Letters to the Editor 

Greens add it up

Re: "Needed: A Third Party" by Jack Lessenberry (Metro Times, May 31): Here we go again with another blame-it-on-Ralph-Nader comment. Why do people still insist on blaming him for the failures of the Democrats? If you examine the data you will find that Democrats are to blame, not Nader.

It's very easy to look at Nader's 95,000 votes in Florida and conclude that if he hadn't run, Al Gore would have received the votes he needed to win. But of the 95,000 votes Nader received, 24,000 were Democrats. Yet 308,000 Democrats decided not to vote for Nader or Gore, they voted for Bush! If Gore had won just 1 percent of these votes, the Nader votes wouldn't have mattered. Yet every Democrat wants to blame Ralph Nader for the Democrat's woes. Your assertion, however, that Ralph Nader's candidacy led to the disaster in Iraq, and at least 40,000 dead, takes the cake! —Kevin Bird, Easton, Pa.


Labor breaks it down

Re: "Needed: A Third Party," Lessenberry's right, Bonior would not be treated fairly if he ran against an incumbent governor from his own party. What's needed is a third party. But, then, he undermines his own argument and perpetuates the very problem independents and third-party candidates have by blaming Ralph Nader for the war in Iraq and 40,000 people dead. Maybe it's the system of two corporate parties going unchallenged that leaves us with successively more pathetic choices. And Jack is worried that Bonior "would have been attacked and insulted by people he had spent his life helping"? —Dan McCarthy, Southfield, Recording Secretary, Labor Party, Detroit Chapter


Libby makes three

Or how about the Libertarian Party?

No, they're not perfect. Legalized drugs across the board? I've my doubts. Zero gun control, no background checks, no safety training? I believe in the 2nd, but there I have my issues too.

The party does offer something for everybody, though: socially liberal, economically conservative and some unique stands and ideas all their own.

Most of all, they seem to have a viewpoint different from the ones most Democrats and Republicans in office seem to convey, in that government should serve the people, not the other way around. —Jonathon Kecskes, St Clair Shores


What about me?

I was surprised to read in last week's opinion piece by Jack Lessenberry that John Dingell has no opposition in the upcoming election. The honorable dean of the House of Representatives does in fact have an opponent: me. I am a 29-year-old infectious diseases researcher from Dearborn Heights and am running under the Libertarian Party ticket. Myself and 70 other Libertarians were nominated for office at our state convention in Chelsea earlier in the month.

Third parties should be taken more seriously because, though we pull only a few percent of the vote, we take on the issues ignored by and eventually adopted by the major parties. Remember, the GOP got its start as a coalition of third parties united in their fight against slavery. This year, issues like medical marijuana, gay marriage and color-blind university admissions are being supported only by Libertarian Party candidates.

With no Republican in this race, the 20-odd percent of the vote the GOP pulls against Dingell is up for grabs. There is now a slightly less unlikely chance that I can pull off the greatest upset in congressional election history. —Greg Stempfle, Dearborn Heights, Libertarian candidate for House of Representatives


Give blood, it's terrifying

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Are we ready for democracy?" (Metro Times, May 24), I have to give you a big "Amen!" But I also have to take issue with your comment concerning Randy Shafer's qualifications for office. ("Randy Shafer, ... a nice man who ... lists, among his major accomplishments, 'giving blood every two months.'") Donating a pint of blood every eight weeks isn't a small thing. The American Red Cross says that a pint of blood can save up to three lives.

I'm a regular blood donor and if Shafer is anything like me it is not a minor thing. I cannot tell you how much the thought of a big steel needle in my arm disturbs me. I shudder at the thought of it, but every eight weeks I go in, climb into one of those ergonomic donor's cots and let them take a pint of my blood. It took around 70 pints before I overcame the desire to jump up and run out of there screaming, "You're not sticking that fucking railroad spike in my arm!" For me it is not a minor thing, it is a serious commitment to my fellow man. I don't ask for applause or sympathy. I do it because it's the right thing to do. But I do have to speak up when I read something that, unintentionally or not, disparages something more people should be doing for their fellow man.

And I cordially invite you to join me around July 20, when I donate my 96th pint of blood (I'm on my 12th gallon). —Thomas Yates, Inkster


Hits and misses

Detroit music critics are always complaining, "Why doesn't the nation take Detroit music seriously?" Reading articles like "Hit Repeat and Ignore" by Luke Allen Hackney (Metro Times, May 24) gives a reason why: because Detroit music critics don't take Detroit music seriously.

It's cynical to suggest that staying home is the best idea for award-winning musicians. It annoys me that local musicians that still live in the Detroit area don't bother to show up for their awards, yet Bob Seger flew in all the way from California to pick up his award in 2004. Having bigger-name musicians attend adds excitement.

Complimenting "Best Hip-Hop DJ winner House Shoes' announcement that he was moving to California because 'Detroit ain't listening'" just adds to the ridiculous notion that you can't make it in music in Detroit. The city that started and nurtured so many music movements will never get the worthy attention it deserves as long as its own citizens think it's unworthy. —Allen Salyer, Royal Oak


Erratum: The sidebar "Rebel's rhythm" for last week's cover story ("Fela's children,"Metro Times, May 31) should have included the Fox Theatre among the Detroit venues where Nigerian bandleader Fela Anikulapo Kuti appeared.

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