Thanks, David Fellerath, for "Survivor: Rwanda" (Jan. 26). You exposed several patterns in the American media and psyche much in need of understanding if we are to be able to create caring relationships with the rest of the world. We are saturated with images of death and destruction that reinforce prejudices--which, like the racist Belgian Tutsi/Hutu construct, are designed to separate us and promote the greed of a few. Note: We see corpses of Africans and East Asians, but bodies of our own soldiers and Iraqi civilians are edited out. We tally the deaths of Iraqis killed by insurgents, but not by the U.S. Your comic reference to Survivor reveals the tremendous yearning Americans desire for relationship (albeit here without vulnerability or struggle), and how the media can assist in that endeavor. Of course, real engagement, as through Voices in the Wilderness, A Witness for Peace or Global Exchange, is irreplaceable, but we can connect if we reject manipulation and live out our lives genuinely.
Winning is key
Kudos to Bob Geary for his column on the upcoming election for the State Democratic Party Chair between Ed Turlington and Jerry Meek ("Citizen," Jan. 19). Once again, he has nailed an issue with insight and clarity.
In the past few years, I have been privileged to serve as the chief strategist for a number of Progressive Democrats in Wake County who have been successful in winning elections utilizing grassroots' campaign plans. They include Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and Sen. Eric Reeves. Most recently, I was fortunate to work for Sen. Janet Cowell and Rep. Grier Martin. In that time, I cannot recall anyone more effective in getting to the crux of an issue than Bob.
This debate for Chair is positive and important for the Democratic Party. This past election cycle brought in much needed new energy, and with the likelihood of Republican overreaches, there will be opportunities for the state party to be even more successful in its primary mission--electing Democrats to office.
As Democrats choose a new leader, they should keep that primary mission in mind. When you consider that states where the Democratic Party is now virtually nonexistent surround us (Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia), this decision is even more critical for our party's future.
In his column, Bob pointed out that both candidates have progressive credentials, but that the biggest difference between them is their approach: "The first is that Meek wants to make the state party a force on issues, even if that means challenging elected Democrats like Easley. Turlington sees the party as a big tent for diverse views, one able to back any Democrat who can win."
Progressives win no matter which of these two is elected Chair, but our best chance to move a progressive agenda forward is to win elections. Keeping the Democratic Party a "big tent" is crucial for future success. Jerry Meek is a bright young man with a promising future, but Ed Turlington is the whole package. He is a progressive who understands the grassroots, but also brings a depth of experience and contacts that a State Party Chair needs to be successful. As a member of the State Executive Committee, I will be casting my vote for Ed Turlington.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to email@example.com; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.