A View from the Left

The ultra-right letters to the A-T have been flying fast and furious over the past few months. Some of them are well thought out (Zirgers) while others are ugly rants (Somers). I would like to take a moment to address those writings.

First, Mr. Somers, I am not A “USA hating Democrat”. I love my country, even with its many faults. Being a Democrat does not make me “crazy” nor “not a true American”. Seems to me you are describing the far-right Republican Nationalists who support our President. No, I do not agree with everything the “Squad” is promoting; they have some good ideas (and some very impractical ones) but they are not “un-American”. At least they are coming up with plans while your party on the right, while attempting to destroy the ACA, for example, have offered absolutely no health plan over the past ten years. You support a poor excuse for a president who is obsessed with President Obama and wants nothing more than to destry the legacy of his predecessor. Your letters, Mr. Somers, are hate-filled, totally “un-American” and, with constant repitition, becoming really redundant.

The recent letter from Fred and Kay Zirger was, by comparison, well written and thoughtful. That does not mean that I agree with much of it, but it gives a starting point for discussion. First, you state that our forefathers wrote a Constitution and Declaration of Independence “to assure they and those to come are not going to be subjects of any government (and) that the government would work for the people”. This radical idea worked only because they had the courage to speak out against what they perceived to be wrong in the British Colonies. Does that make America of today perfect? No, not by along shot; there is still a necessity to speak out against wrongs – our Constitution guarantees that right. But – you claim that speaking out about wrongs by some sports figures, young politicians and others is disrespectful to our country and our history. NO – this IS our history. King George III probably said the same thing about our “patriotic” rebel – rousers, but if those men and women hadn’t “disrespected” the British flag and British history we would all be stuck with Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister (which might be an improvement)!

For the first time in history, the July 4th celebration in our nation’s capital was turned political. If, as the Zirgers suggest that Trump’s presentation was for the American people, why was it that the Republican National Committee gave out VIP tickets for the event to big party donors, while no tickets were given to any Democrats? Is this serving the American people? Just think how the $5.4 million dollars spent on this political ego trip could have been used to clean up Baltimore, or provide better housing on the border, or remove lead from water in Flint or fund pre-schools in Washington, D.C. or — well, you name the project — the money could have been better spent.

I have a great deal of trouble understanding how anyone could state that Trump “has a love of this country”. And, please, Mr. and Mrs. Zirger, don’t use meaningless rhetoric like “people in our government have such disdain and hatred for our country”; there is nothing as stated earlier, more patriotic than having the courage to speak out against things that are wrong in America. I speak out and love my country for the very reason that I have the unalienble right to speak out. Mr. Trmp’s language against other races, religions, and gender identities is not due to his frustration as the Zirger’s state. It is the language of racism, intolerence, homophobia and xenophobia, used by an egotist concerned only about his, and not our nations, image.

“Socialismwill never work,” according to the Zirgers.W ell, it certainly works in most of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, all of which are more socialistic than the United States, but I would agree that it won’t work in our country. Right? So let’s get rid of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children, our national highway system and on and on. All “socialistic”, all very important. Socialism is an economic policy, not a political party. Yes, some Democrats are calling themselves Democratic Socialists; they wish to provide more for the 99% f us who struggle, but the vast majority of members of the Democratic Party only look for greater equality amongst all the people of our country (Zirgers: please give a reference to your stated fact that a minimum wage is denied by those proposing “socialism”).

“We also must live under the laws of God, as our pledge says.” Wouldthat be the God of the Old or New Testament (His-or Her – Son, Jesus, was certainly a great teacher and practitioner of socialism. Recall that the Acts of the Apostles state that the community held everything in common and money and goods were distributed according to each one’s needs – socialism at its best.)? But we are not a theocracy. We should live under the laws of humanity, the ideals which serve as the basis of our Constitution. Also remember that the phrase “under God” in our pledge of allegiance was inserted by Eisenhower in 1954 for reasins of political expediency. During the height of the Cold War “under God” was a clear demarcation from those godless Commies of Russia. Under McCarthy-era paranoia this passed through Congresswith no problem at all.

Liberals are no different than conservatives; they are good people who, for the most part, love their country and our views are no more “extreme” than most conservatives. Their ideas are different, in a better American world the two philosophies would be able to work together in government to listen to the real needs of the people. One thing is claer; our current president couldn’t care less about most of us. We can’t, in his world, “practice our faith without fear” unless we are white and Christian; we can’t “live where we want” if we are asylum seekers legally crossing into the United States; we can’t have “liberty and justice for all” if we are an underpaid female worker or a n LGBT person applying for a job. As for “complete stonewalling”, just remember Mitch McConnell and the unconstitutional and illegal refusal to bring Merrick Garland up for a confirmation vote for the Supreme Court. Ronald Reagan, the Presidents Bush, and certainly Abraham Lincoln would be totally ashamed of the non-Republican filling he Presidential Chair.

Finally, I might suggest that we all tone down the rhetoric in our letters; we don’t need to spend the next year bashing one another. We should rather work together in our community, our county and our country to make things a little better for those around us. Who knows? The idea might catch on.

Bob Murray