Here’s a look back at the past year through letters from readers.
Women’s rights: (Jan. 18) While no one likes to see tax dollars fund disagreeable things, having a uterus — not a Social Security number — should be the single criterion for abortion opinions.
I’d like to introduce legislation to force all men to shave. Any arguments that it’s not my ’stache to grow, see above.
June Hatfield, Seattle
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Free speech: (Feb. 3) I am totally disgusted with the behavior of those at the UW and Berkeley who think they should silence opinions that they don’t agree with. Free speech is the foundation of our freedom in this country, and it is what makes us unique.
Berkeley in the 1960s was the epicenter of free thought and actions to protect our rights to free speech. Those of you who try to disrupt free speech through threats, intimidation or outright assaults are ignorant of the history of free speech, what it means and the possible future ramifications of your actions.
President Donald Trump has already recommended prosecution for flag burners, despite the Supreme Court’s decision declaring that form of “speech” to be protected by our Constitution.
Free-speech protesters are setting a bad precedent. Educate yourselves, take a constitutional law class or two and write letters of apology to Milo Yiannopoulos. His rights are your rights. Please quit embarrassing liberals with your uneducated nonsense.
Steve Frost, Bellevue
Homeless crisis: (Feb. 3) Isn’t it absurd that in the same issue of The Seattle Times we have an editorial on the need for quicker action for affordable housing to aid in the homeless crisis and an Op-Ed on a new arena?
I brought a colleague up from the airport to drop him at his downtown Seattle hotel. He asked what is happening here with all the tents and disgusting garbage. My answer was simple: You are viewing a city in major crisis mode with the homeless situation. This should be our priority to fix, not a new arena.
John Hargarten, Seattle
President’s tweets: (March 10) What will it take for our tweeter-in-chief to realize his nighttime rants are not just unpresidential but actually harmful to the country, and to him?
By giving his midnight impulses a voice, he demeans himself and whatever is left of respectful political speech on this country. Mr. President, please, just stop.
Kevin Schafer, Seattle
Health-care repeal: (May 8) Realizing I was in the “winners” section of the “Winners and losers of health-care vote,” I walked away from the article in tears, not feeling like a “winner” at all.
How can I feel like a “winner” knowing that millions of people across the country could suffer tremendously in the “losers” category, including many of my closest friends?
In this Obamacare repeal, there are no winners, only losers, for we all lose when compassion dies.
Annette Peizer, Seattle
Neo-Nazi rallies: (Aug. 23) I totally agree with the My Take essay by Rabbi Will Berkovitz.
I am a 92-year-old veteran of World War II, 11th Armored Division. We fought through Belgium, Germany and Austria, where the division liberated two concentration camps, Mauthausen and Gusen. We learned firsthand the horrors of Nazism.
There is no place in our society for neo-Nazis. To have these thugs condoned by the president is unthinkable. A big thank you to those who are confronting them and saying no.
Clinton Cole Barnard, Bellingham
National anthem: (Sept. 29) My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. My dad was a B-17 bombardier in World War II, was shot down three times and spent 14 months as a POW. I believe they were fighting for freedom — freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly.
Best wishes to the members of the NFL and NBA teams peacefully protesting inequality and seeking justice. God bless the protesters, and God bless America.
Penny Hutchison Buse, Stanwood
National-Park fees: (Nov. 3) A proposal to raise fees for national parks is wrong. In a time when we should be focusing on making our public lands more inclusive, accessible and inviting to communities of color, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s move does exactly the opposite.
As a black woman who loves getting outdoors — but found it later in life — I understand the importance of ensuring we can all take part in the splendor our parks and other public lands offer. We should be encouraging more people to get outdoors, not hindering them.
Getting outside has numerous physical and mental-health benefits — and can renew and invite people’s appreciation of nature. However, outdoor recreation can have financial barriers that make it tough for people of color to engage in them. National parks are our common ground and belong to every one of us. Our leaders should not pick favorites by introducing more financial hurdles.
Both people and parks will suffer if we do not intentionally address environmental injustices. No one should be alienated from a park because of his tax bracket.
At a time when we need to decrease the practices and policies that have historically marginalized some while uplifting others, Zinke is sowing more discord.
Anastasia M. Greene, Seattle
Gun control: (Nov. 10) Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.”
Well are we there yet? Are we finally ready to try the right thing? To implement some meaningful measure of responsible gun control to at least attempt to prevent not only the next horrific mass shooting but equally horrific daily shootings, suicides and accidents? No? Then we are accused of standing face to face with each future victim saying, “Your life, you loved one’s life, is not important enough to try and save by doing the right thing.”
Don Neifert, Woodinville
Timothy Egan on Mike Pence: (Nov. 13) According to Timothy Egan, it seems that the root of Mike Pence’s vacuity is his “theocratic construct,” a deduction he derives from Pence’s propensity for proposing prayer for victims of our various domestic tragedies.
He sneers, too, at Pence’s probity in avoiding dinners alone with other women, an offense against modernity leveraged by referring to his wife as “Mother,” an observation given greater gravity, and perhaps suggesting broader Republican vacuity, as evidenced in his noting that Ronald Reagan called his wife “Mommy.”
Egan’s hostility to Christian conduct is so obvious and his contempt for those demonstrating it so vicious that the credibility of his opinion is virtually zero.
Robert Swegle, Bellevue
Sexual misconduct: (Nov. 20) With ejection from his own company, and a broad-ranging dismissal from the industry in which he stood as a figurehead, Harvey Weinstein is just beginning to taste the wrath of offended women (and men).
Sadly, most of us have played the role of Billy Bush and Quentin Tarantino, and allowed the behavior to thrive despite our recognition of the offense. We seemed willing to dismiss any concerns over our president’s behavior via the three-word phrase “locker room talk” and quickly brushed aside the brave assertions of women who came forward.
Shouts of “Me too!” are growing exponentially. Perhaps it is time to assist the commander in chief out of his Teflon suit. The basic logic seems appropriate: If Weinstein, then Trump.
Dave Humphrey, Bellevue
American flag: (Nov. 27) I would love to see the American flag carried by those of us who march for equality and in support of civil and legal rights. Let’s neutralize the uniform of those on the right who wrap themselves in the stars and stripes, and make it clear that flag wavers who stand for prejudice, bigotry, denial of science and often even hatred do not speak for all Americans.
If those of us who are in the middle and on the left add the red, white and blue to the rainbow in our next march or protest, we will declare loud and clear that our belief in kindness, inclusion, fairness, equality and support for neighbors no matter where they are from represents the true American ideals.
The flag is a powerful and complex symbol that is now in the wrong hands.
Kathleen Smith, Kirkland