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L'Étranger

It would be a good thing to see an article focused on the issues and proposals of candidates instead of focused on racial stereotyping. It is symptomatic of our obsession with race that Obama has people on both sides of the color line asking if he is "too white" or "too black." How about, is he human/humane enough?

As a white person who has voted for Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson,I believe at some point the way to move beyond race stereotypes is to discuss them less, not more.

What profit do those of us who call ourselves progressive derive from going after Joe Biden? Joe Biden has "voted right" over 90% of his tenure in Congress. If we can elect a better progressive who happens to be black, lets do so. Joe Biden is not Strom Thurman.

I personally witnessed the New Left implode/disintegrate from wearying conflicts between single-issue interest groups, including black/affirmative action, feminist, environmental, gay, and the remainder who wanted to keep our eyes on the prize of the re-distribution of wealth, worker rights/human rights. These were sincere people who did a lot of good things, but ended caught up in a vanity about who/what was more oppressed and exploited- a single-issue chauvinism.

This Balkanization of the Left directly caused the Reagan Democrat phenomenon, as all except the most ideologically progressive white males saw nothing to identify with in the Democratic party, much less the Left. This also of course coincided with the decline of the unions.

The single issue folks, both Left and Right, have contributed to political discourse de-evolving into the so-called wedge issues of today. It misleads those whose narrow focus can't get past their personal situation, and distracts the rest.

I believe race, religion, ethnicity is a proxy for class, wherever you go. If this were Northern Ireland, more Catholics would be in prison than Protestants. The same stereotypes, the same jokes are repeated when Sunnis talk about Kurds in Iraq. Poor people get screwed everywhere. In the US, a lot of them happen to be black. In the final analysis all issues are economic issues.

Every time the Democrats win anything, I am happy for about ten minutes. Then the dialog shifts from this common enemy, robber baron class, this one percent who control ninety percent of the wealth, to devisive in-fighting.

Divide and conquer is the modus operandi of the ruling class in every society. The less we define ourselves by our differences, the more we can thwart rascism, sexism, and all other kinds of exploitation.

Lastly, I am not a former "f*cked-up, middle-class college student"--I am a compassionate human being. I don't think labels, whether they come from above or below, from left or right, advance any discussion.

P.S. I happen to be favoring Obama at this point in time.

Chris Kruger

Evanston, IL

Feb 16 2007 - 2:30pm

McCain Mutiny

McCain is a lying piece of human excrement.

It is one thing to betray your own beliefs. It is entirely another to betray the citizens of this country, to betray democracy, to put lives in danger by supporting the same types of lies and obfuscation/chicanery that put his own life in danger.

No, McCain has no base. He is base. He is evil. He should be made to pay along with his co-horts on BOTH sides of the aisle.

Craig R. Lane

Peoria, AZ

Feb 16 2007 - 1:40pm

McCain Mutiny

Max, it may be better to have McCain the 08 Republican candidate.

Remember he is a confessed war criminal for indiscriminate bombing of Vietnemese civilian and also violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice[UCMJ] while a POW.

Furthermore McCain complains about his treatment by the North Vietnemese AFTER THEY SAVE HIS LIFE AFTER BEING SHOT DOWN and there are photos to prove it.

His claim to fame is his being a POW. Using a Rovian tactic turn his "supposed" strength's into weaknesses. if you will.

Ken Lusk

Clayton, GA

Feb 16 2007 - 12:44pm

Targeting Tehran

Will the US try invading Iran to find "sophisticated" weapons? What counts as "sophisticated"?

Sophisticated: advanced, ahead in development, complex or intricate;

To use this in an example: Iran is supplying sophisticated explosive devices to insurgents that have killed hundreds of our heroes fighting in neighboring Iraq for a cause they overwhelmingly support. This has been proven by tracing serial numbers.

In response to the article: I'm glad that you provided a fair look at things, showing a viewpoint from both opinions of the war. I'm also glad to see that you also gave us a thorough and conclusive alternative solution to this problem.

Since we're defining things:Sarcasm - witty language used to convey insults or scorn

Shawn Girardi

Pittsburgh, PA

Feb 16 2007 - 12:30pm

McCain Mutiny

What you are seeing in Arizona is an attempt by the grassroot Republicans to hold their leaders accountable for their actions when they deviate from the party platform.

The power flows up from the grassroots level and not down from the top. Unfortunately, many party officials and office holders have forgotten this.

By the way, Randy Pullen, the state GOP committee chair is not anti-immigrant. He is anti-illegal immigrant. There is a huge difference.

Tom Bass

Phoenix, AZ

Feb 16 2007 - 12:01pm

White History 101

It is a measure of my generation's obsession with race that we would bend over backwards over the years to include blacks in the historical experience, sometimes undeservedly, and STILL Mr Younge entitles his article "White History 101." I've come to the conclusion that The Lousiest Generation will never get over it.

As for Mr. Blake, He was a bus driver: How many white bus drivers of renown besides the fictitious Ralph Kramden do we know? What would the race-obsessed like to do, enshrine Mr. Blake on Mt Rushmore?

I only celebrate American History, and that includes everybody.

Charles H. Thornton

Reisterstown, Maryland

Feb 16 2007 - 11:40am

Before the Law

Vivian Gornick's review of the new Isaac Bashevis Singer biography is dense and I am not sure I fully understand it. But I have read a lot of Singer's stories and always end up with a feeling of utter despair. I have never been sure what to make of him.

What I, however, have always kept from Singer is a comment he made at the start of his story Shosha: His people had lived in Poland for almost a thousand years yet spoke hardly any Polish. Their lives were regulated by two dead languages, Hebrew and Aramaic, and all thought was devoted to knowing the rituals appropriate for a Temple which had ceased to exist 1900 years earlier.

This is the culture Arnold Toynbee called a fossil, for which he was attacked as an anti-Semite. But any attempt to make this fossilized culture meaningful is doomed to failure. Singer knew this.

Norman Ravitch

Savannah, GA

Feb 16 2007 - 10:58am

What Kind of Economy?

Just as a minor point to an otherwise excellent article: Climate change is real, and coastal flooding is going to happen.

But the main mechanism has been shown by NASA's analysis of global warming on Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, to be a solar cycle at work, and any intelligent observer should realize that this item changes many other things.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Feb 16 2007 - 3:59am

Targeting Tehran

The US government insists that Iran is supplying Iraqi insurgents with "sophisticated weaponry". Will the US try invading Iran to find "sophisticated" weapons? What counts as "sophisticated"?

They could look for militants in Tod's loafers, wearing Marc Jacobs, carrying Louis Vuitton messenger bags while spritzing themselves with Acqua di Parma, browsing Town and Country. Does Aston Martin make Iranian tanks?

George W. Bush is wagging the dog, trying to bait-and-switch American attention from US failure in Iraq. How many Americans will fall to the mass hysteria this time?

This nation cannot budget in human numbers, or in dollars, escalation in American initiated violence.

Peace.

Jerie Leep

Vian, Oklahoma

Feb 16 2007 - 2:16am

L'Étranger

Ms. Williams,

Your perspective is so refreshing. Your capacity to review Barack Obama's life situation from many dimensions is welcome. He is really an extraordinary individual who I have watched as he has grown in Illinois politics.

At the age of 68 and having voted for John Kennedy as my first Presidential vote at 21, I must say that Senator Obama has even more to offer our nation. He chose to be a community organizer in the worst of Chicago neighborhoods. He has experienced real life and it was his choice.

There is nothing more basic and tough than being a community organizer and doing it well. Thank you for contributing such a sensitive piece to what will certainly be an interesting dialog.

Sandra F. Taenzer

Elgin, IL

Feb 16 2007 - 12:49am