A MILITARY PERSPECTIVE
Re: Paul Beston's Villains and Valor:
Right on, Mr. Beston, since retiring in '73 I've been billeted, more or less, among those "silly villains." And may the good G-d excuse me, there's no accounting for their tastes.
To me, our national elections, Iraq and Fallujah have been and are the news, but for the last several months, I, along with all other viewers and readers of TV and news publications, have been bombarded with an unending stream of "did or didn't Peterson do it," crappy comments by news readers, reporters and self or media termed "experts." And now that that trial is near an end, they are all set to give us another Californian circus with wha'cha'ma'call'it (the name is immaterial, but Black, I think it is) being accused of killing his wife two and a half years ago.
You are right, Sir, "silly villains" is far too kind.
-- James O. Dirden
CSM, U.S. Army
I was so gratified to read the article by Paul Beston. He amplifies far here in rural East Texas. You see, my husband was one of those so vilified after his honorable service in Vietnam. He returned, after two tours, with a broken back, sustained in a helicopter crash, the first of its kind anyone survived from.
He returned, less than 52% of his flight class returned, as helicopter pilots suffered high attrition rates, to an America in which he was vilified. But he returned to continue service another 20 years, training a son that came afterwards that service to his country was honorable. This son went to the Air Force Academy, and married an Air Force Academy grad, so they both honorably serve.
My husband spoke to a high school in East Texas last Thursday. The students listened with great respect. He told of an America that once dishonored its veterans. He told of this America of the 1970s, when he and others were ordered not to travel in uniform, less it cause him harm. They listened with surprise and perplexed looks covered their faces.
They listened when he said that some in the recent Presidential campaign tried to deny the very freedoms he had fought for, when these veterans raised their voices in chorus, silent no longer. They listened as he told them they must carry the flag for their country, for freedom is earned by every generation, and lost when one generation thinks they need no longer aspire to it.
They listened. In my heart, I shouted, "it's way past time this decent man was given the respect he was long overdue!" Thank you, God.
-- Beverly Gunn
Proud wife, proud Mother, proud American
MY MAN KERRY
Re: William Tucker's Go West, Young Country:
William Tucker pretends that this election was a referendum on public crassness and sexual practices that most people find distasteful. I would say that this is what the radical Bush administration tried to convey, in order to take peoples' attention away from the numerous ways in which it acts against the interest of the average family. The strategy of scaring people was brilliantly successful. As a Kerry supporter, I was voting for an economic policy that values hard work, social policy that respects privacy, and a foreign policy that truly makes us safer in the world. Kerry's programs and plans would have done much more for the family than what we will have for the next four years -- a continued transfer of wealth to those who are already the most affluent, a squeeze on the budget of ordinary families, a valuing of investment over work. The conservative agenda works only for the very wealthy and for religious crusaders who don't care if they are poor. The Republicans' tendency to wrap themselves in religious robes belies their actions that hurt the families they say they are trying to help. And by the way, Mr. Tucker mentions polygamy and incest as some of the "new frontier." I have heard that these practices, as well as child and spousal abuse, are actually more prevalent in the households of religious fundamentalists than in the rest of society.
-- Janice Jones
Re: S. T. Karnick's Who Polarized Congress?:
"....Democrats are the party of privilege, atheism, pacifism, social and economic sclerosis."
The Democrat Party will not clearly state their convictions, and then have courage in those convictions. They will not climb to the mountain top and yell what they stand for. The following is a partial list of what I have deciphered what the Democrats believe in:
1. Government Schools (no vouchers, no charter schools, no testing, no accountability, unlimited money...the NEA/AFT agenda).
2. Government Pensions (Social Security with increased payroll taxes and age qualifications).
3. Government health care (Canadian wait-in-line health care, except for the elite Hillary, Soros, Kerry, Heinz, Kennedy get special care, just like the old Soviet system).
4. "Peace through weakness," a continuation of the Carter-Clinton "play to tie."
5. Abortion-on-demand, (legal abortion up until the day before delivery, and no parental notification for minors, i.e. Planned Parenthood knows what is good for our children).
6. raise taxes (except for those who can hide their wealth...Soros, Gates, Buffet, Heinz, Kennedy, etc.).
7.$5.00/gallon gasoline (little cars for the little people).
8. Abdicate our sovereignty to the U.N.
I'll stop here. These are the most obvious positions of the Democrats. My list just scratches the surface. If the Democrats clearly presented their agenda to the American people, they wouldn't be able to elect a dog-catcher.
-- Fred Edwards
BLUE IN THE FACE
Re: Greg Goff's letter (under "Blues Brothers") in Reader Mail's Crackdowns:
Mr. Goff, while I am a Blue Stater (good guess), I am certainly no blue blood. I am simply a TAS reader voicing my opinion. Judging by your response as well as several others', the Red Staters are simply unwilling to recognize the truth that they are overwhelmingly on the dole. If you actually followed the link I provided, you would find that my Blue State of Minnesota receives only $0.78 back for every dollar we fork over to the federal government -- a 22% loss. We already pay out the nose both in taxes and at the grocery store for our food because of those subsidies. Where do some of those subsidies go? The leeching state of Wyoming. You, Mr. Goff, receive $1.05 back for every dollar you "invest" in the government. You are a welfare state. Every time you go for a drive on a nicely paved road, pick up the phone, or turn on the tap and have fresh water; think of me and my family and the taxes we pay. You can thank us Blue Staters that you have those luxuries.
I might add that free market economics and trade seem to be a foreign concept for some of the respondents, despite the fact that we are reading The American Spectator. Subsidizing agriculture not only makes farmers uncompetitive, but it also raises the price for the rest of America. This summer's milk inflation is a great example. Did the market determine the price? No. Government did through regulation and subsidization. Frankly, the Red States would be worse off selling to Blue States because without subsidies and the protection of agricultural tariffs they would be forced to compete in a free market, which is to say, selling at a substantially lower price than they do now. And unlike current policy, they would not be paid for NOT growing food. Moreover, without irrigation subsidies and corn/wheat/sugar subsidies the Blue State's farming sectors would once again be competitive. And aside from Texas (which would probably prefer to be a county rather than part of a massive welfare system) the blue states have infrastructure. Rail, ports, factories, etc. are scarce in Red States. The Red State "resources" are dubious as well since they apparently require subsidies to remain competitive.
At any rate, my original point was that it is entertaining to see Red States voting predominantly for limited government, more freedom, less taxes, etc. with one hand while with the other they are taking from the rest of the country. The fact is, they may not call themselves socialists but actions speak louder than words. As in Catch 22, many Red States are suspicious of everything the government does thinking it to be creeping socialism, so long as it doesn't affect its monthly check from Uncle Sam for not growing.
-- Devin Foley
St. Paul, Minnesota
ON THE WATERFRONT
Re: The "Bluer Than Blue" letters in Reader Mail's If At First You Don't Secede:
A couple of astute readers have noted that the so-called Blue states (who decides these things anyway?) are located on or near waterways and wondered why this was. I believe I have an answer, and I'll try to be brief.
Look at any map of the world and you will see that nearly all major cities are located on rivers. (Even cities such as San Antonio, which would appear to be an exception. As it happens, San Antonio's "river" is underground; it is called the Edwards Aquifer.)
There is a reason for this. No matter what kind of civilization you are trying to build, your first requirement is an adequate supply of water, and if you have to carry that water in on your back, you are not going to stay in that location long.
So all great cities grew from human settlements on rivers, lakes, or -- as is the case of San Antonio -- large underground sources.
Now, if you live in a city -- and especially if you were born and raised in one -- you have a tendency to see government as the bringer of all good things. Over the course of generations, there is a tendency to turn to government more and more to solve your problems, even problems that were once considered trivial and/or personal in nature. Is this not the very essence of liberalism? (Yes, I know that is an oversimplification, but stay with me here.)
If, on the other hand, you live in a rural or semi-rural area -- and again, especially if you were born and raised there -- there is much more of a tendency to self-reliance. You know from firsthand experience that "...by the sweat of your brow shall ye eat bread..." and it literally never occurs to you that you are entitled to the fruit of someone else's labor. Further, emergency services are far away, so you keep a shotgun in the closet, and a bucket by the pump. For you, "gu'mmint" is at best a necessary nuisance, and at worst positively hostile to your pursuit of happiness. And is this not the oversimplified essence of conservatism?
Look at the map and Michigan appears to be solidly "blue," but zoom in tight to a map of the state alone, showing a breakdown of counties, and the obvious jumps right out at you. It is only the cities -- Detroit, Lansing Grand Rapids, etc. -- that are blue. The entire rest of the state is remarkably "red." Unfortunately, it is the cities where most of our population is.
And being a conservative in Muskegon is about like being the only gringo in Fallujah.
-- William M. Zwiker
North Muskegon-in-the-Puckerbrush, Michigan
I'd like to thank A. Robinson and Jeff Kocur for mentioning in Reader Mail something I too noticed and wondered about: why are all the blue counties near large bodies of water?
I brought this up with my wife just after the red/blue maps showed up for the 2004 election and she thought I was nuts. Okay, she too thought it a weird coincidence about them living near the water. It was my theory that socialist liberal Democrats are aliens from some ancient water planet she found nuts.
-- Greg Barnard
Re: The "Comeback Senator" letters in Reader Mail's The Comeback Senator:
Re. the two letters printed on 11/16 about Tim Carney's article "Unfit to Command." The first letter says Rush Limbaugh was pitching softballs to Senator Specter on his talk show. It was really Sean Hannity who was doing it on his show. The second letter identifies Trent Lott as Speaker of the House. He was Senate Majority Leader. Other than that, both letters have made good points.
-- Robert Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
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