Let's agree to agree

For Your Consideration

Alan CheahJuly 16, 2013 

Last week's opinion pages and speeches at Freedom Fest were jam-packed with some astonishing statements. J.R. Froelich believes that "the citizens of the United States are currently under much more tyranny and oppression in 2013 than King George could ever fathom in 1776." I suppose comparisons to Hitler and Stalin have lost their kick.

Let's ignore for now that King George's 1775 proclamation for suppressing rebellion and sedition would have long ago silenced Froelich. Strangely, Froelich can speak freely today under such oppression. I do agree, however, that some of our civil liberties have been severely compromised in the name of national security and Obama should be taken to task. I'm sure J.R. had in mind the National Defense Authorization act which allows the president to subject anyone, even citizens, to unlimited detention without due process.

Or the Total Information Awareness act by the Bush administration and continued by Obama under the Prism project.

Steve Hall is "continually amazed" by my use of "obscure and blatantly biased" sources when I referenced the document "Dialogues In Democracy: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in the 21 Century" in my recent column titled, "Freedom on this July 4." It was suggested that if I truly wanted to know what the Founding Fathers meant by "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" I would seek out their writings.

If Mr. Hall had read the document he should have realized two things:

First, the document was a discussion guide based on the writings of the founders: Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, Alexander Hamilton and the like.

Secondly, the source was McNeil/Lehrer — hardly obscure figures. Even if they were, shouldn't the message be judged on merit rather than the celebrity of the messenger? In his early life, Jesus was an obscure figure. Should we have dismissed Jesus' teachings as not credible until he was better known?

At Freedom Fest, Bigelow, Franklin, Siegmund and Sayet plied us with shameless sophistry and sophomoric political analysis. Even some in the supportive audience were dismayed. Evan Sayet, much ballyhooed by the Heritage Foundation, attempted to humiliate liberals as shallow thinkers by quoting Oprah Winfrey as saying fire doesn't melt steel. Of course he omitted mentioning she was referring to fires from burning buildings, not furnaces. If you have to deceive to prove your point, you probably don't have a point.

Round and round we go. As a respite from this rivalry, I propose we try to agree to agree.

Surely, Teapublicans and liberals have something in common. I visited some of the Tea Party tents at Freedom Fast. I was graciously greeted by a woman at the United We Stand booth even after she discovered who I am. At the ACT booth, a gentleman, unknown to me, addressed me by name and civilly handed me anti-Muslim literature. Where we are diametrically opposed on issues, we can agree to disagree, but on issues we agree, we should agree to agree and work with one another.

Take solar electric power. Atlanta Tea Party Patriot leader Debbie Dooley is forcing Georgia Power to provide more choice with solar power. Tea Party benefactors Charles and David Koch are trying to stop her. They don't like it when your self-interest doesn't benefit them. They also don't like the anti-fracking movement.

Tea Party farmers and residents want to stop fracking, a process of oil and gas extraction through fracturing the earth. Fracking pollutes the water and air with deadly toxic chemicals. It induces earthquakes when they drill along hundreds of earthquake faults. It makes your property unlivable and worthless. The consequences affect everyone. Learn more at www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/fracking/fracking-action-center/

Arizona, a Tea Party and Red state, is gravitating to publicly funded elections. Liberals complain about corporations and the wealthy controlling our politicians. Conservatives believe unions exert too much influence. We can stop both. See how the people are not represented. Watch Pricele$$ for free at www.filmsforaction.org/watch/priceless_2012/

During the bank bailouts, the Tea Party and liberals were united against it. Banks got trillions of dollars. They borrow from taxpayers at virtually 0% interest and loan it back to us at 7%. They used bailouts to merge and get bigger. They paid their executives higher salaries and bonuses while shafting their customers. They illegally forced homeowners into foreclosure and want to double student loan interest rates. Why can't students borrow at the same rate as banks – near 0%?

No matter what your persuasion, you can't disagree with this. If you do, I'd like to hear from you. Let's work together.

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