A Glossy View

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 29, 2016

Dear Editor,
    I may be mistaken, but I believe I am the reader you speak of, and whom you have misrepresented [“Page Two: When Pointing an Accusatory Finger, Three More Point Back at You,” Aug. 19]. In my letter to the editor [“False Narrative,” June 24] I stated the “lesser of two evils” argument is an “intellectual bullying” tactic used by both the right and left to “cow dissident voters” in order to maintain the two-party system. This is a belief shared widely on the left and voiced by such notable figures as Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee, Cornel West, and Kiese Laymon of The Guardian, among others.
    Why is it that we should cast a vote in fear rather than in support of the person we believe best represents our “well-intentioned” interests? If the opposition wins because of an ideological divide among a constituency, wouldn’t that simply be the “bitter aftertaste of universal suffrage” which you describe?
    You correctly identify several factors at play in the current problem, but indict voters and not politicians for the current political climate. Democrats are equally guilty but “the Republican hate machine” is mostly to blame for the “vicious questions about integrity, patriotism, religion and intelligence.” Or are they simply being “well-intentioned” citizens? You criticize “armchair ideological purists” taking to social media, but what I see is a citizenry outraged by inaction on gun reform, the brutal treatment of African-Americans and Latinos, and LGBTQ rights, the growing income, disparity and the shrinking middle class. Our government says we can’t afford socialized medicine or free education yet we can bail out Wall Street and finance endless wars abroad.
    Your impassioned speech for progressive politics takes a glossy view of the “Progressive Era” which, as Howard Zinn recalls, “was a reluctant reform, aimed at quieting the popular risings, not making fundamental changes.” There are many ways to participate in the political arena that do not involve running for office and often prove to be more effective because the office is incapable of reforming itself.
Brett Thompson
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