Archive for Sunday, July 2, 2017

Opinion: The ‘United’ States is anything but

July 2, 2017

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“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead.”

— Martin Luther King Jr., April 3, 1968

“But what we know — what we have seen — is that America can change.”

— Barack Obama, March 18, 2008

Some of you may recognize the epigraph above from my novel, “Grant Park.” Apologies for recycling, but what seemed apropos for that fiction seems doubly so for this fact: on the occasion of its 241st birthday, the “United” States is anything but.

Indeed, I often find myself brooding about secession these days. Having once chastised people like then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry for casually bruiting that possibility about, I admit that I’m surprised to catch myself wondering what it might look like. In my head, I divide up states like a divorced couple splitting up their furniture and DVDs.

Mississippi can be theirs, but Colorado should be ours. Let us keep New York and give them Idaho.

“Theirs” and “ours.” “Us” and “them.” To utter the words is to realize how far down the rabbit hole we have fallen.

Worse, the argument is not truly political. At some point, this ceased to be about ideology and governing philosophy. At some point, it became a question of character.

That’s what I was getting at in a column shortly after the November election that seemed to take some readers aback. “I have no interest in seeing this country heal,” I wrote. “And I refuse to come together.”

My problem wasn’t just that the president is a lying, petty, hateful and incompetent man. It was also that millions of Americans see that — they see it — and do not care. To the contrary, his ascension seems to have unleashed in them something rotten and foul, the worst of what human beings can be.

I’m thinking of the people at last year’s rallies who cursed Islam, “beaners,” “f—s,” “that n——r,” Barack Obama, and “that b—-h” Hillary Clinton, the ones who raised a Nazi salute and cried, “Sieg heil!”

And I’m thinking of a woman I wrote about a few days ago. She responded on Twitter to a mother who asked what the GOP health care bill would mean for her son, a preemie with a heart defect. “Sorry about your son,” the woman sniffed, “but what would he have done 200 years ago? ... Nothing is promised to anyone.”

Who says something like that? I don’t know these people. I don’t want to. There is nothing in them that makes me want to “come together” and “heal.” No, I just want to rebuke and defeat. So perhaps, in some sense, secession has already occurred.

What, then, is the case for America on its birthday? What is the argument for our country in this crossroads moment when it has abandoned world leadership, international obligations, founding principles, and human compassion?

I suppose that question explains why I find such meaning in the juxtaposed words of King and Obama. The preacher speaks to the ominous uncertainty I feel: “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.”

But the senator who would become president speaks to the one virtue that still inspires: “America can change.”

So it can. And relatively easily at that. For Russia, Cuba, North Korea or China to change would require a coup, blood running in the streets. We, on the other hand, can transfigure a nation through the simple expedient of a ballot. America is a state of constant reinvention.

Which is reason to hope this secession is not the end of the story, reason to hope we can return this country to some semblance of itself. Reason to hope, but no guarantee. All we have is a fighting chance.

But America has never needed more than that.

— Leonard Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald.

Comments

Bob Summers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Pitts forgot to mention the assassination of american citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki by his hero Barack Hussein Obama and the Liberal terrorist, Bernie Sanders wheel man, James T Hodgkinson assassination attempts in his bitter clinger fantasy of the United States.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"...My problem wasn’t just that the president is a lying, petty, hateful and incompetent man..." People such as Fred and James Hodgkinson will read this and be emboldened.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Bob.........what can I say.......when a respondent to this column evokes me with a murderer. I am suggesting removal of your outrageous and vicious post.

Justin Hoffman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

With your endless comparisons of Trump to Hitler and your obsessions with Trump, you have far more in common with Hodgkinson than Trump does with Hitler.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Wrong, Justin. Terribly, slantedly wrong. Try reading history, Justin. Opinions such as yours, tragically, ignore the past and the reality of that past. And that past is being revisited on us at this very moment. If you can't face that reality, you can not keep it from moving forward, and that is your fault and that of everyone who supports this movement through stubbornness and ignorance of what has been.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You throw vitriol with both hands and quail at "...such as..." What a strange creature you are, Fred.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

That is no response to Fred's comment, Bob, but another obfuscation, ala Trump, meant to sound grand and signifying that you have nothing with which to defend your statement.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"My problem wasn’t just that the president is a lying, petty, hateful and incompetent man. It was also that millions of Americans see that — they see it — and do not care. To the contrary, his ascension seems to have unleashed in them something rotten and foul, the worst of what human beings can be"

Plagiarism.........plagiarism!!!..........I think I said exactly the same thing in a post a day or so ago in this forum. It is heartwarming to me that this noteworthy journalist agrees with me.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"And I’m thinking of a woman I wrote about a few days ago. She responded on Twitter to a mother who asked what the GOP health care bill would mean for her son, a preemie with a heart defect. “Sorry about your son,” the woman sniffed, “but what would he have done 200 years ago? ... Nothing is promised to anyone.”"

200 years ago we didn't have the miracle treatments we have now. And I'll bet that woman would consider herself "pro-life". I'll bet if the mother had found out that her baby had major problems, and she decided to get a late term abortion, this judgmental, nasty excuse for a human being would have prevented her. But as soon as the baby is born, this disgusting woman would kick the mother's baby to the curb. But if this low life gave birth to a baby with a heart defect, she would be begging the rest of us to help her. This is what I see of the radical conservatives.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Seriously, Justin? Do you believe like this woman? Hey, you don't have enough money, so your kid has to die? How is that bitter? There is nothing bitter about it. Disgusted, yes. Embarrassed that humans like this exist. Yes. This woman is an example of why Clinton used the word deplorable. So would you like to defend her? Would you like to tell me why you don't find her deplorable? Or do you just want to make inane comments that contribute nothing?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Still haven't answered my question. Do you agree with the woman who thinks babies should die if their parents don't have enough money? Do you consider health care a right or only a privilege for people with enough money? Simple question. Why are you afraid to answer it?

Will White 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I am not convinced that happens. Hospitals don't turn away people who can't pay, they just don't, and can't. Every Dr. I know worries far more about the patient outcomes than they do about who will pay. Can you provide an example of a hospital refusing service based on inability to pay. Serious question...

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It used to be all too common, as evidenced here in the 1980s: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1646410/pdf/amjph00264-0076.pdf

Laws were changed and this type of dumping greatly diminished, but has not gone away. Much more common these days is deferring needed care until it is very late--maybe too late to do anything about it. Here is a more contemporary examination of how this works: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/living-poor-and-uninsured-in-a-red-state/282881/

Note that this was what Medicaid expansion was designed to address, and our governor vetoed it, jeopardizing the lives of many on the edge as well as the rural health care system.

David Reynolds 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Given Leonard's continued personal attacks, this letter is pure hypocrisy. I believe Leonard should do a little self reflection. As with all the attacks by the left against President Trump, they are all personal attacks, but not many regarding policy.

Thus Leonard is one of the major contributors to the divisiveness in the United States: current example taken from his article above: "My problem wasn’t just that the president is a lying, petty, hateful and incompetent man." If you read Leonard's article without the above sentence & it's short paragraph, you readily see this is just another cheap shot! I believe Leonard is blasting out his own "poor character". His further demeaning of President Trump as abdicating America's world leadership clearly is ignoring Trump's accomplishments. Clearly Trump's agenda is 90 degrees to the Progressive agenda, but that is why he was elected, and why progressives hate him.

Leonard is a major contributor to the divisiveness in the USA today. Leonard, evidently never learned anything about constructive criticism.

I wonder if Leonard ever reads his articles to himself while looking in the mirror.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

But the woman who thinks if you don't have money to treat your child the child should die is a a wonderful human being and not divisive? And using derogatory names for people of other races and ethnic backgrounds isn't divisive, but pointing out that they are rude is? Pointing out the rude behavior of Trump is divisive, but his behavior isn't? Wanting to make sure that Russia isn't influencing our elections is divisive? Wanting to take care of all children in the US is divisive and not "pro-life".

I suppose you would like to live in a country where all of us were as rude and disgusting as these people, but most of us, even many people who voted for Trump, are getting pretty disgusted by the scum, the greed and the racism and sexism of the conservatives.

And you can come back and tell me that you aren't one of the people that Mr. Pitts references in this article, but you do nothing to condemn them. Your leader encourages them. As my mother said, you will be judge by the people you hang out with. And I would rather be judged for hanging out with people like Mr. Pitts, than I would the woman who wants babies with heart conditions to die.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

David, Leonard's saying "My problem wasn't just that the president is a lying, petty, hateful and incompetent man." is merely an observation. Do you really need me to point out many examples of where Trump fits these descriptors? Surely not. Pitts does not say that Trump NEVER tells the truth, is always petty, hateful and incompetent, but when he is, those are real problems. Pointing out the problem is something that is legitimate commentary, just as pointing out his strengths. Sorry you want to blinder it all to just praise--that's never been the American way.

Justin Hoffman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Murderous hell holes like inner city Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago, all controlled by liberals are'nt contributing to unity either.

Bob Summers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

People under the influence of the Liberal gene are the antithesis to a civil society. Everywhere you look they are rioting, terrorizing, robbing, trespassing, murdering one another, giving sanctuary to criminals, etc etc etc

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ah, but everybody is under the influence of that pernicious, sneaky genetic inheritance according to your earlier post.....

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The constant blather and bleeting from fools on this forum screaming "LBERAL.LIBERAL, LIBERAL with every breath are sufficient proof of the problems in the country. When a political group is harassed and attacked by these fools with this stupid and ignorant chant, it exposes much about the sanity and disgusting thought processes of these individuals.

IT IS NOT ILLIGAL OR IMMORAL TO BE OF A "LIBERAL" MIND SET As most of the 'CONSERVATIVE, CONSERVATIVE, CONSERVATIVE followers seem to imagine.

Justin......you need to find some other rational and reasonable thought processes.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"...And there is another type of Caps Lock user who doesn't capitalize whole sentences but INSTEAD capitalizes a few SPECIFIC words for EMPHASIS. Now read a sentence like that aloud, shouting every time you come to a capitalized word, and tell me you do not sound like an absolute freakin' lunatic. This method can turn even basic known facts into crazy-sounding gibberish ("The SQUARE of the HYPOTENUSE of a RIGHT triangle equals the SUM of the squares of the OTHER two sides")..." https://pjmedia.com/blog/tips-for-not-appearing-crazy-on-the-internet/

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 2 weeks ago

There is a caps lock?? Gads!!!! I have been using duct tape to hold the "shift" key down!!! Seems to work most of the time.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Fred, there's no need for you to pretend to be more obtuse than you actually are.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Nor you to pretend to be more clever than you are.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Back off the grammar crap, Bob, and Bob, and Justin. None of your criticism of writing style addresses the issue, one of which you all have shown absolutely no understanding or ability to address. Get off that bandwagon and try to come up with something that addresses the very real things Pitts says. Really.

Paul Beyer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Haven't had chance to read Mr Pitts column yet, but that's is my next chore. Based on the wild rants on this forum about what he said, obviously it was dead on.

Larry Sturm 1 month, 2 weeks ago

If the people on here weren't so racists and bigoted they could see that over 90% of what Leonard pointed out was right.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Name-calling is the lowest form of debate. You've proven that many times.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Then refute it, Bob, and quit casting innuendo around. Try saying something that redefines racism and bigotry so that it does not apply to Trump and a host of his supporters. Bet you can NOT do that, at least not rationally.

Caps added as emphasis, which is grammatically allowed, in case you wondered.

Armen Kurdian 1 month, 2 weeks ago

How convenient you left out the left-wing violence as of late. Maybe try to be a little more impartial in the future. If not, you are dead-on endemic of the very problem you speak of Mr. Pitts, in which case, call yourself out as someone who should be marginalized. That might be the most useful thing you could do for your readers.

Steve Jacob 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Looked like an interesting column from the headline. Saw it was from Pitts and ignored it. From reading some of the comments others should follow my lead.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Is there a conservative on this site that is willing to answer this question. Do you think that if a baby is born with a treatable heart condition, not caused by the mother's lifestyle or genetics, just one of those things that happen in the womb, should not be treated if the parents have no insurance or enough money to pay for the surgery. A simple question. Two possible answers: 1. Yes, we should help this baby and her parents. 2. No, if you don't have the money, too bad.

If this is divisive, so be it. Greed has overcome this country. We have a governor in New Jersey, who shuts down the state beaches, but takes his family there for vacation for a "royal" holiday away from the peons. And when he is criticized he says. “That’s just the way it goes,” Mr. Christie said. “Run for governor, and you can have a residence.” This residence if paid for by New Jersey tax payers. It is their residence. His salary is paid by tax payers, but he thinks he is some kind of royalty. That he is above all the peons. Are we going to stand for these creeps who want to create an aristocracy? Or are we going to fawn all over them?

Marc Wilborn 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Dorothy

The baby should receive whatever medical care is necessary to save and support its life just any other should receive.

Answer this question - please explain how we afford this medical care?

Also, it was reported today that neither Schumer or Pelosi have any intentions to be "bipartisan" so no cooperation there.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"Answer this question - please explain how we afford this medical care?"

Well, glad you asked, Marc, because that's the question of the day. Health care. And one answer is the same type of single payer health care that most civilized nations provide for their citizens. Another is to not back off Medicaid. There are lots of partial answers, but your comment was made to imply that nothing can be done for this kid, or for the millions who face tragedy because your government isn't allowed to carry out one of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution: provide for the common welfare of its citizens.

And it's funny, really comical, that you are upset that Pelosi, et al, are uncooperative because, up to now, your cronies in the House and Senate have provided nothing with which to cooperate, and have repeatedly left the bill-writing chore to a core of goons and left out nearly everyone else, including not even inviting the Dems to participate. Bipartisan, indeed.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

So Marc, you see the necessity of providing necessary medical care and also see the quandary of funding it, right? I say that the Republicans and Democrats are BOTH without satisfactory answers to that quandary, at least partly because they are too afraid of falling out of favor with their leadership and party financiers; hence the endless stalemate. I don't know what will be the answer to the issues of rising medical bills and limited access to healthcare services, but I DO know that neither party can find any viable answers without working closely with each other. There needs to be a real citizens revolt that demands that both sides work together or they'll get thrown out, instead of the current policy of not working together or they'll get thrown out.

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