Sunday, February 4, 2024

Art Cullen on how Trump came between him and his long-time, small-town friend

Cullen is the Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Storm Lake Times Pilot, and his column in today's New York Times is titled, "We were friends for years. Trump tore us apart."  Cullen leads with some background on his relationship with a group of men in his home-town, men he's known since Little League and often fished and played pool with.  Here's the part where things start to go wrong, amidst politics and the pandemic--and the politics of the pandemic. 
One of my old friends, or shall I say acquaintances, recently said on Facebook that I lacked integrity after I posted an editorial from our newspaper complaining about Mr. Trump’s contempt for the democratic process and rule of law.
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You would think we could see around our differences. We can’t. We’ve been programmed by nonstop propaganda, especially those of us in Iowa besieged by presidential campaigns and the wedge issues they drill home. Instead of trying to hash things out, I just quit trying. My bad. I got tired.

Small-town hacks learn who their friends are. We publish uncomfortable facts of public interest and opinions that often go against the grain. Businesses stop advertising because you wrote about their lawsuit. That I get. It’s a hazard of the occupation that I regret every day. You pledge to do better even when you have done nothing wrong.

The ad hominem attacks have become the norm, especially since Mr. Trump took center stage and refuses to exit. We went from Iowa Nice to Iowa Nasty. We’re stuck there whether Mr. Trump leaves or hangs around. That’s my lament.
* * * 
I know where I live. Northwest Iowa is a frozen slice of Texas, one of the most conservative places in the country. I guess I am what you call woke because I don’t think immigrants are the problem; I think income — lack of it — is the problem. All this talk about bathroom bills and book bans is one giant distraction from how global corporations have stolen our franchise. I am not the enemy of the people, dude — we were in Cub Scouts together.

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