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The source of anger and fear

September 30, 2009

Re "The angry, fearful American," Opinion, Sept. 27

Frank Luntz would have us believe the anger and fear of these Americans is warranted because of nefarious politicians alone.

The real reason rests with the new American character. Selfish, greedy, ignorant and irrational -- these are the characteristics that define the typical American today.

When you vote for politicians based on ignorance of the issues or because you are incapable of rational thought, or you vote based on your personal pocketbook instead of what will make a better world, you don't get leaders who will enact policy that improves society, you get politicians who dance for dollars. The people are the problem.

Paul Scott

Santa Monica

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Luntz claims that the solution to easing the anger and fear that are running rampant in our country is for "business and political elites" to "restore trust."

I would argue that it's exactly that kind of blind reliance on "those in power" that got us into this mess in the first place.

Luntz says Americans want accountability from our leaders. True enough. But rather than embracing as truth the sound bites we hear on talk radio (which only fuels the anger and fear), Americans should attempt to educate themselves on the issues and commit to becoming part of the solution.

Vivian Rodriguez

Culver City

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This is a sobering piece about the current American mood.

I can only conclude that Luntz is ignoring the rancor and the denigration directed at President Obama through the right-wing media, tea-bagging events and Republican leaders who help promote both when he says, "If those in power shut up and listen, they'll hear what I'm hearing."

My response is: "Do you not know that conservatives are already tapping into that resentment, successfully redirecting it at Obama?"

Unfortunately, all business and government leaders hear is opportunity -- the opportunity to destroy their opponent and his legislative program.

Jim Hoover

Huntington Beach

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This Op-Ed article is a masterpiece of propaganda. Luntz writes that "Washington is seen as the source for America's mistakes." He wants his readers to think about today's Washington controlled by the Democrats and not the Reagan/Bush Washington that was responsible for the deregulation of Wall Street, insurance companies, banks and other industries that resulted in the excesses.

Mr. Luntz, I am an angry and fearful American. I'm angry at you and people like you and your Republican cohorts who care not for the welfare of America but only for their greedy selves.

I'm fearful that good Americans will continue to be fooled by your propaganda skills and hence blinded to what is in their best interest and what is in the best interest of our country.

Leon Salter

Los Angeles

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How ironic that Luntz, polluter of political language, now laments "the angry, fearful American" -- ordinary Americans in a toxic culture he helped create.

One has only to read his "Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear" to understand his careful, contrived, controlled manipulation of information.

Sorry that you're now so concerned about today's pessimism and lack of respect for others. Perhaps you've been more successful shaping language than you care to admit.

You reap what you sow, sir. Unfortunately, the rest of us are reaping it too. We are listening for your apology and your self-correction.

Richard Follett

Van Nuys

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Luntz says that, according to his research, 72% of Americans are "mad as hell."

There are some really angry Americans, as we have witnessed in recent health-care town halls. But Luntz generalizes too broadly. Not all Americans are mad in the way he describes.

A recent Zogby International poll found that roughly a third of Americans had "no confidence at all" in Obama -- probably the people Luntz describes. But it shows them to be mainly older white males, values voters, ideological conservatives, born-again Christians, those feeling left behind in a changing, uncertain world.

What about the other two-thirds? Most still believe in a nation where the civil exchange of ideas prevails.

Wade Clark Roof

Santa Barbara

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Luntz's rant can be attributed to two words: Barack Obama. The president does not have an "R" following his name, inciting Republicans to scream and shout in an attempt to draw attention to their plight.

The only anger and fear present is that which the Republican Party is inventing. Their sole course of action is to conjure up a false hysteria for those foolish enough to buy into it.

Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), they're losing the con game.

Fredric Cooper

Los Angeles

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