An Open Letter
In context: I wrote this more than a week ago in response to a tirade that I received from a subscriber, which was full of misrepresentations. I never planned to include it in my newsletter, but decided after careful consideration that it merited wider attention. The subscriber had differed, to put it mildly, with my previous blog post juxtaposing a local museum event celebrating France with President Trump’s castigation of our allies while he was in Europe. Initially, I thought the respondent was a man, but later learned that the subscriber was a woman. For this post, I changed the name but continued using the male prefix Mr. before the name. My piece is lengthy, so I did not include her email to me, which also was lengthy, choosing to reference only a few of her salient remarks.
Hello Mr. Jones,
From your aggressive, confrontational language, I deduce that you are a man. (You may regard that as a stereotype, but I think it’s been established that the testosterone-fueled gender is the more belligerent, combative of the sexes.)
First, there are a lot of writers whose stock in trade is politics. Before I began writing books, I was a journalist for 35 years, covering politics along with myriad other fields of human endeavor. So I consider myself qualified to expound on the subject. All of the book-promotion experts drum it into authors that they need to build a brand, and the best way to do that is through a blog. When the opportunity presents itself, I offer news about developments involving my books, and occasionally those of other authors. Besides socio-political issues, the subjects I address are alternative health care and grammar, as The Grammar Grouch. My political blog is titled The Pragmatic Pundit.
And that is what I consider myself: pragmatic. I favor whatever works best for the most people, with compassion toward those who are deficient in the material and personal resources to compete in our complex society, or who have through no fault of their own encountered adverse circumstances. Mahatma Ghandi said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
At the moment, we have in this nation a president who, while pathetically weak himself, scorns in childish fashion the weak, even the disabled, as he demonstrated in mimicking a New York Times reporter with a congenital joint condition. It was a mirror that anyone could see into the deplorable, infantile character of the man who leads our country.
In condemning the positions that you assume I embrace, you refer to “your side,” a clear indication that you are ideological, your opinions driven by emotion rather than reason, despite your claim later on that “I don’t have a side.” Sir, I submit that this assertion is as dishonest as any of the thousands of utterances by the pathological liar in the White House and found by diligent, objective fact-finders to be patently false. You have heard him call black white, and white black. You know that he does this constantly. Yet you are upset that someone such as myself would condemn this man for his behavior. That’s because you are overwhelmingly biased against “the other side.” You removed any possible doubt of that in your remark that MSNBC “lies to you” and saying nothing about Fox News, the mouthpiece for a man whose lies are all-consuming, such that 26 eminent psychiatrists and psychologists across the country combined to write a book labeling Trump as mentally disturbed.
The “lies” told on MSNBC, by the way, are by current and former high-level government officials of both parties, men of considerable gravitas such as presidential historians Michael Beschloss and Jon Meacham, now the CEO of Random House; investigative reporters for The Atlantic, New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, National Public radio; and a host of other distinguished media representatives. Several MSNBC hosts are authors of scholarly books that have garnered critical acclaim. Any foibles committed by high-profile network personnel are exposed by the network, and those personnel are heavily punished. Fox News’ former star Bill O’Reilly flat-out invented two stories, one on his supposed presence in the Falkland Islands during the Argentine military incursion, wherein he actually was in Texas. He sexually abused employees. No punishment was meted out, as was also the case with the serial abuser Roger Ailes.
“Really, your side is so full of hate its (sic) embarrassing.” I can only assume that you mean the Democrats. Let’s see … do you mean the hate that wants to keep out all of the people fleeing oppression, drug cartels and other dangerous conditions in their countries, and that condones the wrenching of children from their parents’ arms? Do you mean the young California woman who bashed a 91-year-old Mexican resident of the U.S. in the face with a brick, severely injuring him, and the four men who stomped on him as he lay bleeding on the ground? Are you referring to the hatred evinced by Donald Trump as he obsessively railed for months if not years that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, the only explainable motive for that being that Obama is black? Are you pointing to the proclamation by Mitch McConnell, the day after Obama’s election, that the Republicans’ top priority was, not to help him make the country better, but to ensure that he was not re-elected? Are you referring to the racist signs and taunts Obama encountered at the many speeches he gave and rallies he held?
Oh, excuse me … that was … gee, that was the other side, wasn’t it? Mr. Jones, are you clueless as to how ridiculous you sound? Are you aware that you are resorting to the same insidious tactic employed by Donald Trump, that of accusing his adversaries of the very transgression or failing that he is guilty of? That underhanded ploy is evident also in your remark, “Do you actually think or do you just respond how your Progressive party tells you to react.” I have a suggestion, sir: Consider doing a little thinking yourself, instead of just swallowing, hook, line and sinker, the ravings of Trump’s Republican defenders, whose concern for remaining in power is greater than any concern they might have for the country. That is obvious by the remarks they make about him behind his back: “idiot” and “moron” come to mind. And, sir, as a journalist for 35 years, dealing with all political persuasions, I did indeed engage in a lot of deep thought. You ought to try it.
I’m trying to restrain myself sir, but yes, evil makes me angry. Maybe, instead of flinging aspersions on those on “the other side,” you ought to search your heart.
George W. Bush
Early on, you delve into the Iran nuclear situation, and reveal astounding ignorance. George W. Bush halted denuclearization talks with Iran, which at the time had six centrifuges. That gave Iran the green light to develop more, which it did, to the tune of 19,000, putting it in a position to develop nuclear weapons. That’s when our government enacted sanctions, which finally brought Iran to the negotiating table and led to an agreement by which Iran would cease its nuclear development and submit to intense scrutiny; negotiators didn’t trust Iran to abide by the terms, which is why they made these airtight demands. And the agreement was working; inspectors regularly went to the sites where development might occur, and found no violations. None. And what did the fool Donald Trump do? He tore up the agreement, giving Iran the motivation to resume developing weapons. Why did Trump do this? For the same reason he is tearing up a host of regulations to protect our environment, make our health care system less costly and more accessible, and look out for our citizens in myriad other ways: because these measures were enacted by Obama. Trump is so full of hate for anyone possessed of decency, integrity and intellectual accomplishment that he assails them viciously.
I wonder how you are feeling about the wholesale denunciation of this man because of the treasonous behavior he exhibited Monday in Helsinki. Republicans in Congress finally took a stand. Said John McCain: “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory … The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naivete, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate.” Trump, McCain said, “made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”
Former CIA director John Brennan, who served under both Obama and George W. Bush, labeled Trump’s performance as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and “nothing short of treasonous.”
A new poll shows the Trump base is moving toward support for Russia’s Vladimir Putin. These are the people who are so hypnotized by this cult figure that they are willing to let Trump become an autocrat and destroy our democracy. Just as happened with David Koresh at Waco and James Jones at Guyana, when their followers met their demise, Trump’s supporters are being led like lemmings to the sea.
You are right: This is the thinking of 40 to 45 percent of the people of this country. And unless a lot of people such as myself call it what it is loudly, clearly and unceasingly, they will prevail, and this once great nation will succumb to a dictator, its democracy destroyed. It’s happened time and again, and is happening now in Poland. And you, Mr. Jones, will have been complicit.
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