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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 20, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Presidents, coming and going

President Bush did something right

President George W. Bush has been divisive. (“You’re either with us or against us.”) He’s been shortsighted about Wall Street, the environment and health care. He’s egotistic. (“I am the decider.”) He’s been arrogant. (Remember freedom fries?)

His management style precluded meaningful debate by surrounding himself with yes men. The neocons made sure that Halliburton profited to our detriment. He appointed hacks for important jobs (Hurricane Katrina).

However, we can thank him for swinging the pendulum so far toward incompetence that he made many Americans (who might not have otherwise) receptive to a brilliant new leader who happens to be African American.

A man of color in the Oval Office will do much to heal our history of slavery.

May the Bush doctrine be the compost heap that sprouts meaningful dialogue and long-term vision.

The road will not be easy for President-elect Barack Obama. My hope is that he will have a knowledgeable and diverse Cabinet (as Lincoln did).

He has the intelligence to consider these varying opinions before acting.

— Harvey Schwartz, Bellingham

Don’t follow the leader

Before Lynne Varner moves us too far toward the deification of President-elect Barack Obama, The One who channels Former President Abraham Lincoln, let us pause for some basic civics [“Barack Obama channels his inner-Lincoln,” Ed cetera blog, Nov. 19].

Despite her opinion, it is not the job of Congress, and especially the opposition party, to “follow the president’s lead or simply get out of the way.” It is their job to legislate and to oppose policies that they think are wrongheaded.

And, contrary to her wish, it is not the role of the people to “follow.” It is their job to think critically and speak their conscience, even it is contrary to the one great thought that wishes to lead us.

— Tom Tomkins, Seattle

Offensive, insulting and undeserved

Columnist Lynne K. Varner writes in her Wednesday column that certain Southern states that were not won by President-elect Barack Obama on Election Day constitute “the new confederacy” [“Honest Abe and Bold Barack,” editorial column, Nov. 19].

Such a statement is preposterous and insulting.

Though I am not old enough to vote, I did not support Obama for the presidency. My reasons were valid and thoughtful. However, I am offended by people such as Varner who second-guess the reasons of those who supported other candidates.

Labeling communities of white, non-Democratic voters as “the new confederacy” is appalling. In making no distinction between “the white vote,” “conservatives” and those who did not support Obama, Varner makes the ignorant assumption that such a stance was motivated by racism.

Furthermore, her equating of former President Abraham Lincoln’s distinction between free states and slave states to the differences between blue states and red states is astounding, and can only be intended to compare conservatives with slaveholders.

Now that the election is decided, we who backed different candidates are willing to support the president-elect as earnestly as anyone else. We may wish the results of the election had been different; we do not, however, wish to secede from the Union.

What Varner implies by branding those who think like me as members of “the new confederacy” is offensive, insulting and completely undeserved

— Andrew Kaplan, Seattle

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