Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2014

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Where I Stand:

Hearing from the Greatest Generation

I have spent a lifetime reading the comments of readers of the Las Vegas Sun and, more recently, our new weekly publication, The Sunday. For the most part, those who comment on stories and columns are thoughtful and sincere. It matters not whether I agree with what they say, only that they are respectful and considerate of the ideas of others.

But some comments are written by people who apparently have nothing else to do or are angry at something and wish to take it out on the newspapers and its readers. They add little to the public debate other than some comic relief.

The comments I find most helpful are those that come from a good and decent and honorable place. I also am thrilled when those comments happen to agree with me!

Last Sunday I wrote about what I believe is a matter of significant concern with regard to the Supreme Court and the number constitutionally important 5-4 decisions. My point was, and is, that our votes on election day really do matter. Whether they are our votes for the president, the person who chooses the Supreme Court justices, or the Senate, the people who advise and consent on those choices, the idea that what we do in the ballot box does not affect our daily lives is pure poppycock.

I hope you agree with that concept because it is a foundational issue in our democracy. And that is why when I hear from the voice of reason and experience, I take heart.

The latest words of encouragement come from reader Howard in Boulder City. The way he describes himself, he could be my father or a grandfather or great grandfather to the very people for whom this message must take hold. That is because the voices of experience in our society are often the only voices that make sense in this fast-paced world that pays little attention to historical context.

In his letter Howard writes:

“I was in the Air Force and stationed in Korea most of 1952 and early 1953. I understand our President at that time, Harry Truman, insisted along with the Congress that the war be paid for. Taxes were raised for this purpose with the consent of the American people through their representatives in the Congress.

“I fully agree our Constitution is a living document. In my opinion the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court has previously and continues to do great and, in some instances, irreparable harm to our country.

“It is my sincere hope you sir are able to continue in your capacity to enlighten concerned citizens in the Southern Nevada community.”

Then, of course, Howard gets to the heart of the matter:

“It is comforting the admiration you express for your father. My Dad also was a person of good character and integrity. I think of him every day.”

OK. So Howard is a member of the Greatest Generation. He is an Air Force veteran and knows full well what he and his generation committed to making the United States a more perfect union. In my book, people like Howard deserve their voices to be heard above and beyond the shrillness of today’s silly ideologically driven diatribes.

And the younger generations would do themselves and people like Howard proud if they paid attention. After all, they aren’t called the greatest generation for nothing.

Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.

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