US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. In the Land of Denial (New York Times)

Republican presidential contenders who regard global warming as a hoax do not offer the leadership that the nation needs to address climate change, posits this editorial.

2. Can Truman Strategy Work for Obama in 2012? (Roll Call)

President Barack Obama's re-election prospects look dimmer by the day, so -- absent an economic turnaround -- he's likely to try to win in 2012 the way Harry Truman did in 1948: by blasting Republicans, argues Morton M. Kondracke.

3. Elephant rides should be a thing of the past (Los Angeles Times)

Elephant rides are a tradition at the L.A. County Fair, says this editorial, but it's one tradition the fair should abandon, both for the animals' and the public's sake.

4. Haiti's Needless Cholera Deaths (New York Times)

The United States and allies need to work with the Haitian Health Ministry to wage a more aggressive effort to contain the cholera outbreak, states this editorial.

5. Reality check for the euro (Washington Post)

This editorial finds that the financial crisis reveals the limits of European unity.

6. The constitution and pensions (Detroit Free Press)

An editorial pieces searches for fair tax treatment.

7. Focus on deficits worsened job woes (Omaha World Herald)

Last Friday brought two numbers that should have everyone in Washington saying, "My God, what have we done?", writes Paul Krugman.

8. How 9/11 Transformed the Intelligence Community (Wall Street Journal)

James R. Clapper finds it's no longer about 'need to know'; American's guiding principle is "responsibility to share".

9. Drum major for accuracy (Boston Globe)

The truncating and paraphrasing of a quote by The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the wall of the new King Memorial is an unfortunate mistake. The architect and planners should either make room for the full quote or find a shorter substitute that they can use in its entirety, writes this editorial.

10. American family is frayed, but united (USA Today)

In the decade since 9/11, our nation has raised fists while joining hands, says Bruce Kluger.

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Must I unremember the day I wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man?

At that time we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

The misremembering of history interrupts these tales of my own squalid past. Very often I find myself wishing my memories were wrong, or that I’d forgotten more than I have. This would certainly be the case were I to be a politician, albeit a small-time one in big-time government. In the era of renunciations and sincere apologies, I would have to say sorry most of the time.

But I can’t. I can’t get past that clear day in May 1981, when the tangy cold spring air of a New York day got right inside me. Ambling home from another long, messy night in the Village, I was near 52nd when I saw people carrying a coffin.

“It’s not him, of course. It’s a fake coffin,” said a woman who saw the shock on my face. Maybe I was already crying. I knew and didn’t know but asked anyway.

“Yes. Bobby.”

Bobby Sands had died. Crowds were gathering with banners about Smashing Long Kesh and Smashing Thatcher.

The shock of it has never left me and God knows “martyrs” come two a penny now. Yet the idea that someone can starve themselves slowly to death for an idea is shocking. The idea that someone can let them do it, either “for” a United Ireland or “for” a United Kingdom, remains profoundly disturbing to me.

I need no lectures about what vile and murderous bastards the IRA were, or the numbers of innocents they killed. Nor about the smeary sentimentality of martyrdom itself. All I can say is that I had little idea of what “we” did in Ireland as long as I lived in England. A boy at school had run off to join the IRA. My mum said, “Well, he’s always been tapped, that one.”

We were kept ignorant. For some stupid reason, I did not think that Thatcher would let the hunger strikers die.

Their demands, remember, were the right not to wear prison uniform or to do prison work, rights to free association and education within the prison, one visit, one parcel, one letter a week. They wanted to be treated as political prisoners. Thatcher said Sands had no mandate. He was actually an MP, with more votes than she ever won in Finchley.

In New York that day, when we got to Third Avenue, there was anger and then solemnity. There were mumblings about what a death like that entailed . . . Mandela then instigated a hunger strike on Robben Island. There were protests in Milan and Ghent. French towns would name streets after Sands.

At that time, though, yes, we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

So, must I unremember that day when I sat down on the pavement and wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man? Let me know how to uncry all those tears shed for that terrible, terrible waste.

Suzanne Moore is a writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She writes the weekly “Telling Tales” column in the NS.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide