Monday, May 25, 2020

Letter to the Editor: A Response to Tarik Ayasun’s Editorial

 

 

One of the great things about the American nation is the diversity and breadth of its media. It’s so great that a piece like “November 8th: A most important day” can enjoy a full page spread in local press, merely by convincing the editor of its worth. (Coastal Breeze, Page A10, October 28). The author’s patriotic emotions are admirable, and I can only echo his call to all citizens to get out and vote in an informed manner.

I am puzzled; however, that the author professes no interest in politics, and then proceeds to bombard us with a one-sided simplistic political diatribe directed at those whose political leadership he dislikes. Apparently our author doesn’t really politics so long as the political forces in play are ones he likes, performing actions with which he agrees!

To claim that the media is “the most deplorable ever assembled in the history of America” does not hold up in historical perspective. Journalistic bias started in colonial-era media. The use of unsubstantiated innuendo directed at important political figures at the end of the 18th Century provides object lessons for young journalists today. For example, James Callendar single-handedly won the 1800 election for Jefferson through smearing Adams. His only mistake was being found guilty of libel, but only after the election. In other examples, the Spanish-American war is widely held to have been started by an overreach of ‘biased media,’ while the fictitious writings in the Washington Union during the Polk administration provided journalistic cover for the president’s vision of Manifest Destiny.

In reality, American media today is more diverse than it has ever been. We can get our current affairs through radio, television, internet and social media. There is a greater diversity of American broadcast opinion now than ever before, censored only by the ownership of the publishing media. If we don’t like it, we can change the channel or even set up your own website or podcast; only a few dollars and some hours of our time are in the way.

Then we learn of multiple episodes of “global American humiliation,” where the US has done nothing in response. It is insinuated that a lack of response is perhaps due to ‘antiquated’ weapons systems in desperate need of upgrade. In fact, when it comes to military firepower, the US Navy has firepower that exceeds the next ten navies in the world combined, and all but two of those would generally be considered as allies. The new Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carrier, for example, will have firepower that exceeds the total military capacity of most nations in the world, and this is one part of an existing $81 billion program (larger with inevitable cost overruns) to build 38 new warships. By contrast, Russia has one aircraft carrier, which is very old and travels with its own tugboat, since it breaks down so often! Military drone ability far exceeds that of any other nation, as does satellite technology. However, I believe lack of submarine detection in the Pacific is an emerging threat to American hegemony.

So, we learn of the apparently desperate state of our military, but which weapons systems are ‘desperately in need of an upgrade’?  Or is this rather frustration at a lack of willingness to use existing firepower that leads to a call for yet more money for these systems? But there is no lack of resources if the US is willing to nuke North Korea, or shoot down unarmed Russian aircraft. If reducing a country of starving serfs to radioactive glass is going too far, then it would help to learn what actions would relieve the author’s frustration.

In reality, there are enough problems at home to keep us busy. Consider: The national debt, crumbling infrastructure, an unwieldy tax code written at the behest of lobbyists, lack of affordable health care despite already paying 50% more per head for healthcare than any other nation, gerrymandered politics in a divided nation, and a lack of accountability in political funding. These challenges are more than sufficient to be getting on with at a Federal level.

In Florida, the potential impact of global warming (state employees are forbidden to use the term, because it ‘doesn’t exist’), enormous sinkholes that open up under radioactive uranium and thorium-containing fertilizer slop pits, over-engineered ‘solutions’ to the Lake O problem, fresh- and salt water algal blooms and their collective impacts on tourism and marine industries are just a few of the issues we confront. I submit that its time for some isolationism, because each of these problems is far more important than saber rattling in the Pacific and South Asia.

Sincerely,
Andrew Tyler
Marco Island

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