The Politics of Race

To the Editor:
It is becoming clear that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are continuing to count on the White backlash to the Obama years to ensure their political majority in 2018 and 2020, that and gerrymandering and voter suppression   Mike Pence’s media stunt of abruptly leaving the Indianapolis Colts game could have not been more blatant to that end, and the NFL  seems now so afraid of losing its fan base that it has joined in on the platform.  One has to wonder how Black athletes feel about being thrown under the bus and how might they react.  Steve Bannon may no longer have a position in the White House, but he is still dominating both the political narrative and the Republican agenda.

Robert Porath

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The Dung Beetle Congress

To the Editor:
The Republican Party’s Repeal and Replace Obamacare efforts are rooted firmly in Social Darwinism, aka, the survival of only the fittest, as well as the Calvinist belief that being wealthy implied being in God’s favor, and the economic elitism of Ayn Rand. If you are poor, disabled, or otherwise unfortunate in life, your medical care is of no concern to the powers that be. Watching the slow determined slog of their attempts to push a bill to fruition through the halls of Congress brings to mind the image of a dung beetle resolutely rolling a ball of dung to its nesting place. One has to admire the dedicated and seemingly cheerful labor it applies to its task. That its prized possession has value to no one but itself is clearly not the beetle’s concern.
Robert Porath

Confusion Rules

To the Editor:
    How can it be that every deficit-complaining, Romney/Ryan, Tea Party supporter fails to see that every unpaid-for, deficit-creating policy, be it Medicare Part B, the Bush tax cuts, the “off-budget” wars, and banking deregulation and bailouts, were Republican initiatives?  And how can they, after the still rumbling international bank debacle, want more deregulation and less government without seeing that it is corporations and the financial industries that are writing federal legislation and the tax codes, that these are the forces behind “the government” they so dislike and distrust?  Do they not see that all the millions pouring into Conservative candidates are there in the hope of preserving the favorable status of the tax structure for the very wealthy and for a Supreme Court that consistently rules in the favor of wealth and corporate power over the rights and well-being of the public and the common man?
 – RP

Kill Your TV

To the Editor:
   As much as the Republican Party likes to be in control of government, it can’t be said that  they ever govern well.  The Bush Administration will be noted in history as having been massively incompetent.  Its eight years of dismal governmental diligence resulted in 911, the Enron fiasco, two long and expensive wars, the financial collapse of 2007, and a massive federal deficit
    Ronald Reagan came across as everyone’s, feel-good-about-America uncle, but his eight years were marked by indictments of Cabinet officials, the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal, defense budget boondoggles, and an unprecedented, non-wartime, federal deficit.  His military forays were invasions of Grenada and Panama, but when the going got rough in Beirut, he immediately bailed out.
    And before Bush and Reagan, there was Richard NIxon.  Enough said about Republican governance.
    What the Republican Party does do extremely well, probably from its long association with business, is market itself.  And advertising does work on the American public.  Companies spend millions on market research, focus groups, and carefully crafted ads to keep their products on constant display in people’s minds.  With the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision promoting unlimited campaign spending, we can be certain that in the next five months we will be inundated with a virtual monsoon of political advertising, most of which will be either inflammatory, misleading, or downright prevarication. The best political decision Americans can make right now is to simply unplug the television, find a good book or two, read up on media consolidation (that’s where the money is going), and talk to friends and neighbors.  It’s time to return to reality.
RP

Capitalism Is Not A System of Government

To the Editor:
    Given the nature of human nature, history shows that the so-called “freedom” of unregulated, free-market capitalism simply does not work.  Further, “capitalism” is merely an economic system that allows wealth to be made from wealth.  It is not a system of government and is not, by its nature, automatically conducive to democracy and, in fact, seems increasingly a corrupting influence on our representative democracy. The joke about the Golden Rule, that those with the gold make the rules, demonstrates just how far from being democratically governed we are today in America.
    Important also to note here is that we are not dealing with absolutes.  Neither capitalism nor democracy is, of its own, intrinsically good or bad.  What seems lacking is a morality of discipline and self-government with a watchful eye toward a common good.  Edith Hamilton’s claim that Athenian Greece invented the freedom of self-government, rose to glory, then fell by succumbing to the lure of unlimited freedom and power should stand as a warning to all Americans that conscience is still an integral part of any social contract.
RP

Media Should Hold Government Accountable

To the Editor:
    The devil is in the details.  Insider trading for elected officials and their staffs, legislation written by lobbyists, campaign funding offered and solicited, kickbacks, perks, travel junkets, and who knows what other  shenanigans, all being conducted behind the scenes, accepted as normal behavior, and overlooked by mainstream media outlets; and yet it is precisely the details that are important and the devils in them need to be brought into the light.  Government can be seen as the problem, but it needs to be made clear the players and impetus for the legislative actions that helped precipitate the financial collapse,  Clearly Congress cannot be trusted to police itself.  It is up to the media, that fourth estate of government, to do the deed.
RP

Discourse

To the Editor:

On the surface, much of today’s divided political argument boils down to a disagreement over a preferred order of virtues. Should frugality and self-reliance or generosity and community be first in people’s hearts? All in all a sort of a silly question, but virtues carried to extremes do become vices and, with our penchant for projecting negativity onto “others”, the argument becomes pig-headed selfishness versus enabling airheadedness and everyone ends up yelling at one another. Perhaps better discourse would result if both sides were to admit both the positive and the negative we all have within ourselves and work then for the good of all, but isn’t it really about our confused and convoluted relationship with the concept of having power?

RP

From the cabin in Meredith, CO