On Sunday, May 29th, the Yakima Herald posted an article titled “Opinion: Are we living up to their sacrifices?” Such a fitting question, as it was, indeed, Memorial Day weekend. You can read it here.
The article starts off how you might expect it: discussing the long weekend, sunnier weather, visiting tombstones. But then quickly turns to make the point of this day- to honor the sacrifices of our service members: “They gave their lives-their lives-so the rest of us could be safe and live free.”
However, according to the article, we are NOT living up to their sacrifices due to “the most basic freedoms” being under attack from “misguided people who somehow think what they’re doing is patriotic.” Apparently, the Herald thought this day was an appropriate time to bring up political discourse masked as honoring our service members.
One of the “basic freedoms” they are referring to are “laws aimed at restricting certain people’s access to voting.” In Washington state, to register to vote, you must be:
-A citizen of the United States
-A legal resident of Washington state
-At least 18 years of age
-Not disqualified from voting due to a court order
-Not serving a sentence of total confinement in prison
-Not currently incarcerated for a federal or out-of-state felony
So what laws are aimed at restricting “certain people’s” access to voting? It would seem this claim is referring to laws popping up across the country to require a photo ID to vote. 35 states currently have voter ID laws requesting or requiring voters to show ID to vote. The claim this would “restrict access” for “certain people” is due to millions of people apparently not having a valid ID card. The argument is that requiring a photo ID is “racist” and is intentional to limit minority votes, as blacks and Hispanics historically have higher percentages than whites of not having a state-issued ID.
On the surface, one could hear this argument without further inspection. Why the push for voter ID if it disproportionately effects minorities? A hot topic historically but especially after the 2020 election is voter integrity. According to our list of voter requirements above, in order to vote in our state, you must be a citizen, a Washington resident, and be at least 18 years of age: how can we prove these things to be true without valid proof? Requiring a photo ID would limit the possibility of fraud, reduce the chances of voting in multiple states, and prevent votes from the deceased. Also, according to ballotpedia.org, “Researchers for the National Bureau of Economic Research found that between 2008 and 2016, voter ID laws had ‘no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or by any specific group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.’” According to johnlock.org, several states that have enacted photo ID to vote issue free IDs to those who can’t afford it. Are the laws about “restricting certain people” from voting, or are they intended to strengthen our voting integrity? To just assume the former without discussing the latter is biased and offensive to those who truly just care about vote integrity. Do we want, as a nation, to go through the divide over the legitimacy of the election like we have the last several years? When Donald Trump won the election in 2016, the left cried, “Russia interference” after the election, while when Joe Biden won in 2020, the right cried, “voter fraud.” Can’t photo IDs be required IN ADDITION to making them easy to obtain, without the Yakima Herald accusing people of wanting to deny Americans their “basic freedoms”?
The Herald’s next claim of “most basic freedoms” being under attack is “laws that take away a woman’s ability to choose what she does with her own body.” Of course, it is almost comical the “my body, my choice” people are back after many of these same people advocated for those who chose not to have an injection in their bodies should lose their livelihoods and be outcast from society, but I digress. Obviously, this one is about abortion. This topic, again, not so cut-and-dry as the Herald would like it to be. Those for abortion advocate for “rights” of the woman-which is very important. Those against abortion advocate for “rights” of the human inside the woman-also very important. It is no longer a debate on when life begins (thanks to early ultrasounds and modern medical technology, we can see life does indeed begin at conception), but on when a human being has rights. This argument can go on and on, but the principle of the matter is: the people who oppose abortion are not “attacking” “most basic freedoms” as much as they are defending the freedoms of the little boys and girls who cannot stand up for themselves. It is gray. It is messy. But both sides have their arguments, and to paint one as attacking and the other as upholding a standard is, once again, biased, and not giving both sides their fair share. They went on to say, “it’s not liberty and justice for all.” To that I say, do our unborn children deserve liberty? Do they deserve justice? Or is the “all” only whom the Herald deems worthy?
The next argument is “the new breed of ‘patriot’ unapologetically blurs the lines of separating church and state and openly embraces polices rooted in racism. They paste hateful messages on their bumpers, their T-shirts and on menacing flags that fly in their front yards.” The Herald does not, at all, give any specific examples. Just “hateful” messages. Just “menacing” flags. To whom? What do they say? What policies, specifically, are so “rooted in racism”? These words are thrown around to try to conjure up feelings of anger towards “them” (conservatives? Christians?) without any examples. Is flying a flag you disagree with menacing? Is a message on a bumper sticker you disagree with hateful? Sounds very subjective, Yakima Herald. No one is advocating for hate speech here, but, as Tom McDonald says, “There’s a difference between hate speech and speech that you hate.”
They go on to bring up the smear-campaign on Donald Trump when he allegedly dismissed fallen American service members as “losers” and “suckers.” The history behind this statement was that Donald Trump allegedly made this comment and was later leaked to the Atlantic, who of course printed is as fact. Trump has repeatedly denied making this comment. I, for one, don’t know if he indeed said this or not-it is complete hearsay. But the fact he repeatedly denies that he did shows that, at least, he doesn’t stand behind this type of comment. If he did, we would be hearing him say things along these lines repeatedly and unapologetically. (When does Trump ever pretend to be a way he isn’t?) Trump has also made many more comments proven and on record honoring our service members in so many ways. Why does the Herald focus on one alleged comment from him instead of the many proven on record comments? Biased, biased, biased.
Next, the opinion piece brings up “swastikas” flying at “hate rallies.” No mention where. When. Why. What kind of hate rally? The Herald paints a picture of the “them” as hateful, racist bigots routinely flying swastikas while supporting a candidate that hates service members. The good ol’ “if you don’t agree with us, you’re Nazis” claim. I personally haven’t seen swastikas nor been aware of any “hate rallies,” but if I did (and you, dear reader, I’m sure would agree): it would absolutely rejected. Nazism, racism, and hate have no place on either side of the aisle. However, the Yakima Herald’s opinion piece (which states they “reflect the collective opinion of the newspaper’s local editorial board”) is creating hate by biased, one-sided pieces like this that aim to promote one side as the side of “democracy” and smearing the other side with titles like “racists,” “hateful” and swastika-flag wavers. This is our local newspaper. The newspaper is to be as unbiased and report objectively on news: how can we trust a paper that smears at least half of our beautiful county as racist bigots? How can we trust their intentions? Although this piece is opinion, they themselves state this is the collective opinion of their editorial board and then proceeded to print it on Memorial Day weekend.
The news should be unbiased, balanced, and objective, being equal to both sides of the aisle and their views. The way forward is by coming together, understanding each other’s points of views without smearing, reporting truth, and finding common ground to better our community. We here at Accurate Perspective reject all racial supremacy, and that is the opinion of the entire team.
If you were ever curious where the Yakima Herald stands when it comes to their agenda, they just told you. Careful, Yakima Herald-your bias is showing.