Letter to a Friend

Yeah, kind of sucks about Derrida. I suppose that’s why he planned on canceling.

I agree with you. I think that Nader would be the best candidate for President give or take a couple of things. I just saw him speak a few nights ago at the Ithaca theatre. It got a little loose at the end, because of the Kerry protestors. I never thought I'd live to see protestors at a Nader lecture.

I've given this honest, venerable thought but I can't get it together. This is the closest I can come. I believe both candidates stance on abortion is political. Kerry can't be Pro-life because it loses him votes. (Regardless of my stance, he did make a good point during the last debate that whether he favors abortion or not is not the question. Rather, America stands for freedom, and that includes freedom of religion or lack there of and as President it is his responsibility to protect that right for others. Ultimately I think Bush really put it to Kerry during the abortion question. Kerry did not put it to Bush during the environmental talk.)

But, and I've really tried to figure this out, I can't understand Bush's moral consistency when it comes to life. It's difficult to make sense of. His record while in Texas on the Death Penalty is absurd, as is his position on the death penalty. The amount of innocent civilians that have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, America, Africa (due to his decision to not allow generic drugs that could have saved millions of lives), Sudan, the list could be very long, makes his claims to "life" seem problematic at best. I'm not saying that these are entirely his fault but more could have been done in pursuit of a passionate fight for life. I do not believe that God thinks America is special. I don't believe that He loves us just a little bit more. I like what Lincoln said about God. In fact, I really liked Kerry's statement "I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side." Mel Chin uses James Baldwin's quote in Render to acknowledge Bush's sentimentality toward life. He writes,
"Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty."
Bush's actions are more consistent than his tears.

I always feel like I'm not Christian enough, because I can not, with any sense of conviction, believe that George Bush's actions align with the teachings of the Bible (save the Old Testament). I am not trying to make a case for Kerry. In fact, I think it's kind of funny when I say my vote for Kerry is not really for Kerry. I sound like a Flip Flopper. It's a difficult election. The Vermeer painting at the top seems to be the most accurate illustration of my vote.

The New York Times... well. Firstly, you bring up a great point, worthy of further discussion. Do we read to define ourselves? This is partially true. When I read Bill O'Reilly's "Who's Looking Out For You," my point of view was further defined. When I read part of Dinesh D'Souza's "End of Racism," my point of view was further defined. But when I read Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States," or Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" or Eduardo Galeano's three part trilogy "The Memory of Fire" other people's view points are further defined. This is to me, of the utmost importance. To read the Bible like we look through our senior yearbook is dangerous. How can we look for ourselves in the Bible? Shouldn't we be reading to find God? Perhaps I do read the New York Times to help me define myself, and perhaps I do the same with the Bible. It's a problem that we all should keep in mind, but I do my best to read, to choose books that will help me especially understand the viewpoint of others. An understanding of the oppressed will help me lead a life of wholehearted benevolence. Hemingway helps me understand the genius of second person, but when applied to the oppression of women or minorities, he does no good. He also reminds me of Picasso who was true to celebrity rather than art, which turns me off a bit. (Not to take away from one of my favorite short story's "The Short Happy life of Francis Macomber.")

Secondly, I'd love to have your writing talents read here at Coney Island. I know how busy you are, but it would be great to have a real PHD candidate on the roster. Let me know if you can spare a couple of minutes every now and then to share some thoughts.
Sincerely written,
Cap'n Pete