Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Letter To The Editor

"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers." ~Mahatma Gandhi

The local newspaper here had an article written by a David A Love, a writer for Progressive Media Project in Madison, Wisconsin, I guess, as a guest columnist. In it, Mr. Love made some pretty astounding statements. Normally, I don't bother to write letters to the editor, although I have on occasion, and had some printed. But this guy needs to be re-educated in my opinion and, since Lone Ranger and Mike from Mike's America probably didn't see this piece, (It can't even be found on PMP's web site!)I decided to take on the task myself. I think either of them could have replied to him better and more concisely than I.

He said since Dr. King died, "Americans have learned few lessons from King". His first example was, "37 million people live below the poverty line including 13 million children."

I had it in my mind that perhaps the percentage of those living below the poverty line might have been higher than that at the time of Dr. King's death, but I couldn't find much information specifically addressing that issue. So, I didn't reply, but I wonder what that has to do with racial equality. After all, black and poor are two words that are not synonomous.

Next, he said, "45 million of us don't have health insurance", But I think there are too many factors influencing that to draw the conclusion that Americans haven't learned to accept everyone as equals from that. Some people choose not to have health insurance, and anyway, that isn't the governments resposibilty. I decided not to address that statement in my reply as my letter was already getting longer than I wanted.

With that in mind, this is the letter that I sent to the editor of the Hagerstown Herald Mail, addressing the rest of the statements he made:

To the Editor:

According to your guest columnist, David A. Love, in the article entitled, America Should Honor King's Teachings, (Herald Mail Monday Jan. 16) "Americans have learned few lessons" since the death of Martin Luther King Jr.

Apparently, Mr. Love is a member of the "old Media", a media that stubbornly and arrogantly assumes the readers will blindly accept whatever they say as fact, without questioning or doing research. That is a mistake. In this age of the internet, fact checking can be done effortlessly and without having to have a formal education. Let me set him straight.

Today, a black man can enter any restaurant or lunch counter anywhere in America, including the deep south, and sit down next to a white man without fear of being lynched. Or even frowned upon.

And we haven't learned?

No more are there two sets of bathrooms or drinking fountains, one labeled white and one labeled colored. Today a black man can drink from any water source he wants to without fear of angering any white people. In fact, it is doubtful that any white people would give him a second glance.

And we haven't learned?

There are no more lynchings, no more black church bombings, no more middle of the night abductions of black people followed by brutal beatings.

And we haven't learned?

No one forces black girls to sit in the back of the bus, or stands in the doorway of schools to block their entrance.

And we haven't learned?

Today Black writers can write editorials that make outrageously racially biased statenents without fear of retribution. You couldn't have written your piece in a mainstream newspaper in 1960, Mr. Love.

What haven't we learned?

Yes, Mr. Love, there are isolated incidents where some backward, ignorant racist, white people burn crosses in front yards and scrawl racist graffiti on black people's houses, etc. But those instances are few and far between. And there are more, much more incidents of black racists committing racially motivated crimes nowadays.

Mr. Love also writes, "The devastation in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast brought to light the lingering problems of race and class."

Recently some interesting information was reported in newspapers and on television and radio news outlets across the country: More white people were effected adversely by the hurricanes than blacks.

What lingering problems, Mr. Love?

Next, Mr. Love makes this claim:

"And the nation squanders away it's resources on the failed war in Iraq."

Oh really? What exactly, is Mr. Love's criteria for what constitutes a "failed war"?

For the first time since Saddam Hussein gained power in Iraq, free and independent elections have been held. Not just one. Three of them in the last year.

A murderous, vicious, sadistic dictator, who had hundreds of thousands of his own people slaughtered has been deposed.

Torture and rape rooms all over Iraq have been shut down. Women, who up until now, have been treated as second class citizens at best and pack animals at worst, have attained personhood in Iraq.

And all this at the cost of many less American lives than have died in any of America's previous wars.

And we haven't learned?

His last point:

"On March 31, 1968 King preached his final sermon...four days before his assassination. In the sermon, he noted that, 'one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, and the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.'"

Mr. Love, it's time to wake up from your 35 year nap, and see what Americans have learned.

8 comments:

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Good job, Mark!

Black home ownership is up...the black middle class is up...

and how shall we define "the poverty line"? What constitutes "poor" in this country is different than what is "poor" in, say, Ethiopia. Most people here are fat, own a tv as well as other "luxury" items.

the Bush 2006 budget allots a record shattering $368 billion for poverty entitlements (14.6 percent of the entire budget). That's a big increase over Clinton's spending on poverty entitlements. Of course, I think it's possible that misguided welfare programs for the past few decades and not racism can be attributed to black poverty.

Look at how much welfare has expanded in this country. And has it solved our poverty woes? Trillions have been spent since the War on Poverty began. And for what?! In 1970, 169% more people went on welfare than were on it in 1960.

Not everyone on welfare needs to be on welfare.

As for health care insurance, For much of my adult life, I chose not to have it. I was young, and stupid and wanted to save money. I felt bullet-proof. I don't think I'm alone in this.

Affordable health care insurance would be nice. Trial lawyers sure haven't helped in that regards.

yankeemom said...

Well, if you acknowledge that things are better, then you don't have anything to Kvetch about. And if you stay stuck in the bad times, then you don't have to take any responsibility in the present.

Timothy said...

Mark,
Very good piece. I loved it, and shows the difference between liberals and conservatives in an excellent way. Liberals want to live in the past, when they were in power, and continue to preach a message of hatred and failure. Conservatives look at the positive side and continue on to make progress. Thanks for the reminder.

Fritz said...

Mark,
Mr. Love has the "That 70's Show" liberal mentality. Vietnam-FBI-Nixon = Iraq-NSA-Bush We even have that re-tread Woodward in the news. History rarely repeats itself as you point out this is not 30 years ago media.

whit said...

Geez Mark! Here's the poor guy, he gets an opportunity to write a guest column, get his name out there, get some notice and break into a business long dominated by the big boys (Sharpton,Jackson, et al) and you come along and rain on his parade. You try to shoot him down. It ain't right.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Awesome, awesome letter. Very well said.

Mary said...

Yes, it's an excellent letter, Mark.

I am not the least bit surprised that Mr. Love has a Madison connection.

Certainly not all of Madison's citizens remain in that late 60s - early 70s daze, but the very vocal majority there are as liberal as any lib in the nation.

Although Wisconsin libs are losing ground as conservatives gain influence, Madison remains a lib haven.

By "lib haven" I mean completely out of touch with reality, utterly ignorant of the facts.

Mark said...

Mary, I looked David A Love up on google because I couldn't find him in the progressive project's web site, and eventually found out that he isn't actually part of that project, but merely a contributor. He is, or was a law Student at the Pennsylvania school of law. I also found some other articles he wrote and they are all very angry articles about whites discriminating against blacks. This guy lives in the 60's apparently.

My local newspaper had to really work to find that article it seems, so they must be, as I have long suspected, as Liberal a publication as I suspected.

So they probably won't print my response.