The rhetoric of Leonard Pitts

Kellie Bowen, Staff Writer

Last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning-journalist, Leonard Pitts Jr. gave an ominous speech of hopelessness, looking to the future, and the battle of American society.

Firstly, I think that Pitts’ analysis he made about how racism “ended” several times throughout history was a wonderful observation. I was also intrigued by the statement of not believing in the “permanence of progress.” But to what extent? Have we not progressed since the Civil War?

As for his recent column that addresses the current administration, I found it rather hypocritical to ask for love and peace, when all this letter is doing is bullying and adding to the social divide. My roommate had a question for me to ask Leonard Pitts as he was not able to attend the speech:

“A lot of people are worried about the division in the country right now. In your letter to the president, you call his administration ‘the fourth Reich.’ How are we going to heal the deep divide in this country when you imply that Trump’s supporters are Nazi collaborators? Is that the hyperbolic language we need to help the situation or further inflame tensions?”

I couldn’t help but ask the same question while I was reading the letter.

Furthermore, Pitts said that this is “not a fight of ideology, it’s not a fight between liberal and conservative.” I strongly disagree with this.

All I see on social media, news media and opinion articles is “this is why the left/right is better than the right/left!” There are political debates between liberals and conservatives in my comment feeds all the time.

Then he goes on to say that this is a fight about reason and decency. Sheer hypocrisy. “Furry orange head,” “the Fourth Reich,” “If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart,” are all far from this “reason and decency” he mentioned at his speech.

He loosely quoted Politico “and other sources” about Trump being shocked about how much power he actually has. He probably had the common misconception most Americans have: thinking that the president has so much power that he can provide “simple” things with a wave of his hand- like health care- and dictate what kind of health care everyone gets. (Even after the Obama administration, health care is still in shambles.)

Hell, only a quarter of Americans can name all three branches of government, according to Lisa Manheim, a University of Washington assistant law professor.

For those who want big government, at what point does it turn into fascism? When big government doesn’t give the people what they want?

Pitts went on to say that he “has no hope to offer.” So melodramatic. No hope? That’s about as bad as Michelle Obama saying there’s no hope! Asking for Trump to not do well as president is like asking the pilot of the plane we’re all on, not to fly!

I fear “we the people,” not our new president. Opinion-ism is probably the newest form of prejudice.

When one of the audience members asked Pitts how to treat her sister who voted for Trump, I was surprised that Pitts didn’t advise her to, “Treat her like your sister! Share the love!” He’d rather not know whether his right-leaning friend voted for Trump, because he fears that discussion will ruin their friendship. If you are truly friends with someone, mere opinions are something that ought to be overlooked.

My friend’s family told her not to tell people she voted for Trump, because they were afraid the environment of a liberal arts college would threaten or gang up on her. To be discriminated for an opinion is a new beast entirely. And the fact that half of the audience members probably went to Pitts for advice like he’s some kind of political guru just further verifies my thoughts that they only side.