To the editor:
Our copy of the Daily News frequently arrives with yet another column penned by the Editor, Bob Eschliman. I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about his upbringing, his education, his religious preferences, and especially his politics. Like any columnist, he has a right to his opinions. On March 5, however, under the guise of publishing a book review, he crossed the line that separates his personal opinions from his function as editor. As one of the (mostly) silent progressives in Newton, I must object both to the content and to the spirit of the March 5 column.
First, Eschliman praises Limbaugh wannabe Steve Deace, author of yet another “liberals are destroying the country” book, as though he were the greatest thing since sliced bread, instead of an echo of hateful people like Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. Deace’s title “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again,” contains the dubious contention that only conservatives can be considered authentic Americans. My progressive acquaintances who have served in America’s wars from Europe and the Pacific to Afghanistan, including my own son, would take issue with such a ridiculous premise.
This framing of the meaning of “patriot,” however, is only a preview of rules three, seven, and eight of Deace’s “Ten Commandments.” Those rules correctly reveal the radical right’s tactic of framing political conversation in ways that admit of only one interpretation of language, theirs. Progressives have missed the boat on this, as the neurolinguist George Lakoff has frequently noted. But we’re catching up.
Rules two, four, six, nine and 10 add to Deace’s distortions, as reported by Eschliman. Underlying all five, half of the ten, is the explicit assumption that politics is warfare, with the goal of winning at all costs. This is indeed the assumption followed by radical groups, such as the Tea Party, and it has created chaos in the country. On the contrary, the purpose of politics is to utilize the techniques of investigation, dialogue, and compromise to bring about the greatest good for the nation as a whole. Compromise is anathema to radicals, and Deace knows it. Yet compromise is the only way the country can work.
It is rule one, however, that ought to be giving pause to citizens of goodwill. “Never attack what you are not willing to kill”? What does that mean, exactly?
Certainly it must mean the politics of personal destruction, now de rigeur for all radicals of whatever party. Ho Hum. “Sticks and stones.....” But I wonder: Since his election by a majority of Americans, not once but twice, radicals have attacked President Obama unrelentingly. Does this mean that we should expect an assassination attempt before the end of 2016?
Editor Eschliman should publish an apology and a retraction. Shaw Media should make it clear to Jasper County readers that Eschliman’s unalloyed fawning over a radical right-wing radio commentator does not represent corporate policy.
Cleveland Eugene Bryant