Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Comment of the Week

Posted in response to Monday's "Burden in Their Hand" piece:

"I'm a Tea Partier (Agnostic) and would like to explain our side of the story to you rather mystified folks.

One common thread seen in liberal blogs is confusion and rage. I felt that way too in my twenties when I had no idea how the world worked and was pissed I wasn't being handed out free money.

And in this liberal blog like all the rest we see that same rage reflected, and understandably.

Since few of the commenters here - and certainly not the writer - are interested in free market economics, it follows that you're not interested in what screws up free market economics, are you?

Instead you rail against those of us who pay your bills under that system, and that we're not paying you enough.

We on the right were all just like you once, and are happy to pay your bills only to the point that you learn how to do it yourself.

You can even call us greedy when we keep a little of our earnings for ourselves."

-- Todd Dunning

It might be a good idea, Todd, that before you begin criticizing the supposed rage-filled rants of others you do your homework and not make your own blanket assumptions about the people your diatribes are aimed at. I can't speak for everyone on this particular thread -- although I do know the backgrounds of one or two people here -- but I haven't been some doe-eyed kid in almost two decades, at least. I'll be 42 in December and trust me when I tell you I have a damn good idea how the world works. I've earned a very nice living throughout my life and continue to do better than a lot of people. You're not providing the financial charity without which I and at least a good portion of the readers here wouldn't be able to speak our minds. So please spare me the tired maxim that if you're a conservative at 20 you have no heart and if you're a liberal at 40 you have no brain. I guarantee you you're not the one and only "adult" in the room, as you seem to condescendingly believe you are. Thanks for being the very sort of cliché you conveniently decry, though.

What we're witnessing right now in conservative politics goes far beyond a few people wanting to keep the money they've earned while everyone else apparently expects some kind of handout. You can believe that all you'd like, but much like your initial assumption about those who disagree with you, you'll be comically wrong. The current model of Republicanism -- and I generally try to qualify that statement simply because while the GOP has always protected the very wealthy to some extent, even at the expense of the less-fortunate, this level of naked class warfare is something new altogether -- seems to be about protecting a very small portion of the population at all costs, even at the expense of the vast swath of those who aren't just getting "handouts" but who are earning and yet still struggle. The American dream we all learned about in school was never that you sit around waiting for somebody to throw money at you; it was simply that if you work hard, even at a middle-class brand of job, you can provide for you and your family and can live a decent life. The ability to do that has now been chipped away through years of corporate deregulatory largesse and the coddling of those who basically gamble people's money away and make billions even when those people -- and the people gambling, by the way, thanks to hedge fund types -- lose and lose very big. Being rich didn't used to be a zero-sum game -- and I know many conservatives love to claim it isn't at all -- but these days there are those who actually make money when others go down hard and when Wall Street fails big, the rest of us have to bail it out anyway. Which means that, yes, it kind does feel like a zero-sum situation right now.

Beyond that, what the GOP is now trying to do is dismantle any form of social program that actually helps people and, if possible, hand it over to the generally soulless free market barons who've already proven that they'll tear through the American working and middle class, grab a cocktail at lunch and occasionally be in the Hamptons by dinner. Believe it or not, that's not all that much of an exaggeration and if you really believe it's some kind of liberal fantasy ripe for easy dismissal by you, the hypocritical nonsense that is the Tea Party, whomever, then there's probably not much I can say to convince you otherwise regardless. You're just too set in your ways -- having been on this earth for as long as you have, oh great grown-up -- and I'm wasting my time.

Everything I wrote in the piece you've chosen to comment on is true. I didn't make up the fact that the House Republicans who would rather slice off their own arms than submit to new taxes on the wealthy or well-off are now fighting to stop the extension of a payroll tax break for largely working class people. I couldn't invent that kind of shamelessness, even in my most imaginative delusion.

Incidentally, while I certainly appreciate your comment, next time you might want to make an actual argument as opposed to just being a patronizing jerk who steps in for no other reason than to arrogantly declare that he's smarter than everybody else. Trust me on this -- you're not.


cgwalt said...

Todd needs another copy of Atlas Shrugged after your spanking.

Janiece said...


Chez, while I enjoyed your response, do you really think you'll make a difference, here? Statistically, it's very probable I make more money than your commenter and I believe I should be paying more taxes. I can almost guarantee you I'm better informed that your commenter, and I don't think I'm an outlier in my opinions or thoughts about taxes, the Tea Party, or the current polarized environment.

And yet, my presence in the public discourse will be discounted, because I don't bolster the Tea Party's thoughts on who tax and spend liberals are.

He's an uninformed tool, and nothing you say is going to change his mind.

Chez said...

No, Janiece -- I know it won't do any good for reasons I've gone into several times before. The two sides are not only polarized these days, but there are so many media outlets now that there's always one guaranteed to tell you only what you want to hear, regardless of your viewpoint. The political media has become like porn: whatever your particular fetish, there's something to satisfy you. The problem with this is that people meet to discuss politics and each person comes equipped not only with his or her opinion but his or her supposed "facts" -- and that means no one budges on anything. There is no common ground anymore.

chris said...


Even though your response to Todd probably won't change the world, or his world, it was still well done!

As always, thanks for the excellent writing!

paleotectonics said...

Old Man Pazienza,(heeheehee)

As often as I want to hoot and holler at you (I is one o' them libsocialists), it is just as frequent an occurrence that I want to have your children (required RAS and medical advancements notwithstanding).

And, as always, christ you can write.

Thanks, dude!

Hope said...

Ugh. As a liberal twenty-two year old in the Bible belt (who, by the way, works two jobs and is going to welding school to try to support her family full of Tea Party supporters who were too busy focusing on their hatred for Obama and their defense of rich people to actually, you know, go to work), I get this kind of crap all the time. Thanks for saying what I say in response, even though it still gets discounted because of my age.

Maybe I'll just make up business cards and put this link on them.

VOTAR said...

That was disappointing. He promised to "explain [their] side of the story." But it was just copy-and-paste spam email talking points. I was looking forward to an actual explanation, particularly as it relates to this curious dichotomy:

I don't know how a professed agnostic can maintain a sense of self respect while enabling an ideology so corrupted by willful ignorance, dogma, bigotry, superstition, and intolerance.

Janiece said...

Thanks, Chez. I'm off to go open a vein the bathtub, now.

IrishGirl said...

Arrogant doesn't even begin to describe this guy! I'm like my 40's, have been working since I was 14, have never had a damn thing handed to me by anyone and I make a good living now. As I've gotten older I've actually become more liberal. And I know a lot of people online who are just like me (not too many around me since I live in Crazytown Arizona). Thank goodness for sites like yours otherwise I'd be opening a vein myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently a college student and a military vet. I work in an organization that helps new veterans on campus adjust to college and civilian life. I cannot state clearly enough just how difficult the transition can be for men and women leaving the military to just figure out what programs and assistance is available to them. The process is convoluted and even the people that should know the process, like the school's GI Bill coordinator, don't do a decent job helping.

The military does a great job at institutionalizing the individual. It is also incredibly low tech. For someone that barely used a computer for their entire enlistment, coming up to speed to a technical degree can be extremely difficult.

So about once every two months, we would organize an informal pizza party on campus. Basically its to get the vets together to help each other out. Often times, we don't even discuss school issues, we just connect and let off steam. I can tell you that in one case, an individual who was REALLY struggling opened up and we got him the help that may have saved his life.

Every once in a while a group will end up swamping one of our meetings. Generally its once and they they don't bother us. For example the Gay Rights group wanted to make a scene until I and another individual pointed out that they were protesting the wrong people since the rank and file have no say on the policy and pretty much the majority of us thought DADT was retarded. Usually they end up feeling like assholes and apologizing and never bothering us again.

Except for the fucking college republicans. These little pricks, none of which would ever think to serve their country, show up like cockroaches pretty much every meeting. We can't even receive support funds from the school anymore because the student in charge of the campus republicans filed a complaint with the campus forcing us to either not get money or allow the campus republicans to join our organization under equal opportunity and take over our group.

Now we have basically given up on ever meeting on campus, which kills us getting new vets to show up because its not really convenient and every time we try to advertise, these little shits try to latch onto us. We still get one or two of them showing up at an offsite location trying to get us involved in their stupid crap. Somehow, because we were in the military, we are supposed to aligned with a party that wants to gut our benefits to the VA and the likes.

I don't understand politics in general. It seems to me set up to get people to just shut off their brain and act irrational. Don't get me wrong, I recognize that these kids do not represent Republicans of any age as a whole. And I honestly see the same behavior from the left groups on campus too (especially the annoying Vegan assholes). I'm consistently amazed that people cannot seem able to examine their behavior as seen by others. Sorry for the long rant...

Michael said...

Thanks for trying Chez. I'm a regular reader for several years, but rarely comment. But just to add to the concensus.. I'm 55, also been working since the age of 14 and If anything, I've become more liberal as I age. I never had anything given to me, unless you count the GI Bill for college which in my mind I earned. I make good money and would gladly pay more taxes. Its a shame some minds cannot be open enough to ever be changed.

ntx said...

Interesting post, Anonymous. I don't doubt it so a second. I can tell you that as an Army brat growing up in the '70s and '80s (and later as an employee of military contractors), misguided assumptions have always abounded about the politics of veterans and military families. Generally, I'd say it splits almost exactly like it does in the general population.

Keep up the good work.

Steven D Skelton said...

A little advise from me to Todd....

I can't think of a worse technique for changing people's minds than being an arrogant and condescending prick.

Anonymous said...

The second America forgot "less government" doesn't mean "fuck necessary regulation", we started our own personal brand of a Lord of the Flies decimation of each other that will continue until we devour each other whole, fat ass and all.

The new American dream as envisioned by those who care little for the welfare of all has become the consuming of everything in your path with no regard for the harm dealt around you. All that matters is that you can step on the neck of whomever you please, if you choose to, in order to squeeze more out of their soul until they break.

In my eyes, if all parties and lobbyists were to disappear tomorrow, what would then result would be such a breath of fresh air it might completely knock America on its collective ass with the astounding realization of the wool that's been pulled over their eyes, and the possibilities we have as a national community if we worked together instead of spitting at each other as so many do today.

I have no respect for any party, because the only party that sticks by its guns is the Republican party, and their guns are unwittingly pointed at themselves, and everyone else is screaming, "Stop! Stop! Pull the trigger and you kill us all!" but we stand and do nothing, our screams dying with the echo of futility, and as we stand separately and alone, we are pulled off the cliff by our fellow, unwitting conservative brethren, believing with their misguided idealism that they are not sending us to our doom, puppets for those who control the strings and teach the ritualistic dogma that is par for the course now.

I can only imagine the hardships to come, because liberals won't stand together on what's important and cede ground when they shouldn't, and conservatives stand firmly on a foundation of "me first, society later". Unfortunately, society cannot wait, as it is beginning to crumble now.

L. said...

Holy shit! Todd's been paying my bills?

I need to contact the mortgage company, the company who handles my car loan, all of my utilities and every government agency to whom I have paid various taxes because I've been paying them with money I earned at my job for the past 6 years and all while in my 20s, no less. It seems like they shouldn't have been taking money from the both of us.

Oh wait, he couldn't possibly have confused people who understand a societal need for tax funding (for things like education, road repairs, bridge inspections, starving kids, etc.) with people who want and accept handouts just because they're available, could he?

He also couldn't have confused him paying his taxes with him paying my bills, right? Because he's wiser than those of us in our 20s and that would show a distinct lack of understanding in how the world works.

LK3 said...

Chez, whether or not you changed minds - wanted to share how grateful I am that you took the time to write (so well) and clearly how I feel. Like Irish girl you truly help keep me sane and laughing some days (plus listening to good tunes!) And, I, too am 40, working 2 jobs (one I love and 1 to pay the bills!) to live a comfortable life and am grateful to know that if I fell on hard times that there would be people with heart out there fighting for what is just and fair

J. Dack said...

Sorry Todd, I'm 31, been reading this blog for almost four years, and nobody has paid my bills but me for the last ten years.

You don't know this audience at all. Be quiet.

Sheriff Bart said...

If Todd's been paying my bills, he's been doing a really shitty job of it. Thank's for nothing Todd!

Spanky said...

I am 46 years old, a Marine combat veteran and a home builder who last year made well above the national average in income. I am very fortunate.

I have been working my entire life and have never received unemployment even when I could have dipped into it.

I guess I am supposed to be a tea party kind of guy.


I am a flaming liberal who does not feel overtaxed because I have the intellect and the analytical super powers of twenty Tom Friedmans to look at empirical data that plainly tells me I am being taxed at the lowest rate in 50 years.

You paint with to broad a brush and make a number of incorrect assumptions.

My circumstances did not warrant a trip to the unemployment office. Yay for me, however, it is not the same for everyone. I highly doubt that I will need to utilize Medicare when I am old but again, that does not mean that I think the program should be eviscerated. I have no problem with supporting (through my taxes and my company’s UI taxes) those types of programs. The alternative is a world we do not want to live in and yet you ill-informed nutjobs want to take us there.

The vast majority of my liberal friends do quite well and we are not the struggling “give me some of your money” riff raff you seem to believe all liberals are.

Conversely, most of my so called “self-made hardworking” conservative acquaintances are hardly that. They are the ones ranting about birth certificates, the “Mexicans and Russians” who are stealing their jobs and how they are so overtaxed.

John Foley said...

"Dear Chez-
Stop generalizing. It's only OK when I do it.

Todd Dunning"

Anonymous said...

If you're a conservative at 20 you have no heart. If you're a conservative at 40 you have no heart.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll just join in with the "What the fuck have you been smoking, Todd?!"

I'm 52. I've worked all my life, even while I was in college. I've used unemployment *once*, for three months, but soon joined Kelly Services and, as usual, was offered a full-time job with the company I was first assigned to.

My husband and I are in the top 5th percentile in terms of income.

Todd doesn't pay *my* bills, thankyewverramuch.

I'm quite satisfied with the bargain--yes, bargain--we all get via our taxes. I like having highways that are in good repair. I like having people whose job it is to make sure airplanes don't crash into each other taking off and landing. I like having a whole slew of young men and women volunteering to get killed to protect me--and paying them for it. I like having food inspectors. I like having clean air and water (hey, tell me, Todd, do you know what it was like growing up in Chicago in the 60s, when the air was thick enough to cut with a knife, and the summertimes always brought the stench of dead fish mixed with pollutants from the river and the lake?).

Goddamn. He's just clueless.

Steven D Skelton said...

Anon 2:47

Your last paragraph reminds me of something Bob Cesca would write.

You have to go pretty far into nutsville before you find anyone who is against government using their tax dollars to pay for military, infrastructure and reasonable environmental legislation.

Your argument is just a giant mindless strawman.

Your paragraph reminds me of Rush Limbaugh calling liberals "Pro-aborts" or saying environmentalists want you to be homeless to save a species of bug.

Neither is true, but he feels good and smug saying it.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, Steve. I'll concede the infrastructure, air traffic control, and military.

On the other hand, here's Rep. Michele Bachmann on clean air and water: "I guarantee you the EPA will have doors locked and lights turned off, and they will only be about conservation. It will be a new day and a new sheriff in Washington, D.C."

Given that MB is "pretty far into nutsville", she's still in 4th place in the latest GOP survey, and first in the Iowa straw poll.

Then there's Rick Perry, first among GOP contenders in that same poll, who says "EPA regulations are killing jobs all across America."

And, since you didn't like my previous little rant, here are some other things I like in the current taxation and governmental setup that are typical GOP and Tea Party targets: I like that people who are officially under the poverty guidelines can use Head Start, food stamps, free or reduced-price school lunches and children's health insurance. I like that people who are unemployed can get unemployment insurance subsidized by the feds. I like funding NPR and the National Endowment for the Arts. I like that Obama insisted that ObamaCare cover birth control with no co-pays. I like funding Planned Parenthood. I like having ObamaCare (though it didn't go far enough), so that folks who can't afford a good insurance program have something to turn to. I like having student aid.


And I'm paying for those things with my tax dollars, not having hard-working people support me, like Todd claimed.

maxwell said...

just wanted to say i think i love you...!

Tuba Terry said...

For another piece of anecdata: I'm a liberal Marine. I have friends and family who are republicans or self-styled conservatives, as well as friends who are liberal. In my personal experience, the ones getting the most help from others are the conservative ones.

Most of my liberal friends paid their own ways through school, used little to no financial aid, have no help from parents, etc.

On the other hand, my tea partier sister's getting all sorts of financial aid and isn't paying a cent for college. Her equally crazy boyfriend didn't pay a cent for his college and is a 24-year-old homeowner, thanks to his parents co-signing on the house and paying for his college as well. Neither of them are self-aware enough to acknowledge the fact that they're only in a good position because of the help they get from others.