Young, Old and Progressive Together

More from our inbox:

  • An Israeli Minister’s Defense of Netanyahu
  • From the Met Director: A Gift to Be Celebrated, Not Criticized
  • Your College Experience: What About the Plus Side?
  • Saving Children’s Lives by Investing in H.I.V. Programs

Credit…Min Heo

To the Editor:

“The Case for Going Gray and Staying Blue,” by Bill McKibben and Akaya Windwood (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 23), is right on target in forecasting a trend among older voters toward more progressive politics and candidates.

Certainly threats to Medicare and Social Security motivate this movement. I submit that there is an even greater force moving older voters to support progressive (that is, Democratic) candidates: grandchildren.

As I consider current events and issues, uppermost in my mind is how my two grandchildren will be affected. I do not think I am unique in this perspective.

The institutions of our democracy, equal justice, economic equity, climate change and protection of civil liberties are not just issues for the moment, but also determine the future of young people and the old people who care about them.

At 85, I will keep voting for a better future for my grandchildren. If Medicare and Social Security are protected in the process, that’s OK too.

Pat Fleming

To the Editor:

Too often, people pit generations against one another, and so I was gratified to see that Bill McKibben and Akaya Windwood acknowledged the power of both younger and older Americans.

As the C.E.O. of Ignite, a national young women’s political organization, I saw firsthand how young people shaped the recent election cycle in a way that was hugely underestimated by everybody in the run-up.Our work now means ensuring that Gen Z owns its political power and remains a reliable, engaged voting bloc.

Much as the essay points out with regard to the older generations, young people, especially young cisgender and trans women and nonbinary people, are also feeling angst about our democracy and their future. They also care deeply about reproductive justice, climate change and the economy.

We need to think and work together across generations if we’re going to strengthen our democracy to become truly responsive to the needs and aspirations of people of all ages.

It’s a terrifying truth that Gen Z faces a future with fewer rights for traditionally marginalized groups than the generation before it. The overturning of Roe made that very clear. The only way to change the tide is for all of us to come together across generations.

Sara Guillermo
Oakland, Calif.

To the Editor:

Count me in as one more proudly progressive old person who believes that if you’re not getting more liberal as you age, you just aren’t paying attention.

Ellen Steinbaum

An Israeli Minister’s Defense of Netanyahu

Volodymyr Zelensky, left, meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020.Credit…Pool photo by Oded Balilty

To the Editor:

Re “A Tale of Two Jewish Leaders,” by Bret Stephens (column, Jan. 25):

Mr. Stephens harshly criticizes Israel’s longest serving prime minister, who was recently elected to a sixth term.

The trigger for his broadside was Benjamin Netanyahu’s expression of support for Aryeh Deri after the Supreme Court ruled that he must fire the Shas minister because of a prior conviction on a tax-related charge.

In an effort to convince readers that the Israeli leader embraces corruption, Mr. Stephens does not mention two pertinent facts.

First, despite Mr. Deri’s conviction, nearly 400,000 Israelis voted for the party he leads.

Second, the court’s ruling was not based on a statute that bars Mr. Deri from serving in the government but rather on the judges’ view that Mr. Netanyahu’s appointment of him was “unreasonable.”

This inherently subjective decision undermines the rule of law and, by enabling the judicial branch to intervene in executive branch appointments, violates the separation of powers that safeguards democracy.

It only illustrates why judicial reform is so badly needed in a country where Supreme Court justices effectively choose their successors, the rules of standing are the most expansive in the democratic world and the court has usurped the power to strike down laws without authority from the Knesset, much less a written constitution.

Mr. Netanyahu, long demonized by critics, has proved them wrong time and again. Cast for decades as the obstacle to peace and pressured into make dangerous concessions, Mr. Netanyahu rejected his critics and stood up to the pressure. He ultimately forged more peace deals (four) than all his predecessors combined (two).

Today, Mr. Netanyahu is cast as an authoritarian and pressured to abandon judicial reform. Fortunately, Israel has a prime minister who can take a punch and stand his ground. The result will be long overdue reform that will not end Israeli democracy but save it from enlightened judicial despotism.

Ron Dermer
The writer is Israel’s minister of strategic affairs.

From the Met Director: A Gift to Be Celebrated, Not Criticized

To the Editor:

“A Gift the Met Might Not Need,” by Roberta Smith (Critic’s Notebook, Jan. 24), mischaracterizes Musa Guston Mayer’s remarkable gift.

By promising 220 of her father’s paintings and drawings to the Met and by creating a generous endowment to care for and study them, Ms. Mayer has not only made it possible for us to represent every phase of this protean artist’s career, she has also ensured that Philip Guston’s oeuvre will remain forever in public — not private — view.

The Met’s robust lending program to museums in the U.S. and globally and its open-door policy for researchers will apply equally to Guston, furthering access to his art. One of the obligations of being a large museum is that we are positioned to play just this role within the field.

Moreover, Ms. Smith presents our acceptance of Ms. Mayer’s gift as a zero-sum game in which embracing Guston will mean neglecting our current commitment to women artists and artists of color. Nothing could be further from the truth, as our recently announced partnership with the Studio Museum in Harlem, to care for some 50,000 photographs and negatives by James Van Der Zee, proves.

The Guston family’s exceptional generosity should be celebrated, and hopefully serve as a model for future artists and their descendants so that works of art can be appreciated by the widest possible audiences.

Max Hollein
New York
The writer is director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Your College Experience: What About the Plus Side?

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

To the Editor:

I read the Reader Corner of Jan. 24 with astonishment. Times Opinion is soliciting attacks on higher education.

It is even offering specific directions that students’ expressions of dissatisfaction might take, leading the proverbial witness with suggestions that maybe these things happened: They got “lost in the crowd” at a big state school; they chose a small liberal arts college that left them with “tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt”; or they selected a college too “focused on academics.”

(That last is an interesting criticism to encourage about what are intended to be institutions of higher education.)

“Tell us why your school was not the right place for you.” Suppose it was? Wouldn’t Times readers benefit from knowing about that?

But Times Opinion is apparently not interested in stories of positive, meaningful, even life-changing college experiences.

Isn’t it the job of an opinion section to reflect and share opinion, not create it? We know that denunciations attract clicks and readers. But abandoning even an aspiration to objectivity and balance threatens journalism — and the society it is intended to serve.

Drew Gilpin Faust
Cambridge, Mass.
The writer is president emerita of Harvard University.

Saving Children’s Lives by Investing in H.I.V. Programs

Nancy Adhiambo, a mother of five, learned she had H.I.V. during her third pregnancy. Two of her children, including her youngest, have H.I.V.Credit…Malin Fezehai for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Global Strides on H.I.V. Leave Children Straggling Far Behind” (front page, Jan. 17):

The global fight against H.I.V. has saved millions of lives in the last 20 years — in no small measure because of U.S. investments in programs like the Global Fund and PEPFAR — but the fact that so many infections in children are going undetected and untreated is a powerful reminder that the fight is not over.

Reaching all pregnant women and kids presents unique challenges, but it’s up to us to figure out a more effective way forward. We must ensure that every child has access to lifesaving care and treatment.

The U.S. must continue to invest in effective H.I.V. programs that began to turn the tide 20 years ago.

We know what works. We know how to save lives. We need sufficient investment from countries and donors, including the U.S., and the political will to make it happen.

Chris Collins
Ellicott City, Md.
The writer is president and C.E.O. of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

To the Editor:

Every year about 100,000 children are still dying from H.I.V. in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a testimony to one of the most egregious failures in health care over the last 50 years or more.

The article does not examine how children are being infected. It discusses a single route of infection, from mother to child in the womb. This ignores the substantial literature on the exposure of African children to unsafe injections and unscreened blood used in transfusions.

Syringes are often reused, and universal safe health care practices are not observed in many instances. In the absence of investments to improve health care, generations of children in Africa and in other parts of the world will be exposed to H.I.V. and other deadly viruses.

Stephen F. Minkin
Brattleboro, Vt.
The author was an adviser to the World Health Organization on injection safety and H.I.V.

Related Articles

Back to top button