Letters to the Editor

Murray was exercising her free speech

Murray was exercising her free speech

In responding to Adele Ferguson’s column Jan. 11 (“Murray’s remarks rank her as a dim bulb”), I should first point out that I know very little about Patty Murray’s record as a U.S. senator, as far as what she did or did not do that might contribute to your understanding of her intelligence. However, I have read the statements that she made to the group of high school students and the overwhelmingly negative responses to what she had to say, and I have my own interpretation.

It seems that whenever anyone makes an unpopular statement, many people are quick to condemn them as unpatriotic or to invent a host of personal attacks or insults rather than intelligently explaining why they disagree with them. Obviously, what Murray had to say strikes an emotional chord with Americans, but I do not find any hint of support, excuses for or even empathy with Osama bin Laden in her remarks. My interpretation is that she was simply asking the hard questions.

Today, scholars, historians and anyone who wants to understand how the Holocaust could have happened asks questions: What is it that enabled people to do such horrible things? What was it about Hitler, about the situation in Germany, about the global situation that he could blindly lead people to commit such atrocities? Asking these questions does not make us Nazis. It simply is an attempt to understand why people can do certain things, how leaders like Hitler or bin Laden can appeal to so many of their people. Understanding allows us to think about our roles in acting out the present and to engage in the act of consciously shaping the future, rather than appealing to our more basic emotions, such as the fear and anger which blindly lead to war.

And her right to ask the hard questions and your right to strongly disagree is what makes America beautiful –– the right to question and make one’s voice heard, whether or not you are right or wrong.

These rights and freedoms are what I cherish most about being an American, not our power or our wealth, and defending those rights when under attack is quite a different matter from not wanting to fight someone else’s war. I like to think that if our liberties and fundamental rights were truly threatened, the so-called draft-dodgers would have the courage to defend them. But it’s very difficult to see how that could happen in the near-future with a defense budget greater than that of the rest of the world combined.

Jessica Keller

Federal Way

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