Response to Republican harassment | Letter

I read the article “Republicans harassed at county fair” with a sense of astonishment. The irony was glaring. Here are some Republicans, portraying themselves as innocent, calling for tolerance and civility while at the same time promoting a person who has flagrantly abused these values and has done more to degrade civility than anyone else in recent memory. Can they really not see it?

Let me say, loud and clear, I unequivocally condemn the harassing the authors experienced at the fair. I was sorry to learn about it. Hostility and disrespect are no good for anyone. They do not help anyone’s cause, either. It is not the way forward. However, the disconnect between the Republican authors’ complaints and the behavior of their party’s leader is truly staggering. After endorsing and enabling someone who is vulgar, denigrates women, plays to racist sentiments, lies, and intimidates his way through life, how can they be surprised by the push-back? At what point will Republicans realize that, despite how kind and civil and tolerant they feel themselves to be in their everyday life, they can not really separate themselves from the ugliness they are promoting. They have become, by extension, the very kind of people they are offended by. If they hope to be taken seriously, a little more insight is in order.

Eric Hall

Lopez Island

I fully agree with Martha Fuller’s comments (see above) about the “Republican Call for Tolerance” as published on August 30. Nobody on these islands should be subjected to the invective and threats that Republicans experienced at their County Fair booth.

And I support her questioning their “wisdom” in displaying a cardboard cutout of the president at their booth when he is held in such low esteem by the great majority of citizens in these islands — who in 2016 voted overwhelmingly against him. Their conscious choice obviously provoked the reaction they deplore.

What did they expect?

This is a man their own prominent party member, part-time Orcas Islander Robert Gates — who served as Defense Secretary under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — called “stubbornly ignorant about the world and how to lead our country and government” as well as “unqualified and unfit to be commander in chief.”

His record during his first seven months of office has only underscored this denunciation. As tweeter-in-chief, he has disparaged women, immigrants, Muslims Latinos and gays, while refusing to condemn the actions of white supremacists and racists — one of whom murdered an opposition protestor and injured many others in Charlottesville.

As Gates stated last September in the Wall Street Journal, this man is unfit to lead our nation. His deeply polarizing statements and actions, supported now by but a third of its citizens, have divided the United States like it has not been divided since the Civil War.

So championing his “leadership” with a cardboard cutout is tantamount to sticking their fingers in the eyes of people they try to call “neighbors.” San Juan Republicans should own their own contribution to what ensued, not protest it.

And politics should ideally be about ideas — not blind allegiance to a hopelessly flawed television personality largely bereft of them.

Michael Riordan


Re: ‘Stressful summer for state ferry system’

In [The Weekly’s] fine research article on our ferry crisis (“The Inside Scoop on Washington State Ferries,” August 15), you said that the ferry lines on Lopez were “backed up several miles,” which (if true) would stretch back most of the way to Lopez Village. This kind of crisis should help us face some economic realities:

First, you said that three of our four current island-service ferries are now 50 to 58 years old. In a normal transportation business – airlines, trucking, shipping, railroads or cars – newer vehicles would replace older vehicles before they broke down, but you said our legislature “does not want another ferry to be built until there is a long-range plan set. The plan is due in January 2019…meaning it is likely a new ferry will not be completed until the mid-2020s.” A normal business would act a lot faster than that.

Secondly, the state blames budget constraints, but they choose to pay 66 percent higher prices than necessary. You say British Columbia imported 145-car ferries from Poland for $79 million vs. our $131 million for a 144-car ferry, due to a law which “protects Washington jobs” at a single company capable of building big boats. We don’t require all trucks and cars on our roads to be built in Washington, so why ferry boats?

Trade protectionism doesn’t work. If “Buy American” makes sense (to Trump and others), then I suppose “Buy Washington” logically follows, so let’s raise tariffs against potatoes from Iowa or micro-brews from Oregon. However, “saving jobs” in one industry or company usually eliminates jobs in other industries.

Monopolies don’t work, either. They lead to complacency. So please explain why ferry building and ferry service are state-supported monopolies. Wider competition would likely deliver more reliable service.

Gary Alexander

Lopez Island