A Waste of Money—Theirs
I invite readers offended by some of your ads to think of them as doubly beneficial [“Letters,” Sept. 24]. They provide the left much-needed financial support. They also divert funds away from nefarious projects. It’s hard to imagine that the ads would have any impact on Nation readers.
The Truth? They Can’t Handle the Truth
Re “The Post-Truth Party” [Sept. 24]: The blatant falsehoods being spouted by Retro Romney and Ryan are all part of their campaign’s money-fueled calculation that the electorate is half asleep and that facts don’t matter. Let’s hope they are routed on election day, and the money-changers are chased from the political temple before they abscond with our democracy.
BARBARA ALLEN KENNEY
The Dalles, Ore.
I shook my head in disbelief at your “Post-Truth” editorial. You correctly point out that Republicans don’t care much about facts, but you do not understand that about half the voting public also doesn’t care. And you don’t understand how to relate to voters. For you to contend that “The best way to unmask the GOP” is with “economic straight talk” is at best naïve and at worst just plain stupid. As a former trainer and lecturer, I know one must present the subject so that every person understands “where am I in this picture?” Consider Wisconsin: 46 percent of union households voted to retain Scott Walker. Why? Failure to communicate. Wisconsin is a harbinger of the upcoming national elections. Another tidbit: about half of seniors on Social Security and Medicare don’t understand they are in federally supported programs. With the Citizens United decision, any election is for sale. Money and BS rule!
“The Post-Truth Party” opines that the GOP knows it is “going to need big lies to win.” There is confusion here between lies and delusions. Lying is knowingly falsifying in order to manipulate. Deluding is unknowingly falsifying to satisfy an unconscious emotional need. Delusions are unconscious concoctions. Delusional people don’t know they’re being destructive; they believe they’re being constructive. The Romney/Ryan policies seem to be based on delusions that will destroy government rather than reform it.
AUGUSTUS F. KINZEL, MD
Songs of the Voiceless
Thank you, Wick Sloane, for “I Hear America Singing” [Sept. 24], featuring community college students’ poetry. Sometimes I don’t even have time to read my magazines. This morning, I just flipped through The Nation as I walked to my office and was overcome by the poetry. I love to see and hear the voices of the too often voiceless. Thank you for speaking about your students. Thank you for sharing their beauty. I will keep this issue forever.
JANI J. MASELLI
Assistant public defender, Harris County
A Fact-Checkered Past
Eric Alterman rescued me from isolation, for which I am grateful. I thought I was the only one who saw The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler making a false equivalence between the GOP and the Democrats [“The Liberal Media,” Sept. 24]. As a longtime Post reader, I feel that Kessler’s false equivalency has become even worse. It’s painfully obvious that he struggles to find something, anything, that President Obama or Vice President Biden has said that even remotely resembles the lies of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Unfortunately for us, his “fact-checking” is quoted by the rest of the mainstream media.
Eric Alterman was spot on in his discussion of The Washington Post’s “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler. In the Post’s September 9 edition (published too late for Alterman’s column), Kessler took Joe Biden to task for saying that Mitt Romney had received a “bailout” for Bain Consulting by getting the FDIC to write off $10 million of its debt. No, it wasn’t a bailout, Kessler concluded, artfully hiding behind an FDIC euphemism. Hey, it was merely a “loan restructuring.”
Archives vs. ‘Anarchives’
New York City
It’s stunning to see Nathan Schneider, in “Occupy, After Occupy” [Sept. 24], set up a conflict between the vibrant activism of Occupy and what he calls “the fossilized existence offered by Tamiment.” Schneider is referring to NYU’s Tamiment library, which seeks to add Occupy records to its collections. Schneider’s construction of an imaginary conflict shows a contempt for history and for an institution of immense value to the American left.
Those who have used Tamiment’s collections, or attended its fine public programs (e.g., on Joe Hill, the CIA and Malcolm X, and presentations by Tamiment’s Center for the United States and the Cold War—which have elicited attacks from the right) will be dumbfounded by this attack. Among the collections at Tamiment are: Oral History of the American Left (not to mention—disclosure/boast—my mother Beatrice Lemisch’s radio interview series, Grandma Was an Activist), Radical History Review, Communist Party USA, Howard Zinn, Victor Navasky (ahem), William Kunstler, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal, Occupy oral histories, and so on. Many of these valuable collections were brought to Tamiment by its director, Michael Nash, who died suddenly this past summer.
Those of us who have lived in and through left movements know we are not limited by what happened in the past as we seek to make something utterly different from what is and has been. And it’s best that we know the kinds of things that Tamiment reveals.
Tamiment is an institution for which I have great respect, so I’m almost glad that this aspersion against me provides an excuse to sing its praises. However, I think most readers will recognize that the word “fossilized” in the article is meant to reflect the perspective of one of my sources, not my own. Furthermore, the debate in the Occupy movement about what to do with the archives is definitely not “imaginary.” An earlier stage of the debate was also attested to in the excellent essay “The Struggle for the Occupy Wall Street Archives,” written by a Tamiment employee and published online by the Awl in December.
I’m sure historians of the future will be grateful for Tamiment’s efforts to preserve the material records of the movement, as well as for the efforts of those in the movement to create “anarchives” of their own.