Voting, waking up and taking notice

It'll Be Clear Real Soon I'm writing in reference to the editorial "Buffaloed in Springfield" (issue of July 21-27). John Fox summed up many of the reasons why I and many of my peers feel so driv

It'll Be Clear Real Soon
I'm writing in reference to the editorial "Buffaloed in Springfield" (issue of July 21-27). John Fox summed up many of the reasons why I and many of my peers feel so driven to participate in this presidential election.

First of all, we have become a nation of fear. We've been so afraid of being attacked again that we felt like we must approach the world with our arms out swinging. We've been scraping together our change to pay for health care, college tuition and gasoline, so we've misunderstood tax cuts thinking that they apply to us. We've been so bombarded with the ideas of mainstream media that we have stopped thinking for ourselves.

Until now.

Many of us are waking up and taking notice. We realize that while politics will never be perfect and candidates might always seem to be from a different world than us, we can choose to change the direction our country is going in.

So to those of you who are sitting at home comfortably still thinking that my generation is too jaded to care, there is something happening here, and in November it will all become very clear.

— Kalynn Ruth, Hyde Park

How the Conservatives Keep Winning
Jene Galvin writes that voter anger could possibly aid in Sen. Kerry's election because Ohioans are upset about the economic mess brought on by the policies of the present administration ("Time for Republicans to Duck," issue of July 21-27).

If he will read What's the Matter With Kansas by Thomas Frank, Galvin will understand that, in general, the conservative Republican middle class is not particularly aroused by economic issues but by "values" issues and will vote Republican even though it's to their economic detriment. "The great dream of conservatives ever since the thirties," the book says, "has been a working-class movement that for once takes their side of the issues, that votes Republican and reverses the achievements of working-class movements of the past."

The Republican faithful are energized by the issues of pornography, school prayer, gay rights, reproductive rights, the pledge, posting the Ten Commandments, school vouchers, crosses on the square, TV programming, etc. By being portrayed as victims of liberal duplicity on these issues, the middle class feels increasingly alienated and even more aroused.

They will vote conservative on these issues, while at the same time the Republicans have eviscerated the union movement which empowered the worker while simultaneously providing more power to the privileged.

The book is subtitled "How the Conservatives Won the Heart of America." Read it and weep.

— Jules Freedman, Montgomery

Reds Not That Close
In response to Bill Peterson's cover story concerning the Reds' chances in the second half ("Great Expectations," issue of July 14-20), I feel compelled to respond. There's nothing wrong with optimism, but his opinion that the Reds are one pitcher away from being able to contend with the Cardinals is to me optimism bordering on self-hypnosis.

The problems with the Reds' pitching staff (currently 14th out of 16 in the league in team ERA) are much bigger than one more starting pitcher. The team currently has two starting pitchers that would qualify as above average: Paul Wilson and Aaron Harang (if his current performance can be trusted). The Cardinals, on the other hand, have five. Neither team has a Cy Young candidate, but the Cardinals have much more depth and resilience.

The Cubs have five above-average starting pitchers, even though Greg Maddux isn't one of them, and the Astros have four when healthy — which is never. So to say that the Cardinals are no better than the Reds is a hilarious misstatement. Apart from the fact that the Cardinals have a laughably better offense (440 runs scored to the Reds' 399), they have a much more solid bullpen and starting rotation (3.82 team ERA to Reds' 4.92).

I don't want to be a killjoy or a party pooper for the happiness concerning the Reds' performance, as such happiness is merited. And I don't want to sound the death knell for this good team, because they have enough heart and soul to play much better than they actually are.

But to make it seem as if the Reds are one trade away from being on the same level as the Cardinals and Cubs is a bit of a stretch. While they're on the right track to improvement, it'll be a bit longer than three months before the Reds will be able to pull even with the rest of the NL Central division, the league's toughest.

— Aaron Whitehead, Highland Heights

Need More Choices
As the convener of the Southwest Ohio Green Party, I'm writing to thank Jay Antenen for the time and effort he put into writing the article about our presidential candidate, David Cobb's, recent visit to Cincinnati ("The Green Team ," issue of July 21-27). The article made a point of stating how much work we still have ahead of us to just allow people the right to vote for Cobb in Ohio. I've found it sad each time any so-called liberal has refused to sign our petition to place Cobb on the Ohio ballot on the grounds that he/she doesn't want people to have the choice of voting Green. I wonder about those individuals' commitment to democracy and why they could have so little confidence in the ability of their Democrats' nominee to get votes that they'd want the Greens to not even be on the ballot.

It's obvious that the 2004 election will play even more heavily on the fear factor and negative vote than even the 2000 election. I do think that the ABB (Anyone but Bush) tactic is very strong and strategic since it's easier to organize people against something than for something. The Greens, on the other hand, have continued to be the place for people to vote their hopes, not their fears.

Some people think of the political spectrum as being a line from left to right, but I see it instead as a circle. While the Democrats and Republicans compete for votes at the multi-national corporate center, the Greens are picking up votes from the other side of the circle. I've found that most of our members are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Most Greens don't think that just throwing money at a problem will fix it, when time and energy are needed. I know of no Green who thinks that government has a right to tell consenting adults what they can do in the privacy of their own home.

Having David Cobb on the ballot does give those people a choice besides Bush. The ABB crowd would do well to put aside some of their fears and allow a little democracy to slip through and maybe then their hopes could be realized.

— Gwen Marshall, Northside

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