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The Left Lost Touch by Clinging to Icons

September 25, 2004

Re "Keeping Che Alive -- With Capitalism," Commentary, Sept. 20: If those on the political left wonder why they are largely irrelevant in U.S. politics, here is part of the reason. By clinging to the iconography of lost causes like Che Guevara, they alienate themselves from the U.S. middle class, which they must influence if they are to have any hope of stopping the conservative tide washing over all of us.

For most Americans, Guevara carries all the bad associations with the communism and Marxism that were America's enemies for so many years. At best, they see only a symbol irrelevant to the issues of modern life.

I realize getting rid of Che's image in pop culture would be no easier than expunging images of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. But if it ever hopes to succeed, the left must free itself from these old associations. It must learn how to tailor and communicate modern, progressive themes to the larger body politic in the same way the right has done so effectively with the conservative agenda.

Wesley Orr

Fontana

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