I shamelessly propose to borrow a page from Forum columnist Jim Shaw's periodical comments on cheers and jeers he receives, gleaned from letters to the editor, Facebook and other sources. (Sorry but not sorry that I have no Facebook presence.) Many, not all, of my critics display the tendency of some scholars I noticed in my wanderings in the halls of academe: an inability to stick to the germane points at hand.
My defense of Robert E. Lee as a great American didn't go down well with some. Despite high praise for Lee from various famous Americans such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and a host of others, some just can't understand the distinction between the great Lee fighting for his state of Virginia and his standing in the slave-owning Confederacy. Strange that we praise Erwin Rommel, “the Desert Fox,” as one of World War II's greatest generals despite fighting for Nazi Germany, but cannot acknowledge Lee as anything other than a beast.
I learn things from critics, such as the existence of imperial arithmetic. In this number system Iran's taking prisoner America's embassy staff outweighs America's installing a murderous tyrant, the slaughter of 290 Iranians in a civilian airliner by our mighty navy, our aiding Iraq to kill anywhere from a half million to a million Iranians, and now our government's maniacal urge to sanction Iranians to death. What a bunch of soreheads—who are they to whine when the right hand of God brings America's scepter crashing down on them? God spare America from blowback!
A cheer came from a writer when I portrayed John McCain as a warmonger who turned his back on his fellow POWs in Vietnam. Not everyone was swamped by the goo-goo tsunami that accompanied McCain's death.
On the other hand, I was chastised for missing the point about the Linton, N.D., burning of a football jersey that by coincidence had the number of a player of Puerto Rican descent. The absurdity wasn't that the eternally inflamed political correctsters were set to have a three-headed cow but that burning effigies is a pagan ritual, said the critic. I hope he never tells my granddaughter that the Easter bunny is also a pagan symbol.
A persistent commenter remarked that secondary sources such as the Supreme and federal courts knew better than I about the 14th Amendment, citizenship and illegal immigrants being counted as part of the apportionment of representatives to the House. I'd gone to primary sources such as the Constitution and the legislative history of the amendment instead. What on earth was I thinking? Speaking of Supreme Court infallibility, how 'bout those Korematsu and Dred Scott decisions?
Relatedly, another critic ignored the Constitution's plain words on apportionment's purpose and the 14th Amendment's clarification of citizenship and suffrage. Get your lawn chairs and popcorn, folks: it's not every generation that gets to watch the deliberate overthrow of its culture and civilization. Soon, if not already, counting illegal aliens will give four or five states a hammerlock on crank leftist presidencies forever.
Keep those letters and cards coming.