Two Hearts Beat as One
In DW Gibson’s article “America Without Migrants” [Oct. 17], I learned that Middletown, New York, is “the heart of Donald Trump country.” In John B. Judis’s review of Strangers in Their Own Land in the same issue, I learned that “Arlie Russell Hochschild journeys into the heart of Trump Country”: Lake Charles, Louisiana. Oh well, I guess two hearts are better than one.
blooming grove, n.y.
It is interesting that DW Gibson, in his fine piece about the costs—economic, social, and ethical—of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, chooses to highlight the lives and labors of two people who have settled in small towns. Immigration continues to be an urban phenomenon, of course. But, as Gibson points out, it is also revitalizing rural and exurban communities beset by the globalization of manufacturing, the automation of agriculture, and the predominance of monocultural, industrial farming.
It is hard to keep young Americans down on the farm after they’ve seen New York or Chicago, but immigrants increasingly see opportunities in small communities that, until recently, were in free fall. To these towns they bring more than the grunt labor of mowing lawns or hanging drywall—and not just to the farm belt of the Midwest. With the right community response, they are providing new energy for local industry, such as the carpet businesses in Dalton, Georgia, and the wineries in Riverhead, New York. In many of these towns, they offer a multicultural remedy for schools that have been losing students.
The welcoming country that Gibson supports ought to include a rural- development program that combines the goals of integrating immigrants and reversing the decline of small towns that have the potential for developing the jobs and enterprises of the future. With legalized status and human-capital investment, immigrants could drive a new rural economy that would benefit everyone.
Diana R. Gordon
I devoured Arthur Goldhammer’s “‘Fever Grips the Entire Nation’” [Oct. 17], finding his insights apt and thought-provoking. One aspect of his analysis, though, could have been usefully expanded in scope. Referring primarily to times of war, Toqueville asserts that “citizens must be prepared to make numerous and painful sacrifices.”
Perhaps, but since the post-9/11 invasion of Iraq, the United States has been endlessly at war, and citizens have been called upon to make neither numerous nor painful sacrifices. Since the conversion from a partly conscripted military to an all-volunteer force, the wars’ numerous and painful sacrifices have been borne almost entirely by those volunteers and their families. During the Vietnam conflict, the war’s mounting unpopularity and more broadly shared sacrifices ultimately served as a check on further expansion. When broad swaths of citizens are called upon to make painful sacrifices, the rationale for those sacrifices tends to come under more careful scrutiny. Insulating from the pain of war everyone but those who have voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way gives hawkish politicians a freer hand to engage in military adventurism.
A return to policies requiring that war’s painful sacrifices be shared by nonvolunteers as well as volunteers would certainly be unpopular among many of those affected, but a brake on what sometimes seem like hasty, ill-considered deployments of US military force could well be worth the price.
1971 Draft Lottery #3
Arthur Goldhammer’s interesting Toqueville-inspired analysis of the 2016 election correctly admonishes us to understand and patiently address the underlying causes of the Trump phenomenon. Nothing could be more urgent, it seems, than the creation of meaningful political dialogue with the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of the American Rust Belt, who built the very buses they are now being thrown under—and who now follow a horrible imposter who would gladly drive the bus over them if it served his immediate egomaniacal needs. It reminds us also of how urgent it is for all nations to come to the table in a fair and evenhanded way to seek immediate disarmament from nuclear weapons, should a future Trump actually make it all the way to the White House.
The comparatively peaceful American “gradualism” of change admired by Toqueville is antithetical to the horrible, destructive power now in the hands of a maniac who could use reality-TV theatrics effectively enough to convince a majority of voters that he is somehow fit to serve. The political phenomenon Goldhammer discusses could amount to the kind of destruction from which we may never recover—and a lesson we may never have the opportunity to learn.
grosse pointe park, mich.
Sticking With Stein
After reading all the pros and cons of voting either for Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein [“Should You Vote for the Green Party?,” Oct. 10], I have decided to stick with my original plan and vote for Stein. Frankly, I am tired of people telling me how evil the other candidate is and how I should vote for theirs. Clinton has some major flaws, especially on the economic- and foreign-policy fronts, and I am voting for the candidate and the party I can really get behind. At some point, we have to break out of the two-party system and vote for who and what we really believe in.
santa margarita, calif.
And the Prize Goes to…
I don’t know if there is a Pulitzer Prize for art criticism, but Barry Schwabsky certainly deserves one. His piece on David Hammons [“Waiting by the Orange Julius,” Oct. 10] really hit home. Great writing.
Jessica Pishko’s “Is Angela Corey the Most Hated Prosecutor in America?” [Sept. 12/19] stated that first-degree murder in Florida requires intent to kill. In fact, Florida has a special provision for felony murder—a murder committed in the process of committing a felony crime—under which the offense is prosecuted as murder in the first degree. In these cases, prosecutors do not need to prove intent. The prosecutors’ indictment of Cristian Fernandez may or may not have relied on intent, since the grand-jury proceedings are sealed.
Arthur Goldhammer’s “‘Fever Grips the Entire Nation’” [Oct. 17] stated that there isn’t a single black woman running a Fortune 500 corporation. In fact, Ursula Burns, a black woman, is the CEO of Xerox.