For as much as I admire Leonard Pitts Jr.’s usual trenchant insight, I was disappointed to see him become a victim of his own rhetoric in his “Open letter to Sen. Marco Rubio: What is ‘enough?’” (May 3, 13A)
Here, Pitts repeats a question he asked of Rubio earlier: “What is the functional difference between being a bigot and supporting one?” Rubio apparently ignored the question, so Pitts answered for him: “The answer, which you couldn’t bring yourself to give, is that there is none.” So, for all practical purposes, “if you vote for a bigot, then you are a bigot.”
Although I have no doubt that President Donald Trump’s bigotry was a big part of his appeal for many older, white males scared “spitless,” I think Pitts is less than fair to label all of the 63 million Trump voters as bigots.
Resorting to name-calling, the either-or fallacy and the false analogy to Rubio’s own Cuban ethnicity, Pitts equates “no functional difference” to “no difference at all.” He uses the research of two University of Kansas professors to create his own version of an “alternative fact.”
As a result, he appears to shut down the very dialogue in which he himself engages.
Why did the May 4 “Off the Easel” political cartoon show flies buzzing around Yasser Arafat’s head? (10A) I find that offensive and racist.
Arafat was certainly not a perfect person or leader (and we know about imperfect ones in this country). But you know his people, the Palestinians, have been mostly maligned by our media, or their plight has been outright ignored. They are not powerful enough to warrant decent coverage.
To show Arafat with flies around his head as if he were filthy is similar to the kinds of treatment historically assigned to leaders of oppressed people — a message that they are dirty and unworthy of justice.
How disappointing that The Star would print such a trope.
In her April 30 guest commentary, Rebecca Erbelding refers to nationwide press coverage of Nazi Germany’s horrific Kristallnacht pogroms. (9A, “Uncovering how news of Nazism came to America”) But she fails to mention that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would not go beyond a strong verbal condemnation of Germany.
Roosevelt issued pious words but took no forceful action. He recalled his appointed U.S. ambassador to Germany, the pro-appeasement Hugh Wilson, but did not break diplomatic relations. Roosevelt resisted grassroots demands to end trade with Germany and to press for the reduction of immigration barriers.
In my book, “The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower,” I quote the late distinguished historian Peter Gay, a Jew who grew up in Nazi Berlin and witnessed the Kristallnacht there. He dismissed verbal protest as “completely hollow” unless it led to a place of refuge. But Roosevelt did not employ his considerable influence to provide one.
Stephen H. Norwood
Parking lot death
It is a tragedy that the family and loved ones of Randy Potter had to deal with his suicide and then his body not having been found in a timely manner. (April 21, 1A, “Family of man found dead at KCI files suit”)
Clearly, SP+, the company responsible for the parking lot, failed in following the mandates of the contract with Kansas City. Potter’s family has sued SP+ because of the mental anguish.
But I am curious: What damages are SP+ due? Randy Potter chose to commit suicide in its lot. The reporting of his death, even if his body had been found immediately, would affect SP+’s business. What customer wants to park in lot where a dead man was found?
What about SP+’s employees? They must work at a place where a man killed himself. Might that cause mental anguish and anxiety?
Liability can be found in several places.
In name only
In President Abraham Lincoln’s time, there were abolitionist Republicans. In President Theodore Roosevelt’s time, there were progressive Republicans. In President Dwight Eisenhower’s time, there were moderate Republicans.
Today, in President Donald Trump’s time, there are three-dollar-bill Republicans.
Time to change
Since gun control is the big issue these days, I want to share my view. It would be almost impossible to ban the Second Amendment, because there is no practical way to get guns back from the people who already have them.
Yet I agree with those calling for more-detailed background checks of people trying to purchase new guns. I also think the age restriction to buy guns should be higher than 18. Right now, guns are too easy to get.
I hope something changes pretty soon.
When I was young, about 55 years ago, “Dog bites man” would not have been news. But “Man bites dog” would have.
The president has mentioned “fake news” often, and it is a bit of a head-scratcher for me, frankly.
The president has been in the New York City media orbit for 40 years, and as a result he has been the subject of a lot of stories about his businesses, his love life and, well, just about every move he has made.
So, he has seen his share of stories that he considered to have been made up or exaggerated. Fair or not, he may feel a little put upon by the media — traditional media outlets as well as those that may not be dedicated to the facts.
So what constitutes “fake news” then? Is it just news that is not true? Or, like the examples above, is it news that does not deserve our attention?
The president might think this type of news is not interesting enough to be reported.
I suggest a possible recognition for Martin Luther King Jr. — one I haven’t heard mentioned: renaming Brush Creek Park as the Martin Luther King Memorial Park.
This parkland stretches from near Stadium Boulevard on the east to Ward Parkway on the west. Renaming it in honor of King would unite numerous diverse neighborhoods of the city. Statues or plaques honoring leading figures in the civil rights movement from the 1960s to the present could be placed at intervals along the walking trail in the park.
Renaming the park would not require residents and businesses to change addresses or reprint brochures and letterheads. And surely Brush Creek wouldn’t object.
Yeah, right: We’re really worried sick about our quarterback slot here in Kansas City. (May 3, KansasCity.com, “USA Today writer says Chiefs’ quarterback situation is among the worst in the NFL”) Nobody can sleep. Ha!