2008 Election: An Inspiring Letter to the Editor

The following Letter to the Editor was published in the Elko Daily Free Press back during the 2008 Presidential Election. I saved the link back then, but they no longer have the content available online. I kept a copy of it because it was so important to me… because it was about me.

Editor: Is Elko’s fabled friendliness in jeopardy? 

My house guest, who’s worked here only a few weeks, told me, “I was wearing an Obama T-shirt at the grocery store and a man got in my face, screaming, ‘How can a white guy like you wear that shirt! You should be ashamed! You stink of n****r!'”

As mining and other business has expanded locally, so too has our diversity. People from around the world now live in Elko. These new families, along with the Hispanic, Basque and Native Americans who have long played a role in local history, provide us with an opportunity to learn about different cultures. 

One danger of living in an isolated area – where the majority of people look like you – is to assume that all your neighbors think like you, act like you, and vote like you. Thankfully that is not true. 

For voters who weigh the facts and then make a choice, I respect your right to do so. I’ll gladly read your letters telling why your candidate is the best choice. For those of you who rant about the opposition and offer only lies and ugliness, I’ll exercise my freedom of choice and skip your right to free speech. 

For those of you in the vocal Republican majority – go ahead, hang that McCain sign on your fence. 

For those in the silent Democratic minority – who may fear a backlash – perhaps it’s time to hammer the Obama sign into the lawn anyway. Not so much to make your choice obvious to all. Sometimes a vote is a very private thing. Now, however, may be the time to remind others that neighbors can respectfully disagree, that diversity can enrich communities, and that violence and hatred are not suitable responses to differing opinions. 

Lora Minter 

P.S. My house guest shared another story. While at a restaurant, he spotted a tall, muscular, white-haired man eying his Obama T-shirt. “I thought there was going to be a repeat of the grocery store incident,” my houseguest said, but as the muscular man approached, he leaned towards me and whispered, “I have a shirt just like that one.”