I was recently warned by a co-worker to avoid the Editorial page of Sunday's (Nov. 21, 2004) The Miami Herald. Her first warning was a question: had I read the piece written by Dennis Prager that told American Democrats all the things that were wrong with their party? The next day she brought the topic up again and suggested I steer clear of reading it. By the third day, she had coerced me with the admonition: do not read that article, although if I had thrown my copy out, she could bring me hers. Her reverse psychology worked and just like the proverbial Brer Rabbit, I jumped into my recycle bin briar patch and salvaged my copy. I finally got around to reading Mr. Prager's message. Now I see why I was warned not to read it.
The piece is an open letter addressed to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano who had supposedly asked the question: "How did a party that is filled with people with values and I am a person with values get tagged as the party without values?" Prager leads with the stipulation that he was raised a Democrat but changed his stripes to Republican 10 years ago. This point interests me because I am within one year of Prager's age yet I held onto my non-partisan stance and voted for the person most of my adult life. Out of fairness and thanks largely to the George W (that's W, as in "warlord") Bush big oilmen, I confess to having swung fully into the Democrat's fold.
Prager begins his answer with "Your party does indeed have very many people with values in it. But the Democratic Party is no more representative of the average Democrat’s values than the National Council of Churches is of the average Protestant’s values." The statement is a contradiction: a party loaded with people with specific characteristics or values is representative of its members by definition. Why else would a group of people join forces if not to uphold their common philosophies?
Prager then goes into his over-used generalization mode and starts off with: "Here is the Democratic Party as most Americans, including this John F. Kennedy liberal a New York City born and raised, Jewish, Ivy League-educated intellectual who lives in Los Angeles see it." No, Mr. Prager. This is how you and you alone see it. In fact, your entire article ought to be titled "How Prager Sees It." And your repeated use of "Most Americans" is misleading.
Next, Prager attacks Michael Moore: "To most Americans, Michael Moore is a Marxist who has utter contempt for most of his fellow Americans, who goes abroad and tells huge audiences how stupid and venal his country is, and in his dishonest propaganda film, portrays the American military as callous buffoons." Dishonest propaganda? Can you prove that statement? Can you prove any part of Moore's film is a lie? If you cannot provide irrefutable proof that the film or part of it is a lie, then you have told a lie yourself. Lying, by the way, seems to be a common characteristic of the Bush lovers. Furthermore, unless the Unpatriotic Act has repealed it, the right to free speech is still available to most Americans.
You then moved on to slash and burn two more Americans: "To most Americans, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are race-baiting demagogues. Yet they are heroes to the Democratic Party. Most Americans do not see their country as the bigoted and racist nation regularly depicted by both black and white Democratic leaders." Consider this: perhaps most Americans can see the admirable qualities in both of these men, tunnel-visioned labels notwithstanding.
Then you seem to have bumped into a wall as you made your rightist turn decrying the clothing choices of men and women: "To most Americans, a man who wears women's clothing to work is a pathetic person in need of psychotherapy. To the Democratic Party, he is a man whose cross-dressing is merely another expression of multiculturalism. The California legislature, which is entirely controlled by Democrats, passed a law prohibiting any employer from firing a man who shows up to work wearing women’s clothing." I doubt there is a less important issue you could have chosen to bring out. Do you assume one's attire defines the person? In a time when Americans are murdering Iraqis under the orders of their commander-in-chief, cross-dressing does not amount to a hill of beans!
I enjoyed your point regarding obscenity: "To most Americans, obscenity-filled evenings should be restricted to R-rated films or a Las Vegas comedy act, not a major party’s fund raiser attended by its candidates for president of the United States. To Democrats, those who object to such evenings are regarded as judgmental, hypocritical and narrow minded." I recall the days preceding the Bush v. Gore election when right-wingers such as you exclaimed they were tired of having to explain the evening news to their children regarding the cigar jokes and the blue dress incident. Yes, the blue dress is gone but the obscenity I see on the news now is George Bush's war news. Human bodies blown to pieces, prisoners forced to perform ridiculously humiliating sex acts, and war carnage now occupy the dinner hour.
Then you turned your angst toward Hollywood: "To most Americans, Hollywood stars are regarded as terrific to watch in films but also as narcissistic ingrates when, between private jet trips to Cuba and Cannes, they express their contempt for traditional America. That the Democrats have a veritable monopoly on support from folks like Sean Penn and Robert “Castro-is-a-great-leader” Redford may give Democrats a heady feeling, but for tens of millions of Americans it merely reinforces their belief that the Democratic Party shares Hollywood’s values." Here's the truth on the Hollywood issue: Most Americans, including Democrats understand the Hollywood stars are actors, i.e., people who act for a living. Nothing more.
Your attack on what you think is the Democrats' view of the military is juxtaposed: "To most Americans, the American military is not only heroic; it is regarded as more important to safeguarding freedom than any other human institution, including the ACLU, the United Nations or the university, to cite three major Democratic Party affiliates. To virtually the entire Left, which includes the Democratic Party, the military is, at best, a necessary evil." As a war veteran myself, let me make that statement make sense: The military is a necessary evil. It is regarded by all Americans as more important to safeguarding freedom than any other institution.
You conclude your barrage on the military topic claiming the Democratic doctrine is "Make love, not war" Well you may be onto something here. Those exact words could have easily been taken out of context from that liberal fellow we read about in that special history book. Um, let's see if I can recall his name. Why yes, the liberal who promoted love over violence I'm thinking of was Jesus Christ. Jesus, based on his liberal actions and teachings, was in all likelihood a registered Democrat, Himself.
Then you played the hot topic, gay card: "To most Americans, gays are fellow Americans who happen to be homosexual and who should be accorded the same respect any fellow American is accorded. But most Americans also believe that America should retain the millennia-old definition of marriage as man-woman. They regard liberal judges who take it upon themselves to redefine marriage with contempt. And these judges are identified with the Democrats." First, let me transfix your assault into a true statement: To most Democrats, gays are people who happen to be homosexual and who should be accorded the same respect that any fellow American is accorded. Then I want to fix the portion reading, "…these judges are identified with the Democrats" by adding "by you" at the end. Out of curiosity, I wonder if you believe there are no gay Republicans?
Now to your abortion statement: "Whatever their views on abortion and abortion rights, the vast majority of Americans view the abortion of a viable fetus/baby (partial-birth abortion) as immoral. The Democratic candidate and his fellow Democrats repeatedly voted against a ban on this practice." It's that word "immoral" that jumps out to me. Do you think Bush's murdering of over 100,000 innocent Iraqis is moral? Or is murdering a live adult more moral than performing an abortion?
Now for your big conclusion: "I hope that this short list answers your question about how it is that your party has gotten tagged as “the party without values.” Indeed, the real question, as this observer sees it, is how has this party retained so many people who have traditional American values?" Regarding the people with the traditional values you describe: would you suggest those Democrats with traditional values jump ship and join the Republican traditionalists? The same neoconservative "traditionalists" who now think they have a cart blanc mandate permitting the use of bogus intelligence to invade and conquer every oil-producing country on the planet?
Your message leaves one with the impression you are positive you have your finger on the pulse of America's conscience. I suggest you are taking the pulse of one narrow-minded, self-righteous man's own jugular!
December 2, 2004