Blogs > Cliopatria > A Letter From John ...

Sep 1, 2004 2:09 am

A Letter From John ...

Dear Tim:

You've caught me out, whoring with the power mongers. Frankly, they are all that you say. I should know, because they did it to me first.

They are incompetent governors, but willing to wreck constitutional government in order to rule. There are no values they will not betray; there is no lie they will not tell. They have squandered the national treasury, both of wealth and of good will. They may try to encode a narrow morality in constitutional law. You've seen it all and you've seen it well.

What can I say? My life is in the political arena and, there, they showed me where the power lay four years ago. I could retire from it altogether and live a comfortable life. My hope is to remain in it, to continue to be there as a factor with whom they must conjure. Political life is not for the squeamish. Principled politicians rarely survive. I've compromised myself to remain in the arena. You've chosen well not to be there.

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Lloyd Kilford - 9/2/2004

I can understand that Prof. Burke is unhappy, but I am not sure that the letter that is linked to here is helpful, for several reasons.

1. It seems to me that there are many sins which could damn someone forever - but I am not quite convinced that voting Bush is actually one of them. There are about 300 million people in the USA, and at least 40 million of them will vote Bush in November. Hopefully the election will be over by December, and everyone in the USA will have to live together in (relative) peace and harmony. I don't think that Prof. Burke's comments will contribute to that.

2. I am not sure that this is a completely professional thing to do. Although many students are liberal, many are not, and some of Prof Burke's students will probably be voting Bush. I am not sure that they would be thrilled to discover that their professor believes that their vote disqualifies them from being a ``Republican of good faith''. (I am sure that they will get over it; they are (mostly) young and resilient).

3. And I am not sure that saying ``either you agree with me or you are an evil supporter of the corrupt President'' is going to be a great way to communicate with someone on the other side of the aisle. It seems more likely to reinforce the divide rather than to close it.

I am not saying that you shouldn't say this. I'm not saying that you are wrong to say this. But I am not sure that this will help.

[But I'm not an American. The outcome of your election is your choice, for you to make.]