Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Here’s what to read from the left and the right this week | Commentary

Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
In this Aug. 3, 2019, photo, Texas state police cars block the access to the Walmart store in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter says Tuesday, Sept. 3, that it will be discontinuing the sale of short-barrel and handgun ammunition. [ANDRES LEIGHTON  |  Associated Press]
In this Aug. 3, 2019, photo, Texas state police cars block the access to the Walmart store in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter says Tuesday, Sept. 3, that it will be discontinuing the sale of short-barrel and handgun ammunition. [ANDRES LEIGHTON | Associated Press]
Published Sep. 8, 2019

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections. Jim Verhulst of the Tampa Bay Times editorial board compiled these summaries.

FROM THE LEFT

From “What If Trump Supporters Love Chaos as Much as He Does?” by Ed Kilgore in New York Magazine.

The context, from the author: Evidence that a significant share of Trump supporters are as nihilistic and destructive as Donald Trump himself supplies a sort of Occam’s-razor answer to all the questions about why they put up with him: His worst traits are a feature, not a bug, for those who take pleasure in chaos.

The excerpt: It would appear that appeals to sweet reason, or even to self-interest, will produce limited results. Maybe it’s enough to drive Trump and his enablers from office, but the longer he’s there, Americans addicted to the chaos he embodies will want more.

From “Open Borders Must Be Part of Any Response to the Climate Crisis,” by Ben Ehrenreich in The Nation.

The context, from the author: This is just the beginning—of the climate crisis, and the political unravelings that will continue to accompany it. And so, it is time to shout, and loudly, that the freedom of all the earth’s people to move across borders must be at the center of any response to the climate crisis. Unless we do, racism and fear — hidden as always in the guise of “security” — will give way to fascism and war before the tides get a chance to drown us.

The excerpt: The metaphor misleads. There’s no lifeboat, just a getaway car, and if you think you’re riding in it, you’re probably wrong. If we are to survive as a species, we must know that no boat can save us except the one we build together. Oil fracked in North Dakota melts glaciers in Greenland and Nepal. Jungle cleared in Indonesia brings drought to Washington and Guatemala, fires to Greece and California, and storms that spread death from Honduras to the Florida Panhandle. Solidarity across all geopolitical boundaries — with one another and against the tiny segment of the planet’s population that is profiting off our demise — is our only hope. Borders can offer no “security,” only a plan for murder-suicide, a delusion that gets more deadly with each passing day.

From “Democrats Need to Decide Whether They Care About Muslim Voters,” by Nick Martin in the New Republic.

The context, from the author: Candidates have been cautious when it comes to openly courting American Muslim voters. Such hollow politics hail from an earlier era, and may cost them dearly.

The excerpt: The problem for American Muslims isn’t one of being able to assert themselves in the nation’s political system. They’ve successfully accomplished that without the establishment’s help and will continue to do so. The issue arises in trying to convince those at the Democratic National Committee to relax into the new era, even if only fractionally, and give their communities not just lip service, but actual consideration.

FROM THE RIGHT

From “Walmart’s Retreat on Guns Means Woke Capitalism Is Here to Stay,” by David French in the National Review.

The context, from the author: My first job was selling guns at Walmart. ... So I was more interested than most to read about Walmart’s latest retreat from the firearms business. ... A company born and bred in deep-red America was decisively breaking with the culture that was indispensable in making Walmart the mightiest retailer in the land.

The excerpt: Woke capital is here to stay, and Walmart proves it. At first glance, Walmart’s decision is mystifying. What’s next? NASCAR going all-Prius to save the planet? Even if you grant the reality that Walmart has grown far beyond its original red-state base, why would the company want to alienate half their customer base? But that’s old America-style thinking. This is new America, and new America is in the grips of profound negative polarization. “Negative polarization” means, simply, that Americans who participate in politics are motivated more by distaste (more like disgust) for the other side than they are by any particular affection for their own. Indeed, affection for politicians on your own side is often dependent on the level of disgust they can display for your opposition.

From “Dems Propose First Gun Grab Since Lexington And Concord,” by David Harsanyi in The Federalist.

The context, from the author: The media should stop using absurdly lazy phrases like “mandatory gun buybacks.” Unless the politician they’re talking about is in the business of selling firearms, it’s impossible for him to “buy back” anything. No government official — not Joe Biden, not Beto O’Rourke, not any of the candidates who now support “buyback” programs — has ever sold firearms. What Democrats propose can be more accurately described as “the first American gun confiscation effort since Lexington and Concord,” or some variation on that theme.

The excerpt: Like “Medicare for all,” and other vaguely positive sounding policies, once voters learn what specifics entail, those numbers tend to settle along the usual partisan lines. If you think you’re going to have overwhelming support for “mandatory gun buybacks” when people learn that you’re really talking about “the confiscation of 20 million guns,” you’re fooling yourself.

From “Trump’s Base Fooled by Phony Populism? Hardly,” by Alan Tonelson in the American Conservative.

The context, from the author: New data shows the president’s battleground state voters have done very well economically since he took office.

The excerpt: The leading sign (looking at counties that voted twice for Obama, then for Trump is that) in 130 of the 203 Trump flip counties in question, average annual salaries rose faster during the two years Trump has been in office than during the last two Obama years. That’s 64 percent of them.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Thousands of trees line the Hillsborough River near Wilderness park in Hillsborough County in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Many of Florida’s problems originate with that ‘motto,’ writes historian Gary Mormino.
  2. First meeting of U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King, Jr. and their two wives — Patricia Nixon and Coretta Scott King — during Independence Day celebrations in Accra, Ghana, on March 6, 1957, on the tails of the end of the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. It was the first trip to Africa of all of them. [Photo by Griff Davis on assignment as U.S. Foreign Service Officer by U.S. Information Service (USIS). Copyright and courtesy of Griffith J. Davis Photographs & Archives.]
    Griff Davis’ daughter recounts how the photographer and Foreign Service officer captured a famous photo of King and Richard Nixon.
  3. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman speak at a summit held by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Resiliency Coalition this month in St. Petersburg. [LANGSTON TAYLOR  |  Times staff]
    Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman should lead an effort for robust regional transit.
  4. Vehicle traffic is seen along Bayshore Boulevard at a crosswalk at South Dakota Avenue in Tampa. Pedestrian-activated beacons installed earlier this month started flashing Wednesday morning at three intersections along South Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard.
    A bill would end the confusion and save lives by making crosswalk signals red.
  5. A scientist studies DNA. [iStockphoto.com] [File photo]
    A bill before the Legislature would properly ban life insurers and others from profiting off your genetic information.
  6. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years. [Paula Dockery]
    Providing affordable health care, fixing state prisons and spending more on the environment should be priorities, the columnist writes.
  7.  [LISA BENSON  |  Lisa Benson -- Washington Post Writers Group]
  8. In this image from video, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., swears in Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the presiding officer for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. [AP]
    Here’s what readers have to say in Friday’s letters to the editor.
  9. Yuma, the Florida panther cub, explores his new enclosure at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. [DAMASKE, JIM  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Road projects that would endanger the state animal have not undergone proper review, writes an environmentalist.
  10. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, discusses a bill during Monday's Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee meeting at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) [PHIL SEARS  |  AP]
    Sen. Tom Lee’s committee has approved modest efforts to expand background checks to include more gun buyers. That’s the least the Legislature should do.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement