The letters/opinion page of the DCI is always a must read for me, both as a barometer of community thought and a source of amusement. The Feb. 27 page was remarkable for both.
Two letters were in response to the prior week's letter from Delta Democratic party leader Gretchen Nicholoff. The one titled "Don't let partisan politics divide the county" (which itself is a divisive partisan political rant) begins by describing Mrs. Nicholoff's innocuous well-mannered letter as "the most radical piece of liberalism I have ever read." It goes on to rave about all sorts of imagined slights to Republicans and includes obligatory references to familiar liberal boogeymen George Soros and demon Hollywood while somehow concocting that the CEO of GE is a tax-dodging Democrat. While GE has off-shored a lot of jobs and done a heckuva job avoiding its tax liabilities, it must be a real shock for Jack Welch and Jefferey Immelt (as red-blooded a pair of Republican monopoly capitalists as you could find) to discover that they were Democrats.
On re-reading Nicholoff's letter, I could find little if anything that had any connection to what Mr. Hotchkiss wrote, and if her support for a higher minimum wage and expanding preschool education is the most radical thing he's ever read I can only suggest he read more.
The other response to Mrs. Nicholoff, by Jay Stooksbury, was even more off the rails. In his diatribe that took up a full third of the opinion page Mr. or Ms. Stooksbury begins by accusing Democrats of "salivating uncontrollably in a response to the 'Pavlovian' effect the minimum wage has on them(?) Wow! no hyperbole there! But Stooksbury does not stop there; in increasingly poor taste he/she takes an example Mrs. Nicholoff uses to illustrate the consequences of a higher minimum wage, blowing it completely out of proportion while accusing her of being "erroneous, misleading and intellectually dishonest." Hey, tell us what you really think! Although Stooksbury accuses Gretchen Nicholoff of "cherry picking data and confusing correlation with causation" to promote a "fallacious argument," it certainly does not prevent him/her from doing precisely that in an overbearingly coarse and rancorous tone that is completely uncalled for. The fact that a preponderance of studies and economists have determined that raising the minimum wage does not affect job loss and in fact would provide much- needed demand to the economy is apparently a non-issue with this writer and the fact that Walmart can pass along the societal costs of underpaying its employees while pocketing their profits also appears to escape him/her. The fact is that labor has been receiving an ever-diminishing portion of this economy as the gains have increasingly gone only to the ownership class and a true living wage is absolutely necessary to return income inequality to its rightful balance and the potential to leave one's children better off than yourself a reality.
The letter from Jim Andrews titled "Electorate is not well informed" could not be better illustrated than by the letter of Larry Head regarding climate change. An informed citizen would know that the burning of fossil fuels produces in excess of 18 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year that is already resulting in changes to our environment that, if not addressed soon, make the planet uninhabitable for most species — particularly humans. That the U.S. with 5% of the earth's population produces about 25% of that, putting 15 million tons of particulate a DAY into the atmosphere, is revealing as evolving nations attempt to emulate us. This is not looking good, and those who address this most serious threat to our survival of all time with fart jokes will likely not be remembered fondly by the generations that inherit the worsening effects of their inaction. Which is largely a result of being mis or (un)informed as Mr. Andrews rightly points out, however it becomes readily evident that Mr. Andrews himself is getting specious and unreliable information evinced by his unqualified endorsement of none other than Herman Cain as a voice of reason. Only a very few media outlets provide Mr. Cain a platform as his performance in the Republican primary clown car clearly showed his lack of depth and awareness and only the continued support of Koch brothers funding keeps him in his diminishing spotlight.
The bottom line is that in this community, far too many people listen to a constant repetitious barrage of right-wing propaganda on talk radio and the somewhat toned down version offered by FOX. This venomous bile is a poison to polite political discussion and the democratic process, and used to be balanced by the fairness provision that required equivalent opposing views on the public air. This misinformation is responsible for both the lack of facts and meaning in our political discourse today as well as the meanness and ill- tempered rancor that pervades it. That an innocuous and well-meant letter of support for children and poor people by Gretchen Nicholoff would be pilloried and defamed by anyone in this community is shameful.
George Robert Davis