Thank you for D.D. Guttenplan’s short and inspiring article [“Yes He Kahn,” June 6/13]. The election of Sadiq Khan as mayor of London is a true source of hope for other Global North countries—a great step forward and a wake-up call for the United States.
cedar city, utah
Sign of the Times?
“Monopolized” by Mike Konczal [June 6/13] made me think of the comment Victor Serge made while reporting from Germany in 1923: “The monopolist is one of the last products of an exploiting society in disintegration.”
Connecting the Dots
I was surprised several months ago to see Frank Luntz interviewing folks about current affairs on CBS. He’s a longtime strategist for the Christian right, so I found it hard to believe that CBS would employ him as an unbiased reporter.
My surprise turned to disgust when I read David Bromwich’s “A Surviving Remnant” [June 6/13], which describes Luntz’s advice to fossil-fuel interests: Don’t “‘raise economic arguments first’ but rather ‘continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue.’ ”
Surely CBS has money for adequate research on its putative experts. That is what makes the network’s use of Luntz’s talents so surprising. This observation is just one more reason why The Nation is so important for honest and thorough journalism.
Left to Her Own Devices?
I would love to make sure that Hillary Clinton reads Bruce Shapiro’s article “How to Stop Trump” [June 6/13]. It hits the nail on the head: She can’t swerve right and win this election. Hopefully, voter turnout will surprise us all in the general election.
We must all wait and see whether Clinton turns to the right or to the left, and how Sanders’s supporters receive her words and deeds. We hard-core Bernie supporters ain’t ready to throw in the towel—though if and when we must, it may not land in the Clinton corner. A turn to the right by Hillary will cost her lots of those votes. Then again, will a turn to the left be believable?
Edward M. Protas
I’m as true a believer in Bernie’s agenda as any, and I’ve been railing against the Clintons’ Democrat-in-name-only brand of politics since the 1992 primaries. But it pains me to think that any Bernie supporter plans to cast a vote for Trump if Hillary secures the nomination. I’ve been holding my nose and pulling the lever since after the 1972 election (the last enthusiastic vote I cast for the Democratic nominee), and I will do so again. Why? Three words: the Supreme Court. We desperately need to restore sanity to the Court, and Trump will not do so. Hillary is way too interventionist and chummy with Wall Street (and Wal-Mart) for my taste, but at least she’ll appoint better justices than any Republican or third-party joker. So get real, guys and gals: Fight on for the political revolution, but accept small victories rather than big defeats, if those are the only choices.
After Nature, Democracy
To me, Katrina Forrester’s “Earthly Anecdotes” [June 6/13] speaks to more than just how we relate to our environment in the traditional sense. It also sums up how we must relate to our entire situation as citizens of the world. “If we’re clear-eyed, [Jedediah] Purdy hopes, we’ll come to see that what’s left is artificial politics—the politics we make together. Technology and economics can’t save us: Both repeat the old fantasy and faith that politics can be avoided.” We must tackle all problems facing modern society with these clear eyes—through true collective democracy.
Live Long and… Prosper?
Thanks for Jon Baskin’s excellent review of Don DeLillo’s Zero K [“Long Soft Lives,” June 6/13]. Baskin writes that “DeLillo risks contributing to the same fatalistic malaise that his novels depict and, by implication at least, decry.” When I read White Noise, my first DeLillo novel, in the 1980s, it gave me chills for this very reason. I understood the “implication,” but thought it was far outweighed by the crushing and ruthless representation of modern despair, dread, and alienation that Baskin so skillfully describes. DeLillo is a fantastically talented writer, but I fear his skill has always been focused in this direction, the direction of hopeless, pointless struggle without hope of redemption. Like the film Eraserhead, White Noise is a testament to how bleak the vision of human life can go. I hold both works at arm’s length, a shudder away; they’re unforgettable and true enough, yet detestable as visions of human existence. Both the film and the novel prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that intelligence and craft are not enough—you also need heart.
GOP Humpty Dumpty
“Is the Party System About to Crack Up?” The Nation asks in its May 23/30 issue. It’s hard to see how the Republican Party can reconstitute itself as a viable mainstream force. However, it did so in the wake of the 1968 election, and the Democrats have also done it following a downturn in their own fortunes. The problem now, of course, is that Republicans have pushed themselves so far to the right that they don’t seem to have a coherent, sensible spokesperson left, even though they retain a strong following among the American people.
When they don’t seem to care about global warming and environmental catastrophe; when they are solidly against abortion and opposed to gay marriage; and when the gulf between the 1 percent and the middle class is of no concern—how will we get beyond this point, given that the whole idea of compromise is anathema to Republicans? How can American society progress when a Democratic victory is likely to leave the Republican losers feeling ominously oppressed? Will the right be resentful enough to resort to violent revolution? Or will it recover with a new, more reasonable, tolerant, and intelligent agenda? In the past, the left-right divide has been resolved by outside threats that have led to war and brought the parties together. Such conditions, fortunately, don’t seem to be on the horizon. So how can those who are diametrically opposed be harmonized? Even with a Democratic victory, I fear for the future.