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MAKING NOT SO NICE

DEAR EDITOR:

Harold Meyerson’s “Make Nice” [August 4–10], reporting the protests during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, missed the point. The single message that protesters are trying to make clear is that George W. Bush and the Republicans, like Al Gore and the Democrats, are minimizing or ignoring human needs, peace and justice. In other words, the current presidential elections are anti-democratic.

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Meyerson does not seem to understand that the delegates are not the protesters’ only audience, not even the main one. The protests intend to help wake up the American people. We say we want better schools, health care, safe neighborhoods, jobs, an end to police brutality, and clean air, water and land (just to mention a few concerns). Well, where are our tax moneys going? Where is our control of public lands and airwaves? Who is putting money and action toward those needs? Who is talking about the fact that our No. 1 exports are weapons and arms, or that we have thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert? This is nuts!

And this is what protesters are trying to get Americans, including reporters, to understand, so maybe they will demand that our presidential elections deal with people’s needs honestly and directly. We need journalists to report substantially, clearly, consistently and frequently on the issues ignored by George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Meyerson has rightly said that protests are not enough. People need to be working in the communities in many ways to establish populist, progressive, civic-minded strategies and solutions to the horrors of the current corrupt corporate-minded political system. People need to follow up on what Colin Powell challenged the Republicans to do in recognizing that affirmative action has existed far too long for the wealthy. (I would add far too long subsidizing the violence of the military.) Many activists are trying to do exactly this kind of locally based work, so maybe that is why there were less than the expected numbers of protesters in the streets of Philly.

Meanwhile, people were arrested, with some held on obscenely high ($1 million) bail for misdemeanor charges that stemmed from assembling in nonviolent protests. Is this what we mean by “liberty and justice for all”? Is that what we mean by “free elections”?

The protests at the Republican and Democratic national conventions are one means to help ensure we are not enslaved by corrupt politicians and corrupt political parties, or by our own apathy and cynicism.

—Cris Gutierrez
Santa Monica

THE SHADOW KNOWS

DEAR EDITOR:

Thanks for your coverage of the Shadow Convention. I hope you’ll continue to cover this special convention that exposes the areas the other conventions neglect — especially the harm the “war on drugs” is causing to American families. We must find better ways of dealing with the drug problem, and the only way we’re going to do this is through open and truthful discussion.

—Jean Flemin
Studio City

ROTTEN PLANKS

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: Harold Meyerson’s “Liberty and Justice for All: The Democratic Party Platform You Won’t See” [August 11–17]. Your proposed planks for the Democratic Party are absolutely frightening! Most Americans would not wish to exist in such a workers’ paradise. I note you never mention liberty, or freedom, or reward for the achievers of our society. At any rate, now that this simple person has had a chance to view your “manifesto,” I shall do my small part to block your views and implementation of same. Mr. David Horowitz certainly has you people nailed! Having moved amongst you, I believe he has much to tell us.

—Richard W. Cooper
Orlando, Florida

DEAR EDITOR:

Just read the “Liberty and Justice for All” would-be platform from the “progressive” side of the Democratic Party. In that whole piece, the word freedom was used three times. The idea of freedom, or winning our freedom back, or increasing the freedom of Americans from government and having control over their own lives, was nowhere. I am really saddened that the people who could be considered the enemies of GOP fascism have developed into equally, if not more, disturbing proponents of fascism, looking for government to control the thoughts, actions and intentions of the citizenry from cradle to grave. That platform should have been called “Jackboot Liberalism for All.”

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