Saturday, September 1, 2012

Can a Tea Party Man Set a Misguided Liberal Straight?

A TEA PARTY FRIEND TOLD ME THIS WEEK he felt sorry for me because, as he phrased it, my political beliefs were "misguided."

I admit that line brought me up short.

With a critical election nine weeks away, it seemed like this would be a good time to examine my conscience. After all, liberals know there is always a chance that the other side in any discussion may be at least part right. We're not like so many conservatives in that respect. We don't believe the pursuit of truth ended with the publication of the King James Bible or when the Founding Fathers closed up shop and headed for home.

According to Michelle Bachmann you can cure "gayness" with the right therapeutic approach. Might there be a cure for "liberalness," too?

I decided to make up a list to sort out my innermost feelings:

A is for Ann Romney. When she told her story on TV this week about receiving the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis you couldn't help feel for the woman. She teared up, just talking about how Mitt stood by her side. A liberal wonders:  how sad would this have been if another American family, just as loving as the Romneys, with both mom and dad working at non-union companies and lacking health insurance, got the same diagnosis? What would that family do lacking millions in various bank accounts?  Okay: this liberal still sees virtue in Obamacare.

B is for "you didn't build that." We know the other side took this phrase out of context; and we have our own opinions, besides. We think if conservatives can credit Romney for "building" Staples, we can credit carpenters and roofers who built the stores, truckers who hauled concrete, clerks who stocked shelves, and the blue collar guys in the paper mills. We say they deserve good wages and benefits. We believe something is wrong when the average CEO in America makes 231 times what the average worker does.

C is for communism? WTF! The right throws this epithet around like a football at a Manning family reunion. Liberals don't believe in communism, but notice when productivity rises dramatically since 1980, and the wages of the average American worker fail to keep pace. (See B, above.) Liberals see the stock market reports and take note that corporate profits have been huge the last two years. We don't remember hearing in economics classes that communism and corporate profits went hand-in-hand. (See O, below.)

Drill, baby, drill--we won't dwell on the fact that the lady who coined this cry was a numbskull. We don't feel misguided at all if we remember the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, courtesy of BP. Your side likes to insist that government is the problem. Our side notices who has to do the cleanup. We are sorry if we remember Love Canal and Exxon Valdez and the damage done to the ozone layer. We are sorry if we believe Romney is going too far when he suggests letting states decide who can drill for oil in national parks. We love this country for its beauty and want to hand it down to following generations in good shape.

E is for economics--and, oh my, how your side hates wasteful spending! We know you love a balanced budget like you love a 1950s America. We can't understand, though, why defense spending can never be cut. Somehow, your side believes a dollar of spending to build a bomb doesn't add to the deficit. It's a magic dollar. Yet, a dollar paid for early child education, that dollar is a stab in the heart of freedom-loving Americans.

Fiscal restraint--speaking of not trusting BP, we aren't trusting the GOP, either. We know the Founding Fathers gave the House of Representatives "the power of the purse" and we know your party has controlled that body for all but four years, from 1995 to 2012. And frankly, fiscally, your record sucks.

Greed/government--government can be the problem. We admit there are politicians ready to dip their hands deep into the public till. We remember one of our own, Congressman William Jefferson, who stashed $96,000 in bribe money in a home freezer. We've heard about the $535 million wasted by Solyndra because sometimes we watch Fox News, but normally only for comic relief. Still, we worry about greed and government in a different way. We notice that Solyndra was run by crooked business types--the real issue, we think. We remember Halliburton making obscene war profits in Iraq. We worry about the decision in Citizens' United, the handiwork of your very own conservative court, which allows Sheldon Adelson to pour $100 million into political campaigns. We think $100 million might tempt politicians of all stripes. Even Congressman Jefferson.

H is for hot (i. e. "global warming"). We know you don't believe this is happening. We also know NASA reported the Arctic ice sheet has been reduced by 40% this summer with two months of melting to go. We know it's statistically possible that this is nothing more than a normal, albeit extreme, variation and not evidence of climate change. We also know that the Cleveland Indians could win the next 30 games and sneak into the playoffs. We just don't think that's a bet a sensible person would make.

I is for illegal immigrants--Your side hates them. We know. Then again:  it's usually boys in Big Business who hire 'em. We're suspicious though. We sniff a strong scent of racism in what some on the right have to say. We liberals are proud of what the USA has long represented:  hope for "the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free." We don't believe a great nation like ours should turn its back on a heritage as glorious as that. We love America and support the Dream Act.

Jobs--remember when the Bush tax cuts were passed, how they were going to produce all kinds of jobs? Remember how the GOP took over the House of Representatives in 2010 and said they were going to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs? Liberals notice that your greatest efforts, related to jobs, have focused on dropping the axe on teachers, police officers, fire fighters and social workers. Hardly the classic definition of "job creation."

K is for KIA, which liberals usually hate. We know war may be necessary but we believe your side is too itchy on the trigger, too happy to send young American men and women off to die in places like Iraq. Now you want to send troops to join the fray in Syria and planes and ships to attack Iran. Liberals love America. See. We just aren't as anxious to see young Americans get killed, or young Iranians, for that matter. (See L.)

L is for Libya/lying--remember when President Reagan bombed Libya in 1986, because Muammar Gaddafi supported terrorist attacks? Remember the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, which killed 270 innocent civilians? Well, our boy, President Obama, managed to use U. S. military power in calibrated fashion to knock out the longtime scuzbag dictator and not a single American life was lost. (See K!!!) He didn't get us bogged down in the mess in Syria, either, when your side said he should. Come to think of it, we liberals believe your boy, Dick Cheney, and some of his sorry crew lied to drag us into Iraq.

M is for increasing the minimum wage. Call us crazy, but we think any American willing to work deserves a living wage. We know your side's argument--ooooooo, we'll have to pay more for our pickles and peppers if pickers get paid minimum wage. We think the sacrifice might be worth it. We don't want to see America become Bangladesh.

N is for Noah/NASA--we are sorry, but sometimes we liberals prefer science for explanations over the Bible. (See H, above.) If you want to believe it rained forty days and forty nights and covered up the earth, meaning it rained 726 inches every day in order to inundate Mt. Everest, you are welcome. We'll take NASA and its pictures and you can have the strange preachments of Glenn Beck, the former radio DJ.


O is for oligarchy--which the ancient Greeks felt meant death to democracy and freedom wherever it sank its roots. We liberals fear a system where swarming lobbyists, in the service of mega-corporations buy up members of state and federal legislatures like cookies at a July 4th bake sale. We absolutely fear the decision of the conservative majority on the U. S. Supreme Court in the Citizens' United case. (See G, above.)

P is for Paul Ryan, the man with the piercing blue eyes. Also the man with the plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system. That's right, we know what Representative David McKinley, of West Virginia, said recently. He's reminding voters that he gave thumbs down to the plan when it came up for a vote, warning that it “would privatize Medicare for future retirees, raise the retirement age and keep in place the Medicare cuts included in last year’s health care bill.” In a campaign flier, Mr. McKinney added: “The Congressional Budget Office determined the plan would nearly double out-of-pocket health care costs for future retirees.”  We liberals believe McKinley, a Republican we might add, knows his stuff.

Q is for questioning. We liberals love to question the status quo. We believe the world can be made better. We also believe in freedom of speech and the press. (See Z.) We have noticed, however, a tendency among some on the right, a willingness to wave guns about and warn us to "go to Russia" if we don't love the country in exactly the same manner as they do. We think this smacks of fascism; but the letter "F" has already been used.

R is for rape. Your side likes to believe that women who are raped can't possibly get pregnant; but if they do, God says they can't have an abortion. Our side tends to believe in science--and God, too--but we do have our questions (see Q) about when life actually begins. Certainly, we believe a victim of a brutal attack has the right to decide whether or not to carry a resulting pregnancy to term.

Small business--we support neighborhood business. We know the bar owner and hair salon operator work hard for their dollar. Still, we wonder how your side thinks it's fine if defense contractors get "cost plus" contracts that guarantee huge profits, pass on the inflated bills to taxpayers and then, like GE mangage to pay zero taxes. We do wonder how giant corporations and even Mitt Romney can get away with hiding money in Cayman Island bank accounts. We liberals think Big Business is happy to screw Small Business, whenever it can.

T is for terrorists. Remember when your side said President Obama would be soft on terrorists? Well, we do. We remember the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, as well. Slice your baloney thick or thin, however you like it. When your boy W. was in office he failed in eight long years to take down the mastermind of 9/11.

U is for unions--and we liberals do like labor unions. That doesn't make us union thugs and it doesn't mean we believe unions are perfect. We just happen to like the average American worker and know the average union worker makes $10,000 more annually than the average non-union worker. We think that's good; and we wish more workers were in unions. We think America needs a strong middle class. (No offense, but your side seems to love hedge fund managers.)

V is for vouchers--and don't you try to deny it, Mr. Paul Ryan. (See P, above.) You know you're just itchin' to turn Medicare into a voucher program. We're not going to say something stupid, like, "You want to unplug granny." But we think, if Granny discovers the truth, and we're going to try to be sure that she does, well, Granny is not going to be happy.

W is for wind power and alternative energy. We liberals don't focus narrowly on Solyndra. We take note of the solar farms all over New Mexico and Arizona. We pedal our bicycles across the entire United States (at least this writer does) and see wind farms spread across Indiana, Illinois and into Iowa, and farmers making good money for allowing installation. We see a report that Xcel Energy, Colorado's largest utility, was producing 57% of the electricity it provided, during one recent period, relying on nothing else but good clean American prairie winds. We see a push for alternative energy and see a chance to break the stranglehold of Middle Eastern nations on U. S. foreign policy. We think that's good. (See K.)

X is for Title IX. As far as liberals are concerned, it's simple. If you have a daughter who plays sports at an advanced level, in high school or college, thank a liberal. Title IX, baby. Sometimes government isn't the problem. Government is the solution. The same for Medicare, the program you say you want to save, but we know you plan to gut.

Y is for Y chromosome. We liberals believe women have equal rights. We believe, unlike Rick Santorum, that they can serve bravely in the U. S. military. Forty years ago we were arguing that women could work outside the home, that they didn't have to focus entirely on family, that it was okay if they weren't always subservient to the will of their husbands. In fact, we paved the way for Ann Coulter. (That probably classifies as "collateral damage.")

Z is zeal for freedom. We're not misguided at all and love freedom just as much as you. We don't want to take your guns away. We do think it might be nice to have registrations so felons can't get weapons in their hands as easily as they do. We believe in equal rights for gays, because last we checked they were Americans, too. We love the First Amendment almost as much as you love the Second. And we don't like torture, not even waterboarding. Your side is fond of capital punishment. Our side is less so, because we keep hearing about all the mistakes. Finally, we like all the amendments, including the V, VI, VII and VIII.

I FEEL BETTER NOW, not misguided at all. Like any good liberal, I'll vote my conscience in November. That's what good Americans always do.

I need to go find an empty chair and take a rest.

We liberals think this is a beautiful country.
We believe we should pass it down to future generations looking the same way.
(Near the top of Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park.)
Again:  sometimes government is the solution.


  1. I liked this post. I'm currently an American ex pat living in Canada and I've been watching the presidential race unfold from here since last November/December. I nearly wet myself when Gingrich talked about the sanctity of marriage with his 3rd or 4th wife in the audiance. I am definitely not a fan of mitt either. And I will probably look up your blog more often

  2. BRAVO sir! A gret deal of thought and work went into that post, and I hope you don't mind that some of those arrows will go into MY conversational quiver (credited where possible, of course)!

  3. Conservatives also think this is a beautiful country. Seems you are a liberal through and believe a central agency knows better than an individual on all counts. Individuals keep this country beautiful, no unions or groups do. Group thinks gotta go!

    1. I'm not sure which "group think" letter you refer to. Is it Z. That we liberals love freedom as most conservatives do? Is it E, where for the life of me, I can't see how cutting a dollar from, say education, to spare tax payers is one iota better than cutting a dollar from defense? Did you mean T, where Americans as a group are glad Osama is dead (and President Obama gave the order)?

      I don't know, Y? Isn't that where conservatives want a "central agency" to tell a girl, you got raped, you have to have a baby by the rapist? Or is it K, where I say--as an American--I don't want to see more of our young men and women get killed in stupid wars?

      Maybe it's U that gets your goat and makes it bleat. Unions are bad? How about the AMA, an organization of doctors that fights to get what they want, or the Chamber of Commerce, organized to push for pro-business policies? What is your dream scenario? For U. S. workers to roll over and play dead and see their wages and benefits further eroded? I'm for a strong middle class and I think unions have long been a bulwark of that.

      You do know the average union worker makes $10,000 more per year, correct?

    2. Could typos above. Alas, should have checked my work properly.

  4. I must point out N. If liberals support NASA why would Obama eliminate the shuttle program? That made me sad. Now the USA pays Russia millions of dollars to send Americans to the ISS.

    Also, you say Bush failed to get Osama. Obama didn't get him either. The military did. I don't think a president should get credit for that. The military found him and Obama OK'd a mission. Bush never had that chance to OK the mission, not his fault.

    I also dislike I. People that come here illegally are breaking the law. Incriminating them is enforcing the law. The country has a legal process for immigration, why reward those that simply skip this process while legal immigrants watch.

    Defense spending is important. I think it could be cut some, but the US should have the best military in the world.

    I like some of the other letters though. I like some democrats ideas, however, I cannot bring myself to vote for Obama this November because of his fiscal irresponsibility. The reason I will probably vote for Willard Romney is to beat Obama, not because I like Romney. This country makes a certain amount of money, don't spend more than that year after year. It's simply stupid. We have to pay back the money eventually, but he keeps adding to the debt. The national debt really shouldn't ever pass the GDP. I think we should bring back whatever the law was under Clinton that required every new program or spending had to be paid for. I don't remember the name, but Bush let it expire unfortunately.

    1. My reference to NASA refers to the agency's efforts to keep watch over the Arctic ice melting. Several of my conservative friends seem to believe it's not happening, though the photographic evidence seems clear.

      I also predict that if Romney is elected he will:

      A) either carry through with cuts to programs and kick us back into recession;
      B) or, realize the deficit is a monster his party doesn't really have the guts to tame.

      Tax cuts for the super-rich sure aren't going to help trim the deficit.

    2. In that case I would agree with you. I also think you're predictions are accurate, unfortunately. I would like to see more spent on NASA. I would raise the taxes on the super rich.

  5. You might want to check this out: