Your letter in Tuesday’s Forum expresses your feeling of unfair treatment very clearly. You seem like a nice lady. That you identify youself as conservative puts you into a category with some people who are much less nice than you are. I regard those people as extreme radicals who are not really conservative any more, at all. I think you deserve a considerate and comprehensive response, not a put-down.
Please notice that over on the left side of that Forum page, Harvey Rifkin’s essay begins: “It is never wise or fair to make blanket statements about any group.” All intelligent folks recognise the good sense of not overgeneralizing, so I will try to explain what looks to you like wild, even savage over-statement in my March 23rd Forum essay, titled: “GOP villany uncontained?” Benicia Herald’s editor chose the following passage for a sub-heading in large print: “Republicans want to gut public education, defund anything that serves the public — including news and entertainment that they want to dumb down, emotionalize and trivialize — and to subject everyone to bombardment by consumer andvertising and propaganda. I’m not having it and you’re not either.” I’m well aware there are nice people in your party who have no wish for such things.
Obviously, not everyone self-defined as Republican shares those goals. Not everyone thus self-affiliated observes political and economic affairs astutely enough to grasp what some of the highest-level, most powerful movers and shakers of the GOP actually aim to do to this country for their own, stratospheric interests at everyone else’s expense. This may be because for much of your lives, you nice folks lived in a fantasy of idealization about your noble political “philosophy” and wonderful values; all that good stuff about liberty, individualism, free marketism and glorious Capitalism, combined with the horrors of Communism and antipathy toward Socialism, based on ignorance of Anthropology, History, Political Science, Sociology, Comparative Religion, Rhetoric, Logic, Semantics and a dozen other fields including Literature which add up to produce general understanding and keen mental skills. This constitutes “liberal education” which proves to appear in stunted or short supply among right-wingers. Too much of their mental energy is tied up in rationalizing why they are “right” about everything and anyone with another view is wrong. Rank-and-file party members have no idea of how little they matter to the uppercrust except when it comes time to vote.
Ms. Douglass, you write (2nd paragraph): “Both California Democrats and Republicans in the past have not faced the issues that California has for years has (sic) spent more than it brings in.” There’s some truth to this. Democrats want spending on people-serving programs but Republicans always balk at raising taxes to pay the bills their state’s democratically determined expenditures encounter when they come due. Is that a kind of public schizophrenia? Not willing to pay because they don’t like what got bought? Why is it they so often like federal weaponry and war supplies or in-state corporate subsidies but they don’t want to take care of people? Single-payer defense but no single-payer health? Always ready to wiggle out of having to pay a full share, never ready to understand how markets and whole economies adjust to restructuring? Always stuck with yesterday?
Again, referring to helping the poor and improving education: “You don’t think conservatives want that [those things] also?” Now, there’s the trouble with over-generalities. Some people styled as “conservative” do, and some don’t give a fig. You say it’s time “to be realistic; that Jerry Brown wants to cut spending and raise taxes, too. I call that realistic effort to get things balanced. You want to cut public employees salaries and benefits. Is it conservative, now, to abrogate established contracts? Do you recommend Wisconsin methods of unilaterally outlawing long-established rights to unionize and bargain collectively as if they were only “privileges” graciously extended by the state or its richest string-pullers, and not “rights” at all? But you want more cuts and belt-tightening for immigrants and welfare mothers.
June, you have a “zero-sum” notion of money. In fact, money DOES grow on trees. The main tree is the Federal Reserve Bank System, which is not federal, has no reserve and is scarcely a system outside the board-members’ intentions. The Fed manufactures money like a tree grows leaves as often as, and in whatever amounts, it may need to preserve the semblance of a viable economy. It’s all a gargantuan mess, thanks to your great, “conservative” friends who figured out how to rob the whole country, endlessly! Thanks to the slick machinations of The Fed, we are starting to experience a terrible inflationary spiral which has already started in other parts of the world due to food and fuel speculation. You say, “Raising taxes is questionable because it takes more of the taxpayers’ discretionary money, which takes from the private sector and does not promote jobs.” Dear lady, all this shows is, you’ve swallowed the GOP “talking-points” hook, line and sinker without understanding them, and lack the perspective of twenty years’ financial history to correct yourself.
You say you’re tired of liberals attacking conservatives and posing as superior and with greater compassion. Well, I’m sick and tired of your side pretending superior wisdom and posturing on the moral high-ground while providing smoke-screen and cover for every self-serving, public-interest defeating, middle-class wrecking trick imaginable. Shame on your whole kaboodle! You nice folks have been sucked into Godzilla by your simple, sleep-walking ignorance. Yes, I want your phony “conservatives” to shut up. They deserve no voice, but as a matter of principle they can cry and yell all they like, and that’s mostly what they do, here in the Forum. They want God-only-knows-who to be elected this fall in Benicia, and they want no second term for the good man they most despise in the White House, with nobody yet to put against him but Tea Party tainted morons who will only make things worse and worse, as Republicans have almost always done to this country except in their vividly fantacized imaginings. We know that Democratic administrations have seldom been able to get everything in order, but just look at what they’ve had to contend with, decade after foot-dragging decade of backward, stale-visioned opposition. Mitt Romney’s the best man you’ve got, but you won’t back him because of the great work he did on his state’s health system. He’s a rotten “Socialist,” right? The entire right-wing is poisonously crazy. Get clean.
Robert M. Shelby