Home Book editor Reviews | Is America Broken?

Reviews | Is America Broken?


For the editor:

Regarding “America May Be Broken Beyond Repair,” by Michelle Goldberg (column, May 28):

Ms. Goldberg argues that America is irreparable and that a good portion of the population is ready for another insurrection, regardless of the law or the Democratic vote.

It is time for us to think outside the box and form two countries. Instead of civil war, I propose civil separation. We are two countries so opposed ideologically that each feels victimized and dominated by the other. Political leaders need to step up and think about next steps. Clearly articulate both ideologies and give each state a vote on who they belong to.

Of course, at first there will be an adjustment in which people will move to the place that resonates with their vision. Not easy to break up – ask any couple – but better than an all-out civil war.

Dawn Menken
Portland, Oregon.
The writer is the author of “Facilitating a More Perfect Union: A Guide for Politicians and Leaders”.

For the editor:

In our experience of democracy, we have so often been faced with what seemed like insurmountable obstacles. We have survived civil war, race riots, two world wars, financial depressions, McCarthyism and the threat of nuclear annihilation in a cold war that has lasted for decades. The monsters have reared their ugly heads so many times as we struggle to fulfill the promises of our founding fathers.

So is it time to throw in the towel and say that it was all for naught? We’ve always come to our senses as a people and made sure the monsters don’t win. This is the challenge we now face. We cannot succumb to forces that would destroy us.

Richard Leimsider
Manalapan, New Jersey

For the editor:

I am a mother, grandmother and retired environmental scientist. I have always been an independent and a patriot: vote according to the person and not the party. Over the decades, I found fewer and fewer Republicans to vote for. I wish Liz Cheney was in my state.

I believe our country is broken. I have had the privilege of traveling extensively in my career and I see other countries that better embody American values ​​than we do here. Places where one is safe while preserving individual freedom. Where the right to life protects schoolchildren, not embryonic tissue. Where income disparity is a fraction of what it is here. And where insurrection never happens.

I expect to see blood in the streets during the midterm elections. I am therefore emigrating to a European country where I feel safer, where I can afford health care and where my personal freedoms (and those of everyone else) are preserved.

I’m not the only one doing it, I’m just one of the few lucky enough to afford it. America is broken. I love it and I will leave it.

Rita Schenck
Vashon, Wash.

For the editor:

In her superb excoriation of America’s response to the mass shootings, Michelle Goldberg mentions the possibility of a “blue state secession” in response to endless Republican filibuster. I am struck by his tone.

Secession is almost always referred to either as the aspiration of crackpots or as a tragedy that diminishes the nation at large. Not anymore. Suddenly, secession is the rational choice of people who are no longer ready to get along with madness.

Robin Prior
Wargrave, England

For the editor:

My daughter moved to Dublin, Ireland for college last September. While shopping for kitchen supplies with her at a department store, I was perplexed to learn that I had to buy the chef’s knife she had chosen; she was too young to buy a knife that size. A military-style handgun or assault rifle wouldn’t be in the cards either.

Dubliners kept reassuring us, perhaps thinking that we were concerned about some rough aspect of the city: Don’t worry, they said, it will be safe in Dublin.

I’m not worried. I’ll worry when she gets home.

Ralph Walch

For the editor:

Regarding “Book Translators Earn Their Due,” by Pamela Paul (column, May 30):

Thanks to Mrs. Paul for her defense of literary translators and her appeal to publishers to recognize the art of the translator by naming the translator on the cover of the book.

Translators are not stenographers but rather musicians playing the score of another’s original composition or performing a cover version of another’s song. To translate is to act, to execute a script written by someone else. You can hit every note or say every word correctly, but you’re still missing the artistry of the original. Translating is writing that requires the same stylistic skills and imagination as original literature.

Translation, as Jorge Luis Borges wrote, is a re-creation. The translator, like a good critic, can bring out aspects of the original that the original author was unaware of.

In recent years, we have experienced a golden age of translation, with more and more books by authors in other languages ​​appearing on the American market. The translators of these books actually wrote the words that American readers read.

Recognition of the art of translation by the American publishing industry is long overdue.

Stephen Kesler
Santa Cruz, California.
The writer is a poet and literary translator.

For the editor:

Regarding “Toughest Abortion Ban Becomes Law in Oklahoma” (news article, May 26):

Now that Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed an anti-abortion bill that declares life begins at the time of fertilization, I have two questions:

Can an unaccompanied pregnant woman drive in a lane reserved for carpooling?

Can an unborn child be counted as a “person” in the census?

Howard Seftel