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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Seeing Red Over Red and Blue States

September 13, 2004

While I think that John F. Kerry would lead us into less danger than George W. Bush and the neoconservatives would, most Americans should know that this election is a farce. In a last dying gasp, the electoral system has divided our country into "red" states, "blue" states and "battleground" states. If you live in a battleground state, your vote for president has more power than a vote from a red or blue citizen.

The electoral college is outdated and is reminiscent of centuries of voter disenfranchisement. It serves to reinforce gerrymandering and the reduction of meaningful elections. If voters thought that their vote actually mattered, maybe a majority of eligible voters would vote. Instead of meaningful debate on issues that matter to the average American, we are bombarded with such "controversies" as same-sex marriage, Vietnam-era squabbles and who loves terrorists more.

Americans, please turn off your 24-hour news channel and stop using the "talking-points" your particular political party has brainwashed you with. Stop and think about what issues matter to you.

Hopefully, Americans will demand to eliminate the electoral college and save democracy now.

John Behrer

Beverly Hills

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Re "Election '04: a Guide for the Complexed," Commentary, Sept. 9: Lee Siegel's complaint that the word "liberal" has been unfairly manipulated is ironic, because those claiming that title today hijacked the word and diametrically changed its meaning from its original definition. Classical liberals favored breaking down as many barriers of government favoritism and special treatment as possible because such interventions harmed the "general welfare," and particularly the poor. In contrast, modern liberals argue incessantly for more of the "right kind" of favoritism, using the power of government to force the resulting burdens onto others.

The distortion of the meaning of "liberal" was perhaps made clearest years ago by Will Rogers, when he quipped that "I can remember when being liberal meant being generous with your own money."

Gary M. Galles

Professor of Economics

Pepperdine Univ., Malibu

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I have to wonder if Michael Ramirez receives pay from Vice President Dick Cheney's staff. His Sept. 9 cartoon is not only not funny, but follows the same disgraceful line of reasoning that only Bush and Cheney can protect us from catastrophe. May I remind Mr. Ramirez that the largest terrorist tragedy on American soil happened on the watch of Bush and Cheney, and many in the know express grave concern over their inattention to things like suitcase-nukes getting into Al Qaeda's hands.

Daniel Cox

Carlsbad

*

Editorial pages, radio and TV are awash in the hatred generated by this presidential election. I'm sick of the vicious observations and accusations made by people old enough to know better. For everyone's sake, folks, let's stick to issues and do so in a civil manner.

Russ Connors

Santa Maria

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