Insults and assumptions

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2001

This letter is regarding Jackie Forster's My Turn on the School of the Americas and the responses to the article by Richard Schmitz and Chris Joy.

Jackie, who identified herself as a Jesuit volunteer, argued that the School of the Americas should be closed. She backed up her argument with facts. Richard responded by labeling Jackie a leftist and insulting her and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, but he did little to respond to her assertions about the School of the Americas. Chris Joy wrote in defense of Jackie, gladly accepting that Jackie is a leftist and further assuming that she advocates Chris' vision of a feminist world order. This appears to be a case of both "The Right" and "The Left" interpreting things through their respective political blinders. Both Richard and Chris took what they wanted from Jackie's article and ignored the rest.

Richard Schmitz's insults to Jesuit volunteers were juvenile and silly. His implication that the Jesuits are leftists simply doesn't hold water, especially considering the conservatives' assertions that the right is the Thinking Person's Philosophy and the left is the Feeling Person's Philosophy. Nobody has ever before confused the Catholic Church and the Jesuits as "feel-good." Jackie put forth a cogent argument for the closure of the School of the Americas. Richard, if you disagree, please respond with similar cogent arguments, not insults.

Chris Joy assumed that since Jackie is a woman who has written an article critical of the government, then Jackie must buy into Chris's worldview, lock, stock and barrel. Chris simply co-opted Jackie's message and used it as opportunity to further her own agenda. There was a great deal about feminism in Chris' letter, but none at all in Jackie's article. And Chris ignored the only affiliation that Jackie claimed, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Again, nobody would say that the Catholic Church and the Jesuits are feminists. Chris, if you agree with Jackie about the School of the Americas, say so and let it be. Don't assume that your enemy's enemy shares your world vision.

It's time to break out of the "Left vs. Right" mindset and bring the dialogue up to a more substantial level. Most Americans don't fit neatly into "The Left" or "The Right." Similarly, the best solutions to our problems will not fit neatly into these categories, either.

Patrick Minick


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