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Readers Write: Democrats didn't lose to personality; US hypocrisy on Israel

Letters to the Editor for the December 16, 2013 weekly magazine:

Citizens need to know how the candidates and the issues affect their state before they cast their votes. And the Democratic Party needs to be honest about why candidates win or lose.

Calls for US support of religious freedom will be sanctimonious hypocrisy as long as we fail to insist on real democracy and a fully secular resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Democrats didn't lose to personality

I would like to respond to some points included in the write-up of highlights from the Monitor Breakfast with Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, that appeared in the Nov. 18 issue. Accounting for GOP Gov. Chris Christie's reelection victory in New Jersey, Mr. Shumlin said New Jersey voters focused on Mr. Christie's "oversized personality."

I am a New Jersey Democrat who (almost) always votes Democratic. I supported Christie because he supports the people of New Jersey. I do not agree with Christie all the time, but I know where his heart is. I don't vote for his "personality." In my view, his Democratic opponent was a stand-in candidate because Christie was unbeatable.

Shumlin also said that the recent announcement by Michael Michaud, the Democratic candidate for governor of Maine, that he is gay will have "no effect on the race." Coincidentally, my husband and I are moving to Maine in 2014 and will be supporting Mr. Michaud for governor. Residents need to know how the candidates and the issues affect their state before they cast their votes. And the Democratic Party needs to be honest about why candidates win or lose.

Joann Gershman

 Stratford, N.J.

US hypocrisy on Israel

Thank you for Katrina Lantos Swett's Nov. 18 commentary, "JFK was right about religious freedom's promise." True religious freedom would indeed curb sectarian strife and extremism. And yes, American diplomats and forward thinkers should be advocating for such freedom worldwide. But how will countries in the Middle East be able to hear, much less understand, that message when so many American religious, political, and business leaders praise and protect Israel as "The Jewish State" while turning a blind eye to its persecution of Palestinians and other Arabs?

Calls for US support of religious freedom will be sanctimonious hypocrisy as long as we fail to insist on real democracy and a fully secular end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with international law and human rights.

Anne Selden Annab

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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