Friday, February 18, 2011

Letter to Dad (not what you'd expect)

I grew up in a very liberal household.  My Dad grew up in the Bronx and still goes to Enstein's for free bagels even when we don't have room for any more.  My Mom is a yellow-dog Southern lady and neither one of them like Republicans.  But as I've gotten older, I've become more conservative.  I don't care much for politicians or pundits in general.  My Mom isn't very happy that I'm not as much of a Democrat as I used to be and she shuts down during disagreements.  My dad will debate but it's futile.  So, I'm going to let it be.  But I had to give it one last shot:

Dear Dad,

I really think you are failing to see the big picture and this is my last individual rant about it — from now on you can read my blog if you want to and we should stick to talking about bagels, getting rid of crap we don't need and more fun things, especially since Mom gets so pissed off at me.

Contradictions abound.  The left consistently accuses the right of being dishonest, racist and anti-poor while pro big business, etc. but tonight there was video on Hannity of several white liberal people suggesting that Clarence Thomas and his wife — "be strung up," "have his toes cut off and fed to the dog" and finally "be sent back to the fields."  If those aren't hateful and racist statements, what is?  But you will see NO outcry from the left because Thomas is a conservative and the statements were made by liberals so the mainstream media, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and all the other cretins who decry the Right as "racist" and "hateful" will say nothing.  

My point is not that the left is bad but that these people live by a double standard and at best are NO better than the people you despise on the right.  You think O'Reilly was disrespectful to the President?  What the hell are THESE people saying and why doesn't anyone on the left complain?

I would tend to agree with you that many conservative commentators tend to be a bit condescending and rude at times.  I ceased listening to Rush Limbaugh forever when he had the unbelievable indecency to mock the tears Dan Rather shed on the Letterman show following 9/11.   But the more rabid liberal commentators simply don't get national airtime on TV or radio so they tend to fly under the radar.  For whatever reason they don't seem to generate the same ratings which I totally don't understand since we're a divided country – but in contrast as much as I enjoyed Keith Olbermann he was admittedly very sarcastic and sometimes snide.

As much as I like Glenn Beck in small doses, tonight he railed on the protests in Wisconsin, comparing them to the protests in Egypt and Muslim revolutionaries and also managed to find some kids at the Wisconsin rally who had absolutely no clue why they were marching and so referred to ALL the kids as "useful idiots" and “political pawns” while Ed Shultz countered with footage of kids who knew exactly why they were protesting.  Beck of course had nothing to say  comparing HIS rallies or the Tea Party rallies to Egypt or extremists and didn't highlight the dopes who attended THOSE.  Not to be outdone, Mr. Ed was all over him about it.  This is the epitome of SPIN.  There is no doubt in my mind that some of the kids in the Wisconsin crowd were ignorant and others well informed – wouldn't we find intellectuals and idiots in ANY crowd?   It's a question of who you CHOOSE to highlight and everything being subject to interpretation.  What story  do you want to tell?    From the man on the street to a high profile commentator, some folks  have an agenda and others just tend to interpret "news" in a way that supports what they already believe which is especially understandable when what objective facts are reported are also  surrounded by commentary telling you what it means.   Subjective reasoning at its best, deliberate or otherwise.  

But Mr. Ed also tonight referred to Rush Limbaugh as "the drugster" and said the governor of Wisconsin is "cooking the books" to make things look worse than they really are and a lot more.  He also proceeded to say that President Obama needs to stop "parroting the Republican Party's talking points."  Is THAT accurate and is it treating Mr. Obama or the office of the President with respect?   His see-saw diatribe continued, saying that the Republicans are trying to steal money from public workers and the poor.  Are you KIDDING ME?   The poor and public workers have free everything paid for by you and me and public workers have the best benefits available, particularly if they are union members.  When the economy sucks, they have to make sacrifices like everyone else especially when we have NO MONEY TO PAY THEM.    Oh no, one of his guests compared them to the noble followers of Martin Luther King.  Maybe some are but ALL OF THEM?  I don't think so.

And yes, every time I hear about O'Reilly being disrespectful to President Obama (you yourself accused of interrupting the President 73 times, but who's counting -  and being hateful) I can't help but think about people like Michael Moore screaming at George Bush at the Oscars and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks publicly insulting President Bush during their last European tour while our military men and women are risking their lives to defend out country against terrorists and regimes who wish to destroy America and Israel.    There is a lot wrong with our wars but there is also important work being done in the interest of democracy and our country's security so these comments were totally inappropriate.  The problem is when you have a preconceived notion of what you think of someone, it's hard to view them objectively.   I didn't see O'Reilly's interview and I will watch it — chances are I won't be quite as offended as you are but it isn't because I am enamored with the Right.  I don't have any respect for Rush, the mean-spirted commentary of Ann Coulter or Michael Savage and other rabid conservatives.  I just don't agree that O'Reilly is one OF them.

Everyone's perspective tends to be skewed.  The TRUTH is that yes, the rich work hard to STAY rich, powerful and keep the government out of their business while SOME of them want that same government dictate what goes on in our bedrooms.  Yes, they have money so they can buy their own stuff.  Meanwhile, the poor and union members really don't have buy squat to because somebody GIVES it all to them and makes the rest of us pay for it whether they are REALLY hardworking or just lazy slackers.  If they can work the system they get a handout and there is no real effective accountability.  Some of them really need it and others are generations of welfare families driving cars more expensive than ours.  The government is not nearly capable of discriminating and stopping the abuse, so what will eventually happen is the pendulum swings the other way and policies will be made that hurt everyone.  Those who really deserve a  leg up AND those who have EARNED what they have both will be thrown under the bus along with the ones who should have been off the dole or had their entitlements cut long ago.

And there is more.  Poor management of resources, for instance, knows no boundaries either.  It purveys the local, state and federal government as well as many big and small businesses and to no surprise - many individuals can't run their own lives — I know because I've been one of those individuals and I'm smack dab in the middle of big public and private messes.  For example,   while AISD schools are closing and 700 teachers will be laid off (including Barton Hills and one of Katie's theater teachers) thanks to AISD's horrible mismanagement and  Robin Hood taking from "the rich" and giving to "the poor," the Superintendent will keep her $280,000 salary, rumored $1000/month car allowance, supplemental life insurance policy paid for by the district (outside of the policy every AISD employee gets) and a host of other extra benefits.  Many other districts have similar outrageous scenarios.  Again, it isn't about left or right; it's about SOME people really working hard to get a fair shake along with a lot of other people fighting for power to get more than they deserve:  rich overpaid bureaucrats AND CEO's getting richer from ridiculously high salaries, lack of government interference, little to no taxes and whatever else they can get away with, countered by those on the lower end of the spectrum expecting huge entitlements so the government can take care of them instead of getting their act together and EARNING a living.  They exist along with self-made millionaires who grew up poor (like yourself) and poor people who make every effort and still come up short.  But we ALL work the system and then criticize everybody ELSE for looking out for themselves.  When someone does o so to an extreme, they should be called on it.  Otherwise, we play with the hand we're dealt because who has the time to spend hiis life trying to change public policy unless he is getting paid for it?  You yourself, again, believe in higher taxes for the rich but you and Mom and the entire family do EVERYTHING you can to milk every loophole, get tax-free investments and take advantage of whatever you can to make more money and pay less in taxes.  Is this hypocrisy or just the way things are?  For most people, you put food in front of them and they eat it, even when they aren't hungry.  It's human nature.  And America is the fattest nation on Earth.

The same contradictions can be found in Obamacare, which, for instance is supposed to help Americans who have trouble getting health insurance and mandates small businesses to offer it; yet also offers exemptions for big businesses who are big donors.     If the law stays, Pro-Tape will have to offer health insurance or pay a big penalty — but McDonald's and other huge companies as will not — and this is OBAMA'S pet project!  I''m sorry but WHO is this supposed to help again?   To be fair, labor unions are also exempt…but they already have better benefits than small business because LIKE BIG BUSINESS they throw money at the powers-that-be.  There is no rhyme or reason to it other than money talks and bullshit walks.  

People on both sides are all right about some things and they are entirely wrong about others and sometimes, they are individually simultaneously right AND wrong about the same damn things.   I don't believe there are many exclusively "liberal" or "conservative" or "public" or "private" solutions to most problems.  It takes a partnership and some degree of consensus which we aren't going to have until we're under Chinese rule.  This is reality.

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