Opinion isn't fact — even when it's presented as such. When it's also as grossly inaccurate and darkly shaded as was Frank Batavick's opinion piece of June 19, injecting both accuracy and sunlight is necessary.
To the inaccuracies, those of us who know and remember some of the history of which the article's author speaks also know some of its truth:
Fact: The root cause of the Civil War was slavery and the cheap labor it provided ("states' rights" was merely pretext). That hasn't changed; its faces today include illegal immigration and job outsourcing.
Fact: Of course, the map of "the South" hasn't changed! States don't relocate, say, to Hawaii. But their political perspectives can change — and sometimes do.
Fact: The secession guarantee actually was one condition of Texas' joining the Union — although that and many other significant founding principles and historical facts are no longer taught in our schools.
Fact: Prior to 1968, the author's "Old South" was dominated by the Democrat Party and its KKK allies, from whom came lynching, Jim Crow laws, and other black voter suppression tactics against them, their families, their friends — and their churches. Today's South is not the author's "Old South."
To the darkly shaded, some sunlight:
Fact: The referenced "level of animosity against our nation's first black president" is (probably) pure disinformation — one more "race card" tactic.
Fact: As for the accusation of tea party racism, we agree with Martin Luther King Jr.: what matters is not the color of one's skin, but the content of his or her character.
Fact: Questioning or opposing any president's policies and actions is constitutionally protected. When those policies or actions exceed the president's constitutional authority (Article 2), we should challenge them.
Fact: As for the 50th anniversary of the Selma, Alabama, march, not one Republican or conservative black member of Congress was even invited by that observance's Democrat organizers. As well, our current president's predecessor did attend but was somehow not shown in the media's news photos. Amazing!
One more note: Voting is too precious — especially to those defrauded out of it — to cheapen it by making fraud even easier. Voter identification disenfranchises none but protects all.
Space limitations preclude more discussion; but might I suggest the Times consider something like the once-popular, now discontinued, "Pro-and-Con" offsetting columns, fostering real, fact-based dialogue between competing perspectives? Bomb-lobbing builds neither understanding nor bridges; we can do better.
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