Another Write-wing Conspirator

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    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

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    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

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    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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Observations from the Middle of the Road

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 26, 2009

A meandering mini-manifesto from the mythical Middle Majority

Somewhere in the ether between the extreme-left-wing ultra-liberal socialist pinko left and the extreme-right-wing ultra-conservative Neo-Fascist right lies the legitimate majority of the population, that elusive 51% that most accurately reflects the prevailing opinions and sentiments of the nation; pinpointing this group, however, is often difficult. Party affiliation severely blurs the picture (yes, there really are pro-choice Republicans who play golf and buy beer on Sundays…just as there are pro-life Democrats who attend church three times per week without fail). The plethora of polls intended to locate this “Joe Six-pack” center–I think of it as the mythical Middle Majority–often serve only to muddy the waters (I figure that since college football was for years allowed a “mythical national championship,” I’m entitled to a myth or two of my own).

The way I figure it, both extremes collectively account for a relatively small percentage of the populace—but their inclusion can skew the middle, making it difficult to define what is “middle of the road” on political issues. I’d suggest that most…say, about 50%-60%…fall somewhere between center-left, center, and center-right on most issues—party affiliation not withstanding (don’t bore me with lectures about bell-shaped curves, statistical analysis, standard deviations and the like, by the way; this is my bailiwick–and my opinion–so, yes, you may wish to comment, but…it’s nearly impossible to reasonably assess a mere opinion as either right or wrong). Moreover, our views on specific “hot button” issues don’t always allow categorization along philosophical or party lines, either, and sometimes move otherwise middle-of-the-road or even straight-ticket voters to adopt more extreme stances—even to the point of rendering them one-issue voters who make a vote/no vote decision about a candidate based exclusively on that candidate’s position regarding a single issue of particular concern. And they cross party lines to do so.

Based on entirely un-scientific methods (unless one wishes to so classify my own gut feeling), I’ll toss out a few thoughts which I believe closely approximate the views of the Middle Majority:

We don’t like Congress. We see that band of ne’er-do-wells as a necessary evil. Period. We resent their “I’m-above-the-law” and “I-know-what’s-best-for-you” attitudes. They spend actually working only a fraction of the time the ordinary citizen does. They travel unnecessarily and expensively—and stick us with the bill for it. They’re currently trying to force-feed to the populace a mammoth piece of health-care legislation from which they expressly exempt themselves (as they do with any other law they choose to ignore). They’re crooked. Though there may not be a direct exchange of cash from one had to another, they buy and sell their votes in the form of support or obstruction based on—well, that seems to not have a lot of rules, either. We’re tired of congressional figures cheating on the very taxes they levy on us, too.

Huge volumes could be written regarding our dislike of Congress; the above offers only a few examples.

We want legislation we can understand. It should be clear, simple, in understandable English (not legalese)—and brief. The time-honored standard for marathon reading is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It took him years to complete. It is 1,225 pages long (1,475 pages, paperback). It takes the average reader…well, a long time to read. Congress is attempting to force passage of a bill that dwarfs Tolstoy’s masterwork at more than 2,000 pages—and it was assembled over a period of mere weeks. It would likely be months (if not years) before the ramifications of its passage–to say nothing of the hidden surprises–would be completely revealed. Coupled with the intense politicking on both sides…well, frankly, it scares Hell out of us.

What happened to “one issue, one bill, one simple vote”? Part of our dislike for–and mistrust of–Congress stems from its propensity for hidden agenda. What on earth has “hate-crimes” legislation to do with defense authorizations? Unable to ram-through that unwanted law any other way, however, they somehow attached it to funding for national defense—which few dared oppose. Politicians see this sort of thing as being business as usual and part of the political process; we, on the other hand, despise it as yet another means of forcing something on us that doesn’t belong.

We’re ready for term limits—and we’re really ready for congressional term limits. There’s a reason that House terms are set at two years. The Founders never intended for this to become job security. From the moment these people manage to achieve “incumbent” status, though, their first order of business is to work on their re-election…over and over again. For as long as the law will let them.

Yes, we hate taxes. But we know they’re necessary, so we pay them. What we hate more than taxes is a tax code so convoluted that no one understands it. If the tax code was worth a damn, all those tax-return preparation agencies wouldn’t exist; we’d be able to do it ourselves. Oh, and we don’t like cabinet members who are revealed to be tax cheats—and we really don’t like members of Congress who cheat on their taxes (especially the crook who chairs the committee that writes the tax code that bedevils the rest of us).

We’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of William Shakespeare—especially that bit about killing all the lawyers.

To be sure…when we need a lawyer, we want a vicious, ruthless, blood-sucking, cutthroat bastard par excellence advocating on our behalf; when the dirty work is done, however, we expect him to quietly crawl back under his rock where he belongs—not to change careers and run for Congress. (We’ve noted that the political process has been pretty well defiled at a rate that tracks well with the rising ratio of lawyers in Congress—which probably also explains that crap they try to pass off as legislation…which we can’t read because it’s all legalistic gobbledygook interlaced with hidden agenda items.)

We as a people champion the underdog. On the other hand…while we don’t feel quite right having to side with mega-corporations beset by nuisance lawsuits, we can’t bear to have our sense of fair play insulted, either. If you’ve genuinely been treated unfairly or wronged in any way, we want you to get justice—but we don’t like seeing the legal system subverted through your (more correctly: your lawyer’s) ridiculous demands that your stupidity be indemnified by the courts…no matter how hot your coffee was. We also cringe if your “just compensation” exceeds what we see as a reasonable amount; for you to be awarded twenty bazillion dollars in damages for having stubbed your toe while entering Megabuck, Inc.’s world headquarters seriously offends our sensibilities—and again forces us into the uncomfortable position of siding against “the little guy” (and his blood-sucking lawyer, of course).

Here’s an idea: after every civil suit, have the case immediately reviewed by a panel (preferably including at least one member who isn’t a lawyer) to determine whether the case should have been brought to court in the first place. If this panel concludes that it was a “frivolous” or “nuisance” suit (often little more than shakedown attempts) that should never have seen the light of day, the plaintiff’s lawyer then has to reimburse both the court and the defendant for all costs associated with the trial. Think that might cut down on the caseload? (Count this as an endorsement for tort reform.)

Apollo 11 went to the moon and back in 1969. The electrical power needs of the craft were met by a hydrogen fuel cell…one that even produced fresh water as a by-product—and one based on technology that had already been around for decades. Only a few years later came the Arab oil embargo—when we realized that our dependence on foreign oil jeopardized our national security. At about the same time, we also concluded that the massive amounts of pollutants being discharged into the atmosphere when we drove our cars were having a range of effects that we still haven’t entirely tallied-up.

…so, why–forty years later–are we still importing and burning that oil? Why haven’t we moved on to a better power source? (Yes, some fuel cells have finally become available—but relatively few, and much later than they should have been on the market. And there are other alternate sources to consider, as well.) If the Federal government–which clearly enjoys sticking its tentacles pretty much everywhere–really wants to do some major good, this would seem a logical area.

By the way…we’re not entirely in love with nuclear power plants, either—but we’d rather deal with those than kiss the backsides of a bunch of sheiks. Just don’t build any more of the damned things on known fault lines.

Saying “Merry Christmas” is a seasonal greeting. Christmas is, itself, observed in the United States as a traditional holiday—not a religious holiday. That some also link it to the birth of Jesus should be of no real consequence (and they’re probably a few months off, anyway), as it’s been suggested that the designation of December 25th to commemorate Jesus’ birth was deliberately intended to coincide with the winter solstice and the Roman festival known as “Saturnalia”. People should be no more offended by hearing “Merry Christmas” than they would be if someone handed them candy and hard-boiled eggs and said “Happy Easter.” And that thing’s called a “Christmas tree”—not a “holiday tree.” Raising a fuss about that just smacks of political correctness taken entirely too far (a rapidly growing –finally!– issue in many areas of concern, by the way.) Does the expression “Yuletide Greetings” offend you? It’s no less “religious” than “Merry Christmas”, inasmuch as “Yule” initially referred to a pagan festival—another of many traditional winter festivals of various names observed in cultures around the world for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.

Speaking of political correctness…we’re sick of it. We’ve quietly tolerated (foolishly) its gradual insinuation into our lives. We have at various junctures over the years laughed at its manifestations, ridiculed it, and shaken our heads in disgust; unfortunately, we also allowed it. Perhaps the recent massacre at Ft. Hood finally snapped us out of our complacency with the many references to the role political correctness may have played in enabling a terrorist to murder thirteen people. Whatever the case, voices are now being raised as never before–whether borne of outrage, fear, disgust, or exasperation–and the groundswell seems to be gaining momentum. Finally. We’ve grown weary of being dismissed as “racist” even for something as fundamental as criticizing the guy in the White House, we now cringe at the overuse of terms like “insensitive” and “inappropriate,” and we bristle at being labeled “homophobic” for having the audacity to oppose the promotion of “gay pride” rallies and parades—and become downright hostile at what we see as the brain-washing of the young via classroom indoctrination designed to compel acceptance of same-sex activities. (“Homophobe” is incorrect, anyway; there’s no fear–”phobia”–at issue. We’re fed-up…and that’s all there is to it.)

On a closely related matter…we don’t like the idea of having same-sex marriages sanctified by law. Of course, the days are long since gone when homosexual activity would likely lead to a jail cell; we have become much more accepting of what consenting adults do behind closed doors. There’s a reason, though, why initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage are batting zero on state ballots: adopting an accepting, laissez-faire attitude toward personal relationships is one thing—granting such activity an officially-sanctioned status (particularly with its concomitant implications for matters such as family health insurance coverage) is quite another matter. Furthermore, we don’t like the feeling of being compelled to embrace activities we view as lifestyle choices; we consider ourselves reasonable, fair people with a basic “live-and-let-live” philosophy—and force-feeding us anything invites resistance.

Back to those incessant claims of racism: give it a rest, already. The current climate makes us yearn for the relatively good old days (which we also detested, at the time) of “playing the race card” as a last desperate measure. We saw through it then, too. Now, the dreaded label of “racist” has become the first resort. We particularly object to such charges being leveled by those whose own actions reveal their racism (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan come immediately to mind). Political candidates running on this theme do so in a clear attempt to polarize, pandering to the minority vote. Time for them all to move on to another teat; this one’s been milked dry. No one outside the liberal media and those mental giants in Hollywood is buying it, anymore—while resistance within the populace is rapidly strengthening (again, long overdue).

We learned all about John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and judicial review back in about the sixth grade. We accept that as an established part of the system. We also know there’s supposed to be some reasonable limit to a judge’s authority—and we know judicial activism when we see it. We grow livid when some among us go through the trouble of having an initiative placed on a ballot, voted on, passed by a wide margin—then shot down in flames by an activist judge anxious to make his or her mark by discovering yet another Constitutional “right” neither conferred nor intended by the Founding Fathers.

…and we noticed that Sonia Sotomayor pretty much has all the bases covered: blatantly activist, racist, and sexist. And they say justice is blind.

Yes, we’re utterly convinced that the so-called “mainstream media” (which doesn’t represent mainstream thinking, at all) has a left-wing bias; hell, even they know it—and many of them seem mighty proud of it. We in increasing numbers have largely given up on the three so-called “major” network news bureaus and most of the print media in favor of Fox News and the multitudes of web news sources. Do we really believe that Fox is as “fair and balanced” as it claims? Hard to say. Some probably do. Without question, though, Fox does at least serve to balance-out some of the obviously slanted barrage of their leftist counterparts, anyway—and frequently brings to light stories that would no doubt have died quiet deaths in its absence.

We are especially galled by what Bernard Goldberg calls the “slobbering love affair” that ensued when media met Obama. The media’s traditional role has been one of probing and “vetting” potential candidates, to the point of knowing even how Jimmy Carter cleaned his teeth and how frequently Ronald Reagan’s wife consulted astrologers. Though there’s long been a generally more-favorable presentation of liberals than of conservative candidates, at least there was until recently a semblance of an effort to appear even-handed, anyway. No more. It’s astonishing how readily the media hopped aboard the Obama train—even going so far as to devour their own when there appeared among them a rare dissenting voice. The result? The ascension to the White House of a man whose obsession with secrecy surpasses even Richard Nixon’s—and about whom we still know precious little…and he sure as hell isn’t volunteering anything, either. Even more puzzling is the newsies’ tolerance for the obvious condescension served-up by the Obama regime on a regular basis when dealing with even prominent media figures.

The war(s) in Afghanistan and Iraq are causing the Middle Majority some pretty major angst. On the one hand, we see a need for military action in one or both; on the other hand, we’re concerned about the cost in lives, money, and political capital versus what’s been gained for our expenditure. The one uniting issue is our support for the troops—and we’re wary of seeing them largely abandoned to an uncertain goal.

Islam stands as one of the most troubling issues of our time. We absolutely and jealously guard our religious freedom, and are quick on the trigger when this fundamental right is threatened. We’ve also noted, though, how many acts of terrorism at home and abroad have been committed in the name of Islam—and the lack of condemnation within the Muslim population(s) of such acts (to the contrary, there are frequently indications of broad approval). Yet, we feel a need to tread carefully when mentioning Islam and terrorism at the same time. Or even on the same day. Contrast this treatment with, say, the Federal government’s handling of the Branch Davidians at Waco, who were dismissed as pretty much a fringe cult—and summarily crushed. The prevailing view is that speaking against Muslims in any way risks allegations of “hate speech”—and “hate crimes.”

Cries of “hate speech” and “hate crime” are not hollow complaints; they can subject the accused to fines and imprisonment for something as trivial as referring to a homosexual as a “homo” (while the shortened version of “heterosexual” is acceptable. Gee.). The steady designation of various groups as somehow endangered and in need of special consideration (as opposed to the legal standard of “equal protection under the law”) has pervaded society and the legal system. The Middle Majority’s view of such goings-on is mixed and complex; we believe in protecting those who are threatened and in short-circuiting routes that may lead to something akin to the Holocaust—but we’re not so sure about this practice of essentially conferring “endangered species” status on seemingly endless groups for reasons that aren’t at all clear. We regard the practice as unnecessary—and what exactly is a “love crime,” anyway?

We got very bent out-of-shape when Homeland Security announced which groups warrant close observation for signs of “home-grown terrorism” leanings—and which ones don’t. (The first two I thought of were the Internal Revenue Service and the National Education Association—but, that’s just me.) Apparently, a gaggle of senior citizens waving tea bags at protest rallies constitutes a greater threat than guys wearing turbans and shrieking “Allah u akhbar!” Who knew? The Middle Majority suspects this is related to the widely-held belief that dissent is only acceptable when it’s done by liberals and Democrats—who are clearly more experienced in such pursuits (“Don’t try this at home, kids. Remember: we’re professionals.”). And then there are all those returning veterans—who (presumably) somehow became radicalized while fighting those Islamic terrorists who (presumably) aren’t out to destroy us. Except the ones who hijack airliners and crash them into buildings. Or who blow-up buildings. While shrieking “Allah u akhbar!”

Abortion. Frankly, after more than four decades of hearing about this one, I wish it’d just go away. I’ll come out of the closet as pro-choice (much to the annoyance of many family members)—but I admittedly speak only for myself on this one. I do not agree with “late-term” abortions, however, except when the mother’s physical health is at risk—and only upon the advice of her physician; “partial-birth” abortions are simply murder. Note that this is not an invitation to debate the issue; I don’t even want to hear about it—let alone discuss it. It’s pointless, as virtually everyone is already firmly entrenched in his/her opinion and unlikely to be swayed. As for the how the rest of the Middle Majority feels about it…you figure it out. I’m tired.

Illegal immigration and border security are major issues for the MM crowd. They’re not “undocumented workers”; they’re illegal aliens. They entered the country illegally. And they’re aliens. What’s difficult to understand about that? We consider the term “open border” an oxymoron—emphasis on the “moron” part. We don’t think the economy will self-destruct from the reduction in cheap labor. We are very concerned about who else is sneaking across our porous borders along with the poor folks looking for work. We’re sick of a Congress that simply isn’t getting the message. We’re thoroughly disgusted with a government that refuses to discharge its most basic responsibility: securing and protecting the nation. Get it? Oh, and…amnesty? Don’t even think about it. Path to citizenship? Here’s one: go back to square one–that’d be where they came from–and start over again. And this time…do it legally.

The deficit. Hel-loooo-oooo? Twelve trillion. Depending on how it’s all computed, maybe eighteen trillion. And counting. It looks like this: $12,000,000,000,000 . What more needs to be said but: “Please, don’t tell Obama what comes after ‘trillion,'” and “Stop spending money you don’t have!” The rest of us have to balance our checkbooks; why doesn’t the government?

Health care reform. We don’t trust our health care to the Federal government—and certainly not to Congress (you know; those guys who’ve been busily cutting deals behind closed doors). Oh, and, by the way…whatever gave rise to this notion that anyone loves insurance companies? We’ve all spent more time swearing at them than Pelosi, Reid, and Obama combined. Get real. We see the current “reform” attempt for what it really is: a power-and-money-grabbing scheme that has nothing to do with reforming health care. We don’t want “socialized” anything. We don’t trust a Congress that compels us to accept a system from which it exempts itself. And don’t think we’re fooled by all those re-writes, either; they’re nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to conceal items we’ve already rejected, sneaking them in via an esoteric Trojan horse that’s carefully crafted to be incomprehensible.

Gun control. We have it, already. It’s called the Second Amendment. Great reading. Somebody show it to Schumer.

Need more? Just ask. Have opinion—will write.

 

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2 Responses to “Observations from the Middle of the Road”

  1. Laura said

    Whew! :::swipes back of hand across forehead:::Very good.

  2. Dick Norcross said

    Amen, Jim.

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