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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 16, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Presidential politics: the great debate

Redneck elitism

Editor, The Times:

You’ve heard of “limousine liberals” and “country-club conservatives?” Now meet America’s new elite: rednecks.

Redneck elitism tells you you’re better than Sen. Barack Obama because he’s from the city and you’re from a rural town; he went to Harvard Law and you didn’t go to college; he speaks in grammatical sentences and you prefer one-liners; he thinks rationally, you’re driven by your gut.

AP Photo/Pool, Charles Dharapak

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wave to the audience after a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Wednesday.

If you live in mountain or prairie states, you’re better than people on the coasts. As a varsity athlete in public school, you know more than a Ph.D. Because you never ventured out of state or visited another country, you’re more patriotic that someone who can name five nations contiguous to Iraq, or define the difference between Sunni and Shi’ah. If your evangelical Protestant, you’re saved: other religions be damned. You voted for President George W. Bush because he’s a guy you could have a beer with. You’ll vote for Gov. Sarah Palin because she kills bigger animals than you’ve ever hunted. You couldn’t care less how much she knows about foreign policy.

Redneck elitism is quaint, nationalistic and dangerous. Hitler’s Brown Shirts burned books, beat up Jews and spawned fascism because they were redneck elites. Gov. Sarah Palin links Obama to terrorists. People scream, “Traitor! Kill him!” And she winks.

I guess I’m no elite.

I’ll vote for someone smarter, better-educated and more cosmopolitan than I’ll ever be: I’m electing the chief executive for a nation in crisis, not a drinking buddy.

–Alfred LaMotte, Steilacoom

Shameful manipulation

As an actively engaged voter, from a home with a variety of political perspectives and voting histories, I watched the presidential debates last night, eager to hear the candidates clarify their positions on key issues [“Accusations fly in final debate,” Times, page one, Oct. 16].

Like many other voters in this election, I am repulsed by the finger pointing and hateful rhetoric, which has taken the focus away from the very real issues that matter most to voters.

After the debates, I checked the Web sites of several major news outlets to obtain perspective on the candidates’ performances. In so doing, I also looked at the electoral maps, which most major news outlets provide as a view into projected voter trends.

I was amazed to see that Fox News, which purports to provide “fair and balanced coverage,” has no updated electoral map. Their map shows results from the past two elections, in 2004 and 2006, but not the current election.

This is not a result of a temporary Web-site malfunction; Fox’s electoral map has been disabled since the last debate, when I also checked it.

If Fox News wants to be taken seriously by the general public as a source of unbiased reporting on current events, they will need to be much less obvious in their censorship of information.

Their blatant refusal to inform their viewers about the current state of projected voting trends is not fair, nor is it balanced.

Fox News’ failure to provide fair and balanced coverage should be addressed on the front pages of other papers around the country.

The public has a right to know, and journalists have an obligation to cover, Fox’s shameful manipulation of the “news” it covers.

— Bonnie Zinn, Seattle

Was there anybody listening?

I’m an Independent.

But I think I watched a different debate than everyone else last night. Apparently, no one in the post-mortems heard Sen. John McCain say the following when asked about whether he would have a litmus test for a potential Supreme Court nominee: “I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.”

Sure sounds like a litmus test to me.

And this bit of truly revelatory exposure of the far right’s true foreign-relations agenda when asked about Sen. Joseph Biden’s qualifications: “He voted against the first Gulf War. He voted against it and, obviously, we had to take Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait or it would’ve threatened the Middle Eastern world supply.”

Supply of what? Freedom?

No, it was oil. The stated reason for “Operation Desert Storm” was supposed to be to preserve the freedom of a sovereign country against an invading aggressor.

At least we know the real truth about why McCain wants us to stay in Iraq and why President George W. Bush invaded it.

Although I staunchly remain a member of neither party, I have no doubt who’s not getting my vote.

— Stephen Salamunovich, Redmond

Thanks a lot, Joe

Hey Joe, last night we heard a lot about you and your dilemma. Sounds like things are starting to look pretty good for you, though, and you are wondering which of these candidates can help you the most.

Yes, America has some problems right now. Much of the former middle class is struggling, health-care costs are out of control; education and educational opportunities are suffering; the financial markets are collapsing, and so is our infrastructure.

But I’m delighted to hear that things are looking up for you and your personal economy.

I’m glad to hear you are earnestly considering which of these candidates is best for you. But I’m saddened to hear you think it might be Sen. John McCain.

I want you and every other undecided voter out there to think about what JFK said:

“And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

This is a great country. It truly is the land of opportunity.

Despite its serious problems, our nation is a great one and we are lucky to live in it. I feel lucky to have been born here, to have the opportunity to live here, to make my living here. America has been very good to me.

I find it increasingly difficult to take seriously people who wrap themselves in our flag, call themselves patriotic, and then moan about paying too much in taxes. You can’t have it both ways.

America embraces us. America gives us strong soil to nurture our crops and now some people who call themselves patriots want to go cheap on her — just when she needs us most.

They’re saying, “Hey America. Thanks for the opportunity, thanks for giving me everything I needed, and by the way, sorry to hear about your problems. Good luck with them.”

America is in trouble and is in debt.

We are America and are in trouble. Instead of bitching about how much it is costing us as individuals, how about if we all pitch in and come to the aid of the great nation that has done so much for so many.

How about if we all do our part?

Hey Joe, I paid my taxes yesterday. The good news is that I can’t believe a poor boy like me, who started with so little, has done so well. The bad news is that I know I will have to pay more next year. I can’t wait.

Thank you, America

— Walter Cougan, Seattle

How did he get this far?

Debate one: Sen. John McCain didn’t make eye contact.

Debate two: McCain referred to Sen. Barack Obama as “that one.”

Debate three: McCain kept grimacing, frowning and snorting.

Presidential behavior? I don’t think so.

— Don Franks, Burien

Stick with corruption and earmarks

The reason we have been unsuccessful in the war is because by invading Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, we have lent credence to the Arab view that we are out to conquer the Islamic world and steal their oil.

John McCain still believes it was the right thing to do and still wants to win it.

I don’t think we can ever be certain that terrorism isn’t a danger, but when we give Iraq back its country, there will be less danger.

We have to stop thinking “if you are not for us, you’re against us.” To do that requires a knowledge of history, understanding of other cultures, ability to see other points of view and tolerance of other religions.

These are strengths of Sen. Barack Obama.

Leave McCain in the Senate where he can fight corruption and earmarks, and work with Democrats as he has promised to do.

— Robert Wright, Yakima

Comments | More in Economy, Election, Energy, Politics

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