More logic and less denunciation

letter by chair of West Chester Dem Committee, Daily Local News, Monday, November 9, 2009

It must be comforting to have a “for us or against us” world view. We see it every day in columns and letters.

Cal Thomas, in “Communism’s enablers and the excusers” (Daily Local, Nov. 6), is his usual intransigent self, charging that “enablers in academia, religion and journalism” prolonged the existence of the Soviet Union and that some unspecified “media” are somehow encouraging “the Chinese brand of communism.”

I’m betting that most U.S. “leftists” (by which I think he means “non-Republicans”) and “media” (whatever he includes there) give a lot of attention to China’s oppression of Tibetans and human rights organizations, and to how U.S. political and business leaders have allowed China to suck out more and more U.S. jobs and dollars ever since Richard Nixon opened up relations with his 1972 visit.

The problem with thinkers like Thomas is that they take one or two incidents and run with them to the far extremes. History is not that simple. If someone points out that Cubans have universal health care and (as Thomas quotes from a 2006 AP story) “top-notch doctors,” why does that writer have to be a Castro admirer? If someone points out that lack of health insurance is a problem in our country, is that person a “leftist” — or, someone pointing out a problem that needs a solution?

Speaking of health care, John de Carville’s letter “Even Estrich sees through the folly” (also Nov. 6) shows the same trajectory as Thomas’ column. First, Estrich is certainly not, as he claims, a “leftist,” but basically a centrist anti-Obama Democrat (also the first woman manager of a presidential campaign and a regular commentator on Fox News).

Secondly, the “handout party” (by which he seems to mean Democrats) did not create the U.S. post office (that was Benjamin Franklin) or Amtrak (that was again Nixon — making him a notorious Communist sympathizer, I guess). And the health bills under consideration in Washington have no resemblance to de Carville’s “taking over one-sixth of the economy.”

So you see the progression: Susan Estrich criticizes flu vaccine distribution + a few historical notes, some erroneous + a total exaggeration of bills before Congress = denunciation of “hope and change.”

Fortunately, the Daily Local editorials are usually better reading, like “Low voter turnout indicates it’s time for some changes” (Nov. 6), asking whether county row offices should become professional appointed positions rather than elected with a large dose of partisan political patronage. That’s not a “for us or against us” screed, but a logical, well-documented call for, in that writer’s words, “a true conversation.”

Nathaniel Smith
West Chester


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