Keep ’Em in Stitches
Art critic Barry Schwabsky, in his reply to a reader [“Letters,” May 21], closes his discussion of the challenging nature of idiomatic aphorisms with “I admit I’m still trying to get to the bottom of ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’” Mr. Schwabsky, you are not alone! As a Catskills musician in the 1960s, I remember a comedian, Pat Henry, who was similarly frustrated. He asked the audience, “What happens if you stitch too soon and save ten—do you have to give one back?”
MARC B. FRIED
Shining City in the Slough of Despond
Long Island City, N.Y.
Every issue of The Nation contains interesting and valuable information. But the May 21 issue has two pieces that are so important they should have sections printed in CAPS! Alexander Cockburn’s “So Who’s the Fascist Here?” deals with the unpleasant and dangerous reality that we are shuffling like sheep toward fascism, and it’s past time someone said it out loud: “We live in a fascist country—proto-fascist if you want to allay public disquiet.” John M. Barry’s “America’s First Rebel” points out that all the talk about religious freedom is really about “my” right to “my” religious freedom, not yours. These two articles should be handed out at election speeches, made into commercials, printed on T-shirts—whatever it takes!
MARY HUMPHREY BALDRIDGE
Alex Cockburn is not far off the mark when he states that “the United States is on its way to meriting the vague label of ‘fascist.’” Henry Giroux, in his latest book, Zombie Politics, Democracy and the Threat of Authoritarianism, writes, “It is difficult to imagine that anyone looking at a society in which an ultra-rich financial elite and mega-corporations have the power to control almost every aspect of politics—from who gets elected to how laws are enacted—could possibly mistake this social order and system of government for a democracy.”
GEORGE H. McGLYNN
Alexander Cockburn’s “So Who’s the Fascist Here?” is an alarming but honest evaluation of the conditions we now face in our country. The political rhetoric and legislative agendas of the past ten to fifteen years support the conclusion of our national drift toward fascism. People who lived in Germany under Nazi control recall similar conditions: disdain for human rights, excessive corporate power, economic inequality, abuse of workers’ rights, disregard for separation of church and state, detention without recourse, gender inequality, excessive military and police power, and torture and assassinations.
Delray Beach, Fla.
The United States is hardly perfect: Guantánamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, among others. But I would not want to live anywhere else. Alexander Cockburn is, of course, entitled to his opinion. However, does he really believe that our procedures “would have been the envy of the East Germans”? That “we live in a fascist country”? That we should “quit beating up on Europe”? (I did not realize we were.) To equate our failures with Hitler’s Enabling Act is comparable to equating Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with the Holocaust. Shame on him.