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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 11, 2008 at 2:26 PM

America in dire straits

The only way

is to go clean

Editor, The Times:

Last week’s Times headlines paint a bleak picture. Monday, the recession became official [“It’s official: U.S. has been in a recession all year,” Times, Business, Dec. 1]; Tuesday, Gov. Christine Gregoire told the president-elect that Washington needed $600 million to kick-start its economy [“Gregoire says state needs $600 million economic stimulus,” News, Dec. 2]; Wednesday, Seattle realtors reported tumbling house prices in King County [“Real-estate rebound? We haven’t hit bottom,” page one, Dec. 3].

Across the state and the country, people are hurting.

Meanwhile, Congress has spent billions in a bank bailout and may yet spend billions more to shore up failing auto companies. It’s time for our governments to start bailing out ordinary citizens. But to do this, we need to take bold action and move beyond business as usual.

We need a new solution.

President-elect Barack Obama defied conventional wisdom and won on the promise of creating new jobs in a clean-energy economy. Washington state already has the skilled work force and intellectual capital to reap the benefits of this new economy; some big players in the solar-panel industry are headquartered here, and our state boasts entrepreneurs in clean-energy fields like battery technology and geothermal power.

To save our state’s ailing economy, we need to create family-wage jobs that cannot be outsourced.

Clean energy is the best way out of our economic troubles, and it must be the cornerstone of any economic-stimulus package.

— Kristin Anderson, Seattle

It’s not a guarantee

I believe your front-page headline “America provides refuge, but not always prosperity” helps perpetuate the misguided belief that success is an entitlement of everyone who lives in America.

Of course it is wonderful that we provide refuge from oppression, but since when did America begin guaranteeing prosperity to everyone? Throughout our history, our nation’s people have believed that prosperity is mainly derived from hard work. What an old-fashioned, out-of-date notion.

— John Coffee, Bellingham

Welcome to opportunity

I was infuriated by the comments of Leon Donahue (Washingtonians for Immigration Reform) in “America provides refuge, not always prosperity.” Donahue’s argument that “We don’t have jobs for our own people . . . Under these conditions, I can’t imagine [refugees will] be any better off here” is myopic and ignorant.

I am disappointed The Times didn’t quote the latter part of this statement in large type. This comment showcases the baseless, resentful and fearful essence of Donahue’s organization’s platform, and their Web site confirms it.

I was a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand from 2006 to 2007. I traveled throughout Southeast Asia and volunteered with a Cambodian organization that helps refugees, and I want to know: When was the last time Donahue tried surviving in a refugee camp with insecure food supplies and no sanitation, clean water, medical care, education or other social services?

As a woman, he would also face the constant risk of rape. Refugees come seeking refuge: By definition, they are fleeing from something. How dare Donahue assume that refugees are no better off here? America’s global image is damaged enough; other countries offer asylum, and we need to as well.

For refugees, we can share.

— Sarah Sieloff, Snohomish

We offer freedom

not prosperity

We are confusing prosperity with opportunity. The needy family featured in Tuesday’s cover story pulled at my heartstrings because we are an empathetic people. What I know is that the harder I work the luckier I get.

My income is down from last year, not because I didn’t work hard, but because the industry I work in is down. It is misleading to imply that arriving on the shores of this great nation ensures prosperity.

What we offer better than any nation is freedom. With freedom comes the opportunity for prosperity.

— Pam Schmoll, Woodinville

Think before you speak

In “America provides refuge, but not always prosperity,” Leon Donahue of an anti-immigrant group remarks that due to the poor economic conditions here, refugees are no better off in America than the refugee camps from which many arrived.

This may be a case where some direct personal experience could be enlightening.

I’d suggest a week each for Donahue in refugee camps in Nepal, Thailand and Darfur. I suspect that upon his return, his anti-immigrant organization would be looking for a new, less-informed staffer.

— Mike Kelly, Bainbridge Island

Comments | More in Immigration, Politics

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