Being a conservative writing for a left-oriented publication requires the writer to strictly adhere to facts and provide abundant documentation. Editors are usually grudgingly skeptical, not surprising as they must endure the wrath of an angry readership. The letters expressing outrage that a conservative is even allowed to remain on the planet let alone have an opinion published are numerous and often biting. Personally, all is well within the realm of expected response with but one exception, the accusation that what I've written is composed of "lies" and "distortions" ("The rest of the story," Nov. 19).
Webster defines a "lie" as "to make a statement that one knows is false with the intent to deceive." Distortion is defined as "to misrepresent, to produce an unfaithful reproduction." On both these issues I take exception, as while I may be occasionally wrong (my wife and I continuously debate about whether or not I've been wrong—my perspective—and how often I've been wrong—her perspective), I've never deliberately lied to readers of this column nor knowingly misrepresented facts with intent to deceive. A column like this requires extensive research, which is what I do. Presenting unpleasant facts often contrary to "accepted wisdom" is not done with the intent of winning a popularity contest, and so far, I've spectacularly succeeded in not winning the latter. Not caring if one is liked or not can be very liberating. This is especially relevant when expressing a controversial point of view in a world where conformity of behavior and thought has been bludgeoned into people since middle school, an environment where being "different" is a sure path to unpopularity and often persecution by one's peers.
We live in a world where "everyone knows ... " is the norm: To dissent is to be compared to "not believing in gravity" or a charter member of the Flat Earth Society. When writing from a conservative perspective, this is simply an occupational hazard; those with thin skins rapidly retreat into a safer enclave. Personally, I find critical dissent stimulating, requiring doing even more research to buttress or disprove my original argument. Sometimes that produces a glaring oversight on my part, but most often quite the contrary.
For instance, the argument that somehow the Democratic Party is the party of the people, especially people of color, is laughable were the results not so tragic for so many millions. I too in my misspent youth was once a Democrat, even a Democrat activist until overwhelmed by the hypocrisy and mandated intellectual conformity required to remain within the pack. By the late 1970s, I found myself ignominiously expelled by virtue of reason, historical facts, and an underlying desire to pursue justice and truth in all matters.
Challenging my criticism of the Democrat's historical record on civil rights, a recent critic cited the "Southern strategy" to gain Southern voter support ("The rest of the story," Nov. 19). Was there a "Southern strategy" by a cynical Nixon administration in hopes of capturing the allegiance of Southern white voters? Absolutely, and it worked well, but only for a time. Integration of all realms of our society uplifted Black Americans across the board, breaking down each legal and social barrier to racial equality among decent people. I emphasize "decent people" as there are always some people who cling to their prejudices to circumvent recognizing the humanity of others. To be fair requires looking at results: an integrated nation, including former bastions of segregation and an overwhelming change of heart by hundreds of millions of Americans. Were this not so, Barack Obama would not have been elected president twice by the American people, most notably by a majority of white voters. Thankfully, this is a different America than the country of my youth in the 1950s.
As for the Democrat Party, it hasn't changed much except that now it cynically continues to divide us along lines of race/gender, economics, education, and geography. It feeds off corporate America and has replaced Republicans (the original political champions of desegregation and civil rights) as an organization that protects corporate interests and the super-wealthy at the expense of millions of working-class men and women. Unfortunately, Republicans are easily outmaneuvered by Democrat-dominated academia, media, and mega-donors from corporate America. The result is millions of Americans still donate their vote to an organization dedicated to the demise of working- and middle-class Americans to the benefit of the super-wealthy.
The policies adopted or being advocated as law include the end of charter schools in impoverished communities; environmental/economic policies that will massively increase the cost of energy (which most harms the poor); and massive increases in crime, the latter effecting minority communities the hardest. Look at Chicago, a city run by a Democrat political machine for more than half a century and note the Black-on-Black violence, failing schools, and societal collapse. Where is the Democrat outrage at this other than during election years?
But I digress: I hope within the coming year I will still be able to annoy some of you in these pages as I pop bubbles of climate change dogma, the social issues of our time, and foreign policy. That notwithstanding, I also wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Δ
Al Fonzi had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Respond with a letter to the editor emailed to email@example.com.