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March 25, 2010 at 4:01 PM

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Reaction to health-care reform

Posted by Letters editor

Tea-party crowd shows true colors

Before, I thought that the tea-party people were just some group of disgruntled citizens who were more upset about the Republicans losing the election than anything else. I don’t particularly believe in their causes, but I believed in the right to express oneself and didn’t pay too much attention to them.

But now with the racist/homophobic name-calling, spitting on senators and truly hateful speech, they have shown their true colors [“Hate speech isn’t debate,” editorial, March 23]. The tea party is nothing more than a very vocal hate group. I now believe they have formed because of their hatred toward a black president, who is a Democrat to boot. Nothing that President Obama says or does will be good enough because they hate him with a passion.

Now that President Obama is in office, it should be the time to focus on our country, get it back on its feet, create more jobs, fix the financial system, fix health care, address education imbalances, etc. — things that make our country great. Instead, they focus on hate, racist chants, and doctored photos to express their beliefs.

We as a country have an obligation and right to question our government. I truly believe in that. But I don’t agree with the tactics the tea-party people have chosen. I will always choose respectful discourse over outright hate and anger. People need to come together and forge a new future to bring this country back to it’s glory. Quite honestly, I see these people as part of the problem, not part of the solution.

— Kristina Falcone, Seattle

A game played by both sides

You are correct: “Hate speech isn’t debate.” This happens on both sides of the political spectrum and both sides should be condemned.

But we must keep in mind that most of these incidents are by a very small part of the political spectrum. You should not condemn all of those in the tea-party movement as racists and/or homophobes. As your editorial says, [House Minority Leader] John Boehner called the epithets “reprehensible.”

I expect an editorial soon about Ann Coulter’s canceled speech at a university in Canada because of threats to do her bodily harm. Officials were afraid that they could not protect her.

As Vice President Joseph Biden said “this (health care reform) is a big *** deal.” It affects more than 15 percent of the U.S. economy. Of course some people are going to lose control and say things they should not say.

My request of [The Times] is to condemn both the right and the left when these incidents occur. The vast majority on both sides of the political spectrum find these kind of remarks to be reprehensible.

— Dean Hobson, Bellevue

The ‘problem’ is still here

After reading The Seattle Times editorial, I remembered Look magazine’s cover (1960) “The Problem We All Live With” painted by Norman Rockwell. The painting depicts a young African-American girl, Ruby Bridges, flanked by white federal marshals — the first black student walking to an all-white elementary school past a wall defaced by a racial slur.

The comparison of Ruby Bridges to African-American Reps. Andre Carson and John Lewis, flanked by tea-party members yelling racial slurs, is evident. I am afraid that after watching and hearing this weekend the decline of civility by opponents of health-care reform, “The Problem We All Live With” is still here.

Ruby Bridges is now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation ( which she formed in 1999 to promote “the values of tolerance, respect and appreciation of all differences.”

— Marsha Conn, Seattle

Take a walk in his shoes

Did all of you walk in the shoes of John Robert Lewis last Sunday night?

Did you see the newsreels of Selma, the sit-ins, the boycotts all over again?

Did you feel the spittle running down your cheek one more time?

Did you again smell the fear — not the fear of John Robert Lewis but the fear of the spitting and screaming crowd?

And did you see him, as he entered the chamber, smiling and talking quietly to Martin Luther King Jr.?

— R.V. Elam, Lake Forest Park

Someone’s orchestrating campaign

I would like to express my appreciation to The Times for the strongly worded editorial in Tuesday’s newspaper. It is certainly obvious that the health-care-reform bill is far from perfect, and that many people will have criticisms of one point or another. But who has convinced many ordinary citizens that the bill is so evil?

Clearly, someone has been orchestrating the campaign against health reform, using viral e-mails, talk shows, and many other methods. Who can possibly be so deeply concerned about it that they would go to all this trouble?

May I suggest that this is an important story the media have missed so far: Who is behind this massive hate campaign, and what are they hoping to gain by it?

I myself am a lifelong Republican, but I must say that I am embarrassed by the performance of our Republican members of Congress on this issue. it. Instead of the Republican voices for sanity we would like to see, one gets the impression some of them actually believe the wild accusations that are being thrown around to stir people up.

— Norm Mundhenk, Poulsbo

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