Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here’s three thoughtful articles that, in my view, are well worth anyone’s time and far better than anything I could compose myself.

mollie tibbetts
A right-wing activist ad showing Iowan Molly Tibbetts and her confessed murderer, undocumented immigrant Cristhian Bahena Rivera. (James Ledbetter, Flikr, Public Domain)

One op-ed, published in the Des Moines (Iowa) Register, is a father’s impassioned plea for Americans to not insult his murdered daughter’s loving, tolerant soul by demonizing illegal immigrants, despite the fact that the young Mexican man who senselessly killed her happened to be undocumented.

‘From Mollie Tibbetts’ father: Don’t distort her death to advance racist views’

In the piece, Iowan Rob Tibbetts pointedly called out Donald Trump Jr. for a column he published after Mollie’s body was found, co-opting te tragedy to demonize immigrants and promote his father’s aggressive anti-immigration stance.

Tibbetts wrote in is op-ed:

“I encourage the debate on immigration; there is great merit in its reasonable outcome. But do no appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist. The act grievously extends the crime that stole Mollie from our family and is, to quote Donald Trump Jr., ‘heartless’ and ‘despicable.’”

Tibbetts’ article spotlights, far more than any fire-engine-red, Trump-promoting cap, what has always made America great and still does.

Another article in today’s news intelligently explains that President Trump’s strategy of deceiving the public is the opposite of a well-intentioned tactic of postmodernism; it’s propaganda, pure and simple.

Postmodernism didn’t cause Trump. It explains him.

In this op-ed in the Washington Post’s Sunday Outlook opinion section, Aaron Hanlon, an assistant professor of English at Maine’s Colby College, writes that it’s a disservice to the term “postmodernism” to apply it to Trumpian flim-flam, giving an unearned patina of scholarly credibility to the president dismissing the current Trump-Russia investigation as a “made-up story.”

“It’s just the say-anything chicanery of the old-fashioned sales pitch …” Hanlon wrote, “not a postmodernist critique of the evidence the Mueller investigation has gathered.”

He added:

“Trumpism practices this form of distortion on a daily basis. The postmodernist theorists we vilify did not cause this; they’ve actually given us a framework to understand precisely how falsehood can masquerade as truth.”

A third op-ed today argues that changing a society’s traditional political and social norms is not in and of itself necessarily a bad thing. Done honorably, it can be rejuvenative, healthy. But the cynical, destructive, self-serving ways the president is doing it isn’t.

‘Discarding norms is not always bad. But how you do it matters.’

A joint Post op-ed by regular columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. and governance scholars Norman Orstein and Thomas E. Mann describes the late Sen. John McCain as the “anti-Trump,” the guardian of “the old norms essential to decent government — the ones President Trump has been demolishing mercilessly.”

Democracies routinely adjust their laws and standards to weed out the “unfair and illegitimate” among them, they wrote, adding:

“But it also demands the staunch defense of ideals, principles — and yes, norms — that strengthen democracy and make it work. Sorting these out is a critical task for our time.”

They note that McCain, a military hero who respected how traditions nurtured peace, “understood the power of norms … We can learn from the example he set under conditions far more excruciating than most of us will ever face.”


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Rick Snedeker

Rick Snedeker is a retired American journalist/editor who now writes in various media and pens nonfiction books. He has received nine past top South Dakota state awards for newspaper column, editorial,...