Letters to the Editor

Trump backers and fear: Letters to the editor, July 31, 2019

The audience cheers as President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a rally at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., July 17, 2019.
The audience cheers as President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a rally at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., July 17, 2019. NYT

Fear motivates Trump supporters

I just finished an article in Psychology Today that included studies on the psychology of Trump supporters. What stood out was a common denominator of fear.

The main ones were fear of losing jobs, fear of criminals, fear of minorities, fear of the federal government, fear of Muslims, fear of “bad” countries, fear of the press, fear of communism, and so on. Some right-wing demagogues are even trying to get people to fear Democrats by labeling them “enemies of America.”

Some of these fears are real, like losing jobs to outsourcing. Some are manufactured, like fearing the duly-elected government “coming to take my guns away.”

The answers are simple. Fear immigrants? Build a wall. Fear the federal government? Arm yourselves. Fear criminals? Keep a loaded pistol under your pillow.

Fear immigrants?Muslims? Iranians? North Koreans?

Then along comes a “Fearless Leader” who will save you. Silence all who oppose you, lie, pander to people’s prejudices and ignorance. Hitler did it in 1933. I think Trump would like to do it in 2020. Divide American and conquer. Its “Us” vs, “Them.” As one of “Them” who considers himself a good American, this scares the hell out of me.

Harold Warner, Porterville

Misses Knights colorful cape, chapeau

It is with a heavy heart that I report the recent decision on the part of the Knights of Columbus, Supreme headquarters, that the familiar cape and chapeau can no longer be utilized by members of the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Color Corps. As of June 30, the cape and chapeau can no longer be worn by the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Color Corps at official events.

For well over 75 years, the Knights of Columbus announced their presence at parades, celebrations, funerals, etc. with the iconic cape, chapeau and sword. You could look at a crowd of many thousands and know instantly that the Knights of Columbus were present by the variously colored capes and chapeaus. These uniforms were historically passed from one generation to another and worn with pride, knowing the Knight's father or grandfather previously wore the same cape and chapeau.

In what many of the current members of the Knights of Columbus consider an ill-advised decision, the cape and chapeau were replaced with a non-descript dark suit and beret. Hardly visible in a crowd, the new uniform is more reminiscent of a foreign military or Boy Scout uniform.

The familiar sight of many Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree at funerals and rosaries, in their colorful capes, chapeaus and swords honoring their deceased brother knights, will be a thing of the past. I for one, and I think I speak for many family members of Knights of Columbus, will miss this final demonstration of honor for a faithful and loyal Knight of Columbus.

Tom McCarthy, Hanford

Blackface incident a teaching moment

I keep hoping the blackface incident involving two Fresno Unified students can be used as a teaching moment. I have the impression many people think of blackface as nothing more than a bit of Halloween silliness that might offend the sensibilities of the politically correct. It is not. The history of blackface goes back to the minstrel shows that portrayed African Americans in demeaning and degrading ways (i.e. the happy but dim-witted slave wearing slap-shoes, grateful to his master for the watermelon). One of the worst examples is “The Lion Tamer” with Cotton and Chick Watts, which can be seen online.

As far as consequences for the girls involved, I think taking their phones away for the of the summer would be an appropriate parental punishment. I’m not sure the school should have any role in meting out punishment, but it could have a role in teaching what blackface is about and have a discussion about the use of social media and its potential to mess up your life if not used appropriately.

Ruby Suhre, Fresno

Potpourri of ideas sparks reaction

The July 16 Fresno Bee Opinion page certainly offers food for thought.

At the top of the page was the L.A. Times editorial board’s call out of this shameless, raciest, ignorant president’s tweets regarding four members of Congress. We may not agree with the women’s tactics, but to question their patriotism is totally inappropriate. Could he pass the citizenship test that one of them did before election to Congress? Incidentally, in this matter of working with the women, I am somewhat disappointed in the failure of Speaker Pelosi to use her usual skills.

At the bottom of the page was Andrew Malcom of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau reminding us of Joe Biden’s experience, most especially his ability to bridge the partisan gap. In this divided nation, working with those with whom we don’t entirely agree is sorely needed. Experience is still a valuable commodity. He even suggested that Biden with a female vice-presidential candidate could be just the ticket.

Like frosting on a cake, Marc A. Thiessen of the Wahington Post Writers Group reminded us of just how fortunate we are to be in this nation. It is our military that has provided whatever freedom enjoyed anywhere on Earth. Despite our problems, the birthplace of democracy still stands above all others, “greater than just OK.” What more needs to be said?

May we all take these messages to heart.

Ruth M. Gadebusch, Fresno