I read Richard Goldstein's article about Ralph Nader with interest and appreciation up to the point where he summarized the effects of the 1968 convention protesters in Chicago: "What they did was destroy Hubert Humphrey, a very compromised liberal, and what they got was Richard Nixon" ["Looking for Lefty," September 19.]
What simplistic nonsense. Among other things, LBJ "destroyed" Humphrey by refusing to halt the bombing of North Vietnam until just two weeks before the election, after which Humphrey gained rapidly on Nixon, falling just short of a popular and electoral majority. It's clear that if Johnson had made the announcement a week or even a couple of days earlier, Humphrey would have won.
There's much more to presidential politics in '68 than the bombing halt, including the candidacy of George Wallace, who probably took more votes from Humphrey than he took from Nixon. In any event, you can't hang Nixon on the antiwar protesters.
John R. MacArthur
I never cease to be amazed when I read articles about Ralph Nader, like the one by Richard Goldstein, questioning Nader's commitment to women's issues and race. Why? Well, for one reason, because these very same articles inevitably leave out any mention whatsoever of Nader's vice presidential running mate, Winona LaDuke. Ms. LaDuke is a Harvard-educated economist and Native American activist who has dedicated herself to indigenous women's issues. She was voted one of the 50 most promising leaders of the next decade by Time magazine.
Nader doesn't waste a lot of breath on things that should be obvious by his actions. His choice of a brilliant, outspoken Native American female running mate goes unmentioned in a Village Voice article that accuses him of "the same old white man's populism." I would call that more of the same old white man's unconscious (?) dismissal of everyone who's not white and not male. Goldstein didn't even mention her name.
Los Angeles, California
The last refuge of a gay liberal, thinking about voting for Gore, is telling those who care deeply about affirmative action, abortion, and gay rights that so-called social issues are the starkest contrast between the two parties. That's what Richard Goldstein told us in his article "Looking for Lefty."
Except that the Saudi regime recently beheaded three gays. In that benighted country sit thousands of United States troops, guarding the executionersan absolute monarchy no lessagainst their enemies, foreign and domestic. Old Bush put them there, Clinton kept them there, and Gore says nothing about them. Or about the executions. Or about the fact that, under a Democratic administration, female American soldiers defend a criminal gang that jails Saudi Arabian women who attempt to drive motor vehicles.
There are substantial differences between the two major capitalist parties on the domestic aspects of these issues because they use them to attract votes, pro or con. But the average voter doesn't follow foreign affairs unless American lives are at stake. Therefore, internationally, both major U.S. parties get away with being willful accessories to murder by selling arms to judicial murderers, and also by protecting them.
So two questions for your scribe Goldstein, who does know about Saudi Arabia. No mincing words, no evasions, no hypocrisy:
Will a vote for Gore be a stupid, even depraved vote for a felonious defender of a murderous absolute monarchy? Will a vote for Nader be a vote for a defender of that hideous regime?
Richard Goldstein replies: Any political defeat is a complex event, and MacArthur is right to cite the pivotal roles played by Wallace and Johnson in electing Nixon. But the chaos in Chicago is what gave Nixon an opening to the center. This is why his campaign slogan"Bring Us Together!"was so effective. Edwards's point is apt, but it's fair to note that Nader never mentions Winona LaDuke unless he's called on ignoring the social issues.
A Stable Home
In "Horse Rules" [September 19], Wista Jeanne Johnson wrote that in "a New York Post column by Andrea Peyser" I was quoted as having "accused the ASPCA of exploiting the animals to raise donor contributions." Since I was not contacted in order to clarify my view, I offer it now.
In April of this year the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals held a fundraiser to "benefit the carriage horses." Over $400,000 was raised. My question is, What for? The ASPCA does not care for these horses; they do not provide them with a retirement home; they do not contribute to the improvement of the stables. They are, in fact, as responsible as the Chamber of Commerce for the 1994 law that once again permitted the horses to operate in areas of the city outside of Central Park.
Three years ago, Pets Alive started the very first retirement home for these New York City equine ambassadors. They deserve to walk in meadows in their retirement, and their owners are happy to know that there is finally an opportunity for them to do soan opportunity not provided by the ASPCA but by a small but caring nonprofit animal sanctuary that cannot afford gala fundraisers.
Once again, funds are being raised by the ASPCA to change legislation. We believe that funds should be used instead to make the horses comfortable in their retirement. Village Voice readers should feel free to drive to our farm and share the horses' joy in their retirement.
Middletown, New York
In the article "Advantage: Hevesi" by Wayne Barrett and Tom Robbins in last week's issue, it was reported that New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi was neutral in the Queens assembly race between Michael Gianaris and Kimon Thermos. In fact, Hevesi endorsed the winner, Gianaris.
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