Letters for December 4, 2003

Campaign stop in Baghdad?
So W. went to Baghdad for Thanksgiving. Good show of support for the troops. I hope W. leaves it at that.

What I don’t want to see are those images showing up on a campaign ad for his re-election.

I didn’t vote for him the first time around, and I don’t intend to do so the second time. If W. wants to go out and make policy speeches, then by all means, he should do so. For W. to use Air Force One—spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for security, endangering the lives of civilian news people, dropping in on the troops in a war zone and the subsequent result being a campaign ad—is using my tax money for his re-election fund. (That dinner should be in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive single serving of a turkey dinner ever.)

First, W. flies out to an aircraft carrier and delays the return of the sailors by a day for a photo op and campaign footage. And now he flies to Iraq for dinner without making a major speech or policy change? If any of the footage makes it to a campaign ad, W. should repay the American public for misuse of tax funds. Embezzlement comes to mind.

I do not pay my taxes for someone to misuse the money for a re-election campaign I do not support.

Dewey Quong

Disenfranchise poor people
This is how to solve deficit spending in America: Don’t let people on welfare vote. Temporarily remove the right to vote for those who choose to go on public support, including subsidized housing, food stamps and free lunch programs in schools. Restore their right to vote as soon as they get back on their feet. If we allow government subsidy to become a way of life for a person, then when it comes time to vote, they are going to vote for the politician who will give them a raise.

Doesn’t this make sense?

Mike Arp

Reefer isn’t evil
Re “Smokin’ airwaves” [RN&R, News, Nov. 20]:

Kudos to reporter Dennis Myers for bringing to light the idiocy of Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick on the basics of marijuana research. Thanks to the pretentious, good ole boy thought process of Gammick and others like him, society still has to fight the hilariously ignorant and misguided notions presented to the public via the “Reefer Madness” craze. Stories like these help illustrate the weakness of local politicians who are looking to please ancient, old-money constituents rather than looking at all of the facts and making reasonable conclusions based on the facts. But no, it seems reason will always be sacrificed in the name of kissing the wrinkled butt that will likely push one further up the power hierarchy. I say if Gammick wants to expend effort to fight against something, he should at least know what the hell he’s talking about.

Jennifer Palmer
via email

Just tell the truth
Re Reason to vote No. 2, “Fearing and loathing the Patriot Act” and “Smokin’ airwaves” [RN&R, Various stories, Nov. 20]:

If anyone were ever the boogey man, it’s ole Adolf. And yet, in the last free elections in Weimar, Germany, the overwhelming majority of Germans voted against the capitalist status quo and for socialism. Indeed, most German Social Democrats (and Stalin) welcomed Hitler’s rise to power.

Maybe demagogy played some role here?

We’ve already seen this same peculiar alliance of anti-capitalists in this country, in the alliance of right-wing xenophobic ultranationalists and left-wing anti-globalists. We saw it in 1999 in Seattle at the anti-WTO fiasco, with the AFL-CIO cheering on Pat Buchanan. We see it now in the euphoric handholding of the Hansen klan and the Reno anti-war alliance. Of course, two fringes do not a broad-based movement make.

Or, consider these anti-/pro-/anti-marijuana ads: I’ve felt sick to my stomach over these ads for weeks now. How is it right or ethical to use such demagogy? Can’t we just be honest in advocating decriminalization? These folks always run the risk of panicking the panicky into demanding stricter marijuana laws. (Like, maybe we need the death penalty for teens who smoke pot, if it’s so outta control …)

Nevada and Holland are quite different demographically and politically, but who the hell cares when you’ve come up with such a damned clever way of fooling people? Most Americans reject voting because they feel manipulated. Maybe the antidote is more honesty and less manipulation.

Frank Patten