Readers React: America was founded by rich, white elites. We’ve never stopped putting VIPs on a pedestal


To the editor: I cannot remember reading something so flat-out wrong, from premise to finish, as Virginia Heffernan’s column, “When did Americans start bowing and scraping to VIPs?

This country was founded by elite white men who institutionalized slavery; its economic core has always been a super-rich class living lavishly atop a vicious capitalist scrum; and institutions — political, cultural and religious — have served and protected this patriarchy since they were founded.

To stand against the petty tyrants who enforced this system, until very recently, was to commit social and economic suicide.


“Forty years ago we were less craven” — says who? Lazy phrasing like “for a long time,” “once upon a time” and “it was assumed” romanticize a facile nostalgia for some place and time that never existed. Doing this is as self-serving, dangerous and stupid as any red-hat wearing, flag-waving nitwit bemoaning a lost America where everyone shut up and knew his or her place.

Maurice Chauvet, Venice


To the editor: I loved Heffernan’s excellent column lamenting the placement of VIPs on any pedestal. It reminded me of a story my pilot friend once told me.

He was returning home from a few days of flying on a commercial plane populated with members of the Saudi Arabian royal family. When the plane landed, security guards leaped up to hold the other passengers back. “You must wait for the royal family to disembark,” a guard told him.

My friend just laughed and said: “Not in this country, we don’t.” He rather gleefully stepped past them.

Benjamin Franklin, the most egalitarian of our founding fathers, was applauding in heaven.

JJ Flowers, Laguna Beach


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