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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 13, 2008 at 4:57 PM

Politics and race

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A man looks at a shop window plastered with posters of Barack Obama Monday in New York City.

Dems do it, too

Editor, The Times:

I found Danny Westneat’s story on Sen. Barack Obama and race in the state of Washington very interesting [“Will Obama’s race matter?,” Times, page one, Oct. 12].

I would encourage The Times, though, to further explore what I feel is an equally troubling attitude among those on the left toward the Republican ticket.

Whereas many aren’t totally surprised to hear of isolated racism in rural parts of our state, I think many put their heads in the sand and ignore the ugly hatred that exists right here in our cities, by educated people who say equally horrible things about Gov. Sarah Palin or Sen. John McCain.

Over the past month I have watched college-educated, successful professionals here in Seattle laugh at Sandra Bernhard’s very offensive comments regarding Palin being gang-raped, and [“Saturday Night Live’s”] sketch regarding Palin’s husband being the father of their daughter’s child.

In addition, I was appalled at friends who laughed and said, “that’s what they get” upon seeing a home with a McCain sign egged.

If these things were said about Sen. Obama in Seattle, they would not be tolerated. Likewise, they should not be tolerated when said about Gov. Palin or Sen. McCain.

In no way do I condone or excuse the racist remarks made by the people in the story about Sen. Obama, but I am just as concerned about the hatred, disguised as playful fun, levied at the Republican ticket by “refined” people who should honestly know better.

If we are to truly heal as a nation, we need hate speech of all types and from all sides exposed, discussed and dealt with.

— Hovie Hawk, Seattle

Don’t listen to Dale

As a Vietnam veteran, I believe it is necessary for me to comment on my brother veteran Dale’s racist diatribe [“Will Obama’s race matter?”] concerning candidate Sen. Barack Obama lest anyone assume that either his opinion or attitudes speak for anyone but himself.

I spent a 14-month tour as part of a MACV [Military Assistance Command, Vietnam] advisory team in the Central Highlands of Vietnam between 1968 and 1970. Our unit was composed of Caucasians, African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans across all ranks and functions. We operated and fought as one because there were no other options.

I remember all my comrades-in-arms as good soldiers and Americans, regardless of their ethnic or cultural origins.

I am still proud to have had the privilege to have served with them.

Perhaps Dale had too much free time on this hands.

— Mike Magnan, Seattle

Listen to this vet

Dale in South Bend said he couldn’t believe a veteran would show a “Veterans for Obama” bumper sticker.

Dale, I have a “Veterans for Obama” bumper sticker.

I’m a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (yes, Sen. John McCain’s alma mater), a Vietnam veteran with two Bronze Stars, a retired Navy captain with a combined total of 46 years in and with the U.S. military. (My final professional assignment was a Middle East deployment aboard USS WASP as a civilian in 2004.)

President George W. Bush and the Republican Party have misled, mismanaged and taken our country to the brink of ruin.

McCain has been an active participant in this demolition.

The Republicans need to be fired by us and a whole new team should be given an opportunity to undo the damage and maybe, just maybe, get us back on track.

Dale does not speak for all veterans.

— Mike Cornforth, Port Townsend

Live in peace

Regarding Danny Westneat’s story, “Will Obama’s Race Matter?,” I felt like a pinball bouncing from bumper to bumper, struggling for an understanding of Dale’s comments.

I understand that many people won’t vote for Sen. Obama because of his race.

Hitler rose to power because he used minorities as scapegoats. For some people today, black skin on a candidate is a way to transfer all your failures to someone else.

And while George W. Bush might have been technically in the Texas Air National Guard, to many of us with Vietnam service, he was a draft-dodger.

But, finally, I really do have some constructive advice for Dale: At his age, I would beg him to let it go. If you want to live out your life in relatively good health, your hate and rage will kill you through heart attack or stroke. Seek out some good anger management.

To me, you are truly what is bad in this country. But because you are a fellow human being put on this Earth to do the best you can, I hope and pray that your rage, frustration, failures and anger can be diminished, and that you can live in peace for the remainder of your time on Earth.

— Alan Zelt, Kenmore

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