Gaddis: Recent Opinions don’t ‘promote informed discourse’


Remember those chain letters we all received from time to time not so long ago? You know, the ones that demanded us to copy and send that very letter to a specified number of recipients or else something unpleasant or even drastic could happen? When I opened the Opinion page of the June 12 Daily State News and read the title, “Are citizens rejecting both major parties?” and the byline, I had that exact feeling of annoyance as when I would receive a chain letter: Oh, no, not again.

Joe Smyth has recycled the same article I don’t know how many times now. Juxtaposing paragraphs, changing the wording here and there, and mentioning a new election interest website cannot disguise the fact that the content of every column is pretty much the same combination of whining, misinformation and half-truths that do nothing to promote informed discourse leading to successful problem solving in our country today. Just to mention a few topics, to wit:

“Our two-party system is tearing our country apart.” No, Mr. Smyth, systems do not tear anything asunder, but people are very good at destroying whatever doesn’t serve their own purposes. As you yourself point out, systems can and should be expanded, improved or radically redesigned to suit changing needs. However, a leader and his or her followers bent on achieving powers and great wealth at any cost can turn our world upside down all too easily. Starting some 16 years ago with birtherism, our populace has been subjected to fantastical conspiracy theories and out-and-out lies designed to secure political footing. An opportunistic media company and “bad actor” supporters (mostly unidentified until relatively recently) have pushed our election and judicial processes to the brink of destruction, which, sad to say, seems to be the ultimate goal.

“The lesser of two evils” myth. This false equivalency canard ignores a gulf as wide as the Pacific Ocean between the differing ideologies of these two candidates and parties. This is easily proven, particularly by the list of legislation and programs proposed by the Democrats and defeated by Republicans simply to give former President Donald Trump “usable” issues to defeat President Joe Biden, no matter what the cost to real people.

“Most Americans aren’t far right or far left.” This statement is true but avoids mentioning that moderates are no longer tolerated by the GOP. Look up the egregious defeat of the bipartisan immigration bill designed by a GOP senator, who was then manipulated into calling even presenting it for a vote a political stunt to ensure its demise. This does make one wonder how long it will be before rhythmic applause a la North Korea will become the standard greeting for Mr. Trump; there is already a rigidly followed dress code (see pictures of the recent congressional visit to New York City). The Dems seem fractious in comparison because they truly are a big tent for all points of view.

While the few promising websites named in this article need to be reviewed and strengthened during the next four years, the continued naivete about nolabels.org is depressing. Despite its good legislative efforts, the group desperately wanted to play in the election as a political party but just as desperately refused to follow rules (such as, “Whose money is this, anyway?”), in addition to never having any specific policies or even a platform. Talking about a “unity ticket” is akin to talking about “Infrastructure Week.” The fact that the experienced politician Joe Manchin — whose ego is reputed to have no limit — walked away from No Labels reveals the total lack of structure other than strong public relations talent.

But what frightens and angers me the most about all these articles is the utter absence of any encouragement or even a reminder to citizens of our democratic nation to fulfill their sacred responsibility — to review the existing candidates and their policies, make a judgment call and vote. We should all research Mr. Biden’s past efforts, promises and accomplishments in light of what he hopes to accomplish during a second term. Citizens must be made aware that Mr. Trump has publicly praised The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, placing almost all government functions and personnel under the executive branch and thus destroying the separation of powers designed by the Founders.

Constant complaining has no power because it is pointless — only the vote has power. How many millions around the world have died to have this power? And yet, it is not even mentioned in these articles!

The constant drumbeat of the “Big Lie” of 2020 has enticed millions of people to follow “Pied Piper” Trump as he captured an entire political party. He now openly aims for having the whole country for himself for the foreseeable future.

We must remember that the original fairytales were actually very dark; those who followed the entrancing music into the cave were never seen again. Let this not be the case for our democracy.

Janis Gaddis


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