Hal Crowther gets my vote for being the Glenn Beck of the so-called left (“The Tea Party,” May 5). Where Beck sees a commie around every corner, Crowther sees anyone who has a problem with the government as an obvious terrorist. He seems to relish the thought that perhaps one day a militia member will do more than just talk. But being against government policy isn’t a litmus test for having a closet full of white sheets and a taste for snacking on the critters in your mate’s hair.

However, his lament of our “damn little national memory” I fully agree with. If only the nation could remember that the Dems have had majority congressional control since ’06, when they rode in on a wave of disgust in government that included promises of ending the war(s). Obama’s promises of change have gotten us nothing more than Sunday morning talk shows littered with apologists on the left minimizing his role in sending more troops, strengthening the horrific PATRIOT Act, continuing illegal rendition and tacit approval of torture, to his perfectly timed support of offshore drilling.

Crowther says this is not a country “where the armed can ignore the law and bully the unarmed with threats of violence”? This left me incredulous. On the micro scale it’s corrupt police; on the macro scale it’s an entrenched system on the federal and state level that ignores laws when it suits them or passes new laws to put them in compliance ex post facto. When I was in D.C. in February ’03, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of other peace-loving Americans, it was hard to imagine we would be ignored. Were we “losers or citizens?” We were both. A show of force, while superficially hypocritical, may have gone a long way toward saving the lives of many innocents.

Alex Jones
Misenheimer, N.C.

A great thanks to my fellow old white man, Hal Crowther, for a brilliant and literate essay on the current state of extremist right-wing behavior (“The Tea Party,” May 5). It would take very little creative thinking to envision the results of a very large group of people of color advocating revolution, shouting racial pejoratives at elected white officials, singling out a white president for punishment by posing verbal threats to him or her, or a political commentator of color saying that the only thing Tim McVeigh missed was The New York Times. All of this (and more) has been done by this gang of thugs, creating a public danger and destroying hope of even modest dialogue on the critical issues that confront us. Even a candidate for vice president from a major but not mainstream party said, “Don’t retreat, reload.” The notion that this movement is dangerous is obvious and intuitive, but that notion is supported strongly by the sheer fact that it is fueled by anti-intellectualism, fear and irrationality. Déj vu, anyone?

Charles Kafoure
Chapel Hill