Letters From the October 31, 2016, Issue

Letters From the October 31, 2016, Issue

Letters From the October 31, 2016, Issue

Hello, goodbye…
 Bern on, Bern out…
 With or without her…
 Media malfeasance…
 Pragmatism trumps purity…


Hello, Goodbye

It seems fitting to welcome The Nation’s new literary editor, David Marcus, in the same issue that his predecessor, John Palattella, not only tenders his final Books & the Arts section (though he’ll be staying on the masthead as editor at large) but reviews a book [“Shelf Life,” Oct. 10]. I heard John speak a handful of times at our weekly editorial meetings with a clever if unintentional strategy: He pitched his voice so low that we were forced to lean in and really attend to his words. (When Jesse Jackson visited the office recently, his rhetorical strategy was similar, but with an uppercut: Stay low, pull listeners in close, then thump us with punctuation.) John’s review mentions the poet Susan Howe, reminding me that during his tenure as literary editor he published her essay “Vagrancy in the Park” [Oct. 15, 2015]. A line from that essay seems appropriate here: “Words supersede and displace the reality of an object.” John only physically departs The Nation’s headquarters; thankfully, he doesn’t leave. Keep the words coming!
Tom Schloegel
Associate Publisher, Development

The Nation
new york city

Bern On, Bern Out

Re your recent cover story [“Bernie: The Interview,” Oct. 10]: Bernie Sanders’s “revolution” died the instant he endorsed that reactionary enemy of progressives, Hillary Clinton. Bernie’s role was to play “shepherd,” keeping progressives in the Democratic National Committee’s “flock” and away from Jill Stein and the Greens. From Sandroid to Berned-out
Robert J. Nelson
salt lake city, utah

How did we let this clear-thinking, thoughtful guy slip away? Bang, bang, bang!—he’s on target every time with what’s wrong with our country, plus the solutions he offers are right on, spoken in clear language and with sound understanding. We need Bernie Sanders for president and the super expertise and organizing power of Hillary Clinton—in that order.

Mavis Roe
tracy, calif.

With or Without Her

Many of us in Kansas are on board with Katha Pollitt when it comes to supporting Hillary Clinton for president [“Time to Get On Board,” Oct. 10]. We have lived with Governor Sam Brownback’s disastrous policies in this state for too long to hand the presidency over to someone who would be even worse than him.

More important, what would anyone gain by not voting for Hillary? I’m amazed at the narrow vision of those who, because of their grievances against Clinton, will not vote or will throw their vote away on a third-party candidate, some of whom aren’t any better than Donald Trump. When I heard Clinton speak at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, I hoped she would someday run for president. She showed her true mettle in that speech.

Clinton may have her flaws, even though it seems to me her flaws are mostly media-generated. Since I seldom watch network or cable news, I am not hammered by the hateful rhetoric against her, much of which seems to be related to the fact that she’s a woman.

During the Kansas primary, I took part in a panel for our local newspaper. Two of the four panelists supported Bernie Sanders; two of us supported Clinton. Our dialogue was civil. At the end of the videotaped discussion, we all agreed we would vote for the candidate who won the Democratic nomination. We knew that to do otherwise would be to send America down a path of destruction. I hope others will be as civil in their actions at the ballot box. Clinton would be an excellent candidate even if she weren’t running against the worst person in America. I hope people follow Pollitt’s admonition to get on board.

Diane Wahto
wichita, kans.

Katha Pollitt’s essay seems to imply that while Trump will dump us in hell, Hillary will help us rise to heaven—as if there are fundamental differences between the Democrats and Republicans. Back in the 1800s, Karl Marx observed that “the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” During the 1900s, journalist Paul Y. Anderson referred to the two parties as “two wings of the same bird of prey.” The current situation requires me to update their observations: “Our two parties are the opposite cheeks of the same pig’s ass.” Let’s all vote Green!
Stewart M. Robinson
cleveland heights, ohio

Media Malfeasance

Bravo to Mark Hertsgaard for calling out the media’s shortcomings during this oh-so-embarrassing election season [“Trump’s Media Enablers,” Oct. 10]. I used to be proud to have been a reporter at a metropolitan daily, but when the media fail to live up to their historic responsibility for reporting facts and news, I shudder for the future.

Susan Croce Kelly
gravois mills, mo.

Pragmatism Trumps Purity?

In “The Greens Are the Best Path to Radical Change” [Oct. 10], Kshama Sawant writes that she understands the desire of progressives who will vote for Clinton to keep Trump out of the White House. But then she adds: “I understand their desire to see him defeated, but even more important is…” I never finished that sentence.
Peter Lushing
new york city


Alissa Quart’s “Driven to Extremes” [Sept. 26/Oct. 3] aptly describes Uber’s recruitment of public-school teachers, who drive to supplement their inadequate incomes. Another aspect worth noting is the high ethical standards that teachers must maintain in order to keep their jobs in education. Uber benefits from the extensive federal and state background checks that teachers must undergo to qualify for licensure. Teachers can also be quickly terminated for any conduct unbecoming a professional educator, including conduct outside of school. As a principal, I am deeply concerned that excellent teachers may jeopardize their careers due to the stresses of overwork (Uberwork?) or an Uber passenger’s complaint. Uber’s decision to recruit teachers will only exacerbate the national teacher shortage.
Dorinne Dorfman
waterbury center, vt.


Patricia Williams’s column “The ‘Hillary Effect’” [Oct. 24] stated that Barbara Underwood was the first female faculty member at Yale Law School. While Underwood was an early female faculty member, she was not the first.

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