Letters to the editor

Note to progressives: Get real!

Lord, how it pains me to pick up this newspaper and read letters from progressives still arguing over who’s to blame for the 2000 presidential election debacle [recently: “Democratic “Left Wing” Is Flight-Impaired, Xpress June 25; “Wake Up, You Political Greens,” Xpress June 11].

Of course Bush lied, of course Bush cheated, of course he is not the legitimate president of the United States. But the real question is: What are you going to do about it? (Yeah, you reading this paper right now.) Are you going to sit around bitterly rehashing history, or are you going to get busy making sure that the current occupant of the White House no longer has a job come November of 2004?

By now it is painfully clear that the presidency of George W. Bush constitutes no less than a national emergency. It is also clear that this administration cares about one thing only: preserving the corporate power that put them in office in the first place. Time and time again, we have seen that they will say and do anything and sacrifice anyone and everything to win. Whether the subject is the unconstitutional Iraq war, tax cuts for the rich, global warming or our vanishing civil liberties, they know they can lie with impunity because they own fully half of the major media outlets in this country (and are set to own even more, thanks to the latest FCC rule changes).

Folks, I’ll be blunt: We must defeat George W. Bush by any means necessary, which means that some of us are going to have to compromise at least some of our sainted idealism and work to elect the Democratic candidate, even if (heaven forbid) that candidate is a centrist like Joe Lieberman. Ralph Nader is an honorable man and a true champion of the people who deserves a cabinet-level position one day, but to waste even one vote supporting such a long-shot presidential candidate is a luxury progressives can no longer afford.

— Jeff Callahan
Flat Rock

Tools for informed citizenry

Whoopee! What a Fourth of July party! Picnics and fireworks to delight kids young and old. Thank-yous to soldiers and veterans; an honorable mention to the founding fathers. Salutes to the flag, and bows to the lady in the harbor.

So now back to business: Why do so many people feel patriotic but fail to vote? You have heard it, too: “Candidates only say what you want to hear. They tap dance around issues. They forget their promises when they get into office. So what is the use of voting?”

That is scary! Aren’t we able to keep “government by the people”? … Are we giving up our great democracy for rule by a powerful few?

But there is light in the dark. Take heart. A long list of respectable, responsible politicians in both parties (and others) founded a force of volunteers who devote their time to throwing light on those who run our government. It is possible to pick up your phone, turn on your computer or mail a request and find out the following about a candidate, governor, senator or representative, whether national or state: His or her political history, financial backing and voting record.

Now here’s the catch: Both parties are training their candidates to not answer questionnaires because it will tie them up politically. … But, this volunteer group also tells you which [politicians] refuse to answer.

Most of the TV, radio and print [media] is controlled by powerful interests, but we can get cold, unbiased facts from this nonpartisan, nationwide bunch of volunteers.

Good American: Take the time to make this contact for information, then you will feel like trying to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.” Keep these addresses [and phone numbers] and tell your friends:

Project Vote Smart
One Common Ground
Philipsburg, MT 59858


Expenses are paid by ordinary, patriotic Americans, but the information is free.

We can march in the streets shouting “power to the people,” but “knowledge is power.”

— Ruth Evangeline Archer

Let’s censure the real bad guys

Now that the censure of Brian Peterson by Asheville City Council has set quite a low precedent in terms of evidence, it is high time Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners censured Sheriff Bobby Medford and District Attorney Ron Moore. By comparison with [Council member] Peterson, who might have given a ride to a woman who might once have been a sex worker, Mountain Xpress has obtained 10 times the evidence against Medford and Moore of crimes a hundred times as severe — the alleged cover up of a kidnapping and aggravated domestic assault and battery, as well as false imprisonment.

Therefore Medford and Moore deserve censure a thousand times as much as Peterson ever did.

— Alan Ditmore

[Ed. Note: Ditmore’s letter included as a footnote that he received 12 percent of the votes — a total of 7,442 — in the Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors race in the November 2002 election.]

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