Letters for August 24, 2017
Takin’ it back
Re “Farmer fined” (Downstroke, Aug. 17) and “‘Brainwashed America?’” (Letters, by Loretta Ann Torres, Aug. 17):
Environmental protections are not “environmental regulations.” Calling them regulations allows Messrs. Donald Trump, Doug LaMalfa, Scott Pruitt and their ilk to cast them negatively—while protections are positive. Don’t allow the Republicans to define your language. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or ACA is the name, not “Obamacare.” White supremacist, Nazi, fascist describe these murdering terrorists, not “alt-right.”
If we take back the language, perhaps we can get something other than a reality TV candidate and campaign next time. Most people who base their “unbiased” opinions on Fox News and The Heritage Foundation think our fascist in chief is doing a fine job.
All of the largest media corporations like the one Ms. Torres cites (probably Sinclair Media) are right and far right. The myth of the left-wing media is just that while right-wing propagandists to try to defund PBS. Link TV and MSNBC are the only center-left outlets widely available. I find BBC and Al Jazeera to be the closest to “unbiased TV news” available.
Where’s the excitement?
Re “Education: the great equalizer” (Guest comment, by Gayle Hutchinson, Aug. 17):
CSUC President Gayle Hutchinson laid out a vision more social engineering than an invitation to the life of the mind. Nothing in what she wrote spoke to the excitement of intellectual discovery or the exposure to ideas many of us thought awaited us when we first enrolled in college.
What she offered was the usual educratese about “comprehensive” this and “innovative” that, but hardly a word about faculty, books or ideas. Her comment was expressed in bureaucratic language, and I can’t imagine students reading that sludge with growing excitement about the learning experience awaiting them, nor can I imagine a good professor whose passion for teaching would be energized by those words meant to set the tone for the new academic year.
Four decades spent working in proximity to college administrators left me with a wary attitude toward them. Increasingly, they seemed to have been stamped from a mold, emerging from their training with penchants for mind-numbing clichés, boilerplate phrases and abstractions that made education a “process,” an assembly line designed to stamp out students who would sound and “think” like those cant-and-catechism graduates with degrees in educational administration, the discipline that demanded the least academic challenge but offered the largest prospects of pecuniary rewards.
To bridge the divide
Re “Chico for Charlottesville” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Aug. 17):
Some remember The Band or Joan Baez singing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” And no one would ever call them white supremacist sympathizers, yet they sung with compassion, the sorrow of a defeated Southerner.
Slavery and the genocide of Native Americans are sins that created the United States, and even now, much needs to be done to make up for the great damage inflicted, and to end the very real, entrenched racism.
Yet, compassion, too, is necessary for healing the deep anger and resentment among us.
I am proud the Mobilize Chico activists quickly protested the hate represented by the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. I am discouraged that the Mobilize Chico banner has symbols for the usual minorities, easily excluding any symbol for male or Christianity.
The professional elites running the Democratic Party use minority groups to stay in power.
The powerful and winning, truly progressive party I want needs to be inclusive, emphasizing common goals of making the United States a much more fair and just country, worthy and capable of sharing world leadership toward a more sustainable and peaceful future.
Compassion is necessary to bridge the very real divides.
“Truly progressive, please” (Letters, by Lucy Cooke, Aug. 17):
I liked Lucy Cooke’s letter to the editor in which she recalls Bob Mulholland’s remark about not wanting bedwetters in the Democratic Party. So now “bedwetter” has found its place in American jargon as a term of derision.
May I remind him that most enuretics (I prefer the medical term) are children—children who dread summer camp because they might wet the bed, who are filled with anxiety about being unable to stop, who can’t develop healthy self-esteem until it does stop.
According to Wikipedia, “Young people who experience nighttime wetting tend to be physically and emotionally normal,” and “incidence varies with social class with more incidences among those with low socioeconomic status.”
Therefore, in the future, Mr. Mulholland should clearly state that he does not want people with low socioeconomic status in the Democratic Party, rather than target bedwetters in general. Of course, if he’s talking about the incontinence that afflicts senior citizens, he should be even more specific and clarify that he does not want senior citizens in the Democratic Party either.
Symptom, not a cause
As a homeowner in Chico, I don’t know what a threat it is not to have a home. Out in the world, without shelter, your life is on the line. And when so much of your mental energy is consumed with survival or pain avoidance, a lot that’s civilized gets left by the wayside.
The dramatic increases in homelessness leave such a large number of people so completely alienated from society as to be the breeding ground for antisocial behaviors the likes of which we have not yet seen.
Even the current framing of our public discourse confuses the issue. Homelessness is not the problem. A 1 percent vacancy rate, not enough affordable housing, not enough good job openings, lack of sufficient mental health services—these are the problems, of which homelessness is a symptom.
Trends portend that if we don’t do more now to address these issues, the quality of life in our community will get worse at a progressively faster rate.
It’s difficult to accept the irony and tragedy that the conclusion of the evidence before us is so clear, and that the gravity and urgency of the deaths per month on the street and the remarkably expensive and inefficient use of our emergency services don’t warrant more speed and urgency on our part.
Nazi sympathizer in chief
Re “We must remember” (Editorial, Aug. 17):
It took two days of outrage and condemnation from both sides of the political aisle before “President” Trump was forced to act like a responsible adult and publicly condemn the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Prior to that, in a vain attempt to appease a segment of his base, Mr. Trump showed his willingness to beckon the beasts of bigotry and intolerance in order to serve his own needs.
Then it took one more day before he had a complete meltdown following criticism from David Duke, the former Klan imperial wizard. In an appalling display of rudeness and bombastic insults, Trump paid homage to his support of Nazism, white supremacists and alt-right bigotry, while ignoring condolences for the family of a murdered woman, those injured, and two police officers who died in a helicopter crash. Next time he opens his mouth it might serve Trump well to heed these words from George Harrison’s song “Isn’t It a Pity”:
Some things take so long/But how do I explain/When not too many people/Can see we’re all the same/And because of all their tears/Their eyes can’t hope to see/The beauty that surrounds them/Isn’t it a pity
Roger S. Beadle
President Trump cannot convincingly condemn neo-Nazis, because he thinks like a mob boss or a Hell’s Angel: He’s loyal to those loyal to him, period. Acting on principle is considered naïve. Trump’s First Law: Don’t dump on any chump who voted for Trump.
Conversely, the general public reflexively condemns neo-Nazis. Overt racism is uncool and abhorring white supremacists is just plain easy.
Lost in all this is that while Nazi buffoons are immanently unpopular, we enthusiastically participate (compete) in what is essentially a racist socioeconomic system. The economic violence done to black America is done through systematic impoverishment and incarceration, century after century. The result, in 2017, is that white wealth per household (held mostly by the upper class) is 13 times that of blacks.
The question for Middle America is not only do we affirm racial equality, but also what sacrifices and structural changes must be made in order to achieve more equitable wealth distribution? Not only for the millions of impoverished blacks, but also for the millions of impoverished whites and Latinos. Pulling down a monument to Jefferson Davis might feel good, but it won’t make a dent in wealth inequality.
Re “Stranger than fiction” (Letters, by Gregory Hughbanks, Aug. 17):
Have no doubt: Trump was “elected” because the majority of Americans are fed up with “politics as usual.” They’re fed up with watching both the Democrats and Republicans push for free trade agreements that ship our jobs overseas. They’re fed up with endless wars for oil fought for corporate interests, with trillion-dollar bailouts to banker billionaires, cuts in social programs and disappearing retirements. They’re fed up!! That’s why Trump, who promised to “drain the swamp,” renegotiate our place in the NAFTA and “make America great again,” took the election.
People are beginning to realize that both political parties serve the interests of their corporate contributors over ours. Somehow the DNC missed the clues. They watched the crowds building around Bernie Sanders’ message and instead of offering the change that “We the People” were crying out for, they presented us with more of the same in Hillary Clinton after committing gross election fraud in the primaries.
Then they expected Bernie’s supporters to just “swallow hard” and vote for more.
Only when we begin truly voting our hopes instead of our fears, and standing up to politics as usual, will we “make America great”—perhaps for the very first time.