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Republicans and Duke’s Election

The GOP spends millions of dollars making Willie Horton a symbol for everything wrong with the United States, then wring their collective hands when the citizens of Metairie give substance to the rhetoric. Party chairman Lee Atwater, furthermore, takes offense that trotting a few blacks on stage for an inaugural jam session failed to prevent the disaster.

Republicans can’t afford to see this election as the backwoods buffoonery of a few rednecks exercising their perverse democratic prerogative. Instead, Metairie must be seen as a bellwether community acting upon eight years of systematic civil-rights abuses by the GOP and the Reagan Administration. It is terrifying to suppose that Republicans may have unleashed something they now have little control over.

NICHOLAS L. NOWNES

Thousand Oaks

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