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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 2, 2008 at 3:41 PM

Race for the White House

Election about politics, not race

A friend called me a racist the other day because I do not plan to vote for Sen. Barack Obama. No one called me a racist when this liberal didn’t vote for Jimmy Carter. I keep asking my friends why I should vote for Obama. Because he is the man for change, they say. But not so good on the details, I respond.

Obama started this election season without wearing an American flag lapel, but now he does. He bent to pressure. Obama says he was always against the war in Iraq, but since he was not in Congress at the time, we really do not know how he would have voted.

Obama sat in church, for 20 years or so, listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright speak from his heart. Obama left the church, but only after Wright was publicly criticized. Again, Obama bowed to pressure.

Obama said he was against wiretaps without a warrant, but voted for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act bill.

I was listening to Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!,” the other day interview Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about the death penalty for gays in Iran. The president pointed out that the United States has the death penalty. Goodman responded that progressives are trying to change that. Obama believes in the death penalty — he said as much when he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling that child rapists could not be given the death penalty.

Obama at first said he would bring the troops home from Iraq in six months after he was elected; now he is saying 18 months. And he is not bringing anyone home — he is sending these troops to Afghanistan. Sounds to me like we are staying in a war.

Obama believes that faith-based organizations should get federal funding to deliver social services.

I can go on, but you get the point. Why should this liberal vote for Obama? Because he is black, and I don’t want to be considered racist? Because he is a Democrat? I am a progressive liberal who cannot vote for someone who does not share my political views.

It is about politics, isn’t it?

— Hilary Emmer, Vashon Island

Look beyond the abortion issue

Every four years, like clockwork, Republicans raise the issue of abortion. During presidential elections for the past 30 years, conservative candidates wave their pro-life, anti-choice credentials like a red flag in front of a bull.

Sure enough, the electorate splits along predictable fault lines — with conservative Catholic and evangelical voters voting Republican in the sincere belief that their candidate will overturn Roe v. Wade. For them, this single issue trumps all others.

But it’s all eyewash.

In 2006, with Republican control of all branches of government, it would have been easy to eliminate the right to abortion. As ever, they did nothing. With breathtaking cynicism, Republican politicians abandoned the issue they campaigned on to preserve it for the next election cycle.

Because if they did make abortions illegal in this country, millions of single-issue voters would be compelled to look beyond the red flag and confront genuine issues: a failing economy, an ill-begotten war, the serial abuses of power and the abandonment of constitutional principles.

Simply put, if abortion is your only issue, you are being played for a fool.

— Donald Sherrard, Bellevue

McCain is no maverick

During his bid for president in 2000, Sen. John McCain demonstrated his “maverick” credentials when he criticized candidate George Bush for courting the smarmiest elements of the religious right. McCain said, “Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance.” That statement was deemed courageous since it was principled and true, but McCain lost the far-right fringe.

But in 2008, McCain’s struggle to generate momentum required desperate measures. So, in a decision disguised as a maverick move, he selected as his running mate a sorority queen given to bubbly platitudes and razor-thin knowledge of world affairs — obviously, not because she is ready to step in and take over, but because she brings in those very agents of intolerance he alienated eight years ago.

By selecting Palin as his running mate, McCain has shown he is the opposite of a maverick. The sad irony is, his actions fly in the face of his slogan. Rather than put “Country First” and continue his legitimate stand against the “agents of intolerance,” he invited them right onto his ticket.

So, don’t call McCain a maverick. He is running for panderer-in-chief.

— Jim Corbett, Edmonds

Palin’s responses impressive

I was leaning toward voting for Sen. Barack Obama, but Gov. Sarah Palin’s responses to the media’s grilling has so impressed me that I’m going with McCain-Palin.

— Paul Korneliussen, Mount Vernon

Palin shows disrespect for U.S. laws

In the midst of the nation’s economic woes, Gov. Sarah Palin, who soon could be a heartbeat away from providing leadership in economic policy, has asked for more time to file her personal financial information with the Federal Election Commission.

The filing was originally due Monday of this week, but Palin campaign attorneys disputed the date, and settled on Friday. The campaign also asked for an extension because of the complexity of the form. So, the filling period has been extended another week.

Are we to elect somebody to the second-highest office in the nation who lacks the skills or the inclination to accomplish — with hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign resources — a required administrative financial responsibility?

What chance is there for fiscal leadership here? What chance for simple executive management of the responsibilities of office? And if this is a matter of considering the filing an improper and unimportant government intrusion, what chance would there be for rule of law under a Palin administration?

Her reasons for her unwillingness to testify in regard to abuse-of-power charges in Alaska already speak to a disrespect of our system of laws.

— Neil Berkowitz, Seattle

Have faith in Obama-Biden ticket

I am a committed Lutheran and a proud supporter of the Obama-Biden campaign. My faith is central to who I am and, while the next president doesn’t have to share my faith, it is very important to me that he be a person who shares certain core values.

On issue after issue, Sens. Barack Obama and Joseph Biden have led with values and conviction, and they will promote the change we need. It is about time that we had a government that didn’t just say it was for family values, but valued families. Compassion shouldn’t just be a campaign slogan; it should be a governing philosophy.

The Obama-Biden ticket will make sure health care in this country is no longer a privilege but something that is accessible and attainable for all Americans. Obama and Biden believe in being good stewards of the environment, personal responsibility, lifting up the poor and responsible foreign policy. These are the ideals that speak to my faith and our highest calling as a nation.

Obama will be a president who will unite the American people, instead of dividing them for political gain. He has shown an extraordinary capacity to seek the common good, and that is what our country needs right now.

I’m going to vote all my values, not just one or two. That’s why I am proud to be a supporter of Obama and Biden, and I urge all people of faith who want to see their values reflected in their government to support the Obama-Biden ticket.

— Curt Eidem, Everett

Cut the sensationalism

I would like to know why the news media are exploiting only Gov. Sarah Palin’s background and not those of her opponents. Is it because she is a woman or because media are endorsing the Democratic Party?

We all know that every politician has things from his or her past or the way they currently conduct themselves that they don’t want the public to know about. Why can’t we have good, clean, honest reporting and journalism instead of sensationalism? If I want to read trash, I will pick up copies of the scandalous publications at the grocery store next to the checkout stands. It’s a shame the way reporters slant the news.

And, so far, none of the candidates has actually said what he or she intends to do regarding the changes they keep talking about.

We also know that whoever is voted in as president has Congress to contend with and that the president’s votes go the way of the in-power party’s platform. So, you can’t say they are representing all the people.

So far, this has been a very expensive election that seems to be in a rut — and the definition of a rut is a coffin with both ends kicked out.

— Bill Brayer, Edmonds

Obama will change our hearts

I am a Catholic, and I will proudly support the Obama-Biden ticket.

To take just one issue, let’s look at abortion. The Catholic Church teaches me that abortion is never morally acceptable.

The Republican Party says abortion is wrong, but then does nothing to stop it and, under its policies, abortions increase. The Democratic Party says that abortion is a decision that each individual has to make, yet under its policies, abortions decrease.

Do you want to vote to actually save lives or vote to say you are against abortion as more are killed? I find my answer in Matthew 21:27-31.

I also have real trouble with the nominally pro-life sections of the body politic. There is far too much talk of the child in the cases of abortion as being God’s punishment on those who have sinned. I am totally sick of that line. No child is God’s punishment! Children are blessings that God gives us sinners as a way of saying, “You messed up, but I forgive you, and I give you this blessing to tend for me. Do better this time.”

This is an issue that will never be decided by the laws of man. We can outlaw abortion until the end of time, and it will not stop. It is only through the changing of hearts that it will end.

And the only candidate who shows the ability and thoughtfulness to effectively change the hearts of Americans on this issue (and many others) is Sen. Barack Obama. The choice is clear to me: I’m pro-life, and I’m supporting Obama-Biden.

— Tim Bridges, Mount Vernon

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