Is it possible to stay on topic?

Regarding the letter, “Care to protest in North Korea?”: Norman Colbert starts off reasonably enough with only a minor error. He expresses his disagreement with a guest column opposing development of new Trident submarine capabilities by Richard C. Hall, M.D. According to the commentary, however, its author is David C. Hall.

Colbert offers some faint praise to the current administration, since it has not reduced the nation’s current nuclear capabilities.

These are the kinds of discussions we need on an issue critical to the whole world. If Colbert had stopped there or stayed on the topic, I would judge this a positive exchange of ideas. Unfortunately, his letter turns personal.

He suggests that if Dr. Hall protested in other countries with nuclear capabilities, he might be deported for his opinion, while in America he has freedom of speech. This strikes me as another version of “America — Love it or Leave it” where we are counseled that, since we have the First Amendment and dictatorships don’t, we should be so grateful that we don’t use the First Amendment to criticize what we oppose in America. Huh?

The final paragraph is simply an attack on Dr. Hall. Without citing a shred of evidence, Colbert “suspects” that Dr. Hall is the modern equivalent of a draft dodger (translation: He’s unpatriotic) who considers himself “superior” to our veterans, and is a member of the “intelligentsia” that serves as a fifth column undermining America — all the while enjoying a level of personal success that is protected by our nuclear umbrella (translation: His social class and education prevent Dr. Hall from being considered a regular American.)

The emphasis on class and education is clear. It sounds like a classic talk radio screed where opponents are dismissed not on the merits or failings of their positions, but as disloyal eggheads who succeed on the backs of regular Americans.

By the end, whatever reasonable arguments Colbert proffered are lost in the thicket of personal attack. It’s just becoming harder and harder to have civil policy disagreements these days.

Francis J. Lynch


Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Monday, Dec. 11

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Susanna Johnson delivers preliminary election results stating she is in the lead for the Snohomish County Sheriff 2023 election at 230 Ave B. in Snohomish, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Editorial: Incoming sheriff seeks outreach to strengthen trust

Susanna Johnson, a 30-year veteran of the agency, is emphasizing professionalism and transparency.

Comment: Where have you gone, Archie Bunker?

‘All in the Family’ might not make it on TV now, but we need that shared space it offered to left and right.

Eco-Nomics: Snohomish PUD turning a light on climate success

The public electric utility is leading in efforts to aid in our transition to emission-free energy.

Comment: More work needed after mixed report on State of Sound

The Puget Sound Partnership’s latest report points to areas of the environment that need our efforts.

Climate protestors are removed after interrupting a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the 24th Jacques Polak Research Conference at the International Monetary Fund on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Comment: Taking financial interest in costs of climate crisis

Chairman Jerome Powell says the Fed is not a climate policymaker. Here’s exactly why it should be.

Thanks to Nehring, Mead for Building Bridges effort

I want to give a huge thank you to Snohomish County Council… Continue reading

The Everett City Council approved a $375,000 settlement Wednesday with a former firefighter who alleged racist harassment went unaddressed in the department.
Editorial: Fosse shouldn’t have to choose between elected roles

The Everett City Council can bar its members from other offices, but should not do so retroactively.

Ben Ramirez is doused with water by teammates after the AquaSox beat the Emeralds to clinch a playoff berth on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023, in Everett. (Photo provided by AquaSox)
Editorial: City’s $1 million an investment in Everett baseball

Contracts for preliminary work on an AquaSox stadium honor team’s 40 years of family fun and tradition.

civic health white board
Editorial: Improving civic health starts by coming to table

Efforts locally and at the state level seek to counter the incivility that has mired public discourse.

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Dec. 10

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Lynnwood Council’s Binda no different than George Santos

According to the New York Times, the House Ethics Committee concluded that… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.