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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Voice From the Heavens

To the Editor:

"I like Nader, but I'm not going to vote for him because he can't possibly win."

I cringe when I hear this, because it describes how incredibly far we have come from what voting should be all about.

It used to be our way of deciding who wins. Now we decide who will win before we vote. A voice has come down from the heavens saying "Nader can't win." That voice is really the two-party duopoly saying "you don't have a right to choose anyone except one of us." It works ("The Third Man Theme," June 24th issue). We give away our right to express our real preference for a self-fulfilling prophesy in circular logic: You don't vote for your favorite because he can't win, and he can't win because you don't vote for him.

The duopoly also uses another powerful mythology called the "spoiler effect": Nader is said to have "spoiled" Gore's victory by draining votes from him. The idea is so simplistic that it is easier to accept it than to look for the truth. Even on the absurd assumption that all Nader's votes came from people who would otherwise have voted for Gore, Nader could only have made a difference in New Hampshire and Florida. Even there, a lot of Nader votes came from Republicans and from people who wouldn't have voted at all. Many Democrats voted for Bush, but it is easier to blame Nader than to blame fellow Democrats.

If the Democrats had nominated Kucinich, then he and Nader would be competing for the same votes. But they didn't. Instead, they nominated "Bush Lite" -- like "W," a wealthy, elite, conservative professional politico who opposes national health care, favors NAFTA and GATT, accepts PAC money, repays it with corporate welfare and tax breaks, supports preemptive war, rejects a living wage for workers, and on and on. There is no way that Kerry can represent the political aspirations of Nader supporters.

Democrats are, of course, free to drag their party into whatever philosophical quagmires they wish. But they have no right to expect a reform-hungry public to blindly follow them.

Jimmie R. Osburn

Memphis

Bush is Good

To the Editor:

The constant Democratic bashing of President Bush begs for explanation. Unavoidable circumstances, such as the inherited recession that caused spending problems, have resulted in an increase of federal spending. This isn't classic Reaganomics, but it's not the 1980s anymore either. This president has possessed an incredibly compromising nature when dealing with Congress. He has put the needs of the people before politics.

To the still hard-headed Democrats: Just because the American people have rejected you twice (and according to the polls, soon to be three times) in the past four years doesn't mean you have to lie all the time.

Marty Fairbanks

Memphis

What Tale Shall Serve?

To the Editor:

I could not dig, I could not rob/Therefore I lied to please the mob./Now my lies are proved untrue/And I must face the men I slew/What tale shall serve me here among/Mine angry and defrauded young?

What "tale" was Kipling writing of? Nation building, of course! Remember? That's what President Bush preached against all through his 2000 campaign.

Results: As of June 21, 2004, 844 Americans had died in Iraq. Over 14,000 wounded reported by doctors, nurses, and health-care workers. (The Pentagon reports 5,138 -- many disabled for life.)

"What tale shall serve me here among/Mine angry and defrauded young?" There is none, Mr. Bush. There is none. My apologies for my anger.

Robert Perkins

Newport News, Virginia

Bad Energy

To the Editor:

Congress defeated the president's energy bill last year. But, as usual, this inflexible administration will not take no for an answer. President Bush is now promoting a handful of smaller energy bills that, taken together, are just as bad as the earlier one defeated by Congress.

Different bills would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, pave the way for building new nuclear reactors, allow more air pollution, and increase our dependence on foreign imports.

We should not sacrifice our children's future. It's time to promote renewable energy.

Dr. Gerard J. Billmeier Jr.

Memphis

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