BY VERN TURNER
Someone smart once said that all politics are local. The politics around my town are decidedly conservative – that is, the people who actually think and function as real people see themselves as being fiscally conservative, religious and nurturing of precious commodities like their childrens’ education and honest representation.
Even though I don’t consider myself a “conservative” politically, I agree with the nature of the vast majority of my fellow citizens here. Some may be shocked by this confession, and those are the people I’m addressing in this piece.
Being outspoken and blunt doesn’t make that many people comfortable, but sometimes somebody has to speak out and be blunt in order for wrongs to be righted and broken ideals fixed.
As the Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel says, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Yes, I feel there is injustice in our political environment because people are turning against one another for reasons that have nothing to do with their individual or collective betterment or difficulties.
A few of my self-ordained conservative readers have invited me to move to Travis County where I can be surrounded with “my kind of people.”
My kind of people also happen to be classified as Homo sapiens just like me and them. I was further informed by a particular “conservative” that only a handful of Republicans read my column and ignore my lies.
My poor mother must be spinning somewhere. Her son is not always correct, but he does not lie.
What is really odd is that my opposites read the same graphs I do and come up with completely different summations and interpretations.
The job growth line is moving upward, yet I’m told that it’s cooked numbers or Obama’s lie machine at work. National economic growth curves from a wide variety of sources all point toward improved GDP, thus technically ending the “recession” and nudging the country into the “sluggish economy” category. “Not so!” say my naysayers who don’t read my columns.
Once again, they’ll trot out all sorts of suppositions based on nothing and claim to have “irrefutable evidence” that the Obama Administration is destroying the country. I’m still waiting for that evidence.
The insults and name calling during these “exchanges” is normal and not all that unexpected from desperate people. The label “liberal” drips with the venom of hate one can find only in the countries of Glennbeckia or Limbaughdia.
How did people who want their country growing and prospering become so evil in the eyes of these “conservatives”?
Of the 66 million jobs created in the private sector over the last 40 years, for example, 42 million of them were created by Democratic presidents, while only 24 million were created during Republican administrations.
There’s nothing conservative about distorting statistics and assigning speculation as truth to justify one’s hatred and prejudices. Perhaps “backward” is more appropriate.
The term “progressive” is seeing more daylight these days and I think that’s appropriate for people who indeed want to see our country progress. But progress requires courage and fearlessness while investing in those projects and philosophies that grow our society. Progressives, therefore, have the guts to push the envelope of our society’s limits in order to achieve greatness.
One of our shining moments as a nation put people on the moon. Not even today’s Republicans will shirk from the pride of those accomplishments.
What has happened to the conservative political world is that the fear of losing another presidential election has pushed the most extreme members of this group into paroxysms of desperation such that truth, fact and especially civility are replaced by anger, hatred and even more entrenched feelings of absolutism.
To conservatives who are struggling with this, let me say: “It’s not your fault.” The propaganda doctors – Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the oracle of nonsense, Glenn Beck – have pushed you into this place. These people are raking in millions at your expense and at the expense of this country’s harmony among its citizens.
Turn off the radio. Turn off Fox News. Think for yourself. You deserve better inputs.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. His latest book is A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, available through Amazon.