith and choose a very different driver.
— Tom Davis, Seattle
A rude awakening
To the many readers who wrote those bitter, venomous letters to The Times, I can only say that I am ashamed of you all. Democracy means that some of us are going to be disappointed all the time, and all of us are going to be disappointed some of the time.
You may disagree with President Bush and you may be discouraged that he was re-elected — that is your right. But you crossed a line that is fundamental in a democratic society — you have disrespected the majority because they had the gall not to see things your way.
I am a Republican who was perfectly prepared to see John Kerry win. I would have accepted his victory and supported his role as the president of my country. I would not have liked it, but I would have respected the choice of the majority of my countrymen. I did this all through the Clinton years; respecting the choice of my country.
If it's not too much to ask, would you please all quit with the melodrama and the childish pouting. Give us what you would expect if Kerry had won: respect and civility!
— Scott Santos, Snoqualmie
The price of right
For the 51 percent of America that has re-elected George Bush, it took only one day for all of you to get more of what you voted for: bigger government and higher debt.
On Nov. 3 (for the second time since he took office), the Bush White House raised the federal debt limit by $690 billion to $8.074 trillion.
America, this is what you want, right?
— Jason Steel, Des Moines
No mandate's land
Please question this shameful assertion that George Bush's victory signifies a "mandate." In reality, it was the slenderest of wins. A few hundred thousand votes in Ohio landed Bush back in office. By no honest assessment can anyone claim that as a mandate.
— Denny Stern, Seattle
$tate of the Union
It cost a lot of money, but the Republicans now own the Supreme Court, the Presidential Palace and the two Houses of Congress. The name of our once-proud democracy should be changed to The Corporate States of America.
Remembering that they fought very hard against the establishment of Social Security and Medicare, and have been very successful in their efforts to bludgeon our unions, I fear for the future of our dear country.
— Dick Hughes, Enumclaw
Curse of Beantown
Perspective of a transplanted Bostonian:
Yes, the election was a bummer for everybody except the oil companies and the drug companies, Halliburton, the lumber companies and polluters everywhere. I feel I did as much as I could to change things, and it wasn't enough. I'm devastated.
In keeping with the principle of full disclosure, however, I must share something with you.
Midmorning Wednesday, I found myself asking, "If I could only have one of the two, and I had to choose, would I choose John Kerry beating George Bush? or the Red Sox beating the Yankees the way they did?"
God help me, I'll take the Red Sox any day.
— Jack McCarthy, Arlington
Famous lost worth
It would be useful if The Times could put together a list of Hollywood luminaries, Eastern intellectuals and others who are so upset with the president's re-election. Maybe you could set up a fund of some kind so people could contribute to the cost of helping this disconsolate group. I forgot where some of them went after the 2000 election.
— John Leventis, Newcastle
The last shall be first
George Bush won all three important factors in the race for the presidency. He won the most important, the Electoral College, as well as a majority of the states and a majority of the popular vote.
Europe may wonder how 59 million Americans can be so "dumb," but then again, we wonder why nearly 300 million Europeans choose to live under socialist regimes that restrict access and tax them into a "status quo" society.
What Democrats have to ask themselves, whether at the dinner table or in the meeting room, is why they didn't win. A majority of Americans agree with the conservative mindset relating to issues of morality, right and wrong.
Many people don't like being characterized by the liberal press as some type of outcast because they go to church and believe that life should be guided by a moral construct, as to benefit society in general.
The media and secularist Democrat rhetoric that belittled what conservative Christians and Catholics believe did not intimidate them. George Bush won their vote by a 20-percent margin. It was enough to secure his victory, and his coattails were long enough to increase the majority presence in the House and Senate.
— Jacob Shepherd, Marysville
Blue off the map
"Ground Zero's" irony: Has anyone else noticed that virtually every potential "high-value" terrorist target in the U.S.A. (governmental, industrial or commercial) happens to be located in a "blue" state? Hmmm...
— Steve Burr, Everett
Anything goes nowhere
One poll said the biggest issue for most voters was "Who best represents your moral values?" The Democrats have, in recent history, become tainted with trends that upset traditional "moral values." One example was the irrational hatred generated toward Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky affair became public. Another, just before the election, was the furor over gay marriage. Even though John Kerry wasn't for "gay marriage" as such, George Bush was the safer, non-threatening choice.
"Ordinary Americans" also feel threatened by the violence and vulgarity the entertainment industry pushes on kids, and they unfortunately identify this with liberalism. An "anything goes" attitude has been engendered since the late '60s, and in reaction, many are willing to vote against their own best economic and foreign-policy interests to preserve tradition.
Democrats cannot wage war on these people. If a political party is perceived as contrary to the personal moral instincts of the majority, it is going to find it difficult to gain high office — and those politicians who do represent mainstream moral instincts, however deceitful, ignorant, or harmful they are in general, are going to win and keep winning.
— Philip Haldeman, Redmond
The tough stay put
I voted for George Bush but even if John Kerry got elected or someone else who went against everything I believe in, I wouldn't leave this great country of ours. I would fight to get someone else elected next time who I could trust.
— Daniel Jackson, Lake Stevens
Discount the stars
As long as the Democratic Party allows itself to be represented by the likes of Michael Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, it should expect more of the same.
In the past 28 years, the Democrats have been in the White House for eight years, the Republicans, 20. They need to do the math.
— Terry Pratt, Seattle
Georgia on the mindless
I want to apologize to the people of Seattle from the people of the Southern states for once again holding us back and dragging down the rest of the nation. Didn't John Kerry know that you can't expect people living in the states with the lowest SAT scores to actually think about the issues?
Abe Lincoln, you should have let them secede when they wanted to go!
— Robert Naegele, Locust Grove, Ga.
I wish you were in Dixie
I and 49 percent of the population don't want to live in George Bush's America.
I don't want to live in a country where abortion is illegal, where every citizen has a gun, where prayer is forced on public schools, where the sick don't have access to the benefits of stem-cell research, where the environment has no protections, where it's OK to attack other countries for no reason, etc., etc.
Since the United States is still so deeply and bitterly divided (and it looks as if it's going to stay that way), I propose that we make it official. Let's divide the country at the Mississippi River. All those who love George Bush will live on one side of it and live happily ever with his agenda.
All those who loathe George Bush and everything he stands for will live on the other side, where none of his policies will be enacted.
Since the Bushies won the election, they get to choose which side they want to live on, east or west of the Mississippi. It makes no difference to me.
— Dave Richards, Bainbridge Island
Marvel in his legacy
In the wake of George Bush's election victory, he wants us all to work together. Since many of us cannot, in good conscience, support the majority of his policies, I think it would be a good idea to start a comic-book drive for his future presidential library.
— Dan Craig, Mercer Island
Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company