News & Views from 465 California Street

Stop Bashing Government

Clint Reilly
Sep
1
2009

Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and a parade of conservative pundits – usually speaking for a big business lobby – continue to berate the Democratic Party as the party of “Big Government.”

Their underlying argument is the same broken record we’ve been hearing since Reagan: “Government is bad.”

But the quarrel over whether a strong, proactive federal government is good for America was won decisively last November when Barack Obama routed John McCain for the presidency and Democrats swept to huge majorities in the House and Senate.

The debate was settled for me decades ago by a Catholic priest, a labor leader, a politician and an organizer. They taught me that government can improve lives, drive progress and increase the odds that average people will get a fair shake.

I was standing next to Bobby Kennedy in 1968 when he received communion from Father Eugene Boyle on the day Cesar Chavez ended his long fast for farm workers’ rights in Delano.

At the time, Father Boyle was Chairman of the Commission on Social Justice of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I remember thinking that Kennedy was smaller than I expected and his eyes were bluer. Chavez was emaciated from a brutal fast.

There were tens of thousands of people at that mass. The hunched Mexican-American leader embodied the aspirations of the huge crowd, but so did the charismatic senator at his side. Kennedy’s presence sent a signal that the Democratic Party was closely aligned with the struggle of disenfranchised farm workers, not powerful growers.

When Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, I happened to be sitting with Father Boyle watching the election results of the California Democratic primary on television. Kennedy won the primary that night only to die in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as he headed to his car.

It was a heartbreaking moment. Only weeks before, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis and Kennedy appeared on national television urging calm and forgiveness. Now, he too fell to an assassin’s bullet just as his campaign for president gained momentum.

I was still in college at the time, but no career seemed as relevant or important as public service on that tragic night.

But Bobby Kennedy’s death was also a reminder that he and his brother, President John F. Kennedy, had brought the incredible power of the federal government down repeatedly on the side of the poorest and weakest in order to give them a hand up.

Four years later in 1972, I was invited by Fred Ross Sr. – a legendary organizer who actually discovered and trained Chavez – to help defeat Proposition 22, an initiative on the California ballot which prohibited farm laborers from organizing a union.

Of course, Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union were leading the fight. Father Boyle, who had introduced me to Ross, co-chaired the campaign.

I became the Northern California communications director, handling press relations and helping to write brochures and radio commercials.

I remember sitting in meetings with Ross and watching how he inspired volunteers to hit the streets with signs, brochures and bumper stickers emblazoned with a “No on 22” message.

A massive array of Democratic elected officials publicly supported Chavez. At one huge event at Oakland’s Eastmont Mall, an impassioned Teddy Kennedy brought the crowd to its feet against the initiative.

Although funded by California’s agribusiness interests, Proposition 22 went down to withering defeat. In subsequent years, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown put the full power of the state of California behind farm workers’ rights to organize.

The Democratic Party is in my blood, but not for mere partisan reasons. I believe strongly that government is the sole institution large and formidable enough to protect the interests of people who lack the money and power to promote their agenda.

Comments (32)

  • I heard an interview yesterday on NPR that put forth a compelling explanation of why we are in such distress today in our country over “big government”. Here is a snippet about the book and author that was interviewed:

    “Is conservatism dead? Author Sam Tanenhaus believes so. In his latest book, The Death of Conservatism, an expansion on his January article in The New Republic, Tanenhaus argues that American conservatism has been taken over by revanchists who are at war with the American government.”

    link to podcast here:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112416502

    Posted by: melinda maginn | September 1st, 2009 at 8:49 am

  • Sir,

    If you have time to READ and not spout off go read

    Glenn Beck’s “Common Sense”.

    Glen writes exactly about the sorry state of the US of A.

    Maybe discuss the book in the newspapers like Thomas Paine would have done.
    You DO know Thomas Paine, I hope

    Enjoy signor,,

    Edward

    Posted by: Edward | September 1st, 2009 at 11:36 am

  • The only thing the government does well is spend taxpayers money without
    accountability. The stimulus package of almost 1 trillion dollars was a bust.
    Government spending will never bring the country out of recession. Government should get out of the way and let the private sector flourish if you want this country to get back its feet. The private sector makes this country run, not the government. The government works in its own best self-interest, not the best interest of the taxpayers.

    People see Obama and his programs with more intrusion into their lives and they don’t want it! The Democratic party and Congress want to control every aspect of people’s lives and taxpayers see it. If you control people’s healthcare you control their lives completely. The government with their rationing boards will decides who gets treatment and who is expendible. That is fact. Rationing will have to take place because their is no other way to save money in healthcare.

    You think government is good, it can be bad when taxpayers and voters aren’t listened to. The only thing we have left is the vote. The middle-class voters have spoken and they don’t want government-run healthcare! The government can’t even run a cafeteria in the Senate without losing money and they want to run healthcare? I DON’T THINK SO!

    R. Turner

    Posted by: R. Turner | September 1st, 2009 at 11:39 am

  • Clint:

    Your piece in the Merc ends with “Comments? Feedback?”

    As a long-time Republican, deep into my seventh decade, I find my self
    agreeing with you more and more.

    It could be the facts, too.

    Link

    Posted by: Link | September 1st, 2009 at 11:39 am

  • Clint,

    I’m a Truman, Kennedy/Johnson Democrat. Like most Democrats they voted left but dined on the right; but they did not surround them selves with self-proclaimed communists, nor were they endorsed by communists -as is the case with Obama.

    You are indeed a blood Democrat. I would prefer you to be a thoughtful, rational Democrat too. Think about this: The President has promised to establish a National Civilian Security Force as strong and as well funded as the military. This should scare the jeebees out of any thinking American.

    Perhaps the 2010 elections will restore the checks and balances the Framers intended.

    Hank R

    Posted by: Hank R. | September 1st, 2009 at 11:44 am

  • Great column, as usual, today; Stop Bashing Government. I look
    forward to your writing–always thought-provoking and aimed at waking
    us up. So I thought you’d appreciate this piece from George who also
    tried constantly to wake us up and was also right on target. Maybe
    you could do a column on who really runs this country and how we
    could wake up our fellow consumers, er, citizens. I’m way too
    cynical. Think it’s too late. Think “they” have won and that this,
    for the most part, is an ignorant. superstitious, uneducated, selfish
    nations of idiots. How’s that for hope! (See Morris Berman, Dark
    Ages America.)

    But I’ll keep reading your wisdom. Thanks, and carry on! Jayne

    Posted by: Jayne | September 1st, 2009 at 11:44 am

  • Re your article and especially last paragraph of your Sept 1,2009 publice service msg printed in San Ramon,CA Valley Times–couldn’t agree more. At 88years have been witness to many social changes. Wondering if any research available re social and humanitarian issues and if and how implemented by each party- Democrat vs. Republican..

    Posted by: Claire | September 1st, 2009 at 11:45 am

  • Obama surrounds himself with “self proclaimed communists”? Really?

    Posted by: melinda maginn | September 1st, 2009 at 11:52 am

  • Your endless admiration of all things government seems more than a little bit misplaced. You say the government is the only entity that can give “the little guy” a fair shake. Here’s the shake (down) your government has given me (another “little guy”):

    Due to their ineptness in manipulating the housing market, my own retirement account has shrunk by more that a third, I am upside down on my mortgage and now facing the possibility of being shoved to the back burner should I need medical care. Were I on Social Security (hijacked by the Johnson administration and since driven to the brink of insolvency), I would be looking at a net reduction in the benefit. My taxes are about to spike upward, my cost of living will certainly skyrocket (according to
    the Chosen One) should cap & trade take effect, and my net worth will be near zero.

    Examples of government efficiency include the handling of the hurricane Katrina aftermath, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid nearly bankrupted, debt that our grandchlidren won’t be able to repay, the unintended consequences of cash for clunkers, a stimulus package that stimulated very little in comparison to what was spent and the deterioration of our education system, to name a few. All this has negatively affected us “little guys.”

    “The greatest of mankind’s criminals are those who deluded themselves into thinking they have ‘done the right thing’.”

    “The itch to save the world is one that should rarely, if ever, be scratched.”

    The last two quotes are from books I have read. Do you read?

    Dave

    Posted by: Dave | September 1st, 2009 at 2:08 pm

  • Thank you, Clint, for your message in today’s San Jose “Merc”. Right on !!! Thank you, too, for who you are! I very much appreciate reading your columns.

    Phyllis

    Posted by: Phyllis | September 1st, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  • Very much appreciate your accurate article.You brought back many
    memories. In 1968 I was a lobbyist for Mexican American Political Assn. in
    Sacramento. I was sent from there to the Indiana primary by Bert Corona (MAPA ) to be the advance man for the first VIVA KENNEDY campaign.Very succesful. Did you ever meet Bert Corona in your travels??

    Posted by: John | September 1st, 2009 at 2:10 pm

  • “I believe strongly that government is the sole institution large and formidable enough to protect the interests of people who lack the money and power to promote their agenda.”

    Oh,how I wish that was what our present government stood for! Instead, it is corrupted by the present system of campaign financing to support the interests of the wealthy and powerful. This must be the first thing to change before we can possibly meet any other progressive goals.

    Posted by: T.R. | September 1st, 2009 at 2:35 pm

  • Can one even possibly begin to fathom the kind of fallout that would’ve taken place out on Main Street if Government officials didn’t hold their emergency “over the weekend” meetings? You know, the ones where you saw former Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson scrambling to fend off the collapse of the free market system? Ya know, the “systemic risk” that was and still is causing a disconnect in worldwide financial markets? The credit crisis was caused by these same crooks that conjured up these silly and crazy, cockamimi (did i spell that right?) schemes to repackage and recycle for sale (again and again, “rinse and repeat”) mortgage-backed securities.

    The financial Ponzi schemes should’ve been regulated early and often (by the SEC Chairman). The hot and dangerous fuel to the bubble regulated as well (Greenie’s job). However, de-regulation was back in big business full-force with the passing of the Gramm/Leach/Bliley Act of 1999. Essentially, it repealed the most critical components of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932. So the Repubs and extreme free-marketeers got what they wanted. The rest of the uninformed folks got “de-railroaded”. I was going to use “derailed”, but the rest of us were on the big train tracks while the few silently “madoff” in their corporate jets…

    Just imagine if Gov’t was nonexistent or didn’t step in during times of turmoil. Imagine if there didn’t exist Gov’t entities such as the FDIC (which was also formed in the 1930′s under FDR, btw), then what would’ve become of the Wall St. bank meltdowns? Just runs on banks? Just Panics? Just a complete loss of Consumer Confidence and spending? Just a global credit crises? Collapse of Wall Street? Free love? Flower power?

    This list would’ve been longer and more shocking if it weren’t for one Gov’t official (with lots of integrity), Mrs. Sheila Bair, Chairman of the FDIC.

    http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_C._Bair

    Let’s remind ourselves why we need Government and why we should think hard before some of us bash Good Government. We should however, bash bad government policies (for example, the 8-yr. Reign d’Erreur of King George II) because they didn’t reflect the best wishes of society and defied the will of the demos/people in a popular Democracy. Let’s also be reminded why we need government EVEN if some of us view government as grossly inefficient and even, as that “necessary evil”.

    http://www.america.gov/st/business-english/2008/April/20080415223308eaifas0.4951441.html

    Don

    Posted by: Don Nguyen | September 1st, 2009 at 2:56 pm

  • To Dave,

    I hear you and sincerely feel terrible about what you and many other of our fellow Americans have suffered over the past few years. Our response to Katrina was unspeakable and the lack of regulations over banking and housing market is terrible. There are many things to blame and certainly we can point to government’s LACK of protection. However much of this was a direct result of the past near 30 years of the republican agenda. I urge you to resist painting government with a single brush. We elected a new president who I truly believe will right the wrongs and is trying to forge bi partisan agreements.

    We are all Americans and we have much work to do. I wish you the best in these hard times and hope you will help get us back on track.

    Posted by: melinda maginn | September 1st, 2009 at 4:34 pm

  • I’m afraid a few like to use the comments here to parrot back right-wing scare language, and to carry on a “discussion” without any facts, but that merely descends into incendiary opinions. Here are a few from the above comments:

    - To Hank R, the idea that Obama was endorsed by communists – where does that come from? It seems from some trumped-up right-wing email spam. Likewise the “National Civilian Security Force” – on that one, see the facts: http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/is_obama_planning_a_gestapo-like_civilian_national.html.

    - To R Turner who thinks the stimulus package was a “bust” – well, surprisingly to me the economy has started to turn around these last six months, and that didn’t happen by accident. How quickly we forget that everyone was running for cover last fall, screaming that the economic sky was falling. If you want to know what happens when government doesn’t lift a finger, read Adam Cohen’s “Nothing To Fear” about the first hundred days of FDR’s term, trying to drag the U.S. out of the Great Depression. And there are no “rationing boards” in any of the health care legislation; to use Sarah Palin’s words (against her!), we need everyone to kindly stop making things up.

    It grieves me that the Republican Party has allowed all of its thoughtful messengers to be shouted down and replaced by airbags spouting incendiary demagoguery (including Mr. Glenn Beck, also mentioned above), so that all thoughtful discussion is drowned out.

    Clint is right, that government, wisely managed, can do great things. Don’t believe the airbags.

    Posted by: Gary | September 1st, 2009 at 6:35 pm

  • The government-is-good message would get an argument from the poor souls who suffered and died under communism, not to mention people living in Chicago under the iron heel of the Daley Machine or with Nagel’s incompetence in New Orleans. Oh, and George Bush — let’s not forget him.

    Posted by: Banjo | September 2nd, 2009 at 4:28 am

  • I really enjoyed your piece today in the SJMN on government
    bashing.

    You are so right that the partisanship today is tearing this country
    apart and is destroying an sense of compromise on major issues, as
    well as ending civil debate.

    Gloating over a defeated position or politician accomplishes nothing.
    I wonder what the Limbaugh’s and O’Reilly’s of the media said of the
    passing of Senator Kennedy. Nothing kind, I’m sure.

    Thank you for your insights.

    Posted by: Francisco | September 2nd, 2009 at 9:18 am

  • Why is it that every time I read a liberal blog it is not filled with facts only emotionalisms of a generation ago? You go on about how you fought the government and won. Lets stay with that. This isn’t the sixties. The government is still to be watched very closely. The only argument you have is sentimental and emotional not logical. Liberalism is an emotional way to appeal to the folks but it makes no real sense. I know you want what you want. When do you give a child the keys to a jet simply because he wants it? This last election swept in the liberal agenda. And after eight years of bush we needed a change. Look how the country is reacting to the liberal agenda now? After only eight months we are tired of Obama and the Marxists who hijacked the Democratic Party.

    I think you need to grow up and put away your sophomoric reality. All of you sixties protesters are just a little myopic in you worldview. It’s time for the adults to take the keys away from Thelma and Louise. I think you might find a more agreeable country in Venezuela or perhaps you might find the Cuban government more acceptable to you. This is America and we are not disposed to communism. I think that too much kool-aid has made you a walking stillborn. Do your parents know where you are?

    You mention progressive catholic priest Eugene Boyle; he does not represent all Catholics or the church. In fact ‘social justice’ is like ‘situational ethics’, an oxymoron. Justice is blind and has a set of scales. Liberals invaded the church in the seventies and stopped preaching the word of God. Then Liberals invaded the education system in the eighties and stopped teaching history. You and your ilk want to change this great country into Russia and look what happened to them, their revolution lasted seventy years then collapsed broken under their own misguided direction. You are riding a wave that won’t make it to shore. I suspect that you stopped emotionally maturing somewhere between 1968 and 1972. You sound like a spoiled emo-teenager. I want you to go to your room and think about what you wrote. Your words are emotionally persuasive but they fail to convince because they lack common sense. Remember Nixon? Now imagine his power grab with your big government!

    You mention that the Democratic Party is in your blood. That is telling, you don’t say that you are a democrat only that the party is in your blood and that identifies you as a demagogue not a democrat. Can you say dogma? You have a right to be a statist but you must tell us that your view is socialist. You did not indicate this in your column, which identifies your view as mere anti-American rhetoric.

    I don’t expect that you will acknowledge this rebuttal nor do I think that the I. J. will spend the space that they gave you because it is not in locked step with the liberal agenda. Trust me Mr. Reilly we will throw the entire liberal, progressive, socialist, Marxist out come election time. I guess the only thing you liberals can do is stop free speech and elections to keep up the charade. Hurry elections are next year.

    Jim

    Posted by: Jim K. | September 2nd, 2009 at 9:19 am

  • I always enjoy your articles, in particular the one in our local
    paper this morning, Stop Bashing Government…I love your last
    paragraph, which starts out “The Democratic Party in in my blood”..

    Keep up the good work.

    Don C

    Posted by: Don C. | September 2nd, 2009 at 9:19 am

  • I have to comment on your article, because when I read it, I became angry again. The reasons you gave for support of government are partially correct, and we agree on a few points, however, you comments make it sound like government improves lives and drives progress.

    I am 52 and a small business owner, and I can assure you in that time I have found that individuals are the ones most in control of their progress and success. You say that goverment can improve lives, I say no way. Government can assist in creating an environment that fosters improvement and growth, but it must be kept in check right there. All too often we want to give give and give to make ourselves feel good. While I am a firm believer in doing good deeds through my church and business, it is not the governments place to feed, cloth, buy cars, provide health coverage, put a roof over peoples heads, etc.

    If you are honest with yourself, take a look at the projects, and the millions of dollars put forth to end poverty. What was the lesson learned? The lesson learned time and time again is that when you give people things without any effort or work put forth in earning these things, they become complacent and begin to expect this year after year. Then, we have a generation of entitlement seekers.

    Lets get back to hard work for the things we get in our life. Remember, one mans castle is as important to one mans small apartment, both are great because the men or women earned them, and it is theirs to have and hold and keep or sell. Free markets and a free society will always have achievers and some non-achievers, such is the human spirit. Lets not try to determine what each man wants or should have, lets leave this up to the individual. The government needs to keep things fair, and protect our country, not live our lives for us.

    WE DETERMINE OUR OWN SUCCESS AND TO WHAT LEVEL OF PROGRESS WE WANT TO REACH, NOT THE GOVERNMENT!!

    If this lesson is not learned, we will have another shift in elected officials. We all need to determine what values and what goals our people are looking for.

    Additionally, we need to agree that it is up to the individual as to how to get there, not the government.

    Look at the lessons of socialism and learn.

    Posted by: Pellouchaud | September 2nd, 2009 at 9:22 am

  • Clint, You should read some of this “parade of conservative pundits” You might learn something.

    You are on my list of people I will ask, How do you like him now? As obomas plans to ruin this country starts. I will Email you every day.

    Posted by: Melburn | September 2nd, 2009 at 9:23 am

  • Exceptional!
    It’s tiring to read the incessant whine about government. For god’s sake, I can mail a letter for 41 cents 3,200 miles away and gets it there 48 hours later! I can drive out my driveway to Florida, uninterrupted by barely a pothole! I spend days on end with my children in our parks, our beaches and our rivers — most of which have relatively clean air and water….

    Posted by: Shawn | September 2nd, 2009 at 12:55 pm

  • I attended Cesar’s last fast. RFK was also my political hero. BTW: I noticed Conservatives were not against government for eight years under GWB, who failed to veto a single spending bill for six years, wrote checks for two wars and funded huge drug giveaway program–doubling our naional debt. Just observing.

    Posted by: Richard | September 2nd, 2009 at 12:55 pm

  • I love Shawn Garvey’s comment.Let me take it a bit further. I can sit in my back yard and observe the moon on the wax. I can be called in by my daughter to observe a hummingbird visitation. This is all still possible, despite government fkups.

    Posted by: Y. Adams | September 2nd, 2009 at 12:56 pm

  • Thanks Clint for your passion for democracy and discussion.

    I couldn’t agree more that government-bashing, which started in earnest with Ronald Reagan, is dangerous and counter-productive. Most “bashers” are simple-minded, but their anger is real…and dangerous. They may love the military, police forces, fire departments, the FAA (safe planes) and who knows what other agencies that provide them benefits or pride, but these are also government agencies.

    “Government” cannot be uniformly incompetent any more than the “free market” is uniformly wise in allocating resources (look at those outrageous Wall St. bonuses or the fact that many doctors–who are really technicians or artists, at best–often make hundreds of thousands of dollars while teachers, who are shaping our future, make a few tens of thousands).

    The market does not handle everything well, and government does not handle everything poorly.

    Let’s start thinking again and holding real debates that are about ideas and
    solutions, not emotional manipulation and arguments ad hominem.

    Thanks again,

    Mitch

    Posted by: Mitch | September 2nd, 2009 at 3:48 pm

  • I never stood next to the late Bobby Kennedy or Father Boyle. That’s alright.

    With “giving the poor and weak a hand up”, do you mean:

    1. Send children of the poor and weak to public school at tax payers’ expense, while they, the rich decision making politicians, send their kids to private school?
    2. National healthcare for the general public, but not for the decision making politicians?
    3. Margarine for the staff “Downstairs” and butter for the employer “Upstairs?”

    The States and Cities in our country with the most poverty are those where the elected officials are Democrats.

    No, it’s NOT disinformation or misinformation that scares and angers people; the facts scare and anger people.

    No, it’s NOT because people don’t like change; it’s because people don’t like their freedom to be taken away.

    The people don’t bash Government; Our Government bashes people now more than ever.

    Posted by: Antonia | September 2nd, 2009 at 3:50 pm

  • Just wanted to say that I was very enthused by your article. Great point with what you were saying. Government is the only instititution that can push this country forward. I hope that it will have the courage to install affordable health care for everyone. It’s a basic human right, not something that should be exclusively for profit. We just can’t leave it to the whim of the “people”, because sometimes they can’t seem to get it right. Great read, thanks for the insight.

    Posted by: J. Cunningham | September 4th, 2009 at 11:25 am

  • I really enjoy reading your column in the Mercury News each Tuesday. You are a calm, pragmatic voice amid all the yelling- especially recently. I look forward to reading you each week. Please, please keep up your good work, being a sensible liberal.

    Posted by: Connie | September 4th, 2009 at 11:26 am

  • The Mercury News is losing subscribers over a decade. Articles like
    yours is one good reason why the public won’t pay for this newspaper. Why you call your Democrat Party propanda ‘Public Service Message’ is the ‘newspeak’ of the Marxist/Leninest mentality that appears to have taken over much of the democrat leadership. I heard one democrat congress woman recently lauding the accomplishments of Fidel Castro in Cuba, a documented murderer and political dictator.

    Bobby Kennedy came out to organize the mexican farm worker to expand his voter base for his presidential aspirations. Nothing wrong with that, good strategy. But Cesar Chavez, who was a friend to my brother, had the ‘smarts’ of a stone wall. The United Farm Workers Union attempts to squeeze more out of the farm corporations, for right or wrong, were mostly ignored by the public. When the union boycotted the grape harvest, grapes were brought in from South America. The UFWU has never had any clout. Any successes has come from a trade of votes for democratic party pressure on corporations.

    Father Boyle was a marxist who talked a lot but I’m not sure what he was good for. For some reason some men/woman of the cloth think Jesus was a
    revolutionary/marxist/leninest and feel justified in ignoring their pledge to “in the world but not of the world.” Any way, Boyle was a blowhard of lilttle effect.

    It’s terrible that the two Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. were murdered. I have the highest esteem for Rev. King and for Pres. Jack Kennedy. Robert Kennedy was, to me, a work in progress and I don’t know what he may of accomplished if he had not been cut down by a murdering killer. Bobbies involvement with Marylin Monroe does not compliment his memory. I know too much about that history. But may his killer rot in prison. I still thiink all the Kennedy’s in politics will always live in the shadow of Jack Kennedy, a truly brilliant mind and a true hero. I know well why he was marked for death, and lead as a lamb to the slaughter in Dallas, TX.

    I’m not sure why you have so much belief in the ‘power of the state.’ Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Castro are recent examples of what governmental power in the hands of a few can do. The five murdering political leaders above are responsible for the deaths of well over 100 million human beings in the name of the STATE. I would rather have a weak central government than what we know a strong central government has done and continues to do today in China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela to name a few.

    My first job was in 1953 at the age of 12 years selling newspapers on 19th & Irving in San Franicsco. Since then I supported myself never needing help from my parents who were immigrants who worked hard for not much money but they were happy to be at home with their children around them. I don’t recall ever missing a meal at home, although at times we had rice & beans for days in a row. I don’t recall my mom or dad ever complaining about their jobs or life in general. They did what they had to do. They never looked for the government for help. Help was generally within the extended family when it was needed.

    I worked from the age of 12 to 67 years of age. I take care of myself and my loved ones. I served in the military for 3 years. I earned an undergraduate and graduate degrees. The only help was from the GI Bill for my undergraduate degree. And I earned that….I never made more than $115.00 a month while in the military.

    I fear a powerful central government. I would rather have strong state power as in the early part of the 20th century and before. It was Pres. Roosevelt who started the Federal Governments power grab over the states. I am fearfull of the continued growth of federal government and employee populatation. Not for me but for my children and grand children. I’ve read enough history going back to the Greek and Roman history, European history and Chinese history over the last 1 thousand years to have any faith in ‘strong’ centralized governments.

    Your picture reflects a man of with a good heart as I see it. The above are a few reasons why I disagree with you. There is a government with 2 heads, a democrat and a republican head. I see these two political powers as two sides of the same coin. Nixon, the two Bush presidents were democrats at heart. They grew government as fast as any democrat president. Or maybe to say democrat or republican is not really valid anymore. I’ll just call them politicians.

    Best Regards,

    Ernie

    Posted by: Ernie | September 4th, 2009 at 11:34 am

  • Any one who buys Common Sense by Glenn Beck needs to peer into this jewel..

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/32682775

    Posted by: melinda maginn | September 4th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

  • Clint;

    You said, “I believe strongly that government is the sole institution large and formidable enough to protect the interests of people who lack the money and power to promote their agenda.”

    I also believe in a government that acts as a referee. A government that helps level the playing field and insures that no one is cheating. (Including members of the government.) However, while you were sitting in San Jose learning one political lesson, I was a volunteer in Vietnam, seeing a different side of governmental intervention.

    Government today is not a referee. The federal government is a business, run by managers, not leaders. It is in the business of slowly replacing all services with its own brand… and that is not healthy.

    I would love to find a way to work with you on returning government to its original role and freeing up our society to allow those who work hard to succeed and not be buried in bureaucratic red tape.

    Posted by: Bob Van Cleef | September 6th, 2009 at 8:03 am

  • Van Jones illustrates another danger of government. Oh, you haven’t heard of him? He represents another ball dropped by the MSM. The question is whether this is intentional or merely the product of the group think that puts the networks and newspapers in Obama’s vest pocket.

    Posted by: Banjo | September 6th, 2009 at 8:57 am

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