To the Editor:
One wishes Gen. Kelly had elaborated the compromise he thought possible to prevent the Civil War.  The  economy of the South, its “way of life”, was dependent on slave labor (and White Supremacy) while, in the North, the abolitionist movement was gaining religious and humanitarian impetus.  Compromise on either side was impossible on the issue.  When the South opted to secede, Lincoln acted initially to preserve the Union, with abolition coming only later during the war.  During Reconstruction, Democrats gained the edge in the South, Republicans in the North.  When Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress, the two parties switched regions, but the North-South divide continues to this day.  The unfortunate aspect of Kelly’s remark is its Trumpian nod to Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy.
Robert Porath

Gun Rights

To the Editor:
Sigmund Freud is not the most popular voice of reason in today’s psycho-chemical approach to controlling mental illness but it is undeniable that his psychosexual theories of sublimation and extension of elemental sexual anxiety can be applied to America’s fascination with guns, dating even back to the passage of the 2nd Amendment and the taming of the frontier, essentially Mother Earth.  Applied to Donald Trump, with his succession of trophy wives, his long red ties, his sexual braggadocio, his quest for adulation, and fascination with wealth and glamour,  Freud’s insights shine a light on his concern about the size of his hands.  It is more than a bit disconcerting that those same hands do command America’s military might and that his finger hovers above the nuclear trigger.  Hopefully his fiery rhetoric is just that, only rhetoric.

                Robert Porath

Tierra Nueva


Tierra Nueva

In this random pick-up-sticks, double helix

Melting pot amalgam and gene pool diaspora

Of multiracial physiognomy, skin color,

And multilingual saga, rhythm, and song

Of European, African, Asian, Semitic,

And Native Peoples world and voice

That is La Tierra Nueva, Las Americas,

What is it, here today, to be a person,

To be, certifiably, a human being,

And can we, that being, intervene

Upon our predisposed tribal fears,

Prejudice, and self judgement of value

And humanity based on heritage,

Wealth, gender, and skin tone?

Can or can’t we?  Are we, the People,

This mixed breed, capable or culpable?

A Time of Assassins

To the Editor:
Despite all the cheering over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, I felt a deep sadness not only that assassination has become so widely accepted as an American military and diplomatic tool, but also that, as a nation, we have again chosen to move forward in history by killing people.  If Bin Laden were indeed unarmed, do we attribute his death to a Presidential directive or to a soldier acting individually in a tense moment?  Will his death have any lasting effect on our “War on Terror”, a war that more and more seems to have no ending point?  Warfare is deeply entrenched in America’s history, but it should be noted that being in a permanent state of war is precisely what brought down Athens, the city-state generally regarded as the foundation of  democracy and of Western civilization itself.  It is a shame that Martin Luther King’s legacy of non-violent action is now so cavalierly termed “childishly naive”.