To the editor:
Several readers have called for the J-W to stop running ultra-conservative Cal Thomas. I agree that Thomas is comparable to the more heinous fascists of world history, but I have a different take on his column.
Thomas is but the farthest extreme to the right in a society and its media that has swung far to the right in general. This trend can be traced back to the McCarthy hearings in the '50s, which helped demonize any populist/socialist-leaning political factions, to the Reagan/Bush administrations of the '80s, which canonized selfish conservative/pure capitalist ideals and attitudes.
As a result, conservatism is considered "normal" in this society, while all other, more "leftist" politics are considered, well, "leftist." And in this society, "leftist" translates as "communist," which translates as "evil." Between the far left and Thomas is a broad range of speakers who embrace the individual protections and liberties espoused in our Constitution, but who also promote a more responsible and less selfish approach to capitalism. The real problem is that the staunchly populist/progressive voices from the middle to the left are not allowed space in the J-W or other mainstream media outlets. Those in the mainstream who may be presented as "liberal" are truly only a little left of Thomas.
What's needed is not necessarily a retaliatory backlash against conservative speakers such as Thomas (who indeed have a right to speak their minds), but an acceptance of progressive and liberal speakers who could provide the counterpoint to nut cases such as Thomas.