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Presidents through the years,
and the closing of the American mind

    I am proud to have written editorials for cc&d magazine for years (they actually started in 1996). When I first wrote editorials, they may have been either about news stories recently reported, like “DNA Versus emotion” concerning the O.J. Simpson trial and the “If I Did It” aftermath (and the Ron Goldman editorial “If I Exploited It”), or they may have been about broader issues (like sexism in “Beauty First” or “Sexism in a Nutshell,” vegetarianism in “Swallowing Where Meat Comes From,” the Rainforest by questioning “Does Rainforest Café Love the Rainforest?”). I did a number of editorials on climate change/global warming or even about volunteering, but later I moved toward talking about political news, from questioning the death penalty in “Let’s Decide Who To Kill,” or “Do People Want Justice, or Just a Good Hanging?” to “Balancing the Budget” to actually writing “a Letter to our Political Leaders.”
    With the new millennium I started seeing many changes not only in news stories but also in our government... I wrote about Terri Schiavo in “Deciding our Life and Death,” “Child Molesters & JonBenet Ramsey,” the battle over when life begins (in “When Does Life Begin?”), “Anna Nicole Smith,” and even opioid addiction in “Drugging Ourselves into a Stupor.” I wrote about Fox News in “FOX Wants to Legally Lie” and even about “The Liberal Media.” As the years passed I started incorporating political issues into my editorials, from “The Assumption of Health-Care” and “U.S. Healthcare & Canadian Healthcare” and “Free Healthcare and the Poor” to “Letting Free Speech Slide.” I wrote about the economic status of the U.S., and the repeated military conflicts (I won’t call them wars with Iran or any middle-eastern countries; only Congress can declare war, and they haven’t done that since WWII). But once George W. Bush’s second term started it was fun to write about the problems with politics during the George W. Bush presidency.
    Personally, I think the readers ate it up. Because if there is a liberal base to the readers of cc&d, I think they ate my editorials up with a spoon.
    And it was fun writing about Hillary running for office, and Obama, and it was particularly fun picking through the massive list of Republicans hoping for the chance to run for President of the United States. Being from Chicago, and hearing how this Junior Senator got his seat because there was no one running against him, and how he’d sit on the L train with his Blackberry to communicate so he couldn’t be cornered in his office for one-on-one meetings, I was fascinated to see how every liberal location (yes, including Chicago) just completely fell head-over-heels in love with Barrack Obama.
    So when Obama won the election (and was granted a Nobel Peace Prize before he even became President, doing nothing to earn him that Nobel Prize), I started looking into the choices he made as President, and I started to write editorials about it (like I did with the previous Republican President).
    And when I released the editorial “The Cost of Compassion Might Be Too High,” it questioned the choices President Obama was making (the way I did with the past Presidents). And that is when I got the backlash from readers who disagreed with me and thought that everything their Democrat President did was proper. I went into back-and-forth discussions with one or two readers, pointing out how some of the decisions Obama was making to “help” the world might be making it worse for people who are poor and can’t afford to abide by every mandate he was setting. They agreed, but they still didn’t like me contradicting their savior.
    And that is when I learned that sometimes in this country, once some people make up their mind about their party or their candidate (the same way some also do about their religion), their decision is set in stone; cemented in place, and any reasonable argument against their position falls on deaf ears.
    I think that experience startled me, and pushed me away from writing editorials about our political leaders. Granted, I have written a few about the influx of potential Republican nominees for President after Obama’s two-term stint was ending (because really, it was funny), but the more I looked at the ways both parties acted, the more I could see both sides contribute negatively to a lot of issues. Democrats would call Republicans violent, yet it was almost always far-left groups that would start riots at Republican events (see “the Clash of the Titans: Chicago Violence and Donald Trump”). And although I did make statements about both the left and the right in this most recent presidential escapade, the more I look at it (even the Trump Presidency) the more I can see two sides to every issue. For example, Trump said he wanted to build a wall that Mexico will pay for (Really? then read “Putting Up Walls Is Never the Solution”), but immigration viewpoints have changed, and he has talked with Democrats to try to get things done. And we’ll see in time how tax cuts help businesses and the American people... But what I won’t do is blindly say that one party is wrong all the time. Because if I thought that way, that would only show how blind I was to trying to politically accomplish anything.

— Janet K.
Editor in Chief

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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