Reader challenges Rep. Vitale’s assertions


Rep. Nino Vitale made a few valid points in his 20 July column, if inadvertently.

– It’s nice to be nice. If civility is a must in dealing with our adversaries, it follows that we should be civil with our neighbors, allies, and cosignatories of NATO, if only because Article 5 of that pact has been invoked but once in its history, in our defense (post 9/11).

– A people should not be judged by the actions of their politicians. One hopes, lest we are all dismissed as reactionary boneheads. If the people of any country deserve the respect, dignity, and humane treatment due creatures made “in the image of God, just like we are” so, too, do all people, even those who travel without documents, compelled by exigent circumstance, from countries no one could find on a map, like the one Vitale erroneously called “Costa Rico.”

-In a June 20 column, Mr. Vitale tells of his grandfather’s immigration struggles. Those travails were visited upon his family by punitive legislation (including the Johnson-Reed act of 1924) enacted by politicians whose views on immigration were not unlike Mr. Vitale’s. Good to know.

– Partisan politics impedes good judgment. I’ll say, and how. It facilitates single issue obsession. It is selfish, short-sighted, hidebound, dogmatic, and counterproductive. It usurps reason and thought. Legislation is the art of compromise. Short of compromise, we have not governance, but a hostage taking. The current mayhem we endure in lieu of political acumen is a direct result of blind partisan politics. It is the “or worse” of which Mr. Vitale warns.

– War is eminently avoidable, in theory, anyway. Vitale asks what Speaker Paul Ryan meant when he said: “the president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.” There is nothing vague, ambiguous, cryptic or equivocal in Ryan’s statement. Were I to parse a subtext, I might infer a warning about the ongoing cyber assault on the U.S. conducted by Russia. I might infer a reasonable fear of the president selling out this country in the interest of his continued personal profit derived from consorting with gangsters of that country. Sometimes the obvious is obvious.

I do not believe people “want to hate our President no matter what.” I believe people are presented with a non-stop barrage of just cause to think him a contemptible lout, an incompetent, and an existential threat to the rule of law, as abetted by his craven idolaters. It is a necessary function of people and things abhorrent to invite abhorrence.

Vitale asks; “is it nice to act arrogantly and foolishly?” Who’s acting?

Robert Puglia

Urbana