Monday, November 22, 2010

Open Letter To Noam Chomsky: You're Wrong On A Couple Of Points

By Manifesto Joe

Professor Chomsky, you're always an engaging writer, and I found a short essay of yours, "The US Elections: Outrage, Misguided," enlightening as usual. But, I disagree on a couple of points, and I'm going to explain why.

Here's a link to the article I'm referring to.

More than half the “mainstream Americans” in a Rasmussen poll last month said they view the Tea Party movement favorably –- a reflection of the spirit of disenchantment.
The grievances are legitimate. For more than 30 years, real incomes for the majority of the population have stagnated or declined while work hours and insecurity have increased, along with debt. Wealth has accumulated, but in very few pockets, leading to unprecedented inequality. ...

People rightly want answers, and they are not getting them except from voices that tell tales that have some internal coherence –- if you suspend disbelief and enter into their world of irrationality and deceit.

Professor Chomsky, the hard core of people involved in the Tea Party movement are part of about 30% of Americans (from what polls indicate) who are staunch "conservatives." These are people who would vote Republican if Lucifer were the nominee. It doesn't matter how much their income has declined, their work hours have increased or how much debt they are accumulating, while the wealthy prosper more than ever. We're confronted here with Rush-and-Fox brainwashed people who won't be persuaded by any amount of reasoned argument. They don't have to suspend any "disbelief," because among these people, there was never any to begin with. You have to think for yourself before you can entertain doubts.

It's the people in between, the confused and often ignorant ones who are either "swing voters" or who don't vote at all, who comprise the group that progressives must win over if they are to ever to really win power in this country.

You continue: Ridiculing Tea Party shenanigans is a serious error, however. It is far more appropriate to understand what lies behind the movement’s popular appeal, and to ask ourselves why justly angry people are being mobilized by the extreme right and not by the kind of constructive activism that rose during the Depression, like the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations).

With all due respect for your obvious moral courage, sir, you are living in the past. The labor movement in America is all but dead, and it is because "the people" here had gotten so lazy and comfortable by the 1970s and '80s that they lacked either the intelligence, the guts, or both, to stand up to powerful institutions and defend their rights.

Big corporate money lined up with the psychos of the far right in an alliance sort of like Frankenstein, only in this scenario, the monster has been kept under control and compelled to do the creator's bidding. Most people, the ones in between, decided that it was easier just to get along and go along. While they were making nice, jobs went overseas, incomes declined, personal debt ballooned, and the rich got much richer.

If you'll pardon another analogy, our in-betweeners were like the frog who sits in a pan of water that gets hotter, degree by degree. They just sat there for decades as the water got hotter. Now it's getting close to the boiling point, and an appetite for frog legs is obvious among our moneyed elite.

For many years, there have been those among us who have been trying, in vain, to tell people this. We have been doomed to failure for a number of reasons. For one thing, we don't have the money to get the message out, and our foes most certainly do. For another, there aren't many of us. "Conservatives" far outnumber committed progressives in this country, and they always have. Some of this is a foolishness that I have to conclude simply rests with Americans, with the particular culture, values and attitudes with which we are usually indoctrinated.

Where I grew up, for example, there were absolutely no Trotskyites. I never knew of Trotsky until I got into reading history as a teenager, and my view of him was predictably negative until I was 20 or so. I've known very few anarchists in my 54 years of living, and they've all been the right-wing variety. Even where I live now, in a large urban area in the American heartland, what little political debate one hears is between centrists and right-wingers, Democrats and Republicans. Maybe Libertarians (another kind of right-winger) chime in now and then. That's about it. There are few voices that could be accurately described as left of center.

You, sir, grew up, and still live, in a part of the country that I would describe as -- well, unique. Out here, the right rules, and usually has. The center upsets them from time to time, preventing a total monopoly. An authentic left almost doesn't exist, and it's almost always been that way.

Out here, it's a way of life for folks to blame the wrong people for their misfortunes. I've tried reasoning with such people, and it usually can't be done. They're too brainwashed.

You have said that the U.S. doesn't really have two political parties -- it has the left wing of the Business Party (Democrats) and the right wing of the Business Party (Republicans). In a perfect world, I wouldn't be forced to make such a choice. But the world in which we live is not merely far from perfect. These days, it seems to just outright suck.

So, when forced to make a choice, I'll take the left wing of the Business Party, thank you. Because of them, I was able to go to college (albeit not one in the Ivy League). Because of them, my mother and grandmother were able to get Medicaid and stay in nursing homes after they ran out of money. And thanks to them, I would be able to get, at least temporarily, a meager weekly sum from the government to eat on if I were laid off from my job tomorrow.

As the political compass of America has swung further and further to the right, it's come down to a national battle between real conservatives -- the ones who want to at least preserve the meager welfare state introduced in this country during the 20th century -- and the radical, reactionary right, which wants to plunge the country back into 19th-century social Darwinism.

I'd love to see some kind of authentic left emerge in this country, but I don't think it wise to hold my breath. I would have admired a president who would have gone down fighting for single-payer health care, but I'll settle for one who did what seemed necessary to at least get something done.

You continue: Amid the joblessness and foreclosures, the Democrats can’t complain about the policies that led to the disaster. President Ronald Reagan and his Republican successors may have been the worst culprits, but the policies began with President Jimmy Carter and accelerated under President Bill Clinton.

True, but ... Carter did want a national health insurance program, and could not likely have forecast what the deregulation that began on his watch would lead to. Clinton helped usher in NAFTA, signed "welfare reform" and also signed destructive financial deregulation. But he also forced wealthy individuals to pay somewhat higher marginal tax rates, and because of that, he left office with a record surplus. Clinton may have been a Republicrat, but I'd say he was the best "Republican" president the U.S. has had since Eisenhower.

By the time Bush was well into his second term, I wished we had Clinton back. "Not-that-good" is better than "much worse." What we ended up with was Barack Obama, who hasn't been what I'd hoped, but at least he's been something of an improvement. I was never a Carter fan, but I'd even take him over Bush 43.

To repeat a line from you: Ridiculing Tea Party shenanigans is a serious error.

For one thing, it's hard to witness mass stupidity ("Impeach the Muslim Marxist" one Tea Partier's sign read) and not call it by its rightful name. For another, making nice with such people has never done a bit of good. Ask Barack Obama.

It's hard to witness mass stupidity and not call it by its rightful name.

Again, it's the in-betweeners, the "persuadables" who comprise the battleground. Even stupid people don't like to think that they are stupid. Showing exactly how stupid the "shenanigans" of the Tea Party movement are is one way to reach the "reachables." Even a person of ordinary intelligence, when presented with enough facts, can comprehend how idiotic it is to refer to Obama as a "Muslim Marxist." Ridicule is one weapon we have that doesn't cost anything, and I fully intend to use it against these morons.

Professor Chomsky, I highly respect the fact that you risked jail while opposing the Vietnam War, and that you have often gone to the very front lines of social conflict as a courageous dissident.

But out here, where I live, being a public dissident means even worse things than jail. It can mean job loss, homelessness, hunger. It can mean losing everything you have.

And, in the battle we have going on now -- perhaps the most important one of this century in the U.S. -- what will be decided is whether people like me will be able to find decent jobs, to draw Social Security and Medicare, to get Medicaid if we become decrepit and broke. The fight is over very basic things. And, some of our opponents are foolish enough to say things at town hall meetings like, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"

With all due respect, sir, you are a professor emeritus from MIT, pushing 82. You will never have to face the kind of destitution that middle Americans, whether they realize it or not, are facing right now. That makes it a little easier for you to position yourself slightly above the trenches.

The job of progressives is to persuade the "persuadables" that they are indeed facing destitution, a loss of basics. I intend to do that by any means necessary, including ridiculing Tea Party "shenanigans," and even voting Democratic. It beats the alternative, and if Americans don't see this soon, much will be lost.

Manifesto Joe

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Jack Jodell said...

Manifesto Joe,
I tip my hat to you for this brilliantly accurate portrayal of our current political and economic scenario. I admire you for, and join with you in, the struggle to persevere in the face of such insane opposition. I think you and I have been at it all our adult lives, and will continue to be for the rest of our lives. Carry on, my friend, and blog on, brother!

Palin2012 said...

The problem is, the Liberals have turned America away from the Christian values that built our nation.
The Liberal/Secular Progressives took prayer out of the school classrooms. They made it to where the Ten Commandments can no longer be displayed in public places. It's a sad state of affairs when our kiddoes can't even pray in the classroom.
We Republicans aim to return America to the Christian values of the Founding Fathers. Sarah Palin has written eloquently about this in her new book.
Until America returns to her Christian heritage, she will suffer from the wrath of God. I believe that the attacks on 9/11 were only a preview of the trials and tribulations that America will face, unless she returns to her Christian heritage.
This is what we Republicans believe in. We are willing to compromise with the Liberals on some issues, but we will stand our ground firm on this issue.

Anonymous said...

dear sir,

I am slightly tired of the idea that there is no 'real' left in your country. there always has been, and always will. however, as long as the leavings slid your way by the 'left wing of the business party' buys your silence, (as you admit, when you speak of education as a privilege given by your masters) any radical change is impossible. when the bourgeous dream is no longer the "American" dream, there might be a way out of your dilemma.
Sean Gorman

MaryK said...

I live in Texas, too, and am unemployed because the Governor is holding out on $289 in stimulus money meant to hire new teachers and firefighters, and people like me, still in the educational pipeline, aren't getting hired. Schools are simply making do with what they've got. I also have to be careful what bumper stickers I put on my truck lest someone in the parking lot (when I get the rare call to substitute) notices that I'm actually a little radical. Hmpph.

Anonymous said...

Palin 2012:
"The problem is, the Liberals have turned America away from the Christian values that built our nation."
THe problem is, you don't respect the separation of Church and State that is in the constitution, we do.

"The Liberal/Secular Progressives took prayer out of the school classrooms. They made it to where the Ten Commandments can no longer be displayed in public places. "

That's not true, you simply can't display them in places paid for by the government, unless you're willing to give all other religions equal time. Nice try, nice lie.

"It's a sad state of affairs when our kiddoes can't even pray in the classroom."

If you want your kids to pray in the classroom, send them to a religious school. I don't want my kid praying in the classroom, I want him GOING TO SCHOOL AND STUDYING.

"We Republicans aim to return America to the Christian values of the Founding Fathers. Sarah Palin has written eloquently about this in her new book."

See the previous, they weren't the "Christian values of the founding fathers", read a history book. And Sarah hasn't written eloquently about anything, perhaps her ghost writer did, but she can't string a proper sentence together.

"Until America returns to her Christian heritage, she will suffer from the wrath of God. I believe that the attacks on 9/11 were only a preview of the trials and tribulations that America will face, unless she returns to her Christian heritage."

Your welcome to believe in whatever superstitious nonsense you want to, but leave the rest of us out of this. You don't want anybody else being able to force their religious tenets on you, but you seem to think that it's perfectly OK to force them on someone else. Hypocrisy, much?

"This is what we Republicans believe in. We are willing to compromise with the Liberals on some issues, but we will stand our ground firm on this issue. "

Many Republicans don't believe as you do, and you can't even spot THEM. Blinders, much?

Many liberals are just as religious as you are, but they aren't willing to run roughshod over other people's rights. It's a shame that you are.

Anonymous said...

The first Commandment is "I am the Lord, you shall put no other Gods before me.'
At what time in this country's history have we not put the "Almighty Dollar" first? And will Christian Republicans, like you, lead the charge of turning the nation against capitalism?
If not, everything you wrote is nothing but BS.
With love (you know, like Jesus said),

Anonymous said...

And to prove your point, Palin2012 chimes in with his/her mass stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Dear Palin2012said: You state that "The problem is , the liberals have turned America away from the Christain values that built our nation." Would those values be like slavery, raping your slaves and then selling your own offspring into slavery, murdering millions of native Americans and Negros, burning witches at the stake, starting wars based on lies to get other countries resources, giving all of Americas natural resources away to the conservative ruling elite, pushing America into a civil war to continue the practice of owning human beings, wholesale exploitation of the middle class by the rich, would these be the kind of Christain values you are referring to??? You want to blame liberals for the maliase that has taken hold in America, allow me to point out a couple of facts, America has never had a liberal leader or a liberally controled government, America is now and has always been controlled by the conservative ruling power elite and it is conservative leadership, conservative policy, conservative governance and conservative behavior that got us to this point. You state that you want to "return America to the Christain values of our founding fathers" You tout Sarah Palin as a person who has written eloqently about this in her new book. Sarah Palin does not write her own books she has a ghost writer. Reading your comment leads me to understand that you are a prime example of what is wrong with this country. As the conservative ruling power elite are stealing this country blind, people like yourself who fully support them are prattling on about taking this country back to some imaginary fantasy land where this country had Christain values. I find your comment absurdly ignorant and dispicable. Noam Chomsky is one of Earths finest liberal intellects and speaks honestly and eloquently on every issue, you and your road dog Sarah Palin both speak right wing psedo religious jibberish. You and your ilk have had control of this country for to long and when the coming revolution ends, those of you who want to impose your nonexistant Christain values on the rest of us will not be in charge.

Anonymous said...

Palin2012: thank you for demonstrating precisely what Joe refers to as "the unreachables". You cling to your beliefs, which are founded entirely on false information. The U.S. was not founded upon "Christian values", and you can wring your hands and scream and stomp your feet all you want, and it will not make it so. Belief does not equal fact. It is exactly your type of closed-minded intolerance that must not be allowed to fester and grow, if we are to ever get out of this mess.

Terrier said...

Nader was right. Compromise is slow surrender. The choice is clear. Elect Republicans by denying Democrats any votes and let them ruin the country (quickly.) You and I both know that they will. People like Palin2012 will only ever understand a direct object lesson. I will NEVER vote for another Democrat. When Palin2012 is in the streets fighting for rat meat he will find a use for his brain cells (or he will disappear.) My advice for those with 'D's after their names: get another letter and start standing up for the People if you want my vote. I have had enough. Cave living will set us all free.

Jack Jodell said...

Like most of your group, you misinterpret and falsify fact.
Fact 1: The Founding Fathers did NOT establish this country based on "Christian" doctrine. They established this country based on the freedom to practice or NOT practice a religion. What they created was a nation FREE FROM THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATE RELIGION. They did NOT create a country to preach Christianity, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, or any other religion.
Fact 2: Sarah Palin is NOT an "eloquent" writer. Her book was ghostwritten and the exact amount of her direct input into it is unknown by all escept her and the actual author.
Fact 3: There is NOTHING "Christian" about giving huge tax breaks to billionaires while rolling back or even eliminating spending on social programs which help the poor. Jesus many times advised us to care for the sick and poor, not to ridicule or neglect them. Yet ridicule and neglect them is all the Republicans ever do. And, contrary to what some very errant conservative preachers may claim, Jesus NEVER stated the rich should get richer at the expense of those beneath them! Instead, He told us, "It would be far easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." Yet the Republicans constantly press for legislation that helps the rich and no one else.

NEITHER party can claim to be the party of Christian values, and DEFINITELY not today's Republican Party!

Care to join in this discussion, Manifesto Joe?

Anonymous said...

Palin 2012:

Please, stop with the Christian values stuff! Stop with the no prayer, no ten commandments!

There is no place in a valid discussion of our present political and economic situation for religion. Our founding fathers did not intend for us to use religion as a sword or as a pen when determining who governs and to what extent.

And afterall, what good do your isses of "prayer in schools" and the posting of the ten commandments do when the Sermon on the Mount is ignored?

Anonymous said...

Palin 2012:

Please, stop with the Christian values stuff! Stop with the no prayer, no ten commandments!

There is no place in a valid discussion of our present political and economic situation for religion. Our founding fathers did not intend for us to use religion as a sword or as a pen when determining who governs and to what extent.

And afterall, what good do your isses of "prayer in schools" and the posting of the ten commandments do when the Sermon on the Mount is ignored?

Manifesto Joe said...

Wow. I seem to have struck a nerve.

I have a lot of respect for Professor Chomsky, but I've repeatedly gotten the impression that he's a bit insulated from middle America. I see all kinds of bumper stickers, all over the place, expressing hard-core right-wing views, and very few expressions of different sentiments. It's no secret out here why Republicans have won so many elections for the past 30 years.

I'd love to see an EFFECTIVE left emerge in this country -- it's something we've lacked since the late 1970s -- but it looks as though conditions will have to get a lot worse for that to take place. What we seem to be heading for is something almost like what was envisioned in the movie "Blade Runner." A lot of high-tech, but only a rich elite can afford it. Everybody else has been so beaten down and impoverished that there's nowhere left to go but up. It looks like it's going to have to get that bad before a broader section of Americans will understand what this is all about.

I've often had to hold my nose to vote for Democrats, but I perceive them as usually better than the alternative. I confess that I voted for Nader in 2000. In Texas, that wasn't a hard vote to cast, because everybody knew there was no way that Al Gore would carry our state. There are just too many people here like Palin2012, and it's been that way for a very long time.

What Nader ended up doing was siphoning votes away from Gore in a battleground state like Florida, and thus fixing it so that Il Doofus & Co. could steal it. The serious decline of the American empire began under Bush 43. I understand well that some folks think that the only way this right-wing trend is going to end will be with the implosion of U.S.A. Inc. Problem is, I'm worried about how I'm going to eat and afford meds and housing if or when that happens.

It's generally true that before a signal light or a stop sign will be put somewhere, there has to be a bad wreck there first. I don't think it's unreasonable to do one's best to point out the fact that a bad wreck is imminent, so as to avert the consequential suffering. I fear, Terrier, that you may be absolutely right, that it's going to take catastrophe for anything to truly change. But I don't want my wife and I to have to eat cat food, and I hope this path can be changed before it comes to that.

In the meantime, I am nonplussed to read that a dissident of Professor Chomsky's stature is suggesting that there is perhaps some way to reason with unreasonable people. A better strategy seems to be the one Harry Reid followed in his campaign for re-election. Hit the mothers with everything but the kitchen sink. Be prepared for the fight to go long, and to win ugly. And once back in, well, just do what can be done.

Manifesto Joe said...

Another comment in reply:

Hi, Sean Gorman. I definitely understand where you're coming from, but was a bit nonplussed about the comment about the rich elite buying my silence.

I am sole proprietor of a leftish blog here, and have posted 390 times since March 2007. Before that, I posted a fair number of times as a collaborator on a different website.

How does that constitute silence?

Anonymous said...

dear Joe:

My bad. my comment on 'silence' perhaps was injudicious. my point, i think, is that a less bad option i.e. the Dem party, is still a bad option, and simply avoiding the worse option may no longer be a viable, survivable choice for your country or indeed mine - Canada.

Terrier said...

Joe, the real problem is that the rich have bought the Democratic Party also. The only way we'll get an effective Party is to cause one of the two to disappear. I'm serious about this... There is nothing they can do to us that they are not already actively pursuing. Do you want Social Security? Do you want Food and Drug safety? Democrats will give those things away. Do you want a Party that will fight for the Middle Class? Make it clear, even to fools like Palin2012, who actually pulls the levers of power (remove a useless knob from the console (the Democratic Party.)) NEVER vote for a Democrat! If all liberals and progressives did that at the next election (vote 3rd Party or abstain) then how long would the one obviously corrupt Party last before there were real challengers? (The Koch brothers would have to fund Marxists!) The alternative is to continue to pretend that somebody somewhere cares. I can no longer do this!

RanDomino said...

Joe, it's not about the historical conditions. It's about organization. Yes, it's true that a real anti-capitalist movement is very, very weak right now; but that's because people don't know what such a vision means, because we are getting crushed in a propaganda war. There are many more anti-capitalist projects than there are anti-capitalists because people who are doing selfless, community-serving things often don't realize that what they're doing can be both political and a real alternative way of doing things.

You seemed to blame individuals for being too stupid, or too selfish, or too etc; but the problem with that thinking is that people do not change. What changes are the conditions (which are, again, the result of organization, and not the other way around).

The Democrats talk a good fight, and sometimes they throw down some scraps, but in the long run and overall they are only slightly different from Republicans.

Everyone has to make their own choices, and if you think you might be at risk you have to do what's best... Sometimes, it makes sense to vote for one bastard instead of another; but that doesn't mean we have to believe in that system, and it doesn't mean we can't simultaneously build new systems that make theirs irrelevant.

Undustrial said...

Joe, while I see where you're coming from, you have to realise that Chomsky has a perspective that goes well beyond Middle America. And the question he's trying to ask is why America is so much more right wing than just about any other industrial nation you could name? The Democrats may be light-years ahead of the Republicans, but they'd still be on the right wing of even the Canadian parliament, policy wise. As a Canuck, it's always been quite baffling to us as a nation how things like "prayer in schools" could even come up as a serious national debate.

Chomsky has spent a lot of time engaging with activists in regions where people frequently die for their activism (Palestine, Latin America etc). Yet leftist movements still thrive. The same story is true almost everywhere else on earth, rich or poor. So why not in America?

Manifesto Joe said...

I noticed, of course, that some of the commenters are Canadians. This made me remember something. After Il Doofus was "re-elected" in 2004, I told my wife, "I wish we could move to Vancouver. I've read that it's very nice there." After the 2010 midterm elections, I think I'd settle for Winnipeg or Calgary. From what I've read, I'm suspicious that the 2004 election was also stolen -- that time Ohio was the battleground state.

Sadly, American culture has some very deep right-wing roots, and I don't think that will change in my lifetime. I don't think the U.S. has ever had a hardcore progressive in the White House. FDR and Truman came sort of close, but not quite. And I'm suspicious that JFK was getting a little unruly, and that may be why he's now been dead longer than he was alive.

For the foreseeable future, I'd say that choosing between bad and worse is going to be the lot of Americans. My essential point is that I don't think Professor Chomsky quite realizes what conditions are like in a place like Texas, or in many other areas of the U.S.

Terrier said...

You have a choice. Take the Pledge! NEVER vote Democrat again! If we end the fiction of the Two-Party-State the corruption will have nowhere to hide! It will be clear to even the most stupid among us who really controls the country. Vote 3rd Party or abstain. Make a choice to end the charade.

Marc McDonald said...

As bad as things are now, I believe that they can and will be getting worse in the coming years.

I continue to maintain that Progressives are underestimating Palin's prospects in 2012.

I don't claim to be Nostradamus, but I would like to point out that, in Feb. 2006, (over two years before the Sept. 2008 Wall Street meltdown), I wrote the following:

"Decades from now, I would suspect that the main thing historians will recall about the Bush White House is not 9/11, or even the "war on terror," but rather how a corrupt Bush fiddled like Nero while America's financial house burned down."

Yes, Palin is a joke. But frankly, so was Bush. And so was Reagan.

Maybe I'm too pessimistic, but I do believe that tens of millions of American people are stupid enough to elect Palin president.

I personally know a number of them.

And make no mistake, a Palin presidency will make us long for the days of George W. Bush.

Old Scout said...

Rebuttal to palin.2012 -

The tin commands have nothing to do with education. If a family is a part of the community of faith, then the tin commands are a 'family affair'.

Children, I'm told by teachers everywhere, pray before every test, especially if they are part of the community of faith and depend upon faith rather than education to succeed. Ironically, students who studied well don't need to or depend upon prayer, so the issue is truely superfluous.

The founding fathers were christian. They imported slaves with no god and punished them for having no god. Since you don't comprehend the mutual exclusivity of this concept, the fact that the founders used their values as examples, rather than codified them as law escapes you.

The fact that there is no god is what will turn your prediction into gelatinous pudding.

On what will you compromise - exactly? What is your initial position? What is ours? What is an example of an outcome that you consider a fair compromise?

I've contemplated making this rebuttal for a week. My life partner has suggested that your intransigence is hidden by rhetoric and I'll not hear from you.

Undustrial said...

I have a lot of sympathy for the awful electoral system Americans suffer under, but I still don't know that I see the Democrats as a solution. The American "left" is rather right wing, and that really doesn't help matters. It's dominated by Liberals (a group which would be considered "centrist" nearly everywhere else), it loves the government, it's incredibly middle-class (alienating the working class) and terrified to advocate anything remotely radical (witness Obama's health-care flop).

In most nations, being poor or rural does not automatically bring with it the assumption of conservative values. Libertarians are at least as likely to be "leftists", as with most who hold anti-establishment/government views.

America needs another option, that can appeal to people the Democrats don't. In all my experience with Americans, radicalism seems to be at least as popular in America as it is here in Canada - it's just that it doesn't get anywhere near the same kind of exposure.

Cletis said...

Joe, I enjoy your thoughts. Cletis

Metric said...

Nice job, Joe. I agree that Chomsky is a bit "elite" in his views, and that there is a segment of the population so brainwashed as to preclude intelligent discourse. Some of them are my own family.

I do, however, hope that tensions cause the pendulum to ultimately swing to the left, and a true progressive movement like those in our nation's past may again someday flourish.