Opinion

Misusing ‘elite’ and ‘ordinary’ | Federal Way letters to the editor, Oct. 11

I am not normally one to “take the bait,” but given the two voices arguing against my recent defense of the Democratic Party’s lawsuit against Dino Rossi, and their fascinating contradiction, here goes.

Larry Paterson’s position (letters, Oct. 8) seems to rest on the notion that, since many people learn at an early age that “GOP” stands for the Republican Party, restricting the use of the former as a substitute implies that our electorate is uneducated, misinformed, etc. Take this notion against the backdrop set forth by Harry Larsen (letters, Oct. 8): That the use of “50 cent words” makes one (me) an elitist, and my message thereby unintelligible.

So, once again, the progressive “elite” is pitted against the “ordinary” conservatives.

I guess my question for these two supporters of Dino Rossi: If knowing the Republican Party’s nickname is a baseline criterion for “having an eighth-grade education,” but understanding certain words is too much for the ordinary, what are you implying about Rossi’s base?

For instance, if the nickname is so widely known by everyone educated, it begs the question as to why one would use it. The answer, which I argued earlier, seems clear enough: Rossi is the one who actually doubts the “ordinary” voter’s “eighth-grade education.” He wishes to distance himself from the actual party appellation. For, if not then, why now? Seems to me that he ran as a Republican last time around.

Finally, I would hope your readers note the threadbare dilemma presented by Mr. Larsen, which the political right has employed for decades. That is, of course, the notion that educated folks see themselves as elites, while the normal, god-fearing, hard-working people are the “real” Americans. Such an idea is a non-sequitur, but it’s important that we stop using such ridiculous turns of phrase to mischaracterize our opponents.

I, for one, know many conservatives who are not only well-educated, but earnestly believe in and strive for a better society. Ditto for many of my fellow Democrats. After all, in these gravest of times, with elections at hand, we need serious leadership and intense cooperation by those on the right, on the left and in the middle. Casting aspersions based on an implied elitism insults educated people along the entire political spectrum, while exposing the speaker’s own insecurities.

Mike Malaier

Federal Way

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Meet the Pollyanna Press

Please read The Mirror (Sept. 27), last two paragraphs of guest columnist Bill Pirkle’s thoughtful article (“Culture clashes: You are what you believe”) on how society can work and one of the ways it disintegrates, such as, when questionable people approach newspapers in an effort to silence the opposition of those who, say, disagree with them, or, in an effort to keep certain things unpublished.

Efforts such as these indicate writers are hitting raw nerves somewhere.

I’ve tried for some time to write this letter. Bill Pirkle gave me a shove. I had, incidentally, to delete a paragraph from this letter to make it acceptable for print.

First, a brief bit of history. I consider myself a gadfly — one that acts as a constructively provocative stimulus and critic of existing institutions, typically as an individual citizen. All governments deserve their attention, especially institutions/people with a history of hidden agendas. Nothing is so good for the citizens as a government operating in the clear light of day.

I recently submitted a letter to The Mirror in which I referenced one of our perpetual Federal Way stars as “bloviating.” I was informed I didn’t need to take cheap pot shots at people and if I wanted my letter printed, I would have to remove it. It was up to me! Holy moly!

I’ve been shooting pots at people for years and “bloviating” has got to be one of the most innocuous pots I’ve ever shot. And, I don’t think it measures up the pot shot at me, suggesting I didn’t go to the election debate, as I’d rather stay hidden when firing. I was at my sister’s funeral.

Apparently, it depends on who is taking the pot shots. However, I censored my own letter and removed the offending comment and its related “thought.” I find it remarkable that, at one time, while I was shooting pots as usual, the editor of The Mirror admired my writing so much, he said, he offered me a column, which I refused. That’s not what I’m about. I can only wonder what occurred to bring about this change, as my writing certainly hasn’t changed.

It appears the permanent city stars are, more and more, insulated from negative examination by appellation. I can hear the ice clinking.

Now, let me review a really convoluted situation, how the stars, in weird ways, have made for themselves another grand step forward.

In the Aug. 16 issue of The Mirror, the editor very delicately labels both sides in the recent hotly contested strong mayor election “extremists.” And, oddly, the “status quo” group of extremists was endorsed by him. Thus, the middle becomes the center for thought and “they” may now delicately glean the endorsement. That would probably be the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce which, during the election, supported the status quo extremists even though, believe it or not, in print, they didn’t agree with them and would make changes later.

I tell you, the word “convoluted” just screams to be used again. Even though having to pay a mayor was one of their biggest reasons (besides losing their power) for being against us (the strong mayor extremists), now, not only would we elect and pay for a mayor over whom they would maintain some control, we would also keep and pay the city manager. Wow!

I have never brought certain people or actions to you for your consideration anonymously or with innuendo, nor do I intend to start now. I’ll just have to be “extremely” word thinky and I guess you’ll have to read between the lines. I’ve always thought if it deserves airing, it deserves naming.

Also, commendably, I see The Mirror now wants to be the “agent for positive change and enlightenment” but, you know, looking through rose-colored glasses doesn’t necessarily make things rosy.

I am still polishing up some of my pots but, in the meantime, if you get to read this, welcome to the Pollyanna Press!

Clara McArthur

Federal Way

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