Kshama Sawant represents Seattle’s progressive values
Kshama Sawant moved to the U.S. from India for a high-paying career in computer science. She was surprised that so many citizens of such a wealthy country suffered in poverty (1 in 5 U.S. children), so she earned a Ph.D. in economics to help repair this persistent systemic inadequacy [“Funny how everything’s gone left,” NWSunday, Oct. 27].
In 2011, the Seattle City Council guaranteed paid sick leave to all workers in Seattle. People who work hours just to make rent and dinner may have some rest when unwell. Parents whose illnesses tend to coincide with those of their school-age children may now nurse their families. The ordinance passed by eight votes, but Sawant’s opponent, Richard Conlin, cast the lone dissenting vote standing up for profit margins and the common cold.
Democrats in D.C. already offered one grand bargain that would cut trillions of dollars of funding from such treasured successes as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The tea party rejected the deal to seek even harsher cuts. “Welfare” and “amnesty” have become slurs. The right wing steadily circumscribes our vocabulary to match our retreat from commitments to generalized health and prosperity. The word “socialist” shouldn’t scare Seattle away from our progressive values. And if one wins, maybe Democrats will be scared enough to stand up for them.
Cici Kelly, Seattle