Letters From the April 11-18, 2016, Issue

Letters From the April 11-18, 2016, Issue

Letters From the April 11-18, 2016, Issue

The United States of Trump…
 The real realist… The “P” is for propaganda… Philosophy of convenience…


The United States of Trump

Re “Donald Trump Is Dangerous” [March 14]: I’ve been phone-banking around the country for Bernie Sanders—­Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida—and I can tell you that there are Democrats who voted twice for Barack Obama and support Bernie, but who cannot or will not vote for Hillary Clinton. And I’ve also talked to GOP voters who are Trump supporters, some of whom told me that if Trump doesn’t get the nomination, they will vote for Sanders. Trump’s racism may get some votes, as the polls suggest, but his eco­nomic nationalism is what I think binds his voters to him: They feel screwed, and he’s listening to them.

Trump’s campaign reminds me of a famous incident involving Slobodan Milosevic. Early in his drive for power, he went to a coal mine and told the miners that no one was going to beat them up; he wouldn’t allow it. The rest is history.

James Scaminaci III

I’ve heard many explanations from friends and pundits for Trump’s popularity with Republicans, but I like Anton Chekhov’s: “Love, friendship and respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something.”
Edward Sorel
new york city

Donald Trump won the election! I swore I saw it on the news. There he was in the Oval Office, sitting at the presidential desk—but wait, the desk was gold! The rug was gold! In fact, the whole room was gold!

He was talking to reporters, telling them about all the actions he’s taken to “Make America Great Again.”

He redecorated the White House: all gold! Congress and the Supreme Court, too. There was also a gold path leading to and connecting all three, and a fence so high around everything—and yes, it was gold, too.

He had thrown out the Muslims for being terrorists, the Mexicans for taking jobs, African Americans because they kept on asking for rights, ugly women for being ugly (although Trump boasted that he had started a clinic to help improve their looks), all non-evangelical Christians for attacking Christmas, the Jews for crucifying Christ, and all remaining Democrats for aiding and abetting these groups.

I looked around: There was The Donald in a glittering white suit, flashing his smile and shaking his head, saying: “See, I made America great again!” And the reporters, all gold-gun-carrying supporters, took selfies with him.

Elly Kouri
new york city

Recently, there’s been a spike in Americans Googling “moving abroad.” Look, I don’t blame you. With Trump’s campaign inspiring racist, hate-filled, and violent chants, America feels like it’s caught in a Twilight Zone episode mirroring Orwell’s 1984. I myself am filled with anxiety about the state of our beloved red, white, and blue, and continue to lose sleep over current happenings. As Americans threaten to abandon our nation, I wonder if I’m alone in my attempts to return from abroad? Watching American politics unravel before me on British television, I’ve realized this isn’t a time to flee; it’s a time to come home.

This isn’t some savior complex, but rather a rallying cry: How dare we, as Americans, threaten to let a tyrant and bully like Trump get this far out of hand? I’ve never been ashamed to say I’m American while living and traveling abroad, but now I say it with guilt. Guilt because we’ve allowed America to disgrace itself by letting Trump claim he knows how Americans really behave and feel.

I’m proud of my home state of Illinois for recently protesting Trump in Chicago and Bloomington. Witnessing those movements from across the pond filled me with pride and reaffirmed that, while there’s a lot of labor to be done stateside, there are individuals ready for hard work. America, you’re bruised, but not yet beaten. Let’s put the bottle of hatred down and come together again.

Allen Kenneth Schaidle
oxford, u.k.

The Real Realist

Your article “Bernie Sanders, the Foreign-Policy Realist of 2016” [March 14] reinforces my desire to see him elected as president of the United States of America. As Robert English says, he is actually the most sober and clear-eyed. Bernie is our best hope to avoid a nuclear disaster.
Cornelia Smollin

Robert English has written an insightful piece. Hopefully, Bernie Sanders will bring Hillary Clinton further into the “realist” camp prior to the November election, following which she will most likely be the next president—a beneficiary of near-zero interest rates, better employment numbers, and low inflation.

At any rate, regarding foreign policy, campaign promises are one matter; how policy plays out once a politician is in office is another matter entirely. If the country is lucky, Sanders might influence the Republicans as well. It is a shame that during the recent [March 10] GOP debate there was almost no critical discussion whatsoever regarding the issue of military expenditures and the present administration’s “idealist” foreign- policy approach. Why? Each of the candidates whistled the idealist camp’s tune throughout the night. In a sense, this may be the true paradox of modern-day conservatism, as it used to mean avoiding unnecessary foreign entanglements. It’s a shame that George Kennan had the proper take on what should have been our approach in the post–Cold War era, but the beneficiaries of excessive interventionism prevailed and the “peace dividend”’ was lost. Nice article.

Garland Thayer

The “P” Is for Propaganda

A right-on piece! [“PBS Follows the Pack,” March 14]. I quit watching PBS “news” years ago. Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill were clearly drifting off-center and becoming shills for right-wing dogma. Now they are both solidly there, as Eric Alterman clearly demonstrates in his essay.

It’s a pathetic situation for our so-called “liberal” media, but it was gratifying to see a journalist of Alterman’s clout calling these shills out, at last.

Hugh Nichols
lewiston, idaho

Philosophy of Convenience

I wish that Nan Aron, Kyle C. Barry, and The Nation would substitute the term “selective originalism” for “originalism” when describing Scalia’s “philosophy” [“Supreme Court Showdown,” March 7]. One need only look to his Second Amendment or war-powers decisions to see that he was perfectly ready to abandon the Constitution’s “original” meaning (if, indeed, that term has any purchase at all) to further his political beliefs.

<pCarlin Meyer
new york city

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