I read Hal Crowther’s essay (“The elephants in the room,” cover story, Feb. 13) with great pleasure. Crowther has a terrific grasp of the facts, and he is willing to speak plainly about the dismal effects that the Bush administration has had on this country and the world.

After some reflection, however, I started to wonder what the point of this essay was. People like me (and, I suspect, most Independent readers) do not need to be convinced of these thingswe are already all too aware of their truth. Was Crowther just preaching to the choir? Informed political writing should serve to raise questions in the minds of those who disagree and, hopefully, encourage them to change their opinions (and votes).

The shrill, scolding and insulting tone of Crowther’s piece will do nothing but turn people off. He has the facts right, but in this essay, he is otherwise no different from those such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, whom he rightly despises. To whatever extent the Independent hopes to influence political discourse in the Triangle, this was a waste of ink and paper.

Peter Aitken

Chapel Hill