Letters to the Editor: Stephen Miller, Charlottesville and Hitler Youth

August 24, 2017

Two Views on Immigration

I am very grateful for Rob Eshman’s column on Stephen Miller (“Stephen Miller and Julia Hahn Have a Past,” Aug. 11). Shame on him.

When my grandfather came to this country as a 12-year-old boy, he did not speak one word of English, nor did his parents or siblings. They came here almost penniless to escape the pogroms in Russia. What his family did have were cousins who greeted them with open arms.

My grandfather grew up to become a successful lawyer in Chicago. His son, my uncle, became a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Forces during WWII and was one of Eisenhower’s key staff members. I often wonder how many young lives my uncle helped save.

To know Miller’s background and the opportunities that he has been given in this country because his forebears made many sacrifices to get here, and then to stand up at a press conference and publicly spew shameful alt-right buzzwords is a disgrace.

Marlene Grossman via email

Eshman’s column in support of continued high levels of legal immigration — due largely to so-called “family reunification” — misses many important reasons why U.S. immigration policies should be changed. Here are two such reasons.

Giving preferential admittance to extended family members of people already legally in the U.S. is discriminatory. Current immigration policy greatly favors people who have relatives who have recently immigrated to the U.S.; for many years now this would mean people coming from Latin America and various East-Asian countries. The policy strongly discriminates against people living in Africa, Europe, Pacifica and much of Asia. This is patently unfair. Even more important, in my opinion, is the sheer number of immigrants legally admitted. With business-as-usual population growth, by 2050 or so, California will be as densely populated as China. For many years, California’s rapid population growth essentially has been due entirely to immigration and the U.S.-born offspring of immigrants.

Ben Zuckerman, Los Angeles

What Charlottesville Says About Us

I get that Rob Eshman does not like President Trump and has been attacking him since Day One (“Donald Trump, Betrayer in Chief,” Aug. 18). But that should not negate his ability to maintain some semblance of balance and fairness. Eshman states that Trump “and his supporters” accused former President Barack Obama of refusing to say “radical Islamic terrorism,” offhandedly conceding that Obama’s failure opened himself up to “entirely valid criticism.”

It was far more than Trump supporters who were unhappy with Obama’s failure to ever name radical Islamic terrorism. Obama went out of his way to never call Islamic terrorism by its name; instead we heard things like “violent extremism,” “workplace violence” and “man-caused disaster.” Trump took 48 hours before identifying the evil perpetrators in Charlottesville, Va., as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Some of us waited eight years
for Obama to identify radical Islamic terrorism — only to remain disappointed the entire time.

Michael H. Pinchak, Tarzana

Charlottesville sent a message. President Trump may vocalize strong support for Israel, but his passive actions indicate he is willing to indirectly endorse hostility toward Jews if it will buy him accolades from his base of supporters. Those American Jews who continue to support the Trump presidency, including the most visible one, Sheldon Adelson, need to recognize the old axiom: Actions speak louder than words. It is time for them to reconsider their actions.

Michael Ernstoff via email

This story hit close to home. My father and his family were forced to leave Germany to escape anti-Semitism. I never thought in my life that this could ever happen in the U.S. I hope the Jewish community in Los Angeles gathers in a public space to show our solidarity against this hate. I will be there, and I know you will, too, Rob. Please keep writing.

Ralph Hattenbach via email

I don’t quarrel in general with what Eshman wrote, but there are also rhinoceri on the political left, in particular antifa, much of the media and some of the Black Lives Matter people. They use violence to prevent conservatives from speaking at colleges (UC Berkeley being the most egregious example), attack college faculty who dare to deviate from their orthodoxy (e.g. Yale), wail about “safe spaces” and “micro-aggressions,” and lie or distort facts about events (e.g. CNN). What ails this country will continue — and likely get worse — as long as the rhinoceri’s snorts drown out saner voices.

Stephen J. Meyers via email

Can Former Hitler Youth Be Remorseful?

I don’t understand how you can put a picture of a woman who belonged to the Hitler Youth and acted as a Nazi on your cover. You can never use “remorse” for what the Nazis did to so many millions of people (“A Soul-Crushing Debt,” Aug. 11) and expect to be redeemed and understood. I have remorse for not saving more money. I have remorse for not getting a higher education. How can Ursula Martens use the word remorse when she let a disabled child wander away and die? How can she use the word remorse when, during Kristallnacht, all she was upset about were the broken crystals and not the broken lives? When she saw the pictures in her father’s drawers of the horrors that he perpetrated, she kept quiet. Only when Germany was losing the war did she decide that Nazism was “perhaps” wrong. Then she tried to atone by having an affair with a married Jewish man. 

There are so many great people who risked their lives to save Jews and so many victims who went on to do good things for the Jewish community who you could put on your cover.

Miriam Fiber, Los Angeles

When to Pray, When to Remain Silent

I read Roger Price’s story (“A Solar Eclipse Deserves a Blessing,” Aug. 18), and although I appreciate his attempt to find an innovative way to introduce a new blessing to capture the moment, I believe there is a profound reason why no blessing was ever instituted for witnessing a solar eclipse.

There are times in life when the situation requires no blessing, no words … just simple silence.

Every so often we need to be humble and take in the majesty of God’s world.

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon via email

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