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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 23, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Presidential politics

Jim Bates / The Seattle Times

Volunteers at the Seattle campaign office work phone banks to support the campaigns of Gov. Christine Gregoire and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

Get over it

Editor, The Times:

To any Washingtonians or others out there who plan to vote for Sen. John McCain because Sen. Barack Obama is a person of color, I want to say to you, “get over it.” This election is about our future.

It is about becoming a nation that can lead versus a nation that will continue to decline. We are a falling nation.

Look around; read some international press.

I don’t think very many Americans understand how bad things really are here. Europeans, Canadians and many Asians are so much better off than we are right now. Our health care and financial systems are failing, our transportation systems are decades behind what Europe and Asia have in place, and the list goes on.

Obama is the true leader. He has vision, foresight, youth, intelligence and judgment that America desperately needs right now. He believes that government should provide fiscal responsibility, oversight and regulation, basic infrastructure, guidelines for education and an investment in youth, health care and alternative sources of energy. These are things that make nations great and McCain barely talks about them.

Obama is not a socialist or a terrorist. He is an American. There is too much at stake to be worrying about the color of his skin and we as voters cannot afford to be so selfish right now. It is not about us or our petty beliefs. It is about the survival of our nation.

— Debra Smoller, Lynnwood

We are the change

Since volunteering at the Washington Democrats’ Campaign for Change on Mercer Street, I’ve begun to truly understand the depth of Sen. Barack Obama’s poignant, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

During the past two months, I worked alongside a man who gave up his one free day a week to volunteer. I made phone calls beside a mother who was recently laid off; she and her husband are now reconsidering having a second child because of the economy. I worked with professionals during their lunch hours, students between classes, seniors, singles, couples and volunteers from every ethnic group.

I helped a woman in her 80s wheel her walker through the front door to volunteer for the first time in her life. I saw a mentally disabled man file paperwork and watched children amuse themselves while their father did data entry.

A woman brought in a sheet cake to celebrate her birthday with us and another walked in asking, in limited English, if she could help make calls to Spanish-speaking voters. All volunteers.

I get it now. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

— Susan Nunnery, Seattle

You decide

The Republicans are in a state about the “spreading the wealth” comment made by Sen. Barack Obama. I thought the whole point of past tax breaks for the wealthy was to benefit us all — trickle-down economics.

High-income folks would invest in factories and employment would go up. So how’d that work? Now we’re bailing out billionaires running our financial institutions. Apparently, those benefits are supposed to trickle down, too.

When politicians talk taxes, they conveniently exclude Social Security taxes. How else do you say that 40 percent of workers don’t pay taxes? Did you know that when Reagan slashed top income-tax rates in the 1980s, Social Security taxes on wages and self-employment income nearly doubled? In theory, this was going to provide huge surpluses to cover baby-boomer retirements.

But somehow the nearly $3 trillion excess is gone, and we still have a $10 trillion debt. What Republicans have done here is use Social Security taxes so the wealthy can enjoy huge tax cuts.

The share of income held by the top 1 percent is as large as it was in 1928. Americans have the highest income inequality in the world, and over the past 20 to 30 years the disparity has increased.

If you like where this is going, by all means vote Republican. “Consolidate the wealth” versus “spread the wealth.” You decide.

— Carolyn Kriegel, Stanwood

Time for recess

As an 18-year-old high-school student, this is the first election I will be able to vote and I find it astounding at the amount of money Sen. Barack Obama has gained for advertising.

As Obama nears closer and closer to breaking the advertisement-spending record, it disgusts me that both parties continue to spend so much money on negative campaigning. I find negative campaigning to do nothing more than turn me away from the candidates. It’s a sickening display of childish banter that one would expect from elementary school kids, not the men who will be running our country.

Especially in the case of Sen. John McCain, when Obama has practically won the presidency. The smart thing for the Republican Party would be to start putting more money into their senator and governor races.

— Matt Berry, Seattle

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