North-South

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

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The QB Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

To the Editor:

As someone coming of age in the times of the Civil Rights struggle, Viet Nam, Kent State, and the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy, I have frequently  wondered just what does it mean to be a “loyal American”?  What is it to “respect the Flag”?  What does “patriotism” entail?  In asking and addressing these same questions, Colin Kaepernick has become the Quarterback Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.  Any number of NFL teams could immediately use his skills, but the reason he is not playing is not a football decision.  It is a socio-political-economic decision based on the fear of teams and the league losing fan and advertising support.  Both Kaepernick and the owners have valid concerns, but the overriding question still is what does it mean to be an American? Or, for that matter, what is it to be a valid person in a still racially divided society?  In inserting himself into the fray, Donald Trump is that guy standing in a crowd surrounding what appears to be a fight about to break out who is yelling for the fighting to begin.  This is for his fan base, but it is utterly irresponsible behavior.

Robert Porath

Humanitarian War

To the Editor
American history is filled with a long and almost continuous succession of wars.  From the beginning we fought wars of independence, of unification and expansion.  We fought a “War to End All Wars” and a “World War” against two powerful nations with ambitions of Empire and then embarked upon a “Cold War” during which we amassed a mind-boggling nuclear arsenal aimed at the Soviet Union, formerly an invaluable ally against Nazi Germany.  During this time, despite the warning of departing President Dwight Eisenhower against the rise of a “Congressional military industrial complex”, the budget for the War Department , expediently renamed the Department of Defense, grew astronomically.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the vanished threat of nuclear war and spread of global Communism, a hope of beating our swords into plowshares briefly arose until the attacks of 911 elevated the threat level of a few thousand Third World radical Islamists somehow equal to that of Hitler. Mussolini, Tojo, and a possible nuclear holocaust.  We have been engaged in “hot” wars in the Middle East ever since and our “defense” budget exceeds that of the rest of the world combined.  We are also the largest exporter of military hardware and, sadly, we have no jobs available should we begin bringing our soldiers home.  And now, despite Martin Luther King’s shining legacy of non-violence in the Civil Rights Movement and Barack Obama’s (perhaps only hopefully pre-emptive) Nobel Prize for Peace, in our “humanitarian war” in Libya we seem to have fully achieved the double-think mindset of George Orwell’s 1984 that, indeed, “War is Peace”.  It is not a comfortable place to be.
RP

Social Justice and Glen Beck

To the Editor:

Politicizing religion with wedge issues like abortion and homosexuality has long been a successful campaign tactic for the Republican Party, but one has to question severely Glen Beck’s recent condemnation of the concept of “social justice”, which, besides being central to the Civil Rights Movement, is at the core of legislaton and the rule of law.  In esence, Beck is trying to demonize the Beatitudes and Christ’s, “As ye have done to the least among you, so have you done unto me” and unabashedly invoking the sanctity of wealth, of which he has plenty.

RP