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I am poles apart from some family members politically and have sacrificed debate over critical issues for the sake of politeness. But I ask if silence is truly worth the cost of losing debate over national issues that means life or death for many Americans? Can we not at least attempt discussion with decorum? If not now, when? In the midst of economic crisis and a Congress that has accomplished little due to obstruction and gridlock with a presidential election looming?
A long silence was just broken by a whisper from someone in the family via email. Perhaps unintended to spark debate since, by its nature, it was bi-partisan. Despite that, I decided it was time to speak up.
My first reply was about money in politics, also bi-partisan. I asked if anyone who had received this email had been asked for their vote rather than money. I have only been asked for money, over and over and over. I went on, admittedly treading on contentious ground with the subject of voter suppression and the erosion of our democracy by Right Wing Republicans (RWR) under the direction of our surreptitious corporate overlords. What came back to me in response was not surprising, just begging for further debate; especially because it seems to reflect typical right-wing ideologically-based uninformed ideas held by many Americans, ideas that are causing us serious harm. One reader responded with what I found an offensive, religious, Islamophobic, pro-abortion, anti-gay, pro-war, RWR cheer-leading chant, with barely a bit of fact or even a cogent argument.  Here is my next reply….
Dear RWR Cheerleader,
Thank you very much for your response. I appreciate the chance for discussion.
You might want to look back to my original reply. I posed the question of when you might have been asked about your vote rather than asked for money. You never answered.

Let me start with your suggestion that my opinion is devoid of truth asking if truth meant anything to me.  Absolutely it does! Truth is critically important to me; So much so that I study the facts, history and our current political and economic situation every day from several sources. I am not getting my knowledge from religion or a church, which is based upon faith, therefore not fact-based, but relative “truth” as evidenced by vast number of belief systems and religions. There is the ‘relativism’ you judged me for. What do you base your political thinking on?

Slight correction on your initial statement, this country was not founded on Judeo/Christian values. It was founded, in part, on religious freedom, even though that might mean no religion.  Have you ever heard of the “separation of church and state”? Much of your response seems based only upon your religious belief system. Unfortunately, your perspective reveals intolerance of anyone who might live or believe differently.  This is not surprising from what I know of Judeo/Christian tradition. To me, it is disturbing that anyone finds it easy to condemn the rest of the human race, for any reason. It is also entirely besides the point of what this debate was intended to be about.
Please note, I did not make mention of religion, or issues such as abortion, gay rights, or health care.
In regards to voter suppression, which is ongoing in many states, ID requirements are only one strategy of the RWR activity to disenfranchise voters. First, a solution is supposed to address a problem. But voter fraud is so minor nationwide it is barely worth mention. If you look at our current laws, the last being the 1965 Voting Rights Act, its’ intent was to tear down illegitimate barriers to voting. Americans who love the democratic process should be happy when citizens vote. High voter turnout would indicate an interested citizenship that is participating in a democracy designed for participation. Even putting aside your ID argument, at this very time, Ohio is engaged in outrageous voter disenfranchisement of a different sort. Let me give you actual, current events rather than a passing reference to huge historical events with no specific connection to this debate, such as 9/11 or WWII. In 2004, 170,000 voters in Ohio, a critical swing state, left the polls without voting. The lines were miles long. They simply were unable to vote. Ohio had to address this huge problem of our cornerstone to democracy. In the 2008 everyone did vote because they initiated several days of early voting. But alas! a Democrat won. So now, the RWR is busying with this new low-down attempt to suppress the vote. They are demanding more days and times to vote, but only in republican-leaning counties. Of course, the opposite is being established by RWR in the democratic-leaning counties, shorter voting hours and fewer days of voter. Voter suppression that is blatant and on behalf of your lauded RWR’s. Truth and fact. And nothing to do with IDs. Who, Dear Cheerleader, is cheating whom?
Now in the state of Pennsylvania, they have a voter hall of fame. Over 6000 people are in this hall of fame. They have all voted for at least 50 consecutive years.  What citizenship! You might imagine they are well into their 90’s and even 100’s but most of them cannot vote this year because they don’t have the appropriate ID’s (expired driver’s licensed for ex). This is indisputable voter disenfranchisement. They were hailed by the state until now, with the RWR trying to shut them out, much like the democratic process. I could go on and on since voter suppression is going on in many states, but I think I have made my point.

Taxation and Judeo/Christian values? What does that have to do with someone else’s labor? I am entirely confused. A bit of truth for you...The very wealthy do not have to work. The money they make, therefore, is not taxed with a payroll or income tax. Let’s use Romney as an example. His wealth is in capital gains (or whatever other money- gaining activity he is failing to reveal along with taxes he may or may not have paid) and he is taxed at the whopping rate of 15%. While the middle class pay up to 35%. Any fairness here? Anything to do with proportionality? I think not.
You then quickly bring up abortion, war, life choices and then tie all of that to taxes? Again, it leaves me very confused. It seems only to be more religious belief without facts or truth. So forgive me for not understanding. But I can tell you that no one is demanding others choose abortion. It is not something anyone wants. Sort of like a 'least-worst choice'....like going to war, which you say no one wants.  But in the case of abortion, I believe it is a choice that belongs to a woman and her doctor.
Since you brought up war…I would like to agree that we all deplore war, unfortunately, that is not so. The RWR’s (Bush, Cheney, et al) lied us into unnecessary, illegal and immoral wars. Killing was okay as long as it was profitable. And that is quite a lot of killing. Innocent civilians more than ever before. (My bumper sticker for W was “W, the pro life president who loves to kill”) But that is okay with the RWR. Yourself too? I only made fleeting reference to war but you seem to be arguing in favor...
Since you raised the issue…Yes! there are definitely some things worth fighting for. And I do. But I do not follow your statement about being foolhardy for choosing peace. However, I clearly detect a hint of Islamaphobia, nay, more like contempt, of Islam with your statement...  

Remember those in the news who were beheaded for refusing to convert? Remember Hitler’s holocaust? Remember the Twin Towers?
Was that your sentiment when you wrote “beheading for refusing to convert?” Thank you again for bringing this up. Your perspective seems to focus only on Muslims who have murdered others. Yes, I chillingly recall 9-11.  I was a flight attendant for American Airlines when it occurred and I thought daily of the murder of my co-workers. I maintain that murder is murder yet know that it was not Islam that caused this to happen. Many people of all faiths along with politicians have stated this is so. How about the murder of those on death row? It is public policy? They do indeed put ‘homicide’ on the death warrant after execution. Do you protest the death penalty, as I do? or are you a proponent?
How about the murder of doctors who perform abortion?

 Now, since you made reference to war and religion, here is a fact that ought to give you pause…. the Catholic Church was a collaborator of Adolph Hitler during the Holocaust.
Yes, indeed. Cardinal Pacelli (that oughta ring a bell) who became Pope Pius did collaborate with Adolph Hitler. I was one of the first female graduates of Pacelli High School and this makes me utterly ill. I personally call it Hitler High.
I could go on regarding Judeo/Christian values with examples like the Inquisition or witch burning or pedophilia in the Catholic Church (historical events/fact/truth/crimes). Instead, I will just claim my humanity and how I try to see others as such, granting them all the rights they are entitled to.  So you might want to re-think your condemnation of Islam and the people who are Muslim.

What is still so striking to me is your repeated reference to Judeo/ Christian values yet you see nothing wrong with Americans dying for lack of health care. (If you caught the RWR debates you might remember the chants of “let ‘em die” when the question arose about providing life-saving treatment for an uninsured American.)  I, personally, find it deeply disturbed to know that many Americans will die because they can’t afford to see a doctor or have treatment in our country. You make a grudging reference to neighbors having to...

“supply their every whim.”
I am guessing you mean Americans in need of assistance?  Do you consider health care a whim? Is food a whim? These are all basic human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Should you not know of or believe in that Declaration what about your holy bible? I studied it quite carefully for years (and even taught bible study) and I distinctly remember Jesus laying on hands to heal the sick. Or Jesus feeding the hungry. You seem to argue that Americans should let other Americans without jobs, or money or insurance die in sickness or hunger. As the richest nation in the world, we could readily establish a universal single-payer health care system while lowering health care costs. Or give food to the hungry. This is offensive to you?
Have you not heard from your sources of news/info that “Obamacare” (Affordable Health Care Act) is patterned closely after the RWR “Romneycare” which is in place in Massachusetts and allows many to get health care they would not get otherwise? Outright hypocrisy here. But politically necessary, I guess, to ignore that "minute flip-flop".
Since you brought up “Obamacare” and I did not, I will further this argument to raise the program of Medicare, which is universal single-payer health care, except after the age of 62. By your argument it would be extremely hypocritical of you (or any other RWR who condemns universal health care or the Affordable Health Care Act) to accept Medicare if/when you reach that age. Why does the magical age of 62 make a difference?
Are you then arguing that we should end Medicare because that need for care is a “whim”? Why are sick or dying people not as important as the issue of abortion? Or planned parenthood?” Isn’t illness and dying of illness a ‘sanctity of life issue as well?”

On to address your condemnation of those whose lifestyles or religion differs from yours (again, not in my original note). How does condemnation come so easily for someone who was told to “love one another” by Jesus? How can one profess to have Christian love in their heart when they will not grant anyone the right to think or live differently? Can you not let judgment be of God? Especially when allowing others to live in what you might consider ‘sin’ does not harm you? Yet still allows you to live as you choose? Remember “Do not judge lest ye be judged”. Jesus taught forgiveness, love, taking care of the infirmed, the weak, children, the elderly. Something in your ‘values argument’ simply does not fit with these teachings of Jesus Christ.

Now to your reference of ‘class warfare’. Can you explain how some people become billionaires?  Can any one person actually earn a billion dollars? How about a daily income of $144,573 per day? It is (fact and truth) the income of former chairman of Exxon.
Do you really accept the assumption that the fabulously wealthy got their money by being honest and playing by the rules or working? My facts and truth tell me that, at least many, have cheated, lied and stolen their way to vast wealth. That is not envy, as you state. It is the rich cheating their way to vast fortunes while men, women and children starve and die for lack of health care. By the way, you and I subsidize the oil industry. If there is any welfare, it is corporate welfare.

Dear Cheerleader, thank you so much for your response. I wish you the best in finding truth. My fervent hope is that our country pulls out of this economic crisis and decides that other Americans, the 99% really, are not just greedy, envious, cheating, lazy people, but deserve to be treated like Jesus would have treated them.  
My guess is that if Jesus were here now, or the Prophet Muhammad for that matter, they might heal legions of American’s, feed many others and go into the temple to throw out all the money changers in banks, on Wall Street  and many in Congress who intentionally brought on our desperate economic crisis while demanding disastrous policies eroding what is left of our democracy. In the meantime, that remains our job. I hope you get on board.

Respectfully,
Boty

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