Letters to the editor

Shopping

Local stores do it better

Amazon reported their profits doubled to $111 million during the first quarter of 2007, according to The Tacoma News-Tribune (July 15, 2007). No wonder my recent book royalty statement reported a total of only $4.64 for the sale of all 12 books via Amazon. Do the math. I didn’t write my memoir to make a ton of money, but this discrepancy has been an eye-opener for me as to how difficult it is for a small business person to survive.

A great way to help rectify these skewed earnings is to purchase books, music, art, etc. on Vashon and support as many local businesses as possible. Our locally owned and operated book stores can usually order a book and get it within three days. The author gets a much better cut, the local book store is supported, and there is no shipping and handling charge.

Maybe I just haven’t accepted the reality of the convenience of sitting at a computer and clicking buttons. If you haven’t already done your holiday shopping online, please think twice. The annual Vashon Holiday Art Tour is upon us. Vashon Island Music, Books by the Way, the Vashon Bookshop, The Country Store and many local businesses are stocked full with merchandise. Shop Vashon!

Lornie Walker

Civil rights

We can make a difference

Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, author of “Looking Like the Enemy,” spoke eloquently at the Vashon Unitarian Fellowship Nov. 18 about her family’s experience of internment during World War II.

She wanted us to understand how, under the USA Patriot and War Powers Acts, the same things are happening today. She is passionately concerned about our loss of freedom and the harm to those facing arrest and displacement without the protection of habeas corpus.

When asked, however, what could have been done to prevent the internment of the Japanese Americans, she said, “Nothing, because the president can do what he pleases under the War Powers Act.” I do not agree.

During WWII when Jews were being rounded up in Europe and sent to their death, the townspeople of Le Chambone, France, hid Jews in their own homes until they could move on to safety, risking their own lives. Danes used their fishing boats to whisk Jews to safety and many wore the Star of David in defiance of the Nazis. Rachel Corrie lost her life when an Israeli soldier drove a bulldozer over her as she tried to stop a Palestinian home from being demolished.

We need to educate ourselves and speak out about the lawlessness of the Bush administration. But that is not enough. We are not powerless; it is from our passivity that Bush gains power.

I challenge those of you moved by Mary’s words to do more than exclaim and complain, to join forces to take action. Do not forget the many languishing in military and civilian prisons or dying on dusty street corners in Iraq and Afghanistan; and those censored for their political views. As Mary said, “Action will give us hope.”

Kate Hunter

Essay offered needed reminder

Praises for the excellent essay “Racial profiling in America” by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, and many thanks to The Beachcomber for publishing it!

How easy it seems to be for the young to forget, or never to learn, the lessons the old have learned, and how important it is to share our memories and experiences and to teach the future generations about tolerance and understanding.

Richard W. Emmons

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