Sticks and stonesWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Words will never hurt us, the playground rhyme says, but some barbs thrown at our city and country this week have us stung and seething.
In a post-election interview in the Nov. 30 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, respected political analyst David Gergen tells publisher Jann S. Wenner, “They’re feeling the effects of globalization, especially in northern Ohio. I was in Toledo ten days ago, and it’s like, ‘Whoa, it looks like a war zone.’ They’re very much feeling the economic squeeze …”
War zone? We’ll be the first to admit our city has some areas that need immediate and long-term rehabilitation, but to call any part of our city a “war zone” smacks of off-the-cuff hyperbole that is irresponsible and libelous. Gergen addresses his comments on page A9, but the damage is done. The magazine’s 1.4 million readers, most of them younger males, will see our city described in terms that should be reserved for Iraq. Gergen, who has served as a senior adviser to four presidents, owes the city and its citizens an immediate apology for a comment he cannot defend.
On a national scale, former Mexico President Vicente Fox is making the rounds bad-mouthing the United States. Fox, the speaker for the 2007 Toledo After Hours event hosted by Junior League, recently told an audience in Mexico City, “We are already a step ahead, having been born in Mexico. Imagine being born in the United States, oof!”
A report in the San Antonio Express-News said his thinking is in line with Mexican citizens who “often see America as full of broken families, rampant drug use and unchecked materialism, run by a government that doesn’t hesitate to go to war or meddle in the affairs of others.”
Odd, ironic sentiments coming from a country that, according to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, sees millions of its citizens illegally enter the United States, a country with more than a small hand in the drug trade.
When Fox arrives for his speech, he should be treated with respect. But if he continues to disrespect the United States in such broad and disdainful terms, maybe the Junior League should schedule a different speaker.