I am writing to you regarding the November 11 cover of National Review. The allusion to Canto Three of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno of the Divine Comedy featured on the cover is much appreciated and rather appropriate given the ongoing health-care disaster that our country is currently having to endure. As a college Italian instructor and a great admirer of medieval Italian literature and poetry, I was, for lack of a better term, ecstatic to see such a superb literary reference grace the cover of my favorite periodical.
National Review’s cover echoes the final line on a sign that Dante and his guide Virgil encounter upon their entrance and subsequent descent into Hell: “Abandon all hope, you who enter here” — “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate.” It is important to note that there is a rather striking dichotomy between Dante’s journey through the Inferno and our having to endure the ill-conceived and pernicious Affordable Care Act. While Dante’s trek through the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise resulted ultimately in enlightenment, understanding, and personal growth, Obamacare will afford us none of this. It will, most unfortunately, merely serve as a perdurable punishment from which we cannot be extricated. Unlike the misfortunes of many of Dante’s sinners, though, this misfortune is not due to any sin of our own, but results from the inherent destructive nature of the Machiavellian regime to which we are subjected.
East Setauket, N.Y.
A Walk on the Mild Side
Jay Nordlinger’s article “Freedom from Fear, for Now” (September 2) was totally accurate. I grew up in New York City during the ’60s and ’70s before moving out to Colorado for school and then staying there to raise a family. The city couldn’t control crime, graffiti in the subways, or filth in the streets. I still remember looking over my shoulder while taking a walk in the foothills of Colorado to see if I was being followed. I remember Times Square, the brunt of our teenage jokes about drugs, hookers, massage parlors, and porno theaters. My parents were ashamed when they took us kids to a restaurant they went to when they dated in the ’50s: It was besieged by massage parlors on both sides. We never went back again.
I now have no fear when I take my wife and kids to see my parents and siblings, who still live in Queens. Times Square is a wonderland to the eyes, and we have no fear of being mugged in a subway car or on a dark street. Rudy and Bloomy have done great things to make the city safe: There is no doubt about it. It would be a shame to see the city once again fall into liberal disrepair, which would once again make it a city that people fear to live in.