Toni Morrison exposed with brilliant ferocity the yet-to-be-exorcised evil of racism (“Toni Morrison’s unflinching stare,” Commentary, Aug. 8). At her death, we are reminded of words from her 1993 Nobel Prize address when she declared that oppressive language doesn’t just “represent violence — it is violence.” Today we have a president who weaponizes language on a daily basis. Whomever his intended targets, the toxic air envelops us all in the foul stench of decomposing rot.
In stark contrast, we do well to remember another president who lifted us up. When President John F. Kennedy paid tribute to poet Robert Frost at Amherst College in early October 1963, he noted, “We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” That president revered language and artists, saying, “If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice … make them aware that our nation falls short of its highest potential.”
Oh, to have such an aspirational voice of enlightened leadership speak to us once more.
Barbara Allen Kenney
What a difference
I read the following recently:
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled plans for wide-ranging new restrictions on gun ownership recently, the second set of firearms controls announced since an Australian white supremacist massacred 51 people at two Christchurch mosques. The new measures, a mandatory registry of all guns and a ban on gun purchases by foreign visitors, “would have made it considerably harder for the terrorist to purchase guns in the way he did,” Ardern said. The proposals, she added, will “enshrine in law that owning a firearm is a privilege,” not a right. In the wake of the March 15 attacks, New Zealand banned the sale and possession of semiautomatic weapons.
In the United States, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to call Congress back early to work on gun control.
Open your eyes
“We don’t want to take away from the feel of it being a public event” is a quote from Deputy Chief Ben Valdez in the front-page article regarding security at Indian Market (“Police will have eyes on Indian Market,” Aug. 9). The story says no major security changes are planned. Why announce this? If any of us believe there aren’t white extremists living among us in New Mexico, then we’re naive. This statement is an open invitation to those with evil in their hearts. Yes, law enforcement has had training in case such major violence should erupt, and police will be present, but to announce no major security changes are planned was not the smartest announcement. I hope all those attending our wonderful Indian Market will be safe.
Republican oath of office: I do solemnly swear to do everything in my power to get reelected. I will abandon my principles and betray those who have elected me. I will aid and abet in the destruction of the Constitution, which I swore to uphold. I will look the other way as children are torn from their mothers. I will look the other way as our leader spouts hatred and racism. I will look the other way as he squanders our wealth while enriching himself. I will repeat and shout our leader’s lies. I will take gun money, thereby aiding and abetting in mass murders. I will feign disgust as our citizens are murdered in our streets. I will take the money while our children are murdered in our schools. I have relinquished my soul. So, help me, Donald.
Barry M. Panter, M.D.