Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Epistle to a Conservative

I recently received the following letter:

“I really don't understand the anger you libs have toward Republicans, especially Bush. Can you explain it to me...without sarcasm, in simple, straight language? I seriously would like to understand. Thanks.”

Without sarcasm? You really are asking quite a bit, but I will try.

Perhaps it might be best to start with another question: why do conservatives hate we “libs” (as you so derisively refer to us) so much?

A brief perusal of any newsstand or the Internet or a quick turn of the radio dial pretty much sums up who is doing the most trade in hate speech. It wouldn’t be Ann Coulter, the screaming banshee of the right, whose only regret is that Timothy McVeigh did not visit the offices of the New York Times and kill the liberal editors and reporters there? Or, perhaps the drug-addled Rush Limbaugh who supported a pretty healthy oxycontin habit while bashing liberals for fun and profit and blaming them for every conceivable human frailty and perversion including drug addiction, might hold part of the answer.

For a quarter of a century, the onslaught from the political right has been relentless. Liberals are accused of treachery, treason, and perfidy at every turn. In short, liberals hate America. Of course, when someone calls them on their lie mongering and sleazy innuendos, their retort is the well-worn plea of “liberal media bias”.

The question I have is: where is this “liberal media”? Certainly you cannot be talking about the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns and operates 62 television stations in 38 markets and reaches about a quarter of all American households, and last fall ordered all of its stations to air the anti-Kerry "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" without commercials in prime-time, just two weeks before the Nov. 2 election? When has Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network or Al Neuharth’s Gannett empire (the largest newspaper chain in the U.S. and owner of The Cincinnati Enquirer) ever been considered in any way “liberal”?

Yet, all we hear is the bleating grievances of the weak and victimized conservatives at the mercy of the evil “liberal media bias”. It is hard not to find this contemptible to say the least.

It is also interesting to me that conservative Republicans, who proclaim to uphold the Constitution, conveniently ignore Article VI, paragraph 3, where is states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public trust” requiring, de facto, what the Constitution expressly forbids. The recent antics of Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, the House and Senate majority leaders respectively, have both betrayed the public trust and have openly declared that Democrats are leading an attack on people of faith because they dare question the integrity of a few judicial nominees.

However, I am so relieved that the president felt it necessary during his latest news conference to say that unbelievers can be good Americans: “If you choose not to worship, you’re equally as patriotic as somebody who does worship.”

Gee, Mr. Bush, I’m sure Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin would no doubt be giddy with excitement to hear that they too could be patriots.

Perhaps it is this, the ignorant condescending tone of an officious fraternity brother that sets we “libs” off. More than the ill advised adventure in Iraq and the ever-elusive WMD’s; or the ridiculous tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent of our country; or his desire to dismantle the social security system (do you really think he wants to strengthen it?); or his abysmal lack of acumen concerning cell stem research or evolution, it is his cock-sure, “never mind the facts” attitude of a son of Eastern privilege (his Texas “heritage” is as phony as John Kerry’s duck hunting) and a mind that is neither inquisitive nor tolerant.

Liberals in this country have a proud legacy. To be sure, we have our failings and missteps to answer for. We also have our cranks and our loonies – every family does. But, it was the dreaded “libs” that led this country through the Great Depression after the incompetent and corrupt conservative administrations had set the stage for the crash. It was the “libs” of the Democratic Party who constructed the New Deal that lifted a third of the population out of dire poverty and despair. The liberals not only faced the menace of World War II, they triumphed and rebuilt Europe and Japan with a magnanimity unknown in history. The Civil Rights Act, The Voting Act and the “Great Society” (without which, yours truly would not have been able to pursue higher education) are all great achievements, which brought freedom and opportunity to millions.

Were there excesses and failures? Of course, there were. But I wouldn’t be too eager to measure the accomplishments of the current resident of the White House against this. Even with a majority in the House and Senate and a Supreme Court that put him in power, the Bush presidency has remarkably little to show other than massive debt, declining opportunities, an education system in shambles, and a war with no end in sight.


At 7:19 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Honestly, I suspect Kerry's hunting is a lot more genuine than Bush and his "hardscrabble Texas ranch" b.s....

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Brendan said...

Looks like you didn't quite succeed in answering the question without sarcasm.

The 'Gee, Mr. Bush ...' and 'Do you really think ...' setups are classic. A masterpiece of the expected, stock answers.

As usual it seems like nobody on either side wants to let go of their comforting teddy bears of partisanship and mutual vilification.

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