heroes and villains
I just thought I'd post a letter-to-the-editor that I submitted to the Bedford (NH) Journal a few weeks ago as a response to a number of responses to an earlier letter. The initial letter was submitted by a local couple, the Zitos. Mrs. Zito is a prominent community activist and a rare Democrat in Bedford, as well as being a well-known and highly respected social studies teacher. She and her husband wrote a letter calling for more outrage at the president's inaction following Hurricane Katrina, even calling his actions worthy of impeachment. One conservative responder wrote that there must be something wrong with the air in the Zitos' home; another wrote that because Mrs. Zito is a local teacher she should not have written the letter. The basis of my letter was that these two responders were wrong, arrogant.. and recklessly stupid.
To the editor:
The recent responses to the “Hurricane Bush” letter by Mr. and Mrs. Zito demonstrate about as much constructive dialogue as President Bush demonstrated in the 2004 debates. (Yes, I am saying Deborah Brown, Barry McGlew and George W. Bush made no valid points in their respective venues). I am not saying that Bush is stupid. He isn't. He's a horrible public speaker and I would prefer a statesman as president, but that does not make him stupid or a bad president. He is a bad president, but that's not the reason why, and I do wish the Zitos had directed their completely understandable (to anyone who actually looks up the facts) frustration elsewhere.
In any event, the fact that Mrs. Zito is a beloved social studies teacher does not preclude her from making political statements. She is not preaching them to students in her class, but voicing her opinion in a public forum. I am a beloved (by my grandparents and parents, at least) architecture student and this is no less nor no greater a disqualification for making public comments. Anyone who said it was would rightfully sound foolish. Mrs. Zito can make whatever comments she wants and her comments were neither inappropriate nor inflammatory despite certainly not being those held by the majority in this town.
Yes, Clinton had an affair and lied about it. It was a serious crime, committing perjury, and he was impeached for it. Now, let's look at our current president. Despite being told beforehand that Saddam Hussein never sought uranium from Niger, Bush lied and told the American people (in the State of the Union!!!) that he had! Your president lied to you! Get mad! You did eight years ago! But it doesn't end there. Despite all the evidence suggesting that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, Bush led us into an elective war and nearly 2,000 brave American soldiers have died so far as a result. Now your president has lied resulting in 2,000 deaths. It may not be murder, but it is certainly mass manslaughter. Are you mad yet?
Of course Bush did not cause Hurricane Katrina, nor did he cause the levees to fail... but he did nothing to stop them from failing. In order to fund his elective war in Iraq and to give hardworking folks like Kenneth Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, Dick Cheney, and yes, John Kerry a much-needed tax break, Bush discontinued federal funding to enhancing and even repairing New Orleans' levee system. This is not some Left wing spin. This is fact, as described by Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News: “The [Army] Corps [of Engineers] never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain.” It is not only the local and state government that was incompetent here””it was especially the federal government, which abandoned preventative measures, failed to respond adequately immediately afterward, protected the good ”˜ole boys (“You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie.”), and then presented the President (who stayed on vacation after Katrina struck) standing in front of a floodlit New Orleans cathedral while those stranded in the city went without power and water. That is gross incompetence!
But you're still not mad, are you, Mr. McGlew? No, because you for some reason refuse to see how perverted the principles on which our nation was founded are fast becoming. You aren't mad despite all the injustices being committed by our government in the name of liberty and you can't see why liberals would be either. But I'll tell you why; because “rightly understood, democracy is an uproar, and if we mean to engage the argument about the course of the American future, let us hope that it proves to be loud, disorderly, bitter and fierce,” as Lewis Lapham put it. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson put it better: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
No, I think there is nothing wrong with the air in the Zitos' home, but rather in yours, Mr. McGlew.