In selecting commentators for its opinion page, your newspaper seemingly strives for some ideological balance. But if the writers selected predictably lack perspective or judgment or intellectual honesty, then the façade of balance is a shaky façade.
For whatever reasons, The Advocate has elected to run each Sunday a commentary by Jeff Sadow. Mr. Sadow’s columns are invariably the talking-points of the tea party right, ideologically rigid, unabashedly partisan and bereft of even the infrequent admission that an approach outside his political orthodoxy might warrant approbation or consideration.
Given in this country the increasing political polarization and coarseness of political discourse, we don’t need columns that only delight and harden the most partisan of readers. We need columns that occasionally can surprise and challenge readers; and that at times show a commentator struggling with the questions of what in fact has happened and what should be done, and recognizing, with regard to public policy prescriptions, that the surprising winds in an extraordinarily complex world might just call for a trimming of the sails.
Political views that can never be too partisan or unyielding may be great for radio and TV ratings, website clicks and even newspaper sales. But they can also cheapen our political culture. And as an older reader, I remember that, not too long ago, our two political parties did not act like the ideologically disciplined parties in a parliamentary system; the model of the TV network commentator was Eric Sevareid; the U.S. Senate was filled with people of high stature and some independence, not those resembling members of the House of Representatives with six-year terms; and moderation and compromise were seen as necessary in our presidential form of government and thus were considered political virtues.
In its stewardship of its opinion section, your newspaper needs to do better.
Richard J. Petre