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Letters to the editor

November 12, 2004 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Stupid voters are to blame for Bush
We need more than just the Democrats
Moshing against Washington's war

The stadium stick-up in Washington, D.C.

Dear Socialist Worker,
On October 28, more than 300 people gathered at a public hearing to protest public dollars being used to build a new baseball stadium in Washington, D.C.

Along with the $530 million cost of the stadium, the District of Columbia will have to pay for all of the stadium's future renovations and repairs, all repairs and renovations to bridges and roads around the stadium, and all security and traffic control around the stadium. The team will get all revenues from parking, tickets, concessions, souvenirs, naming rights and the media.

Many of the people who came out to the rally believe that more money should go to education, affordable housing, libraries, health care and community programs. One in 10 D.C. residents have no health insurance and the city has the highest per capita AIDS rate of any major city in America. The percent of people living in poverty is almost twice that of the national percentage.

Christopher Greene, a high school student at Eastern Senior High School, remarked about the poor conditions at his school: "My walls are coming apart...and we have books from 1996."

Former Mayor Marion Berry, who is a candidate for Ward 8, is opposed to the funding of the stadium. He said, "This is the biggest stickup by Major League Baseball since Jesse James was doing train robberies."

Democratic Mayor Anthony Williams avoided the joint public hearing and has only planned one community discussion on the plan in the future. The Washington Interfaith Network, a community-based organization for the wellbeing of others, has pushed a plan to several council members to give more than $100 million to the community before putting any money into the baseball stadium.

Clearly from the list of people that spoke, a majority say no to public funding for a new baseball stadium. As Tommy Wells, a school board member, said, "[W]e need the money to fix heat and air conditioning and for our schools to be taken care of."
Sheri Pegram, Washington, D.C.

Visit www.nodctaxesforbaseball.org on the Web for information on how to oppose the stadium.

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Stupid voters are to blame for Bush

Dear Socialist Worker,
I'm a progressive anarcho-syndicalist who doesn't understand why the left has such a hard time blaming the right people for the deplorable state of things in this country.

The blame for the present colossal defeat of progressive ideas by conservative politicians rests squarely on the shoulders of the voters who voted for them! The mess we now find ourselves in is the responsibility of a large number of voters who are bigoted, religious, ignorant (e.g., Saddam was responsible for 9-11) and totally self-absorbed.

What this election means to me is that the U.S. is definitely a divided country. It's divided between people who think and reflect about important things in the world, and people who don't. The sooner the left comes to terms with this very great problem, the better.

Stupid voters are to blame for re-electing Bush and company. And the left is to blame for not demanding justification for the decisions made by so many voters. Until we face the fact that voting is a responsibility and not a right, we will continue to have election results like this one, where votes are cast for self-serving, jingoist reasons and where, the day after, we all go about our business like it was a job well done.

What causes the blame game is that most people feel it's unacceptable to question people's choice for president. Instead of bad choices, then, fault is said to lie with Kerry or the Anybody-But-Bush crowd and those who are running the big show.

Bull! We ought to demand to know from people their reasons for voting, to demand explanations that make sense, and if that's not forthcoming, then push and push and push!

Of course, if this actually happened, all civility will be lost in our "great" land. Who knows where this would lead?
Douglas Braaten, From the Internet

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We need more than just the Democrats

Dear Socialist Worker,
I really enjoyed reading Sharon Smith's article ("Right-wing republic?" November 5). I totally agree that we desperately need a new party, or at least a new direction within the Democratic Party, which appeals to working-class Americans who are fed up with the war and job losses and all.

It's kind of scary to think about what that will require, and I haven't typically been a very political person, but I'm thinking I'd better get a lot more involved in politics a lot earlier than right before the next election. I suppose right now is the time to get involved, so we have someone to vote for next time around who really represents us. Thanks for the article.

Dave Hershberger, Pasadena, Calif.

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Moshing against Washington's war

Dear Socialist Worker,
"Let the President answer on high anarchy/Strap him with AK-47, let him go/Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way/No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil..."

It ain't Dead Prez, it ain't Public Enemy, and it ain't Rage Against the Machine. It's the gay-basher extraordinaire Eminem, who's new song "Mosh" recently debuted on MTV. This time, though, socialists can nod their heads in approval.

Dark and apocalyptic, with a slow marching beat, the song and video reflect the doom and gloom people have had to face over the last several years. A montage of news clippings from the last year are pasted on a wall--including "Bush Declares War" and "Sick Wounded Troops Held in Squalor," among others.

The video shows many class conclusions being drawn as a result. A soldier comes home to his family, only to get a letter sending him back to Iraq. His wife gets a notice of eviction. A Black man gets stopped and harassed by the police.

Overwhelmingly, the message here is "Vote November 2," and the video, although not the song, says so explicitly at several points. Yet with lyrics telling people to "Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let 'em know/Stomp, push up, mush, fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home," there's more under the surface than just putting the ballot in the box.

While there are contradictions in his conclusion, Eminem's video is a reflection of where many people are--and draws conclusions that many people haven't.

No one should begin mistaking the homophobic, misogynistic, and at times racist Eminem for a progressive. But this is the type of cultural phenomenon we need more of. If more platinum-selling performers with huge audiences are going to start making antiwar videos and drawing class conclusions, then we'll take it.
Nick Chin, Washington, D.C.

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