(November 21, 2005)
[Ed. As a reminder to Letter writers: If you want your letters to be published, you must include your first and last names and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]
Milo Clark on John LukacsDear Mr. Clark:
I have enjoyed reading Swans Commentary, in particular several pieces in which you discuss the writings of John Lukacs. Lukacs has been my favorite historian for 30 years now, and I have been privileged to have corresponded with him for several years. We had lengthy discussions while he was writing Democracy and Populism. I do agree with you that he is like a "wise uncle."
I thought that you might appreciate an article I wrote recently, which encompasses much of what Lukacs and I discussed, including inspirations and enlarged understandings I got from his writing (although he is a far better writer than I). You can read the article, "Evangelical Nationalism and the Four Horsemen: Religion and Populism, Fear and Nationalism," at http://www.dickrussell.org/articles/foote.htm.
With much regards,
Los Angeles, California, USA - November 13, 2005
Love it or leave it satire: Gilles d'Aymery's The American Experiment, Really?To the Editor:
I believe Mr. Brown was writing satire in his letter of Oct. 31. His concluding sentence gives it away:
"A majority of the American people wisely chose a great leader. Can't the nay-sayers accept that wisdom? I guess they can't...but we will prevail...and they will end up in history's landfills."
Kimball, Nebraska, USA - November 8, 2005
I have to admit I didn't know what I was getting into when I submitted "The Tenor Of Our Times" to SWANS. I'd read a couple of the articles in the then-current issue and found them good, but after mine came out I looked into the archives and read "The American Experiment, Really?" I was expecting something good, but not like this. I must say, the depth and power of the writing knocked me over.
You were able to clarify and articulate aspects of U.S. culture about which I had only vaguely formulated inklings. Your perceptiveness about this country is on a par with de Tocqueville's, but your writing has more heart than his. I can feel your sadness about this nation that could have been so much more. You give us an elegy to failed hopes.
I think one of the reasons you can confront the truth is you didn't grow up here. You missed the childhood rituals of patriotism that cause us to connect the nation we live in with our family and then with God -- the founding fathers, our own father, and the heavenly Father all joined in patriarchy. Because of this emotional indoctrination, we react to any criticism of the country as an attack on our family. This hurts our feelings on a deep personal level, so we reject it, convinced it can't be true. We just tune it out. It's too threatening to us. And if these ideas do sift through our mind filters, the mass media provide lots of entertainment and enemies to distract us from them.
Thanks for giving an antidote, bitter as it may be for us to swallow, to this indoctrination. It's only when we can see a situation for what it is that we can change it.
William T. Hathaway
Oldenburg, Germany - November 9, 2005
We appreciate and welcome your comments. Please, sign your e-mail with your name AND add your city, state, country, address and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country. Send your comments to the Editor. (Letters may be shortened and edited)