Daily Letters

A selection of letters received.

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July 20, 2004

The irony is heartbreaking

Dear George:

My parents escaped from Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War and I was born and raised in the United States. My maternal grandfather, whom I never met, died in one of Stalin's Soviet labour camps, my other grandfather, a priest, was simply killed for his beliefs. Three of my uncles were killed under Stalin, another spent three years in a Nazi prison camp. Our family knew what the Cold War was about and which side we were on. My mother was a lifelong Republican and remained so until the day she died. One of my most vivid childhood memories is the toast that was raised at every holiday to the United States, to the country that had taken us in and given us a new start in life. When I moved to Massachusetts to go to graduate school, I became one of the few registered Republicans in the state.

I never thought that the United States would come to be ruled by ideologues who have debased the public discourse and turned the national conversation into empty slogans, but that is what has happened. I never thought that an American political party could simply turn its back on science and the environment, but that is what has happened. I never thought that the party of Abraham Lincoln could become the party of hatred, intolerance, and divisiveness, but that is what has happened. I never thought that the United States was capable of attacking a country on false pretenses, a country that did not pose an urgent threat, but that is what has happened. I never thought that an American administration would actively work to deny people due process and access to the legal system. I never thought that Americans were capable of employing methods of torture in the name of “liberation.” During your presidency, I have for the first time in my life felt the chill of what it means to live in a state ruled by an ideological party at odds with much of the world as well as with large segments of its own citizenry. The irony is heartbreaking.

Alice
Age 45
Cleveland

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