Opinion Columnists: So You Were Wrong. Or Were You?

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  • Josh Hawley Ran for His Life


To the Editor:

Re “I Was Wrong” (Sunday Opinion, July 24):

Thank you for these columns. Although several seemed slightly grudging, many read as deeply felt self-examinations and sincere efforts to “walk a mile” in the shoes of others.

In this age of righteousness on all sides, it takes great courage to approach the pains and the terrors of this world with real humility.

What a world this would be if all our leaders — political, journalistic and religious — could allow themselves the sorrow and the glory of thinking, speaking and leading in such a manner!

Steve Wangh
Brattleboro, Vt.

To the Editor:

The “I Was Wrong” columns were written by some of my favorite gurus. Their honesty and vulnerability in writing these pieces were so emotionally moving, authentic and valuable. Congratulations on putting this together.

It meant so much to me, and I have passed the articles on to other colleagues in leadership, as this is what we propose to leaders of organizations in order to build trust. Thank you so much for the decision to do this!

Kathy Minardi
The writer is executive director of the Whole School Leadership Institute.

To the Editor:

I admire Bret Stephens for admitting he was wrong (“I Was Wrong About Trump Voters”). But Mr. Stephens was mostly right.

Trump voters were betrayed at least three times. The last time was by President Donald Trump himself; he did nothing for the “unprotected” citizens of the U.S., nor did he even try.

Maybe, if Trump voters figure out what they really need and should expect from their government, and where justice is in the culture wars, they will make the right choice in 2024.

Anthony J. DiStefano
Milton, Del.

To the Editor:

So Bret Stephens thinks he was wrong about Trump voters and states, “What Trump’s supporters saw was a candidate whose entire being was a proudly raised middle finger at a self-satisfied elite that had produced a failing status quo.”

No, Mr. Stephens, you were not wrong about Trump voters; they simply did not choose to exercise their critical thinking skills to understand that Mr. Trump is one of the “self-satisfied elite” whose only goal in life is to obtain money and power.

Moreover, if they had applied their critical thinking skills, they would have very quickly realized that Mr. Trump is a narcissist, a liar, a cheat and a master manipulator who duped them into believing that he is their savior; a 70-something golden-haired billionaire who lived on Fifth Avenue and now a mansion in Florida and who really cares about them! Really?

And despite all of the recent information released from the Jan. 6 hearings, the vast majority simply reject it and continue to support Mr. Trump. So, Mr. Stephens, you were not wrong at all about Trump voters, but you are dead wrong in believing that you were and writing about it.

Michael Hadjiargyrou
Centerport, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Bret Stephens’s mea culpa is spot on. Now who will really listen with an honest ear and a strategic plan for doing something for the multitudes feeling unheard, unappreciated, misunderstood? Old-fashioned town meetings might be the place to start.

Dawn Keller
Hendersonville, N.C.

To the Editor:

In “I Was Wrong About Capitalism,” David Brooks suggests that his views on the value of regulation have (finally) changed because “sometimes the world is genuinely different than it was before.”

While the specific regulations required certainly change with the times (there was, for example, no e-commerce to regulate until relatively recently), the need for well-crafted regulation to rein in the intrinsic detrimental tendencies of the free market, ranging from human exploitation to environmental devastation, is an unchanging truth.

Capitalism is like fire; it is a powerful tool that offers transformative benefits to humanity, but, like fire, it must always be carefully managed because it can cause sweeping destruction.

R. Daniel Valdes-Dapena
Cape May, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re David Brooks’s column:

As a Midwestern 87-year-old lefty, I thank you for giving me a tiny sliver of hope in my tired old mind.

Would that the ability to open new brain pathways be taught in schools, modeled in the halls of the government system and generally admired.

There should be classes in “I was wrong.” It is such a mark of intelligence, and the school systems could redeem themselves from the sin of underpaying generous men and women who cannot break through the traps of the system.

I admire you.

Sally Brown

To the Editor:

Re “I Was Wrong About Al Franken,” by Michelle Goldberg:

Senator Franken was swept up in the “one size fits all” frenzy that consumed him predicated, in very large part, on one photo showing a comedian making an attempted joke gone horribly wrong.

Even at the time I believed the clamor for his political head was an error. Now, given what has transpired in this nation since that day, and the very distinct possibility that Donald Trump may be his party’s 2024 presidential nominee despite a list of grievances that makes Mr. Franken’s seem as a pebble to a mountain, my belief in the mistaken rush to judgment for Mr. Franken has grown exponentially.

I understand the mea culpa of this column. But too little, too late never seemed a more apt reply.

Robert S. Nussbaum
Fort Lee, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re Michelle Goldberg’s column about Al Franken:

Thank you for your integrity, rising above pridefulness and acknowledging the costs of abridging due process. We need more of this accountability.

Evelyn J. Hightower
Blacklick, Ohio

To the Editor:

Re “I Was Wrong About Facebook,” by Farhad Manjoo:

Truth will set you free, but you must be able to recognize it first. Facebook’s cacophony will not help you do that.

Edgar Pauk

To the Editor:

I enjoyed the collection of eight admissions from your columnists that they actually realize they were wrong about something. But only eight? This should be a weekly piece, considering how much material there is. I look forward to more of the same.

Carl Schwarz
Naples, Fla.

To the Editor:

I got through about three of the “I Was Wrong” columns before realizing that the theme was “I was wrong, but let me equivocate.” I always thought that wrong was wrong; I guess I was wrong (but I can explain).

These read like a homework assignment no one wanted to do.

Aaron Schurg
Traverse City, Mich.

Josh Hawley Ran for His Life

Credit…Oliver Contreras/AFP— Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Video Shows Senator Fleeing Mob He Had Exhorted With a Raised Fist” (news article, July 23):

The video of Senator Josh Hawley running for his life as his buddies threatened to become too friendly with him is a perfect symbol of the Republican Party’s cowardice.

Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, of course, lead this pusillanimous bunch of big talkers and small men. That our country should be governed, if that is the correct word, by such a spineless group is sad beyond words.

John T. Dillon
West Caldwell, N.J.

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