Sep 282011
 
Michael C. McGreevy pictured at the New World Brewery

Photo by David M. Jenkins

I decided to peruse through my Drafts folder this morning and I stumbled across a post I began writing over a year ago and never finished. I don’t know if I’d say it was my best work, but I don’t think it sucks so I’ve cleaned it up a bit, tacked on an ending, and am setting it free to roam the wild internets as an independent post free from the safe confines of the Draft folder. I hope you enjoy.

One of my Uncles sent me an email with a link to this article (note – I’ve updated the link to point to a blog post that has the full text of the article. The original piece, along with the blog associated with it, appears to have been pulled down by the owner) earlier today. It was written by a sixty-three year old retired Marine and former state senator from Massachusetts.

When I get these kind of things I tend to ignore them. I know I’m not going to convince the more Conservative members of my family to see my point of view, so I generally don’t even bother trying. That said, it’s hard for me not to read something like this and not have the desire to respond, so I figured the best place for me to do so was here.

With all of that out of the way, this is likely to be a rather political post. If you’re not in the mood to read that kind of thing I suggest you ignore the cut tag below.

Senator Hall,

I have just turned 38 years old. With the exception of two very brief periods of unemployment I have been working, and occasionally going to school, since I was 18. It took me almost 15 years to get an Associates Degree, as I have spent a great deal of that time as a single father. You may not consider what I do to be “hard,” and I very rarely put in 50 hour weeks. I will also admit to occasionally taking a sick day. But I have over the last 20 years clawed my way up through the ranks to firmly land myself in the middle class. Given the state of the economy and the stability of the social security and Medicaid systems I am not likely to retire either, and if I do it is very likely that I will only be able to do so if I save the money to do so myself.

I am tired as well.

I am tired of hearing that the housing crisis we face as a company is the fault of the government and the people who dared to take out loans that they couldn’t possibly afford to repay. I got one of those loans when I bought my home, sir, but I was one of the few people who took the time to sit down and read through the stacks and stacks of paperwork that came with it in the months after my closing. I knew that it was vitally important that I refinance my house as quickly as I could and I did so, but I will never forget the day we closed and the look on my then wife’s face as we signed all of the paperwork. “I don’t know what any of this means,” she said to me. I didn’t either, but our mortgage broker assured us it was all going to be fine. If I had taken her at her word I would probably have had my house foreclosed upon years ago. I do not hold the government blameless in this equation, but I have also not forgotten the fact that it was the Bush Administration that came up with the Troubled Assets Reallocation Program. I’m tired of watching the facts twisted to make this out to be a problem caused by liberals.

I am tired of being told that because I identify as a liberal I want to “spread the wealth around.” I am tired of being made out to be an enemy of profit and wealth. I like money, Senator Hall. I like money very, very much. I want to make as much of it was I can in my lifetime. That being said, I have had to take advantage of social programs on a few occasions in my life and I am thankful they were there when I needed them.

I am tired of being told that if I do not agree with some of the things that happen in my country that I am un-American. I love this country. I love the freedom that we have here. I love our bizarre mix of cultures and traditions. I love our food. I love our music. I love the fact that I can travel thousands of miles and never once have to leave my homeland. I love the fact that every few years I have the honor of casting a vote to help steer the direction of my country, even as I worry that our election process is careening rapidly toward the point when our politicians are literally going to be bought and sold by the highest bidder. I am tired of jingoistic attitudes that refuse to see that maybe, just maybe, some other places in the world are doing something right…something different than we are…and that we might just be able to learn from them.

I am tired of religion. All of it. I am tired of people like you who lump all Muslims together under one violent, jihadist blanket. I am tired of Christians in this country who want to inflict their moral beliefs on to me. I am tired of people giving credit to some invisible being in the sky when things go right, and placing the blame on some silly git with a pitchfork when things go wrong.

I am tired of white people who blame affirmative action for the fact that they can’t get ahead in life. If you’re white, you’re ahead. That was true when affirmative action was first introduced, and it is true now. Above and beyond that, I’ve been white for a very long time. My entire life, as a matter of fact. I happen to know a lot of white people, too. I have not once been turned down for a job, or a loan, or anything else that I’m aware of simply because of the fact that a minority had to be given that position to fill some kind of quota. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen, but it is not nearly the epidemic that people like you make it out to be.

I am tired of the lie that is “the liberal media,” and I am also tired of being told that Fox news is fair and balanced. Corporate news is a profit making machine, and if they have any particular bias toward one political party or the other it is simply because they believe that bias will increase their profits.

People aren’t canceling subscriptions or turning off corporate news because they are tired of liberal bias, Senator. They are canceling subscriptions and turning off corporate news because they are choosing when and where they want to receive their news through the internet. You might want to get with the times.

I am tired of seeing dangerous, addictive drugs like nicotine and alcohol continue to be distributed freely on the market while other, arguably safer drugs like marijuana continue to put thousands of people behind bars every year.

I am also tired of the situation with illegal immigration, but I believe that most of the people who come here fall into the category of citizens who you feel should be fast tracked. In that same paragraph you go back to attacking Islam, and you make the ludicrous claim that Muslims want to force their religion on you but that Catholics do not wish to do the same. I am tired of that kind of hypocrisy.

I am tired of people who assume that anyone who serves in the military is automatically a conservative. I happen to personally know several active duty military personnel who would disagree with you. For that matter, I am tired of the fact that a great number of men and women who are ready, willing and able to fight and die for their country are told they are not allowed to do so simply because of the fact that they don’t have the same sexual orientation as “normal” people do. Chances are those individuals are likely to be liberal as well, but I’m sure there are a few folks who live in a log cabin that would disagree with me. (Obviously, this was written before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.)

I agree with you for the most part on your next two paragraphs. I am also tired of political parties that claim they have all the answers and of athletes and celebrities who set bad examples for the rest of us. Unfortunately, when I read your comments about “liberals” I cannot help but think your words lack a bit of sincerity. Not only that, but the only people we have to blame for the fact that we have the celebrities we do is ourselves. We made them who they are.

I also agree that, in comparison to other cultures, the majority of people who are considered poor in our country have got it made. This changes nothing. The wealth gap that exists in our country continues to grow. The poor are getting poorer, the middle class is shrinking, and the wealthy are now becoming the super wealthy. The “poverty pimps” you mention that keep changing the definition of poor are just as bad as the wealth whoremongers who have moved the bar on being rich. The very nature of words like rich and poor are subjective, and to imply that because the standard of living for someone who is “poor” is better or worse than at any point in history or in comparison to any other country is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as implying that raising the taxes of billionaires is somehow going to make them decide to stop making money. If you have to make the choice between paying your bills and putting food on the table you are poor. Period. End of story. We could certainly do a better job of helping people in this country manage their money better, but most of the “elaborate purchases” that the poor make that drive people like you insane are the product of short term financial windfalls that are unwisely spent. I’m not excusing those purchases, but when you struggle to make ends meet from week-to-week is it really any wonder why you go out and buy a new big-screen TV when you get your tax return or run up all kinds of debt you can’t pay for on a high-interest credit card? You take your moments of joy when you can get them, and for some people the ability to occasionally feel like you have the “right” top spend money is all they have.

I agree, in total, with your paragraph about personal responsibility. However, I’d like to expound upon it if I may? To your list that starts with “government, discrimination, or big-whatever” I would add the following : “other religions (or the complete lack thereof), the media, Hollywood, other countries, video games, bad parenting, welfare recipients, political correctness, and  intellectualism.”

Senator Hall, I’m very sorry that you are worried about the world you are leaving your Granddaughter. I know things seem pretty well boned right now, but I truly believe that’s all a matter of perception. The world is a pretty awesome place, and while I think we’re in a rough spot right now I truly believe that when this period of adjustment is over we’re going to be further along the evolutionary scale. I’m sorry that neither you or I will be around to see that happen, but it’s going to be really awesome. Trust me.

 

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