A reader took me to task this week for “hitting a new low” by describing a WS – Window Sticker as BS – Bumper Sticker. Apparently, the writer is so sensitive that he fails to appreciate the humor. He concluded his 550 word response with the following; “Hereby cancel my subscription to the Echo” and You do not have my permission to use any of this in your newspaper. This is between you and me.” Too bad, he actually had a few valid points.
Of course he railed at my criticism of federal government run programs asking questions like, “do you want Haliburton or Disney running Yellowstone? Well sure, I believe Disney would do a much better job than the National Park Service has done. I grew up in Yellowstone and could give you a very long list of the Park Services failures in managing that national treasure. Roads, bridges and airports are not actually built by the government; they are built by private sector builders under contract to the government.
And of course education, that sacred cow of the left, why is it that “progressives” believe corporations and “special interests” are the only evil purveyors of self-serving “propaganda.” Why are liberals never concerned about the potential threat of government propaganda from a monopoly of government run schools? Besides
Serious debate takes time and it takes strong adults who are willing to confront difficult issues with more than 60 second sound bites and “compassionate” bumper/window stickers. We all have a constitutional right to express our opinion no matter how ill conceived, but real lasting solutions require more than wasted, compassionate spending programs. I too am concerned about the welfare of all of our citizens, but simply agreeing to pay whatever tax our elected representatives believe is justified without considering the harm that government waste does to our economy and our most productive citizens is not compassionate.
Sticker started debate
First, I support your right to state your views within the context of your newspaper. You are only exercising your right to free speech. However, you have stooped to a very low level when you refer to the window sign in the automobile as BS! It was not a “Bumper Sticker!” Of course, referring to it as WS (window sticker) would not have indicated the same contempt as your low “BS.” If the WS stifles debate, why did you write the opinion piece? It seems to me that it has started debate!
While you may have a number of valid points with respect to that one item you discuss in detail-education, there are cases where private education has not been the be all and end all that was trumpeted. (Can all schools be privatized? Or are only a select few to be educated?) Yes, the states may have come to rely too much on the largesse of the federal government, but there are states in this nation that support public education even less than here in Washington. This nation will survive on the basis of an educated citizenry who will not be prey to the propaganda of whatever special interest happens to have the microphone at the particular moment (and that can include humanitarian organizations too). If the individual states are not meeting that educational need, where are we to turn?
There are a number of items in that list that would seem to this interested person to fall within the province of “government” -roads, bridges and airports, veteran benefits, science and medical research (NSF, NCI, and remember the federally funded research during WWII and after Sputnik which have led to a number of real advances medically and in our standard of living), state and national parks (or do you want Haliburton or Disney running Yellowstone?), Social Security and Medicare (why not have the SS and MC taxes be applicable to all income-that might cut the coming shortfall?), police and fire protection – or are you proposing privatizing those too ala Blackwater?
Now, let me state that I do not like to pay taxes any better than anyone else. However, I always console myself with the statement of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” I too am for an efficient government, but I am a realist enough to know that a rise in taxes will have to accompany government cuts. The 2009 federal budget; 23% defense, 20% Social Security, 19% Medicare and Medicaid, 17% “other” mandatory, 5% interest, 4% TARP, 12% “other” discretionary demonstrates that cutting spending cannot be the only option. Even Reagan was pragmatic enough to understand that!
So, Mr. Forhan, I ask that you clean up your act. You have an advantage with your paper, and you should respect those who do not have that advantage. If you had such an objection to the content of the window sticker (you copied it verbatim!), why did you not seek out the person responsible? – maybe a note under the wiper? You have taken advantage of your situation and demeaned a very compassionate person who deeply cares about the plight of all of the citizens, including you.
No, I did not compose the sticker, but I obviously know the person.
P. S. Hereby cancel my subscription to the Echo.
P.P.S You do not have my permission to use any of this in your newspaper. This is between you and me.
Publisher’s notice: It is normally my policy to honor a writer’s request regarding publishing their letter. In this case I chose to publish it without the writer’s name even though it was included in the original letter. It is too bad that the writer apparently does not have enough courage of his convictions to take responsibility for putting those words in print. He makes a few good points but mostly misses the message. Disney running Yellowstone? And