Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Veering left or right and...
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Veering left or right and going nowhere

Stephen Tuttle - May 17th, 2010
Veering left or right and going nowhere
Are you a conservative or liberal? Can you even define the terms?
Modern politics and media seem to require that we all be labeled left
or right. The middle, where moderates used to reside, continues to
shrink, a tiny sliver of common sense between warring extremes.
Dictionaries define conservatives as those who favor the status quo
and liberals as those who favor change. Things were so much simpler
when those definitions actually meant something.
Political labels are now weapons with adjectives attached.
Conservatives are almost always described as radical right-wing nut
jobs. Liberals are described as ultra liberal radical left-wing
wackos.
In current parlance, conservatives generally describe themselves as
favoring smaller government and lower taxes. They support a strong
military, oppose gay rights, are pro-life. They seem to believe this
should be a Christian nation, think they know what the Founders
intended when they wrote the U.S. Constitution and love the Second
Amendment above all others in the Bill of Rights. They seem to demand
absolute adherence to every detail of their self-defined conservatism
– any variance or independent thought results in the dreaded RINO
(Republican in Name Only) label.
(This requirement of absolute fidelity to ideology has become
downright bizarre. Republicans in Arizona tried to remove the late
Barry Goldwater’s name from their state headquarters building because
he had become too “liberal” in retirement. That would be the same
Barry Goldwater who bravely wore the mantel of conservatism long
before it was fashionable, penned The Conscience of a Conservative,
and stayed true to his personal beliefs until his dying breath. He
ran afoul of modern conservatives when his libertarian streak and
beliefs in personal freedom became too darned independent.)
Of course, there are no modern liberals since the label long ago made
its wearer a political pariah. There are now moderates and
progressives, instead.
They are a little bit more difficult to pigeon-hole since they do not
function as a monolithic bloc. In fact, they aren’t especially even
well organized. They believe the government should be a tool for
social justice, don’t shy away from the notion of redistributing
wealth through taxation, support the military because they have to for
their own political survival and are generally more supportive of
individual freedoms. They’re pro-choice, more supportive of gay
rights, believe the Constitution is open to interpretation and growth
and love the Bill of Rights except for that pesky Second Amendment.
Moderates are a bit more flexible since their positions frequently
change, a necessity if they want to maintain their voting coalition.
By and large, this labeling is all bullshit, including that which I’ve
just done. Very few of us toe the philosophical line of either
conservatism or liberalism. We are typically shoved into one camp or
the other, oftentimes against our will, by politicians who find those
labels convenient when trying to push our buttons, and by a media too
dense or lazy to dig deeper than what they see on the surface.
The result is a political estrangement that makes it virtually
impossible to even seriously debate, much less solve, any of the
serious issues we now face. Low turnout primary elections have become
safe havens for the most extreme of each party. So we end up electing
folks who are determined to solidify their own political base by
yammering incessantly about the 20% of the issues on which we don’t
agree while ignoring the 80% that represent common ground.
Even the most liberal politician surely must see that trillion dollar
annual deficits (for those of you who enjoy actual numbers, that would
be $1,000,000,000,000) are unsustainable and will ultimately lead to
the ruination of our country. And even the most conservative
politician surely must see that ignoring those among us who, through
no fault of their own, are destitute and hungry, is equally
reprehensible and diminishes us as a country and as a people.
We are struggling with monumental budget issues, the potential
collapse of both Medicare and Social Security, a flawed energy policy,
a very real global terrorism threat, spending priorities wildly out of
whack, a crumbling national infrastructure, children going to bed
hungry every night, a national public education system that seems to
fall further behind our international competitors every year and a
group of politicians, on both sides, who seem completely oblivious to
reality while squabbling about minutiae in an effort to garner another
handful of votes.
Even worse, we allow them to get away with it. We’ve apparently
decided it’s easier to bark at those with whom we don’t agree, and
to call them names, than it is to demand our elected officials work
together to find actual solutions.
It’s comforting to slap a derogatory label on a political opponent.
It absolves us of the responsibility of actually paying attention or
even considering any position other than whatever whim drifts into our
heads. The more we do it the less we accomplish. We would be much
better served if the next time our knee jerked reflexively we spent
some time in front of a mirror. The real problems we now confront,
and the solutions we need, are in that angry face staring back at us.

Stephen Tuttle is a political consultant who formerly wrote for the
Arizona Republic.

 
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