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Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

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All letters to the editor are debatable.  Not many hot stories are broken via letters to the editor.  They’re almost always based upon opinion and even the opinions aren’t always solidly covered by factual information.


In the September 17 Anchorage Daily News, two out of eleven letters to the editor were not directly about Sarah Palin.


Of the other nine, three were supportive of Sarah Palin and six were not.  Folks, we’re talking about a major newspaper in the governor’s home state of Alaska!


The letters that were supportive weren’t backed by substantive arguments and those that were not supportive were not only more substantive, but were much more passionate.  Does this give us better insight into the woman whose chances of becoming the president of The Former United States of America are fair to good?

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One of the supportive letters implies that, if the McCain/Palin ticket wins in November, federal stimulus checks will pour into our homes on an almost regular basis.  The quote is, “Vote for keeping those relief checks coming in.”  Is the writer implying that McCain/Palin will install a Socialist government in Washington?


The letter also asks us to “support the troops (in Iraq) on their mission to victory.”  I still ask, “What does winning in Iraq look like?” 

The reason a second writer supports Palin is because “Alaskans have a once-in-100-year opportunity for one of their own to become vice president of the United States -- an articulate and respected Alaskan at that.” It’s good to root for the home team, but not when the home team cheats.  One would hope that Alaskans wouldn’t vote for Palin merely because she’s from Alaska. She may be articulate but an even more important strength is her memory as she makes the same speech over and over again.  I’m not certain that a candidate is respected when letters to the editor in one of her state’s newspapers are twice as unsupportive as they are supportive. 

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The final supportive letter speaks to a column in the Washington Post written by Alaskan Democratic Legislator Mike Doogan.  In the column, Doogan suggests that Palin isn’t ready to be vice president.  The substance of the letter is, “Do you know the difference between him (Mike Doogan) and a snarky pit bull when it comes to constantly chewing on conservatives? Neither do I.”  Heavy, man.


The first letter which wasn’t in Palin’s corner compares her to Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the famed Iditarod Alaskan dog sled race, and Susan Butcher, another woman who won that same race and who died recently at the age of 51 from leukemia.


The writer says that Palin reminds her of Libby Riddles, but she’s no Susan Butcher, “never was, never will be.”

To give you an idea of what Butcher meant to Alaskans, the state legislature established an annual Susan Butcher Day in 2008 and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks created the Susan Butcher Institute “to develop public service and leadership skills among young Alaskans”.

A second non-supporter called Palin “a hypocrite” for the governor’s unwillingness “to allow the same ethical scrutiny of her own administration that she champions as her personal mission in "cleaning up government"”.  This refers of course to what’s become known as trooper-gate.   

A third opposition letter notes that “The McCain/Palin campaign has been airing and approving "Swift Boat" style ads that distort or flat out lie about his (sic) opponent. They are counting on these distortions to earn them votes from the uninformed.”  The writer says that the US needs an “informed vice president” and it’s obvious that he doesn’t consider Palin informed.  

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Opposing letter number four was written by someone who actually supported the so called “bridge to nowhere” and is extremely disappointed in Palin’s willingness to “ridicule constituents to make political points.”

Letter five responds to a previous letter sent in to The Daily News stating “that if the liberals had their way, baby Trig would likely be dead”. The writer justifiably states that if liberals had their way, baby Trig would still be alive because, as it stands now we are allowed to “make our own choice in this very personal decision.” 

The final letter states that Palin would have been a good candidate for vice president “in 1850”.  It seems that the writer doesn’t like the idea that Palin even inquired about book-banning, doesn’t believe that Creationism needs to be taught, doesn’t agree with the premise that “reproductive choice is not a woman's business” and doesn’t agree that “abstinence-only classes are the only sex education our kids need”. 

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Michael Bonanno is an associate editor for OpEdNews.

He is also a published poet, essayist and musician who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bonanno is a political progressive, not a Democratic Party apologist. He believes it's (more...)

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