Yet another installment of my ongoing debate with my uncle... This time he presented his warped caricature of what a "liberal" believes and suggested it was how I thought... I did my best to set him straight! Sorry, it's long, I tend to ramble but i wanted to hit him point for point.
First, his email, then my response:
One other thing...you don't look at this country in the same way as I do...
You blame America first...I don't
You see more wrong than right...I don't
You have less faith in the peoples abilities than I do...
You have more faith in Government than I do...
You think you can talk your way out of war with terrorists...I don't
You think the All Voluntary Army needed the job and benefits...I don't...It's called patriotic...
You think Big Business is bad...I don't
You think Corporations need to be taxed...I don't...They just pass the tax on to me (and you)
You think competition is bad...I don't
You think taxes are good...I don't
You want Health Care by the same people that gave you the Housing Projects...Welfare and Katrina
You want the same government that had the war on poverty (6 Trillion later) and the numbers are the same...except that our poor are the richest poor in the WORLD...
I'm about worn out trying to point out the obvious...but I'll keep trying.
Now, my response:
How arrogant of you Uncle, to try to tell me what it is that I think! You must have me confused with some liberal caricature that you argue with in your own mind... not that I'm surprised, mind you, that after all this time that we have been talking you still don't have a clue what it is that I think, you never bother to listen to a goddamned thing that anyone else has to say, much less me, so convinced as you are of your own righteousness despite the clear and obvious FAILURE of everything you have stood for and professed as true your whole political life.
Well, if you will, allow me to retort, and this time I suggest you pay a bit of attention.
I do not "blame my country first", as you claim, but I do hold my country to a higher standard of behavior, as I hold myself to a higher standard of behavior, uncle. I don’t know what you taught your children, Uncle, or what your parents taught you, but my parents taught me that it not important only to succeed in life, but to succeed in life while always doing the right thing! I have always tried to live my life that way, and will expect the same of my son. And I expect the same of my Country! I would not sell my soul or my ideals or my values for success or security, and I hold my country to that standard. I do this because I love my country, and as I would be remiss if I failed to recognize my own failings when I fail, so would I be remiss in not recognizing my countries failings and calling them out!
I do not see more wrong than right, but I recognize that you cannot right the wrong without seeing it, without looking at it, without understanding it. You might believe that so long as you wake up every day to a rousing chorus of "USA! USA! USA!", that all will be right with the world, but I can only pray that you don’t take the same tactic when dealing with problems in your own life.
I don’t have less faith in people’s abilities, in fact quite the opposite, I have the utmost faith in peoples abilities, and I believe when I see the whole of the middle and working classes of this country struggling, that we as a nation can and must do more to see that the American people are more able achieve their potential.
I don’t have more faith in my government, I have a higher expectation for my government. You see Katrina as simply the result of government failures, and believe that government can do no better... As your President might say, that is the soft bigotry of low expectations. I see Katrina as a failure of the people in charge of government, and I believe that My government can and should do better.
I don’t believe that we can talk our way out of a war with terrorists, but I don’t think that war is the best or only solution to the terrorist problem. There will be times, uncle, when my country will have to go to war to defend itself, and to bring those who wish to do it harm to justice. But if you believe, uncle, that continuous warfare against the innocent people of a country that had done nothing to us is the only way to keep America safe from terrorism, then I can only tell you that you have no understanding of the threat that we face, and you and those who share your ideology will never be able to defeat it!
I believe uncle, that our men and women in the Armed services are patriots of the highest order, but that there is a reason that the recruiters rarely stopped by my upper middle class high school, but had a heavy and constant presence at the underprivileged urban high school I worked at after I graduated from college. I believe that there was a reason why my brother went into the military after he graduated high school, and why your own son did not. It has nothing to do with the patriotism of the individuals, I believe your son loves his country as much as my brother does. The difference between the two of them has more to do with opportunity than patriotism, uncle. Let me be clear, this is not a slam on the military, I am proud of my brothers service, nor is it a knock against your son, I know him to be a good man and a patriotic American. It is merely an attempt on my part to help you see the difference between the two.
I do not hate big business. I work for a big business, one of the biggest businesses around in fact, and am quite proud of what I do and who I work for. But I can be proud because I know from experience that the company I work for is responsible both to the customers it serves and to the employees on it’s payrolls. It encourages unions and workers rights, is forward thinking on workplace safety and on it’s members health and well being. And, by the way, it succeeds, Uncle, not despite the fact that it does these things but because it does these things. I don’t hate big business, I dislike irresponsible business, business that fails the needs of the communities that they purport to serve, that use their muscle to get favorable tax structures that you and I pay for at the expense of their smaller competition. I dislike businesses that have profits that are less than the amount of the subsidies that it’s high priced lobbyists extract from the government.
As far as corporations being taxed, uncle, well, you got me there. I pay my taxes, and so should a corporation that makes billions of dollars in profits, or at the very least, that my tax dollars shouldn’t go to a corporation making billions of dollars in profits in the name of corporate welfare and subsidies, especially when the same corporation sends American jobs overseas to pad their bottom line.
I don’t think competition is bad, I think it’s one of the things that make this country great, but you are willing to overlook the fact that the playing field isn’t on the level anymore, that companies like Wal-Mart can and do extract favorable deals from local governments that give them favorable deals and tilt the playing field in their favor, and against independent retailers. I think competition is necessary, but too many of our vital national industries, from Oil Companies to utilities to media companies are becoming more and more centralized and thus there is less and less competition in the marketplace. You are so blinded by your love of profits that you fail to see the growing inequity on the playing field of competition, which makes it less of a competition and more of a fixed game.
And again, I DON’T LIKE TAXES!!! I've said that before but you never listen, probably because, as is typical of your generation (and especially republican's of your generation) you never close your goddamn mouths long enough to listen to what anyone else has to say (And then you wonder aloud why you never hear any good ideas from the other side). I pay taxes, in fact, I have an above-the-median income, and no deductions, so I pay a hefty tax bill that I can scarcely afford. Nonetheless, unlike you (who I am sure pays as much if not more in taxes as I make in a year) I don't piss and moan about the taxes I pay. What irritates me isn't the taxes I pay but where that money goes. It really irks me that we have 47 million Americans in this country without health insurance yet the government gives Billions of dollars in subsidies to Wal-Mart, and Montsanto and Exxon Mobile, companies who make billions in profits (though often times those billions are less than the billions in subsidies, suggesting that the companies probably shouldn't exist in the first place or at least not in the form that they currently exist). It grates on me that with the security threats we face as a nation, we spend Hundreds of Billions of dollars on a Military meant to fight the cold war... It's idiotic, THAT's what needs to change, not the taxes they take but the money they spend. But again, I am not in favor of taxes for the sake of taxes!!!
I don’t want government provided health care (and I certainly don’t want health care from the people who brought us Katrina, those were your people, remember?). but I think we need to do something to see that people have access to adequate preventative medical care as a moral issue but because we spend too much money on health care in this country!!! We spend more per capita in this country on health care and have on average a lower quality and standard of health care than much of the industrialized western world. That might be fine with you, unc, but it’s not ok with me. We can and must do better! And we better do something soon, unc, because with 40 million uninsured and growing, at some point access to socialized medicine sounds a lot better than access to no medicine. I work for a private, for profit health care provider, unc, and I like it, but the problem with health care in America (and there is one) isn’t a lack of profit, it’s a lack of access and a lack of coverage.
Listen, if you’ve managed to get through this, why don’t you allow me the pleasure of telling you what YOU think:
You think that the only thing wrong with America is that the richest one percent don’t have enough money.
You think that government can’t work and vote for people who insure that it doesn’t.
You think the only way you can sleep well at night is if our young men and women are in a foreign country killing brown people you think look scary.
You claim to love your country but cry louder than my son with a dirty diaper when your country needs money to fight a war that YOU want it to fight.
You think that poor people are poor because they are stupid or lazy.
You think Paris Hilton is rich because she works hard and deserves it.
You think that the findings of the worlds scientists mean nothing next to your gut feeling about things.
Have I got it about right????