The recent Community Voices piece by John Pryor ("Root cause of the current calamites escapes most," Jan. 7) highlights the hyperbolic and conspiratorial thinking that, unfortunately, permeates today’s political discourse. Such rhetoric is, in Pryor’s parlance, risky.

According to Pryor, all of our country’s ills can be attributed to Communist China, as well as shadowy figures such as George Soros and godless Marxists (a nebulous, catchall term that lacks operationalization — because, really, who are these powerful Marxists?). Pryor claims these entities are responsible for everything from crime to cancel culture in our country. This is the type of simplistic, fear-mongering analysis favored by the last president. Are there legitimate complaints regarding the geopolitical actions of the Chinese government or the political influence of wealthy donors such as George Soros? Absolutely. Can they be blamed for anything and everything in our country? Of course not. It’s no different than the left blaming everything on the Koch brothers, Fox News, and neo-fascists.

Pryor’s proposed solution to counter these alleged troublemakers is also overly simplistic: elect Christians to office. The last president was a proclaimed Christian, yet he upended this country’s democratic institutions far more than any of the groups Pryor blames. In today’s partisan atmosphere, it is easy to seek out bogeymen and propose reactive, sloganeering solutions — “build the wall” or “elect Christians.” However, multifaceted problems require multifaceted solutions. It is much harder — and more productive — to critically analyze problems and develop serious, thoughtful solutions.

— Jeb Blain, Bakersfield