The epitome of obscenity

Dear editor:

In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously refused to define obscenity.  Instead, he responded with these words:  “But I know it when I see it…”  A few Sundays back, in a front-page story in this newspaper, we all saw it and we all know it.  American politics has become an obscenity.

Seems that a first-term “representative” of the Arkansas Fourth Congressional District – one of our public “servants” – has raised more than two million dollars to run for re-election.  If that smells a bit swampy to you, your olfactory sensibilities are fully intact.  Consider these facts.  The Fourth Congressional District spans 33 counties, about the southwestern half of the state.  Except for Bradley County east of Camden, with around 11 thousand souls, the per capita income in every other county is less than 19 thousand dollars.  In 26 of those 33 counties, the per capita income is less than 16 thousand dollars, with the poorest being Scott County just north of Mena on the Oklahoma border.  There, the per capita income is less than 14 thousand dollars.

Now, if you really think that these are the same good, salt-of-the-earth folks who cheerfully donated that two million dollars – to a first-term “representative” who is hardly Mr. Smith goes to Washington – then I’d like to sell you a beachfront condo in Kabul!  We all know unaccountable “dark money” is involved, especially in support of GOP candidates.  If this is news to you, I’d suggest you look away now from “fair and balanced” propaganda, before it’s too late.  You’ve got some serious catching up to do…

Do you think politics is a sporting event, where the candidate who raises the most will best “represent” you?  Do you think the other candidate is unforgivably unqualified because she has less financial backing?  Or is there something uglier going on here?  Is it because she is a woman?  A Democrat?  Is it because she’s not a full-time politician but a public school teacher, working hard to prepare new American generations for a world that is fast a-changing, even within the 33 counties of the Fourth District?

Money won’t buy my vote.  I will vote for the candidate who best represents not just me and mine, but also the least among us regardless of financial or social standing.  Without hesitation, my vote is for Hayden Shamel.

Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas

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  1. I just submitted this to our local paper, the Sentinel Record. Begrudgingly, on advice from people I respect and support, I removed the paragraph I liked best (also the meanest, most confrontational, bring-on-the-crazies paragraph). Here’s a slightly variant version I posted on social media just now, for your bemusement…

    For my few remaining GOP and/or evangelical friends…

    Trump and his angry mob of sycophants promised to “drain the swamp.” Instead, they created a restless cesspool of hypocrisy and moral poverty that ignores real poverty all around us.

    Are voters really so eager to wallow in this shallow filth? Let’s make it personal. Are YOU really so eager to swagger a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Christian, faux patriotism – wholly manufactured and financed by dark money – that you will vote for GOP-slash-Christian “representatives” who spend most of their time chasing cash for the next election, and the next after that?

  2. Finally! Today, Tuesday June 5, 2018, the Sentinel Record printed my letter under the title “Vote not for sale”… Coincidentally, I re-sent the letter to the editor just two days earlier, this time cc’ing the paper’s Lifestyle Editor, along with the following commentary:

    Apparently my infrequent letters to the editor always manage to get stuck in a purgatorial queue somewhere, while the prattling preachery and mind-numbingly stupid vulgarities of Brother Lloyd and Sister Mary get printed with astonishing regularity. I first submitted this (see attached and below) two weeks ago today. I am re-sending in the hope that you will either print it, or explain why you will not, or cannot.

    And as long as I’m complaining, why does the SR insist on printing Bradley R. Glitz’s stuck-in-the-1950s screeds against non-existent commie bogeymen? Does he get paid by the word?! His pieces are mind-numbingly long. And his last, where he recommends reading war criminal Henry “anything that files on everything that moves” Kissinger as a way to understand international politics, was surely one of his worst. Is he a personal friend of yours? Is he featured as regularly in any newspapers other than those owned by the ADG empire?

    I guess the Sentinel-Record reflects the general tea-party regression of American society in general (and Arkansas in particular). It’s a shame, because when I first moved here in 1994, it was a much more middle-of-the-road newspaper. You have tilted so far right that the editorial page especially is a complete mockery of your so-called “Core Values” – to give the news impartially, without fear or favor. All that noble language about uncovering the news and the pursuit of truth rings hollow, particularly when your opinion pages are overwhelmingly right-wing and sometimes veer into areas of slander and overt bigotry. It is telling that you do not provide email addresses for Dr. Glitz or Jim Davidson. Were you to do so, I’m sure they would abundantly receive the same famous message the late, great Peter Finch delivered in Sidney Lumet’s 1976 movie “Network”…

    Please try again to find the space to print my letter to the editor of Sunday, 5/20/18. Sincerely,

    [Jacques d’Nalgar]
    Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Now, whether that had anything to do with the soon-after appearance of my letter, I guess we’ll never really know, but it’s fun to think I may have rattled a few cages and rocked a few boats…

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