Guidelines should be taken seriously

I think authors should be embarrassed after they place their names under email circulated screeds presented as letters to the editor, as did the writer of “Obama has created a socialist state” (July 1 by Joe Gantner).

The letter supposedly reveals the secret truth about President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

One can find a description and analysis of this letter at Snopes.com: http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/alinsky.asp, which rates its claims as false.

According to Snopes.com, it is false that Saul Alinsky wrote the eight “steps” to socialism in the letter.

Also, it is false that Hillary Clinton wrote her graduate master’s thesis on Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” She did not pursue a master’s degree; but she did write an undergraduate “senior thesis” on Alinsky (without mentioning “Rules for Radicals”) at Wellesley College: see Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_senior_thesis.

While the Wikipedia story is not especially flattering to Clinton, it skewers the absurdity that the thesis shows she is a secret Marxist. A link to the text of her thesis appears in the Snopes.com story.

The Gazette letter guidelines say that the author vouches for the originality of the letter. Surely authors ought to be able to take this guideline seriously. Who wants to shout out that one is a plagiarist before one’s whole community? And who wants to be known for plagiarizing lies?

Terry Heller

Cedar Rapids

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