To the editor:
Oh, no. It looks as if there is yet another letter in the exchange between Glen Priest and Randy Harmon. Well, gee … I don’t know for sure, but it looks as if this back-and-forth is one of those contests where two guys are trying to vent on one another’s shoes to no good purpose.
With that in mind, I promise not to respond further unless someone were to call me a “tea partier.” Given that one, it would be hard not to respond.
It would be fine, I guess, if Mr. Harmon were to start out by spelling my name correctly. If we can get the number of ns in my name down to just one that would be OK.
In his letter to the editor June 12, Mr. Harmon says to me that I am a liberal progressive that use (used?) to teach music in the Jay schools. Well, that is true, but I wonder what relevance that has to the issue at hand, except giving Mr. Harmon another whack at those liberal “progressives.” Look out for your shoes.
Also in his letter, Mr. Harmon tells me “what you were right about is that I (Randy Harmon) do characterize liberals as ‘useful idiots’ but what you was (were?) wrong about is that Lenin did call his subverts ‘useful idiots.’” Well, go ahead with that if you wish, but Grant Harris, Senior Reference Librarian at the Library of Congress, wrote in 1987: “We have not been able to identify this phrase among Lenin’s published works.” Maybe Lenin said it under his breath or something and never wrote it down. In any event, I think I’ll go with the Library of Congress.
Wrong on the Alinsky thing, Mr. Harmon. I’d never heard of Saul Alinsky until the run-up to the 2008 election when the right wing noise machine was in full cry. No, my college years were spent at Earlham down in Richmond where the Society of Friends and Earlham tried very hard to follow the Quaker precepts of trying to find that of God in every man, of seeking peace, equality, justice and simplicity. Alinsky never came up in my classes. The Sermon on the Mount did.
My understanding of our social network is that the system generally provides services and programs to citizens which they would not be able to gain for themselves. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid come quickly to mind. I’m glad we have these services and programs. I’m happy, too, that we have clean air and clean water standards and legislation. I am further glad that we have requirements for industrial pollutants and waste. I wouldn’t want us to try to do away with air traffic controllers, USDA grain and meat inspectors nor our national parks and forests. I am grateful for the nearly three million soldiers in our armed forces protecting us and our shores. I am thankful for banking and insurance regulations as well as Truth in Lending legislations. These are but a small fraction of the services Americans use every day.
Do I believe there could be waste, mis-management and overlapping of services? Of course I do, but we can solve such problems without destroying the programs.
I have never heard of a single ordinary American who returned his Social Security check in protest of “big government.”
For Mr. Harmon to call President Obama “evil or ignorant” because his administration has tried to answer the needs of America’s poor and powerless is to me unjust and unfair.
You really want to talk about evil men? How about Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Heinrich Himmler, Chairman Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Bashar Assad, and Saddam Hussein — just to name a few?
By the way, on page 1,042 of Webster’s New 20th Century Dictionary are definitions of liberals and liberalism: “generous, favoring political reform or progress …” and “tending toward Democracy and personal freedom for the individual … not narrow or bigoted … broadminded.” Sounds like a good start to me.
In the meantime, when you are out and about, be on the lookout for an old, mild-mannered, retired, music teacher with dampish shoes.
Sincerely,
Glen Priest
Portland