Tuesday, November 23

Editorial Commentary by Karyn Cantees Stagg

Educated People Can Be Bush Supporters is the headline the Charleston (West Virginia)Gazette put on this marvelous response to an editorial in which they called supporters of President Bush "uneducated." -- Sunnye

In response to your editorial titled "Puzzle," in which you questioned why half the voters support a president whose ability you question and challenge at every level, I ask, who the heck do you think you are? The editorial section of the paper has become offensive, with its condescending and arrogant tone, which is perplexing. Do you think that by talking down to Bush supporters you'll somehow shame them/me into voting for an elitist like Kerry, who has more interchangeable policy positions than a yoga instructor has poses?

Take for example this statement: "Educated, progressive people we know are unanimously disgusted by Bush." Surely this doesn't mean you don't know ONE educated, progressive person who supports Bush. Are you suggesting that NO educated, progressive people support Bush? It is actually laughable and is the kind of overstatement that makes it hard to take anything stated in the editorial seriously. Tell me, does this all-inclusive group include your counterparts at the Daily Mail?

The president took office in January, 2000. It is commonly accepted that the recession stated in February of that year. If you don't agree with that statement, surely you remember that the recession was looming before Clinton left office. Now having said that, will someone explain how President Bush could cause a recession in one month? Try pointing your waggy little fingers at the previous administration.

Then there was this statement: "They (referring to all those educated, progressive people you know) can't imagine how anyone could vote for such a militaristic servant of the privileged class." Okay, let's get this straight. I am not of the privileged class, but the tax benefits that you feel make him the servant of the privileged certainly helped me. People do give back to society when they reap and many religious organizations reach out to those in need. Reaching out and giving back is not entirely a religious concept. I'm assuming you understand it given the Christmas fund for the needy you sponsor every year.

Your remarks concerning the war were particularly disturbing and condescending and I won't bother repeating what I consider nonsense. But I will try to explain why so many "Calvinist religious righteousness and my-country-right-or-wrong patriotism" thugs like me support the war.

You probably aren't aware of this, but this war didn't start with the president. (Sorry that sounds condescending.) It likely started back in 1979 when Iranian students attacked the American Embassy in Tehran. Remember President Carter's ill-fated mission in the aftermath that made America the laughing stock of the world? Then there was the attack on the US Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. Six months later 241 US Marines were killed in Beirut, compliments of 2,500 pounds of terrorists' TNT. In 1983 and 1984, respectively, explosives were driven into the US Embassies in Kuwait and Beirut. In 1985, bombs exploded in a Madrid restaurant frequented by US soldiers, and in August of that year explosives killed 22 at a US Air Base at Rhein-Main, Germany. But we didn't actually witness those things, so I guess you think it's not so bad. Well, maybe except for the poor wheelchair-bound passenger, Mr. Klinghoffer, on the cruise ship The Achille-Lauro, who we watched terrorists execute! Oh, and we can't forget the bombings of TWA Flight 840, killing four and Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 259.

These few events I've outlined are only the tip of the iceberg both here and abroad and don't even include the attempt to bomb the World Trade Center, where six were killed and thousands injured -- or the attacks of September 11. This war DIDN'T just start. It was escalated by terrorists because they saw that all Americans and Europeans have done in the past is suck their collective thumbs and glorify people like Michael Moore, a coward hiding behind an opinion piece of lies and half-truths. I'd bet you'd never find him in a soldier's uniform for any reason. And, for the record, many Europeans are still sucking their thumbs or, in the case of the French, have placed them in another cavity.

So, no, weapons of mass destruction were not found. I guess that suggests there never were any. Or, more likely, perhaps it suggests they got rid of them because the president never let up on Saddam. (There he goes with that attitude again!) I can't understand what is wrong with liberating a people while at the same time fighting the war on terror in Iraq rather than at home. Do you honestly think September 11 is the end of their jihad? Do you think they've learned their lesson and will leave, licking their wounds, because we've initiated a few safeguards and put suspected terrorists in holding cells?

I am every bit as horrified as the average American when a person is killed, whether that person is a service person or an innocent Iraq citizen. But there are two sides to this story and that's why this country is divided. Unfortunately both sides do NOT receive equal treatment by the media, which is why I'm spending a Sunday evening writing this. Every service person I've spoken with, without exception, has nothing but praise for the war and the reconstruction effort. They talk about schools being built, friends being made, and a people being transformed. Even the two Iraqi female representatives who visited Charleston this past week had nothing but praise for the reconstruction.

So please don't moralize with me or your readers about the candidates or about the war. We all get deflated enough in this world. And don't try to categorize me as part of the extreme right-wing. I'm not that either. I respect your opinion to disagree but I don't appreciate your trying to make me and others who support the President look like idiots by doing so.

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