My main reason for writing these essays is to say what others aren’t saying. But lately, I’ve found it gratifying to find in the hard copy of this paper some things I don’t have to say. Here are some samples:
Dr. Julian Gonzalez, 9/18/10: “There were…Muslims who died in the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, and no one would be opposed to a National Rifle Association office being built in the vicinity of the Murrah Building attacked by Timothy McVeigh, a card-carrying NRA member and a Republican. Based on our country’s laws, social mores and ethical convictions, mass guilt by association has never been the tool used in the creation of a just society….This facile splintering into fearful, accusatory and defensive groups of ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality will only serve to lessen all of us. We need to ensure that we do not become that which we fear and loathe.”
Gail Collins (of the New York Times), 9/20/10: “Since Alaska depends on the federal government for about a third of its budget, it’s reasonable to wonder why voters are attracted to (Joe) Miller, who is pretty much opposed to federal spending on anything that doesn’t have to do with national defense. The answer is that he and (Scott) McAdams represent the two sides to Alaska, which simultaneously regards itself as a land of free-spirited adventurers and as an infrastructure-poor newbie in need of government help before it can walk on its own. ‘By and large, we’re a schizophrenic state,’ said Andrew Halcro.”
Else Patkotak, 9/22/10: “Native Americans might have an argument here that no non-Native American should be allowed to build any place of worship near any former Native American lands seeing as how we basically tried to wipe them out to justify taking their real estate. If we just limited this to areas along the Trail of Tears, we’d cut quite a swath through a lot of prime real estate that I’m sure Native Americans would be happy to reclaim. But we should endure this land return because it’s about being sensitive to people you’ve harmed….I know this is a political season and the temptation will be for pandering politicians to jump on the hate bandwagon in the hope of pulling in a few more voters. We need to resist them and the urge to follow the banner of hate....The few thousand (Muslims) who are extremists need to be dealt with for what they are, murderers and terrorists. But we don’t win the war by letting them divide us against ourselves. By being intolerant, we become like the terrorists. In doing so, we hand them victory.”
John Havelock, 9/25/10: “While some of the expanded wealth of the wealthiest is used in the economy with resulting trickle-down in jobs, etc. (yeah sure), most of it has gone to consolidating power—buying up competition, enlarging the share of the already wealthy in the property of the country.…Asking those who have benefitted the most to pay the most for the common good is surely only reasonable. …In the gaps in the law, the powerful create new rules that benefit power. Among the worst of the most recent rules is the rule that corporations can now buy political power through election contributions without limit….As long as enough money is spent to bamboozle a majority of the public to vote against its interest, it seems this system must continue, a class war by the rich against everyone else.”
Nicholas Kristof (New York Times), 9/25/10: “Schools have a better record of fighting terrorism than missiles do and …wobbly governments can be buttressed not just with helicopter gunships but also with school lunch programs (at 25 cents per kid per day).”
Leonard Pitts (Miami Herald), 9/26/10, “The fringe elements of American political thought—right, and increasingly, left—have made themselves irresistible to the 24-hour cable and Internet megaplex….The result has been less a clash between ideologies than a clash between reason and its opposite, between those who are willing and able to talk a thing through, think it through, even argue it through, and those who are unwilling and unable to do so. We’re talking about people who believe what they believe ‘because’ they believe. Their ignorance is bellicose, determined, an act of sheer will, and there is not enough reason in all the world to budge them from it….We, the rest of us, are the majority. And maybe it’s time we started acting like it.”
No comment needed from me.