Friday, September 19, 2014

LTE as Art Form

Over the years of my political seething I have cooled myself off some by exercising an art form, the letter to the editor. I even got one in the New York Times once. Mostly though they go to Atlanta's daily or weekly rags, or when I'm visiting Michigan, their daily. Sometimes I might browse a monthly magazine, a business-oriented one recently. They did an interview with Georgia Power's new president and I couldn't let him get away with his greenwashing, not when they're engaged in a huge con, bilking the ratepayers, ignoring clean alternatives like wind and solar and building dangerous nuclear reactors.

I have learned to avoid mainstream media because the subservient party line, the narrow range of opinion offered up as wisdom there, tends to set me off. I can't spend all my time writing LTEs but that's what I do if I stumble upon propaganda masquerading as journalism. A couple examples below, the first run in the Atlanta Journal Constitution 9/16/14, this one on the Citizen United issue.

There are a lot of jokes about the supreme court ruling "Citizens United", including the judgment itself. Such as, "I'll
believe corporations are people when Texas executes one." That corporations are not people is so transparently obvious that one can
only conclude the supreme law of the land has been deliberately twisted to favor business interests of citizens (I had actually said... to
favor business interests over citizens - changing over to of muddies what I was saying). That seems to me an impeachable offense for any public official who has taken 
an oath to protect the constitution. The first step should be to reverse that decision with a constitutional amendment.

Editors, I suppose because they are editors, often feel they have to put their mark on whatever crosses their desk. I don't mind this if it clarifies but often as not it muddies, or even subverts. Check this one out:

I sent this LTE around the time of the BP oil spill, to the Atlanta Constitution Journal. Interesting to compare what I wrote to what they ran. It's almost an illustration of my point (what they cut I highlight in bold):

The term fundamentalist ideology probably evokes Islamic fanaticism to many, Christian or Jewish extremists to others, but rarely are the promoters of capitalism associated with the term. Yet there is clearly a similar level of intellectual dishonesty among its advocates.

Rush Limbo has been implying that the Gulf oil spill-disaster is caused by “whacko environmentalists” and though he is the hysterical end of capitalism you won’t find a lot of real analysis on the more respectable end either. Numerous pundits approvingly report on the “nuclear renaissance” without mentioning Chernobyl, indeed, scrupulously avoiding the New York Academy of Science’s recent claim that nearly a million people world-wide died as a result of that disaster.

And my long unanswered question, if we truly have a free press providing a full range of views for an informed citizenry, where are the socialist commentators? In my home town newspaper you get Bill O’reilly all the way over to Thomas Sowell. That’s probably more or less true across the country. No commentator consistently pointing out the contradictions and corruption of capitalism and discussing an alternative need apply to any mainstream news outlet. I need not rehearse the corporate “ownership” of congress and the political process in the U.S. directly related to how campaigns are financed. The owners control policy and media debate and where this leads us is ominously illustrated in the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The LTE below I sent out into the ether, I forget where, responding to yet another wave of war drums, just enough time now passed, apparently in the war mind, for the public to forget about the costly stupidity of the last one.
In the hometown of Martin Luther King one would think the lesson, that violence begets violence, would not have to be re-learned. Unless we are very lucky, what MLK predicted will come to pass: we either end war, or it will end us. We should not be squandering opportunities to practice the non-violent skills essential to providing an alternative to war. As Einstein warned, until we change our thinking, due to nuclear weapons, we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. It will not be easy, and who knows how much time we have, but it is necessary.

And it's true, who knows how much time we have to end war before it ends us? Seems like there's a race on: climate change, population, pollution, nukes... which one will bring us to extinction first? Or should we, instead of passively placing our bets, adopt non-violent conflict resolution, no matter how difficult, institute sustainable policies around population and pollution, and incorporate another necessary ingredient for peace, justice?