Saturday, May 20, 2017

An Insurmountable Divide

These days I find myself writing less on this blog and curating interesting material more. In that spirit, I offer the following letters from Star readers.

The first one suggests the necessity of engaging the other side of the Trump polarity, while the ones that follow show why that is never likely to happen:
Re: New doc aims to take down Donald Trump, May 18

No matter how persuasive a Michael Moore documentary might be, he will never convince Trump’s hardcore supporters, now estimated at more than 30 per cent of the American population, that Trump is guilty of anything except standing up to the left-wing media and intellectual elites.

They see Moore is just one more “libtard,” “leftie” or any other of the pejoratives they save for anyone who disagrees with their personal issues. Moore unfortunately is destined to preach only to the already converted, and I doubt he will have any effect whatsoever on the so-called “unwashed masses” who give whole-hearted support to the embattled president, no matter how outrageous he is.

What is needed is dialogue, not more bear bating. If there is going to be any consensus in American public thinking, we must listen to each other. The extremists on both sides are unwilling. That leaves the large middle group to really sit down and dialogue with each other, one on one, two on two, to hear each other’s concerns and hopes.

We must not only hear, but listen, and I’m not sure there is any politician in the U.S. or Canada, or anywhere else for that matter, who can lead us to the consensus we need.

Are we destined to become more split, more angry and more lacking in cohesion until the system falls prey to dystopia?

Stephen Bloom, Toronto

“Look at the way I’ve been treated. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

These are the words of U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking to the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday.

This says it all about the vain, ignorant and infantile man who occupies the Oval Office.

Trump embarks on his first foreign trip as an embattled and wounded president only four months into office. Not since Richard Nixon in 1974 has a president gone overseas so weakened. At least Nixon was six years into his presidency.

With the victory of Emmanuel Macron in France, western Europe seems to be stabilizing and the European project is safe for now. The wild card in international relations is the United States and its unstable president. And, of course, Vladimir Putin and the meddlesome actions of the Russian government.

Andrew van Velzen, Toronto

Trump asked me to stop Flynn probe, and Manning to remain on active duty, May 17

The fact that a soldier who shared secrets of the U.S. government has had to serve time in prison provides sharp contrast to a man who is perceived to have made improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation within the U.S. government who gets to serve time as president.

Let’s hope he is let out on parole early.

Janet Lemon Williams, Guelph, Ont.

The 1964 movie The Fall of the Roman Empire ends with the prophetic comment: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”

The American Empire is in decline. It will not collapse during the Donald Trump era, but his barefaced lies, managerial incompetence and psychopathic behaviour are accelerating the U.S. downward.

Trump is not a political genius; he is the byproduct of our times: corporate greed, political corruption, technological transformation, wealth inequity, global warming, regional wars, international terrorism, drug cartels, asylum seekers and social media.

Many distraught and disoriented people are willing to support a bombastic leader who promises simple solutions, especially if those solutions exploit prejudicial scapegoating.

Lloyd Atkins, Vernon, B.C.


  1. Atkins last paragraph is particularly insightful, Lorne.

    1. I just reread it, Owen, and I agree.

  2. .. the letters seem quite heartfelt.. very eloquent..

    this is McLuhan territory, Lorne..
    He would see those letters as artifacts even echos
    written by sages..

    We are all looking for the antidote.. to what is very hard to lable or name.. or prove or ease.. that doubt or creeping fear that our lives and the lives of those we love & care about.. or respect.. no matter how we may seem unrelated, or never will meet or talk to.. - .. are ruled by strange & ignorant power consortiums.

    That's an industry & trade that's been around since the advent of prostitution. You know the old 'joke' .. the famous quote attributed to many famous men

    "we know what you are.. of course. What we are haggling over, is your price!" It goes well with the bible statement of all homicide and fraud case investigations.. "follow the money"

    Everyone one of us can describe different specific 'concerns' or issues we are curious to understand.. or even grasp. We can reshape those as blunt eloquent incisive 'questions' .. we can even probe the Edward De Bono lateral thinking concept.. that the answer or solution can be or shall be expressed as the question.. properly stated ..

    Thus any deep dark questions any of us may have regarding Donald Trump et al.. or Justin Trudeau et al .. or any powerful personage snd their coterie, bureaucratic baggage, partisan freight or 'base' .. may actually be 'solveable' or at the very least 'resolvable'.. ie accept that we are being screwed .. or affected by a very dangerous species of parasite ..

    1. The times in which we live, Salamander, in my view, require the constant asking of questions that those in power do not want to answer. The frustrations we feel in not getting any real answers are minor compared to the consequences that would ensue were we to stop asking those questions. If that happens, we will know who has won.