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Editors' note: In the wake of the presidential election, Reporter Sports Editor David Staba and Georgia reader Marty Mills shared an e-mail dialog demonstrating that, while there is a deep divide in this country, people of goodwill can and should be able to discuss it civilly.

Common Ground
Mt. Views
Local History

To all my friends at the Reporter:

I won't gloat. The right man won. With a mandate! Maybe now your excellent paper can get off the Democratic lies and talking points, and do the things you do best to keep the politicians in Niagara Falls in check. Maybe now Bill Gallagher will be able to use his considerable writing talents to expose truthful wrongs in national politics. I'm not sure the latter is achievable, one can only hope. Keep your chin up, Reporter, the United States is in a much better place now with a record voter turnout for a leader that will not allow terrorists and foreign countries to make decisions on how we will live our lives.

Marty Mills
Snellville, Ga.

Yes, a 51-48 election that swung electorally on a single state that wasn't called until the next day is a tremendous mandate. A landslide, really.

I'm looking forward to peace and democracy in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, an end to terrorism and a booming economy (in this country, and not just those permitting slave labor). With a GOP Senate, House and White House, there are no more excuses, eh? Oh, that's right. He already had all those things.

Just one correction -- according to your beloved president, terrorists are already telling us how to live our lives and run our country. Unless, of course, you're one of us dummies with a "9/10" mind set. You are right, though, about letting other governments tell us how to live our lives. I, for one, think it's much better to have our own government tell us how to live our lives. (I was just being sarcastic, Mr. Ashcroft, in case you're reading this.)

Dave Staba

A mandate refers to the popular vote and the Electoral College. The only reason it took until the next day is because of the previous Democratic chosen one who thought he could win by first conceding the election and then taking it back to involve the courts.

Peace and democracy will come in Iraq after the elections that will be held early next year. I wouldn't call you a dummy, but I do believe there is something to that 9/10 mentality thing.

Just one more thing. Next time you run a candidate, make sure someone shows him a map of the United States to let him know there is more to this country than the upper Northeast.

Marty Mills

Marty --

I've always thought talk of mandates refers to a decisive win that shows the clear desire of the electorate, but I guess that's just semantics either way.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion (especially since you like the rest of the Reporter), and agree that Kerry was by no means an ideal candidate, but I've got to ask one thing -- do you really think Bush represents anyone other than the moneyed interests who made him what he is today, in any region of the country, just because he wears his alleged faith around like a jacket, shows up at a NASCAR race and advocates an amendment to ban gay marriage (when it's convenient), while sending the sons of everyone else to fight in a war that he can't even explain honestly? Is that all it takes to carry the South anymore? Is the thought of two men or women they'll never meet getting married so repugnant to people that they forget that his government built the largest deficit in history and denied working millions of Republicans and Democrats billions in overtime pay?

And I think it's worth noting that the first lawsuits filed in 2004 were filed by Republicans in Ohio, and that it was the GOP that sent thousands of operatives flooding into Florida in 2000 (including the "angry crowds" who stormed boards of elections and lawyers who sued to stop the recounts mandated by state law). Just because the Republicans complain about election by litigation doesn't mean they aren't ready, willing and able to participate.

My point about the "9/10" mentality is that I believe the president and people around him have used the horrific next day in a disgusting fashion, by playing to people's fears. Particularly by a group that casually ignored the threat before it took place. Not that I blame Bush for Sept. 11 (I went to New York City that night and saw the impact of what happened up close, and hate the casual shorthand it's become at places like political conventions), but his argument that he and he alone can stop such attacks is pretty out of whack with simple reality.

I'll leave you with one thought -- and this is indisputable record of history, not some bit of made-up-for-the-Internet nonsense like I saw supporters of both sides throwing around throughout the campaign.

And I'm not comparing Bush or Republicans to Nazis -- that sort of gibberish does a disservice to the memory of the millions killed by Nazis (as does the pitiful attempt by the neocon hawks to compare the situation in Iraq before this invasion to Europe in the '30s). But the point of the following is pretty powerful:

While in custody during the Nuremberg trials, Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering was interviewed by a psychologist named Dr. Gustave Gilbert.

"Of course, the people don't want war," Goering said. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece.

"Naturally, the common people don't want war. ... That is understood. After all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a Fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship," Goering said.

Gilbert responded: "There's one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives. And in the United States only Congress can declare wars." Spoken like a true believer.

You can almost hear the snicker in Goering's retort. "Oh, that is all well and good. But voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Marty, I (and everyone I know who voted against Bush) want to see the people responsible for what happened on Sept. 11 punished in excruciating fashion. I just don't believe that the 100,000 or so Iraqis killed as a result of our invasion are among that group, or that the 1,000-plus Americans who have died there should have.

Bush told us that he's going to solve things there by not adjusting or altering his plan, even after it has clearly failed by any measurable standard. I hope -- for the sake of the Iraqi people who haven't done anything to anyone, the soldiers who are there and those who wind up there -- that he's right. He's got four years and no excuses.

(Forgive my windiness -- if you haven't noticed, I don't write about national politics in the Reporter, so I guess I was a little pent up. Now, as you said, time to get back after the locals.)



The moneyed interests? Please tell me what national politician today is not backed by "the moneyed interests." John Kerry? Please! I'm not a die-hard Bush supporter, but I did take offense to the way your paper and Gallagher reported Internet, moveon.org and Michael Moore presentations as gospel truth because they followed or became the Democratic platform.

Why the NASCAR reference? Is your lack of knowledge about the South showing? The explanation for the war is weapons of mass destruction. You have failed to mention or report in your paper the 13 missiles filled with sarin gas found in Iraq. Each of which could wipe out a city the size of Niagara Falls. The rest I've no doubt was moved to Syria in the 4 to 5 weeks advance notice given to Saddam, in order to appease the UN before we went to war. (Editors' note: The Washington Post reported on July 3, 2004, that 16 rocket warheads found in Iraq the previous week initially showed traces of sarin but, according to the Coalition Press Information Center in Baghdad, "were all empty and tested negative for any type of chemicals.")

The 9/10 mentality is a real problem. Not one made up by Bush's people to play to people's fears. We need to remember that day. And if it takes showing images of it in television spots, so be it. I believe we should show it as often as possible, because it does seem too many people are forgetting WE WERE ATTACKED! We cannot just act like it never happened.

Your quote from Goering was poignant. But it makes a point for you to use it in the fashion you did. People of your leaning want the world to be a place that it just can't be. You believe if it is not spoken about, written about or shown on film it will just go away. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but there is bad in the world. That bad wants to harm you and yours. And yes, it was sponsored, financed and planned partly in Iraq.

Regards again,


No offense to NASCAR. Don't follow it myself, but have nothing against it or the people who do. Only used the reference as a way of asking, in response to your comment about the Northeast, why does he appeal to you and not me?

You and I view the world differently, as do the 51 and the 48. I believe that worrying about the possibility of being killed by a terrorist to the degree that it trumps everything else is like refusing to drive places you like to go because a drunk might hit you head-on, or not letting your children go to school because there's a very good chance something bad could happen to them there or on the way.

Terrorism is horrific and unacceptable under any circumstances, and those who utilize it should be destroyed. But you have to go a tremendously long way, in my view, to begin to think that the terrorist population in Iraq hasn't increased exponentially from what it was before the war since we, um, won.

I don't buy a lot of the mega-conspiracy stuff. But it's not fanciful to see the president and vice president launch a war in which they and their friends have a personal financial stake and wonder why and how the neocons talked them into an invasion so easily, so long before Sept. 11.

I don't buy a lot of "Fahrenheit 9/11," either. But the simple facts, most of which were public knowledge since shortly after the attacks, show that the hijackers and their funding flowed from Saudi Arabia.

And I don't buy the argument that the war on terror has been fought more effectively than it would have been under any other president. But even if I did, I don't believe that advantage overcomes every other important issue I disagree with him about, whether that's civil liberties, separation of church and state or the direction of the Supreme Court. I don't believe those things need to be sacrificed to fight terror, either.

I think I am starting to understand his support a little more, though. He's simple, and I don't mean that as an insult to him or the people who voted for him. I think that might be the basic difference between the 51 and the 48. We just don't believe that the world's problems are easily explained, or solved.

Thanks for writing. Watching the returns last night and this morning was like watching a football game where your team is behind by 6 points all night and keeps threatening, but never takes the lead. I think the correspondence got it out of my system.

Have a good one,


He appeals to me and not you because I live in a part of the country that is thriving. People are working, business is good. There is an optimistic attitude in the South and Southwest that Northeasterners will never attain as long as they keep doing what has been done for generations.

I recently visited Niagara Falls to attend the funeral of a lifelong friend's father. The depression and lack of optimism when it came to their life from the people I spoke with was unreal. It is a very tough life up there. But it will only stay tough as long as people try to live in the past. Let's face it. Manufacturing of the type done in Niagara Falls and the surrounding area is over. Jobs are gone and nothing and no one is willing to change to get past that. There is a skilled labor force up there but it seems to me no one is willing to change to make a difference in their life. "We have always done it that way" attitude is the largest problem. It seems to me everybody wants to complain about not working, being laid off or wanting to strike because of some perceived offense committed by the uncaring boss. Instead of doing something about it, more education, retraining, more hustle. If the people I spoke with while in the Falls would put as much effort into doing the things I spoke of earlier as they do trying to place blame on all the others that have affected their life. It would be a far better place up there.

Dave, I truly believe the people up there are salt of the earth-type individuals. I just wish there was a way to change the attitude that is Niagara Falls. Great talking with you, and keep up the good work at the Reporter.



Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Nov. 9 2004