The e-mails and letters I receive from readers around the country are truly appreciated -- even the ones that are downright insulting.
They are also instructive. They demonstrate that I am still able to view things from different angles. That's critical for someone who analyzes the public's pulse.
A column from just a few weeks ago on former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed led to some e-mails that called me a traitor to the conservative cause.
In last week's column, I suggested that President Bush may have bottomed out in the polls and that Democrats might be overreaching in their incessant attacks on the White House. Those words earned comments accusing me of being a blindly conservative hack.
These reactions are healthy because public opinion shifts, and objective analysis of it sometimes requires upsetting one side or another.
The following are a few takes on prominent current events. They may help to illustrate how telling it as one sees it can often cut both ways.
In France, rioting Muslims are being portrayed in much media as people whose only distinction is that they have been unfairly neglected by the French government and most of its people.
As rioting continued night after night, news reports finally started pointing out that the rioters were primarily of one religious faith. But the media insistence continues that the main reason for the violence is that the French nation is somehow unwilling to instantly and completely accept and absorb what is now about 10 percent of its population.
This is nonsense. Anyone who knows the makeup of the French population understands that these enclaves of Muslim immigrants never wanted anything to do with France or its effete, secular culture. This song eventually will refrain elsewhere in Europe.
At the same time, some conservative commentators are refusing to admit that some young people among the native French are joining in the unrest because of their anti-everything attitude.
Also, no one wants to admit what polls have long suggested -- the French are finally reaping what they sowed with their longstanding, loose immigration laws and their egalitarian snobbishness.
Here in the United States, Republicans are finally waking up to the fact that we too have the makings of a serious problem from excessive immigration. Even before the French riots, the subject has been weighing more and more on the minds of the public and its political leaders.
It's too late this year, but next year, look for Congress to act on its understanding that America has for too long left the barn door wide open.
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