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I just sent this letter to the editor to my local newspaper:

Although I disagree with his politics, I always read Nate Smith’s letters to the editor because he expresses his ideas in a clear, thoughtful manner and gives me something to think about.

In his letter Saturday (“Obama’s insulting arrogance”), though, Mr. Smith lost perspective. He is upset that the singer Beyoncé performed the national anthem at President Obama’s inauguration. Mr. Smith’s complaint is that after Mitt Romney’s defeat in November, Beyoncé posted the message “TAKE THAT MITCHES” on a social media site and therefore was a poor choice to sing the anthem because “mitches” rhymes with a naughty word. Mr. Smith calls President Obama hypocritical because Beyoncé performed the anthem even though the president seeks less name-calling in politics.

We should not, however, forget that during the president’s first four years in office, he was subject to criticism that makes “mitches” mild in comparison. Locally, during the presidential campaign, the president was targeted by “America vs. Obama” campaign signs, which implied the president is not American but rather an “other,” an outsider. Opponents claimed he was born in Kenya (another “other”) and that he was a Muslim—a racist claim because it implies followers of Islam also are “others” less worthy of respect than American Christians.

He continually was accused of being a socialist, a Communist, and all manner of other names more offensive than “mitches.” Speaking of “insulting arrogance,” there was Rep. Joe Wilson shouting “You lie!” at the president during the 2010 State of the Union address.

When I was growing up, my mother told me that if I ignored people who called me names, they would go away. Perhaps if the American people (through their media surrogates) would ignore political name-calling, our elected officials would realize that cheap, self-serving political grandstanding is in no one’s best interest. Perhaps then they could get down to the hard work of making America a better place for all of us.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
You beat me to it - although my reply was going to be a little less cerebral. I wanted to tell Mr. Smith that I don't know what an Instagram is, and that I was not aware of Beyonce's egregious insult using that format until he informed me of it. If this supposed insult was so bad, then don't you think there would have been some public outcry? I just don't think that many people heard about it, or even cared.
I actually thought "TAKE THAT MITCHES" was rather clever. But that having been said, I think it just reflects the overall coarsening of our society. I mean, people drive around with bumper stickers that say "My kid had sex with your honor student." They wear hats that say "I'd slap you, but shit splatters." They put silhouettes of nude, busty women on the back of their pickup trucks, and hang large faux-testicles from the trailer hitches. And Nate is getting all worked up about some pop singer saying something that rhymes with a "bad" word? Sheesh!
Jan. 28th, 2013 12:03 am (UTC)
Methinks he didst protest too much.
Jan. 28th, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
Perfection. You, sir, should be a columnist.
Jan. 29th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
Thanks, Sam. I used to pretend I was one.
Jan. 29th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC)
Sorry, but I have a hard time getting past the .."clear and thoughtful manner" of idea expression, as I hear enough of it on Tuesday evenings @ 101 E. State Street. Having said that, you hit the nail squarely on the head. I could not agree more.
Jan. 29th, 2013 11:45 pm (UTC)
Please note I didn't say his ideas were thoughtful.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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