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    « A Response to All Regarding “A Letter to Liberals” | Main | Our Funding Fathers »

    A Letter to Liberals...



    I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself.  I live just outside of Pittsburgh, in a single-family home along with my wife and two children, both girls. My daughters’ names are Katie, she’s nine years old, and Chrissy, who’s twelve (though Chrissy, now a tweenager, is starting to prefer Christine, or just Chris, because she says that “Chrissy” makes it sound like she’s still a toddler.)

    Our house is simple, a bungalow with three bedrooms and one-and-a-half bathrooms--and a mortgage that can make things a little tight for us now and then. There’s an eat-in kitchen, a nice living room (and, yes, I splurged on a wide screen HDTV that hangs on the wall over the fireplace). Built in the ‘20s, the place needs a bit of work now and then, but nothing I can’t handle, though I imagine in a couple of years I’ll need to spring for a new roof.

    Do you hate me? At all?

    I work in Human Resources for a company that makes corrugated cardboard boxes. We have about ninety employees and we pay a decent wage and have been able to avoid unionizing. A family-owned company, we’ve managed to instill that family feeling across the board, and our owner, the grandson of the founder, feels that if you just treat people fairly, you don’t need to deal with what he calls “that union stuff.”  I mostly agree with him. I know unions are good for worker safety and things like that, but mostly I think they aren’t needed as much these days, and just kind of get in the way of things.  My wife doesn’t work, but she knows she can if she wants to, especially now that the kids are a little older.

    Do you hate me? Even a little bit?

    As a family we’re somewhat religious. My wife was raised Presbyterian; I was raised in a Charismatic church, which I left as a teenager (over my parents’ very strong objections). I find the Presbyterian church comfortable, and the four of us go most Sundays. The church tends to the conservative, with conventional sermons on morality and ethics. The sermons aren’t usually about really sensitive issues like, say abortion, but it’s generally accepted that the church is against it, even though, well, like everything, there probably should be some exceptions. And with gay marriage, well, we’re not sure. It somehow feels wrong, but then I’m sure God loves them, too. It’s a good church with a good pastor. We like it.

    Do you hate me? Perhaps silently?

    We’re a Republican family, and both my wife and I have voted Republican for as long as I can remember (including both times for George W. Bush). Though we both think the Republican Party should do more to reach out to poor people and minorities like it did way back when, we’re also strong believers in people picking themselves up by their own bootstraps and not counting on government to support them all the time. Plus, I do feel the bite of those taxes every other week when I get my paycheck, and it hurts. Taxes should be lower.  I’m also not happy with being forced to buy insurance if I don’t want it or think I need it, and I don’t like the fact that people don’t seem to respect the Constitution much anymore, like how they want to take away guns from honest, law-following people.

    I’m also not real sure if I like the idea that people who have come here illegally should get to stay. I know there’s no simple answer, but it just doesn’t feel right to me.

    How about now? Am I a Rethuglican to you? Or a Teahadist? Or a Teabagger? Am I someone you feel pity for? Someone you wish didn’t exist?

    Actually, I don’t think about politics all that much, and when I think about myself and my wife and my family, it’s not “We’re Republicans,” or “We’re Conservatives.”  Mostly I think about how we’re a family, and about how I want my girls to get good grades so they can get ahead, and how I want them to respect others and God. I think about doing a good job and loving my wife and kids, and I think about my friends and whether Tom and Jack will ever agree on who makes the best barbecued ribs. Oh, and I think about the Steelers and the Penguins, but not so much about the Pirates. I’m a husband and a father and a sports fan and a hard worker and a good friend. And sometimes, when someone wants to talk about politics, or when an election comes around, I’m a Republican.

    I’m really not that different from you, am I?

    So why do you hate me?

    [Note to my readers: the above "biography" is fictional, and is not my personal story. I chose this mode to personalize my point for each of us. To paraphrase Suze Orman: People First, then Politics, then Things....]


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    Reader Comments (170)

    No, I don't hate you at all, I just disagree with you.

    Number one, who is trying to take away guns from law abiding citizens? Please explain.

    While you have every right to oppose abortion, and counsel your family against having one, you have no right, none at all to prevent any other person from having one. The same goes for "gay marriage" while it may not feel right to you, what right do you have to prevent two people who love each other from getting married? You are free to worship in anyway you see fit, but you are not free to impose your religious beliefs on anyone else.

    You say you've always voted Republican, which is your choice, but are you telling me there has never been even one Democrat or Independent who you felt was better qualified for a particular position?

    So, no I don't hate you I just wish you were more open minded, and a bit fairer.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJack

    No. I don't hate you. And I would venture a guess that 99% of those who call themselves "liberal" don't hate you either. The problem is, honestly, the liberal vs conservative debate in itself. The lines aren't so clear cut as you would seem to like them to be. I likely agree with you on taxes and smaller government, but disagree with you on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. So do you hate me? Do liberals hate me? It isn't so easy when you take off the liberal/conservative glasses and actually look at people as just that - people. Not labels. People.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina

    What Jack said!

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

    I don't hate you. I strongly disagree with a number of the opinions you express here, and think you're pretty horribly misinformed about several of them (guns and the health mandate coming to mind) - but disagreement is not hatred. When you see all the hatred in politics and on the internet it's almost always started by conservative Republicans - not your average, run-of-the-mill conservatives, but these groups of people that seem to just thrive off of reviling their opposition and forming hatred. There's a reason the Republican Party is divided today - it's because people like you are becoming a smaller part of it. You're not accusing the President of being "un-American," or a Socialist, or a Muslim (as though that's some criminal thing to be). You're not holding the sign I saw at a Tea Party rally exclaiming "We must take back this country, by ballot or by bullet." You're not the Republicans, the Tea Partiers mainly, who have decided they can get ahead by spreading fear and hate - and that's why I don't hate you.

    Liberals don't hate conservatives, we just hate the conservatives that hate us.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

    I also do not hate you but I don't hold your views. You and your wife sound like sheep led blindly by the republican party if you vote blindly all the time. But that's your journey. If you love Christ and don't only go to church cause it's comfortable, I think you'd rethink your illegal aliens comment. This land was where they were before you guys got here. Maybe you should do the right thing and go back to what was yours before you stole this land from the indigenous peoples right after your kind killed a few million of them. Anyway, as for those getting welfare, probably you should be glad you're not in their shoes. If one of their checks last one week, then I am surprised.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Hopper

    I don't hate you. I disagree with you. And I wish that you had bothered to get your facts straight instead of passing along tired myths. There is no plan to "take guns away" from people who already have them, for one. If you'd manage to get that one little thing right, I might even begin to respect you.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKele

    I have to agree whole heartedly with the first comment. But would add that while I do not hate you one bit I do hate the way you twist issues such as calling background checks an attempt to take away guns from law abiding citizens when in opposite it is just trying to keep them from those who break the laws. This kind of twisting of facts seems, to me, as typical republican operating procedure.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterleo

    I don't hate you at all. You seem to be thoughtful. I think it's the extremests from each party that "hate" the extremests from each party.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

    Sam's articulated my point of view as well. Frankly, the only group I wish would go away is the extremists (all stripes, really). It's really simple: tell me that I'm a traitor to my country for having an opposing view will only tell me that 1) you may be dangerous, and 2) you have no idea about what an open society is. We all live together and work together or we're in deep trouble.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArgyle

    This "biography" is fictional just like Fox News.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMormo ZIne

    I don't understand why you expect people to hate you or consider you a "rethuglican". The ones deserving of that term are the ones that try to remove women's rights, limit voting rights, and spend their time lying about President Obama because they think it will drive him from office, destroy unions so they won't have to pay a living wage, complain when people that don't get paid a living wage need help, deny disaster relief to other states while demanding it for themselves, try to remove funding from public schools to give it to private companies and insist that anyone who loses their job for any reason is a lazy good for nothing. From what you've said, you don't do any of those things.

    If you feel like everybody hates you because of your politics, then I have news for you. You do too think about politics all that much. And you spend too much time reading and posting political blogs on the internet. Were that not true, you would have never written this piece.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTimeWeaver

    What you are saying resonated, until you began to make generalizations and fell into the stereotype trap:

    "...People picking themselves up by their own bootstraps and not counting on government to support them all the time."

    Most people do this; however, sometimes people find themselves in desperate situations through no fault of their own. Don't let a few bad apples who take advantage represent those who need these safety nets most - and usually for a temporary amount of time.

    " how they want to take away guns from honest, law-following people."

    I'm sorry, but this is also a misconception that is often used to fuel the anti-gun-legislation debate. No one is taking guns away from anyone. But it makes sense to put some basic checks in place to make sure that the wrong people can't easily get them. I think honest, law-following people deserve to have some level of safety, too, from those who shouldn't have guns.

    I like the way you write this - especially because both sides have lost the art of debate. Instead, we've relied on generalizations, stereotypes, and basic undermining instead of having a debate that would at least meet the basic rules of a debate team. So your intent is clear - and a noble one.

    Finally, I also agree with the other commenter - when it comes to issues of same-sex marriage or abortion, we all belong to different churches and no one church should determine the laws of the land.

    In the end, it sounds like we don't want to be told by the government what we should and shouldn't do. In your case, fiscally; in my case, socially. Aren't we quite alike?

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAgree and Disagree

    Yeah, what Jack said!

    " I don’t like the fact that people don’t seem to respect the Constitution much anymore, like how they want to take away guns from honest, law-following people."

    This just shows that you have fallen to the propaganda of the Republican party... if you truly do care about the poor and your middle class family's taxes there is no way you should be voting for a Republican. Do some research and think for your self.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAthinker

    I don't hate you. I am confused by you. 1) if we applied a free market model to employment I'm sure one would choose a unionized position over a contract-less one- why would one think that if one is pull one's self up by their bootstraps they wouldn't want to get the best deal they can? 2) I don't have a problem with your religious beliefs but I don't understand why you get to pick and choose God's priorities. 3) The importance that conservatives on the 2nd 1/2 of the 2nd amendment but ignore the "well regulated" part or for that matter over the rest of the bill of rights 4) a christian fighting for gun rights seems antithetical.
    So I don't hate you but I think You are confused.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Peregrine

    I can't imagine what it would take to hate someone simply because they identify as a Republican. I guess there are people you've met who do or you would not have written this and for that, as a self professed bleeding heart Liberal, I do apologize. For myself, I enjoy the conversation about where we intersect and where we drift apart when talking with my Republican friends. I shut it all down though if name-calling, hate talk or condescension comes into the mix. I just don't have time for that crap. I appreciate your taking the time to express this and while I don't agree with your political positions I do respect your articulation of them.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Doll Carlson

    You lost me at " ... and not counting on government to support them all the time." Your implication is that Dems, Libs, or both count on 24/7 government support, which is both false and a ridiculous thing to suggest. I've never taken worker's comp when I could have - let alone welfare - and I've voted Dem more often than not for over 30 years (I'm a registered Independent, and consider myself a solid progressive). Any time someone characterizes "the other guy" with a sweeping generalization, he/she loses all credibility with me.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGary Reynolds

    Yes, I do. You're scum. It's because of you and millions of dumbasses just like you that the country's as fucked as it is right now. Fuck off and die.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNorm

    I can say that there are many things that we disagree about, but that I certainly have no hate in my heart for you. While I used to be a Christian, I've walked away from that faith for a variety of personal reasons and as long as your beliefs do not have a negative effect on you or anyone else then I have no problem with them. As a young, single, adult male, I disagree with you on tax rates. If giving up a few extra dollars from each of my paychecks means schools can have better classrooms and pay teachers enough to survive, I'm fine with that. However, as a family man with a mortgage, I understand your perspective and why you need that money.

    There is one thing, however, in your entire article that concerns me greatly. You said that you have your nice HDTV hanging above your fireplace. This is bad for two reasons. One: if you use the fireplace during wintertime, the heat that comes up from below (and from behind through the wall), can damage the sensitive equipment on the inside of your television and the warranty (if you have one) probably doesn't cover heat damage. Two: the best viewing angle for a TV is around a negative 5 degree angle, so unless you have your TV on a swivel, you're losing picture quality and putting an ache in your neck from having to look up all the time.

    Those are my thoughts and advice. I quite liked your blog post.

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

    A letter from liberals: who told you that we hate you?

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlek Davis

    Along with who is trying to take anyone's guns? here are a few other questions I have that would perhaps help us reach a common understanding:

    Who is trying to impose morality? Who is actually trying to help the poor? Why are taxes too high? Or is it just that we're not getting as much as we should from the taxes we pay? What services or departments would you cut in order to obtain lower taxes? Do you prioritize defense or education? Why do you advocate for a group whose tax structures promote income inequality? Do you think that Republicans really believe in lower taxes, or have you noticed that their rhetoric often doesn't match their actions?

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Lee Speaking

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