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Alex Kent: Feedback for Fleitman

  • Jay Fleitman.


Thursday, December 06, 2018
Feedback for Fleitman

As the newspaper’s voice for conservative views, I wish the Gazette would find someone other than Dr. Jay Fleitman. He may be an intelligent man, but he is possessed of some retrograde ideas that really have nothing to do with conservatism. It would be a waste of time to try unpacking his most recent rant about the unfairness of the newspaper, the very newspaper that gives him a regular platform as a “conservative.”

For one thing, Fleitman seems both deaf and blind to the ugly rhetoric used by President Trump. Fleitman seems immune to the ceaseless torrent of anti-democratic statements and actions by the president and his party. For Fleitman himself, the standard mode in response to criticism of views he dislikes is personal grievance: “As a Jew and a Republican, I cannot begin to characterize how offensive ...” Fleitman brands the Gazette as “unabashedly liberal,” a term of deep opprobrium in his lexicon. Could it be that most people in the newspaper’s readership actually ​​​​​​do hold liberal, progressive views, and that the newspaper’s editorial board might happen to share those views? Could it be that a good newspaper’s job is not simply to report news, but to inform and to educate its readership? Is the editorial staff of a newspaper not permitted to hold political views? Or are those views only acceptable to the extent that they align with Fleitman’s? Perhaps Fleitman should start his own newspaper.

In the end, Fleitman proudly wears the badge “conservative” (with a coating of “libertarian” thrown in). I would argue, however, that Trump (like the Republican party that enables him) is not conservative at all: Trump is a radical and a would-be despot. Both the president and his party are radically authoritarian, radically racist, radically misogynist and radically un-democratic.

Fleitman should check the dictionary: A conservative is one who is generally averse to change, preferring to preserve the best of existing political systems and structures. Trump and today’s Republican party are not so much conservative as they are reactionary and revanchist, a dangerous wrecking crew that does not truly reflect the views of a majority of Americans. Fleitman would be advised to reevaluate the movement he supports.

Alex Kent
Amherst