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Taking Kagans comments out of context
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Frank Aquila’s letter (“Communist Party sues Democrats on platform theft”) unfortunately used intellectually dishonest tactics. The first part of his letter is a near word-for-word copy of a website offering which provided a satirical “report” of the Communist Party supposedly suing Democrats for stealing the groups’ ideas { “Communists Sue Democratic Party For Stealing Platform” - Red Square 4/12/10}. The website information is courtesy of mhoffman on the Bulletin’s online forum. But all the obvious satirical and facetious references detailed in the original site are deleted, so as to give support to Aquila’s earlier commentary on “The Democrat - Communist Manifesto.” Perhaps I am being unfair to Mr. Aquila, since he may have taken material from another site that already had censored the blatantly joking nature of the original pieces. Then there would not be any intentional suppression on Aquila’s part. However, this demonstrates the drawback to relying on biased internet sources or blogs for information especially if one intends to repeat the so-called “facts.”

Even more troubling, to me, is Aquila’s eagerness to tie Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan into his Democrat/ Socialist conspiracy theory by using her own words taken out of context and without providing background information or source material. Here is what Aquila failed to include in presenting Kagan’s “Socialism quote”: As an undergraduate history major at Princeton, Elena Kagan wrote a thesis in 1981 (thirty years ago!) titled, “To the Final Conflict” Socialism in New York City 1900-1933”. As Part of her study and research, she stated, “In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States. Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism’s glories than of socialism’s greatness. Conformity overrides dissent; the desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter. Such a state of affairs cries out for explanation. Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force? Why in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation’s established parties?” (pg.127) {Source: liberty} These are valid questions, from a historical perspective, to be asked. In fact if we update her comments and observations to the present, one could make the case that the Tea Party movement is attempting to become a major political force to be reckoned with. “Radicalism”, is often linked to the leftist movement, actually refers to any type of extremism, including right-wing groups. Perhaps the questions that Kagan raised 30 years ago are being answered today in unexpected ways. In any case, examining the reasons why socialism failed to become a viable alternative to our country’s existing two major party system does not make someone a Socialist or Communist, any more than studying the driving forces behind Hitler’s power makes one a Nazi or researching the KKK makes one a racist. To underscore the point, according to the Weekly Standard (8-8-05), Chief Justice John Roberts, as a Harvard student, won the “William Scott Ferguson award given annually to the sophomore history major who writes an “outstanding essay” as part of a class assignment.” The title of his essay? It’s “Marxism and Bolshevism: Theory and Practice”. Sometimes, people see bogeymen or shadows and make strained connections where, in reality, none exist.

Lastly, I take exception to one particular item in Aquila’s list of Kagan’s judicial shortcomings. He blatantly declares, “She is a lesbian.” That is sheer rumor-mongering which is, in itself, deplorable. But more to the point, a person’s sexual orientation should not even be a factor when considering qualifications for the job.

Do we ask doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, grocery clerks, police officers, car mechanics, firefighters, or salespeople if they are gay, in our interactions with them, or make it an issue? As citizens, we are all equal under the law and whatever a judge’s or justice’s sexual orientation may be, he should use the Constitution and law as the basis for interpretations and rulings. To imply that being gay would somehow negatively affect or adversely influence the job performance of a Supreme Court Justice is simply wrong. Don’t speculate on someone’s sexuality and then state it for publication as if you have the definitive answer when you don’t. But more importantly, don’t make a person’s sexual orientation a litmus test of either character or ability.
Karen Pearsall
May 21, 2010