Columnist Fails to Give ‘Folks’ Enough Credit

Dear Editor,

Articles like Hadley Mendoza’s “Question This Column; Your Future Is Too Important Not To,” about the upcoming election, demonstrate some possible reasons for two trends in current American political discourse that she probably despises: media “talking points” and what she calls “anti-intellectualism” in the heartland.

First, there is the issue of what I’ll call the 30-second sound bite presentation that both Republicans and Democrats often utilize when talking to the media, which, and here I do agree with Mendoza, sometimes dumbs down the discourse on what are often complex and critical issues. Pundits like to blame the short attention span of American viewers for this phenomenon, but the experience of having my more complex responses skewered on the cutting room floor in interviews just like Mendoza’s has led me to believe that the real reason may be quite different. Proponents of either political agenda are forced to neuter their arguments and condense them into talking points because presenting them in that way makes it much harder to have their comments cut off and spliced together to form any monster of the interviewers’ choosing (a la Michael Moore). In other words, the reason political pundits stick to lame talking points is that they are much harder for angry liberal columnists to manipulate into something never intended by the interviewee.

Second, the condescending tone Mendoza takes toward ordinary hardworking Americans is a perfect example of the attitude of many liberal intellectuals exhibit toward average folks (those would be the people Mendoza sneers at for voting based on a personal affinity for Gov. Sarah Palin). If only these ignoramuses were properly indoctrinated, err, I mean educated, in leftist university classes, they would instantly see the error of their ways and, to paraphrase the words of the candidate Mendoza obviously supports, stop clinging to their guns and religion. The truly stunning part of this attitude is that, after metaphorically upending her drink on America’s heartland, Mendoza, and many who think like her, have the gall to bemoan the “anti-intellectualism” of the people to whom she is so condescending. How can you spit in someone’s eye and then expect them to admire you and say “Thank you sir, may I have another?” Please. No wonder many people dislike the academic elite.

The original intention of the university was to be a place where students could come to learn about and debate all types of intellectual, philosophical and political points of view. Necessary to this high ideal is a basic level of respect; a willingness to accept that a fully educated, intelligent and rational human being can disagree with your political views. And sadly, it seems that on UCSD campus, like many others around our country, this sort of respect is a thing of the past.

— Inez Feltscher
Eleanor Roosevelt College junior