Letters to the Editor: December 6, 2016
On the death of Fidel Castro
Adieu to a Tyrant.
Nothing but relief ensues from the death of Fidel Castro, the former oppressive tyrant of Cuba. It is imperative for us to not undermine the affliction he brought onto his country. Millions who opposed Castro and his newfound regime after he took over from dictator General Fulgencio Batista were jailed, tortured and murdered. His implementation of communism left the vibrant island in low wages, high ration rates and despair. Cuba’s health care system and education are in shambles with its shortage of doctors, due to the lack of incentive to work there and a propaganda-fueled literature, which is essential to keeping the public blind to the reality of their corrupt government. For these reasons and many others, we should rejoice the end of the Castro’s life and remain weary to not undercut his destruction upon Cuba. The past is history. This does not imply that we excuse his abuses because he has died. This means we observe and study the causes and effects of his destructive rule and learn to never repeat it.
On the death of Bert Barickman
I just got the news today in an off-hand way. Bert Barickman, one of my favorite college professors, has passed away. He taught Latin American history. I’ve been thinking about him in the past few days after Fidel’s passing. I’m devastated.
Barickman taught me to think critically. He challenged me to be better, and I rose to the challenge because he was so good at what he did. I wrote the best academic work under his tutelage—a paper on the U.S. Involvement in the Chile Coup of 1973. I still have the paper. He said it was one of the best he’d ever received. I was so proud that he acknowledged me because I thought so much of him.
I loved him so much I implored my sister Andrea, a science major, to take his class. I once ran into him at No Anchovies, a little inebriated, and poured out how much I loved him. He was humble about my praise and introduced me to another student hounding him, at which point he politely excused himself. I know there are generations of students who share my admiration of him.
To some he was awkward, standing alone and drinking Fresca and smoking cigarettes before lecture. To me he was a shining beacon of intelligence and high standards.
So long, professor Barickman. Your legacy lives on in your work and all the students who were lucky to have studied under you. There will never be another quite like you.
Veneranda Aguirre, J.D.
On “The electoral college is for all of America”
The opinion expressed by Ms. Drace in the above-mentioned article parrots a popular, but wholly wrong, modern notion of the principal behind the establishment, by the founding fathers, of the Electoral College.
According to Federalist Paper #68, the electors are “... men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture,” for the purpose of voting for the presidential candidate of THEIR choice, not the democratic-majority choice. The purpose of this intermediary body of voters was (and indeed still is) to make an educated, informed choice of president.
The Electoral College is not, nor has it ever been, intended to be an instrument of direct democracy, except by some state legislatures—their laws to the effect that Electors must vote in accordance with the choice of the state majority being not only an abrogation of responsibility but also in direct conflict with the intent of the founders.
The Electors were, in particular, assigned the responsibility of making a choice which would minimize “... tumult and disorder.” Also were the founders concerned about “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils” (need I say more about that, with respect to this particular presidential election?)
Were the Electoral College to perform the duties it was initially assigned, many of the Electors would go forth on the basis of being “faithless,” and someone other than Donald Trump would be awarded the presidency by the choice of the majority of the Electoral College—Mr. Trump being wholly unqualified to perform the duties of the position.
Mine is not simply the opinion of one individual. I think it is safe to assume that no one would argue that, left to make the choice for themselves, the Electors would never put Donald Trump in the office of President of the United States of America.
In the current situation, the machinery of the Electoral College, as applied today, is not “... for all of America”—it is for none of America.
With trepidation, concerning the health of our Republic,
Michael H. Franz