Readers comments 7-26-19
Plowing the seas
I read with great interest “We stand with [Minnesota US Congresswoman Ilhan] Omar” (Readers’ Comments, July 12) as well as two responses that appeared on page 7 in the July 19 issue.
All of this reminds me, albeit in a very different context, of a quotation attributed to Simón Bolívar. After much struggle he concluded that he had in fact plowed the sea. What a great image for trying to do something and seeing no tangible result. And it’s much more poetic than if he had said, “Boy, oh, boy, this was like banging my head against a brick wall.” Sadly, this sea plowing is probably where our politics are today.
You can lay out verifiable facts about any issue or about the veracity of the president’s statements, for example, and if the person with whom you are speaking has his or her mind set, despite any and all evidence, you are, to Bolívar’s point, plowing the sea. Our ideas and beliefs are apparently super-glued in place.
But this divide-and-conquer strategy is nothing new. Fox News created a powerhouse doing this; MSNBC, to a lesser extent, on the other side.
I thought the Civil War was over in 1865, but I believe we are in the middle of one right now, and while it may not look the same as the first one, it will no doubt be as damaging to our nation.
About those hoaxes…
In last Friday’s Readers’ Comments (COURIER, July 18, page 7), I couldn’t help notice Kathryn Dunn’s editor’s note in regard to Leslie Watkins’ letter.
In her note, Ms. Dunn stated, “Despite Mr. Watkins’ attempt to skew reality.” Well, as to this confidently-uttered assertion, I can say with a high level of confidence, we may not all be in agreement on who exactly is skewing reality.
Ms. Dunn continued, “There was no ‘hoax.’ Trump said it.”
Unfortunately, this is a bit unclear, especially as Mr. Watkins had referred to three hoaxes: “Trump is a racist,” “Charlottesville” and “Covington.”
Not knowing which hoax Ms. Dunn was in fact referencing, I am compelled to guess. So I will presume it is the most-often-rehashed one, the one which has received the most widespread distortion and misreporting, namely Charlottesville. President Trump’s “very fine people” comment.
Now, I am no special pleader for Donald Trump, but I do value accuracy and clarity. And we need not wonder what President Trump said about the Charlottesville protesters, because his exact words can be so easily researched and discovered, on YouTube even.
In fact, NBC News has posted a video of his August 15, 2017, Trump Tower press conference, wherein each of us can listen to the president’s exact words, in full, and in context.
To help defuse animosity, and as a public service to all COURIER readers generally, I wish Ms. Dunn had included, verbatim, that portion of President Trump’s “very fine people” press conference statement which has been so frequently mischaracterized.
[Editor’s note: There’s been discussion about cutting off the Trump/Omar letters on these pages, but I’ve concluded it’s important to show what our community is thinking about. We are not immune to the national political debate and as the letters keep rolling in, from both sides, I can’t help but think we’re providing an accessible forum for debate.
I know how difficult it is to have letters published in a big daily newspaper like the Los Angeles Times, so if we can offer locals a place to discuss national politics—especially during this heightened time in history—I’m proud to provide it. I’ll do my best to keep letters on national politics on page 7 and local issues on page 2. If you’re so inclined, feel free to skip one or the other.
I responded to Mr. Lyon’s email, which he cleverly titled ‘COURIER v. Trump’ in the subject line, so figured it best to share my full reply here:
“COURIER v. Trump! That’s funny, actually. I was definitely referring to the Charlottesville ‘hoax’ first, the ‘Trump is a racist’ hoax (I believe his behavior toward non-white, non-Christians has proved this true) second and maybe, on a smaller scale, the Covington hoax. I’d say I’m still undecided on what those hand signs meant. Hope you’re enjoying the summer. I think we’re finally entering the California heat wave season.” —KD]
Trump’s telling four congresswomen to go back to where they came from is humorous in the case of Ayanna Pressley. For her people almost certainly were in the US prior to Trump’s.
Why? Because she is the descendant of slaves, of people who did not immigrate here but were brought to this country as slaves.
As the US banned the importation of slaves in 1808, it is quite possible that her first American ancestor arrived here before 1808—perhaps she is a Daughter of the American Revolution!—though smuggling of slaves continued after that, the 1808 Act mostly stopped importation.
Presumably, her ancestors were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation (though, since they come from Cincinnati they may have escaped slavery and taken the Underground Railroad there.) In the long hard slog from being slaves to a having a congresswoman in the family, it is a great success story.
Meanwhile Trump’s grandfather arrived in this country from Germany only in 1885, perhaps a century after the arrival of the first Pressley. He became wealthy running restaurants and bordellos in Seattle and the Yukon. He went back to Germany briefly to acquire a wife in 1902.
Then, in 1904, he tried to go back where he came from, but the German authorities would not take him (because he was a draft dodger), so he had to settle for the US and here became the founder of a morally troubled immigrant family (down through its fourth generation).
I personally would rather have the Pressleys as fellow countrymen than the Trumps.
The triumph of evil
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has compared supporting the anti-Israel BDS movement, which calls for the boycott of Israeli goods, to supporting the boycott of Nazi Germany. She not so subtly compares the State of Israel to Hitler’s Germany.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has asserted that the comparison is, “proof the Omar is not an accidental or incidental anti-Semite.”
Omar previously resorted to old canards, utilizing the hateful language which fueled disdain for and violence against Jews for centuries, when she suggested that Jewish money went into the pockets of members of government. She tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”
This politically savvy woman later responded to a firestorm of criticism by suggesting to the gullible that she did not understand the historical context of her words. She has proposed that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee pushes, “allegiance to a foreign country,” implying that American Jews are not fully loyal to the United States.
In the face of her reprehensible and dangerous statements and actions, the leaders of the local Democratic Party, joined by more than one activist in local religious communities wrote to the COURIER, that Representative Omar is an advocate of human rights. The evidence that she is no such advocate is mounting.
I urge the signatories of that letter to reconsider that evidence and to heed Edmund Burke’s warning that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Sadly, the signatories of that letter have done more than nothing; they have spoken up on behalf of Ilhan Omar.
Marilyn E. Lubarsky
Parade truck crash
The crash of the Habitat for Humanity truck by the Joslyn Center July 4 occurred before our wondering eyes. Criminently! Trauma sessions? Whatever. But what we need is information: What caused the crash? Who was the driver? What is his condition? Stuff like that.
When is the madness in California going to stop? The government at all levels needs to start practicing fiscal restraint.
Now we are expected to provide housing for low income residents, by converting our garages or building a cottage on our property. Really? With all the code requirements the costs would be exorbitant and surely raise your property taxes.
If property taxes were more reasonable landlords might be more inspired to build more housing and rent at rates many renters could afford.
Will our taxes ever get the Gold Line to Claremont/Pomona? The county now charges fees to park and ride the Gold Line. And at the Azusa station one can no longer park without purchasing a monthly pass. At Irwindale there is a $3 parking fee. As that lot fills up there will be a monthly charge there too, if one can find a parking spot.
The streets near the stations have three-hour parking limits so ticket wardens are now happily tagging cars for even more of your hard-earned dollars. It’s all very dispiriting and has caused this writer to say, “to heck with this, I’ll use my car.”
And now the city of Claremont wants to raise the sales tax to prevent the county or the state from claiming the extra .75 percent. The state will just raise the limit by whatever percentage they want.
Wake up, people. All this taxing and spending has to be brought under control or the emigration of taxpayers from California will turn into a stampede. Then where will we be?
Vote no on any new taxes.