TO THE EDITOR: Sandeep Kaushik's February 26 "Bush/Nader 2004" article is a desperate, "faith-based" defense of the Democratic Party. Rather than seriously addressing the political reasons for Ralph Nader's campaign, Kaushik hurls personal abuse and insults at Nader supporters, along with a good dose of redbaiting.
Of course, we would love to see Bush and his right-wing, corporate agenda defeated. Unfortunately, John Kerry and the Democrats offer no real alternative. Over his 20 years in the Senate, Kerry has proven he is a reliable defender of big-business interests. Kerry voted for many of Bush's policies--the Iraq war, the PATRIOT Act, the "war on terror," and No Child Left Behind, to name a few. In response to Republican attacks, Kerry has bragged of his support for Clinton's destruction of welfare. Kerry opposes same-sex marriage rights and supported "free-trade" deals such as NAFTA. A Kerry White House would continue the occupation of Iraq, and possibly even send more U.S. troops to crush the Iraqi insurgency.
Completely disregarding these facts, Kaushik makes the incredible comment that "these days, John Kerry is Howard Dean without the Scream." The fact is, John Kerry is a complete fraud. His recent conversion to populism and "fighting special interests" is nothing more than campaign camouflage.
What has the decades-long strategy of supporting the "lesser-evil" Democrats gotten us? An environmental catastrophe, the world's highest prison population, and sanctions that killed one million Iraqis. Here in Washington State, Democratic Governor Gary Locke gave away $3.2 billion to Boeing, while slashing funds for unemployment benefits, education, and health care.
Nader is challenging the war in Iraq and exposing the Republicans and Democrats for taking hundreds of millions of dollars from big corporations while ignoring the concerns of ordinary people. He is campaigning for public works programs to create millions of jobs, for a universal single-payer health-care system, same-sex marriage rights, and a repeal of Bush's PATRIOT Act.
A vote for Nader is NOT a vote for Bush. It's a vote for radical change.
In a classic attempt at redbaiting, Kaushik tries to make an issue out of the fact that our organization, Socialist Alternative, is supporting Nader, making us out to be "fringe" lunatics fighting for "an end to the rule of profit" and "a socialist society to meet the needs of all." In the richest country in the world, where 43 million people lack health care and 9 million are unemployed, and internationally, where 3 billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day, is it so crazy to think we need an alternative to the capitalist system--a system based on human need instead of corporate greed?
LAZY LIBERAL ASSWIPES
TO THE STRANGER: Now that Ralph Nader has declared his candidacy, media flacks, from The Stranger to the Times, are regurgitating the nonsense that it was Nader who cost Al Gore the 2000 race. Can we finally get real and look at some facts?
First, the assumption that in a Nader-less 2000 race, Nader's votes would have automatically gone to Gore. As a registered Democrat who voted for Ralph in 2000, I can tell you that the only way I would've voted for Gore/Lieberman is the same way I would've voted for Bush/Cheney: lots of cash in my personal bank account.
Second, and more tellingly, Gore lost in constituencies that Democratic nominees traditionally win in Florida, to wit:
1. Seniors. By a 51-47 percent margin, Gore lost the over-65 vote in the Sunshine State. Bush got 67,000 more senior votes than Gore did. Had Gore merely broken even here he would have won.
2. White Women. This group, which typically votes Demo in Florida, or splits evenly, went to Bush by 53-44 percent. Had Gore gotten 50 percent of these votes he'd have added 65,000 votes to his total--more than enough to win Florida.
3. Democrats. Nader only drew 24,000 Florida Democrats to his cause, but 308,000 registered Dems voted for Bush! If Gore had taken even one percent of these from Bush, then Ralph's votes wouldn't have mattered. Why not call these 308,000 asswipes? Or was this just typical ignorance on your part?
4. Liberals. Gore lost 191,000 self-described liberals to Bush, compared to 34,000 who voted for Nader.
I cannot figure out the media's disinterest in the real Florida election story. A Florida governor (also named Bush) illegally stripped more than 50,000 registered voters from the rolls (and most of these would've voted for Gore). Add to this mess five Supreme Court justices who illegally and unconstitutionally halted the election, and we see that Nader wasn't really a factor at all.
TO SANDEEP: I'm sure you're going to get a lot of shit. But as someone who spent Election Day 2000 standing in front of Seattle Nader Headquarters with a sign saying "Vote for Nader, Elect Bush," I praise you wholeheartedly. I am a lifelong peacenik, socialist, and environmentalist, but right now I would settle for anyone not guided by what he thinks is the voice of Jesus telling him to pass a constitutional amendment against me marrying my partner. Unfortunately, due to the way our Constitution was written, we are pretty much stuck with two parties and choosing the lesser of two evils. Those who wish differently would do better to work to abolish the Electoral College instead of throwing away their votes on fringe-party candidates.
Emily Salisbury Keene
DEAR SANDEEP: I loved your article "Bush/Nader 2004"! The good news is if Bush wins thanks to his partner Nader, all those spoiled white kids with half-assed dreads will get drafted and their Hacky Sack days will be over.
THIS WEEK'S STUPIDEST LETTER
TO THE EDITOR: I read the article by Sandeep Kaushik and I would love to tell him personally that he is an asshole. You anti-Bush people are all the same. If someone has a different view than you, it must be wrong. Sandeep goes as far as to call King County the stupidest of all stupid in Washington State, which is a stupid state. Tell Sandeep that since he is in so much pain living among intellectual inferiors he might want to leave the state and move to a more Bush-hating state. Maybe Sandeep forgot he is writing to people who live in Washington, and I as a resident do not appreciate being called stupid. You are not God almighty, Sandeep, who knows everything, so do not generalize about Washington State. Get the fuck out if you hate it. And when you feel your ego is getting a little ballooned, just remember that you write for The Stranger, a paper used more often for wiping one's ass than reading.
DEAR AMY: We saw your obituary on the Liberty Deli ["Loss of Liberty," Amy Jenniges, Feb 19] and are sad to learn that an Alki icon has been lost. Nonetheless, we must note that the torch had already been passed (pun fully intended) for the Alki Statue of Liberty replacement. There is hope if people are willing to step up and help.
In recent years, Northwest Programs for the Arts (NPA) has taken the lead toward recasting the poor statue in bronze. Currently it is made from copper sheets covering plaster, glued together in some spots, and it won't last much longer. As part of our "Save Public Art" program, NPA has solicited bids from foundries, considered possible base designs, and raised part of the needed funds.
NPA took on the project in part because the Alki Statue of Liberty is an important landmark and communal gathering place. After 9/11, the outpouring of expression at the statue showed what a piece of art can do for us all and how important public art can be to our daily lives. This is just a statue, after all, but its meaning exceeds the sum of its materials and it's amazing when art can do this.
Shame on all of us if we let this crumble. The patches will not hold long and the parks department has said she's beyond further repair. It's time for businesses and individuals to help before it's too late.
Pictures of the statue's damage and details on the recasting can be found at www.northwestarts.org. We'd prefer not to see Seattle without this statue and hope those interested in supporting or getting involved with the project will contact NPA at 632-4545 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for helping record the passage of the deli for posterity and for highlighting the challenges Alki businesses face. We hope Seattleites and the Alki community will continue to treasure the remaining local businesses and unique landmarks that make Alki what it is!
Executive Director, Northwest Programs for the Arts
PHAB PHO BANG
TO JENNIFER MAERZ: I just got done reading your open letter to Jackie and Ursula [Live Wire, Feb 26] and I just want to say thanks. It's nice to know that someone else misses the madness as much as I do. Let's hope they don't make us beg.
SEND SIMS A MESSAGE
DEAR EDITOR: In regard to Eli Sanders' "Pansy-Assed Politicians" [Feb 26]: The day before our "Don't Amend" Valentine's Day Rally, I called King County Executive Ron Sims' office and asked a staffer if anyone in the office had asked Mr. Sims to issue marriage licenses to any gay citizen who requests one. The response I got (from a really sweet gay person) conveyed the notion that I had asked that Mr. Sims be requested to strip naked and run up the street howling like a dog! Even the gay staff members in the exec's office don't have the guts to ask him to do such. Tragic!
Eli Sanders challenges our elected officials to act in harmony with their words. The LGBT community needs to do the same. It appears to me that the "gay community" is once again looking to be sweet, demure, and non-confrontational on this issue. Well folks, we're in the crosshairs now (amending the Constitution to discriminate against us) and the religious right has its finger on the trigger (Bush and his gang). We have to act fast and we have to act now. Call Ron Sims' office--(206) 296-4040--and pressure him to issue marriage licenses. There is no law that forbids it. The line has been drawn whether we like it or not and we must fight back.
He's with the band
TO KATHLEEN WILSON: You wrote that at the Weezer cover night, the Catch played "I Just Found the Love of My Life" ["It's a Girl's World," Feb 19]. I don't remember which song the Catch played, but it wasn't that because that isn't even a Weezer song. Perhaps you were thinking of "You Just Gave Your Love to Me Softly" or "I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams"? To add insult to injury, you go on to say that the song is off Pinkerton, "Weezer's late-blooming but arguably best album." The songs I've mentioned aren't even on Pinkerton! So please, don't write about Weezer (especially Pinkerton) if you don't know shit about the music. Oops, your bad.
Eric Holl Weezer Fan Club number 0244