Letters From the June 17-24, 2019, Issue

Letters From the June 17-24, 2019, Issue

Letters From the June 17-24, 2019, Issue


A Nation of Elites?

Katha Pollitt’s trenchant first-person account of the 1969 student strike at Harvard University [“Harvard’s Strike at 50,” May 20/27] raises a question about The Nation: Is everyone who works at your magazine a graduate of the Ivy League or the top 25 select liberal-arts schools? Having nothing better to do with my time, I Googled the undergraduate institutions of the 82 people listed on the masthead who contribute as editors, reporters, columnists, writers, or artists. It turns out that very few—about half a dozen—did not attend these types of institutions (and they are mostly graduates of state flagship universities). The coveted internship positions go to students who attended top-echelon institutions as well. There are many talented young people in state and private colleges across the country who contribute to progressive journalism. They deserve an opportunity to work at The Nation.

Readers rightfully deplore the clubhouse nature of US Supreme Court clerk appointments; when will The Nation examine its own exclusive membership?

Dennis Deslippe
lancaster, pa.

The Once and Future Bernie

Re Matthew Karp’s “The Long Shot” [May 20/27]: Great article—just what I was looking for to hand out to “progressives” who haven’t made up their minds yet. If Bernie Sanders doesn’t win on the first ballot at the Democratic convention, the neoliberal superdelegates will nominate one of their ilk, and we will be stuck with Donald Trump or full-blown oligarchy right around the corner. I truly believe that this is a defining moment for our country, the Democratic Party, and probably the life of our planet.

Beating Trump is essential but not sufficient. Unless we slow down the rush of wealth to the 1 percent, we will lose what is left of our democracy and any chance to stop climate disaster from destroying our planet. Sanders is the only candidate who beats Trump across several polls and who has a history that shows he will fight for working people (without a split loyalty to Wall Street, fossil-fuel billionaires, Big Pharma, the military- or prison-industrial complex, or white nationalists) and racial, social, and economic justice for all.

Richard Phelps

When I was at Princeton (over half a century ago), one of the first things I learned was that the most basic questions are the ones most worth asking. So I’ll ask one now: If the national debate is suddenly full of subjects that Sanders brought back to life, why is that tired old hack Joe Biden so hopelessly ahead in the polls? Can it be that Americans would rather be practical than renew our national life? Is the stench of hypocrisy and corruption less objectionable than four years of fresh air?
Frederic Smith

The hagiography in this piece is something else. As a person whose ideas are closely aligned with Sanders’s, I found his campaign a huge turnoff. His lack of detail and his inability to expand on his consistent beliefs showed that he was not ready for significant leadership.
Michael Sleet


In Wilbur Wood’s “From Dirt to Soil” [May 20/27], the equation for photosynthesis was mistranscribed. The correct equation: Sunlight + 6CO2 + 6H2O = C6H12O6 + 6O2. We regret the error.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation