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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 5 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ Vibrant press needed
Dear Editor:

Thank you for writing the editorials that have engendered so much comment.

When I was in journalism school in the ’60s, we were taught the proper role of the press was “Watchdog of Government.” Only a vibrant press could keep us free.

My how things have changed.

People have become so used to the press’ servile behavior to the Democrats and the president that criticism is now to be termed “hate speech,” “treason,” etc.

But no one is safe, in either party, from a government that feels unconstrained to do as it pleases.
Shannon Gault
Longboat Key

+ Last chance to save U.S.
Dear Editor:

I have been a resident of Longboat Key for more than 12 years. I have also been an ardent fan of the Longboat Observer, looking forward to every edition, especially the editorial page.

Your editorial “The anti-American president” and the follow-up editorial the next week were incredibly right on the money.

Congratulations to all involved in writing the initial piece and especially to Matt Walsh for having the guts to put them into print.

Many of the enraged letters to the editor seemed to confuse the person with the office. The editorial never criticized the office of the president — it criticized the person occupying it for his radical, Chicago-Saul-Alinsky, extreme left-wing views.

The presidency is an esteemed office. But currently it’s being filled by a person bent on class warfare, race warfare, union versus the rest-of-us warfare, all designed to culminate in the obliteration of America as we know it.

“You didn’t build that” is the consummate authoritarian cry for destroying individual effort, leaving the collective to dictate rewards and incentives it deems worthy. Top-down economic policy fails. Witness the collapse of the Soviet Union and now the collapse of Europe.

Witness Obama’s obliteration of bondholder and shareholder rights in the rescue of GM and Chrysler and his gift to the unions. Take assets from one hand and give it to an undeserved other, no matter what the law says about protecting property rights. This was theft on a grand scale.

And it continues with failed business investments, such as Solyndra — billions of taxpayer dollars lost in government promoting its choice of which businesses it wants to support. Ethanol anyone?

What of the Constitution and the separation of powers? Obama circumvented immigration laws; the “no child left behind” law; the Clinton-era welfare reform; the appointment of czars without accountability or confirmation by Congress.

Ramming through a 2,700-page health-care law that was passed with little discussion or bipartisan support and fervently opposed by most Americans.

These are all actions of top-down, big-government despotism, with Barack Obama at the helm. If he can’t get Congress to legislate what he wants, he has ignored the constitutional separation of powers and issued edicts around them. Only a despot acts in such a manner, a despot with no respect for the law nor for those he governs.

The shame is not on the Longboat Observer or its staff. The shame is on those who bought the lies of “hope and change” and elected Obama to such an exalted office. You have a chance to redeem yourselves in November. Take it.

My America has always been the freest, most generous, most powerful and most prosperous country that has ever existed. Let’s keep it that way. It’s our last chance to save America.
Milan V. Adrian
Longboat Key

+ You are 100% correct
Dear Editor:

I was amazed that you had the courage to say that Obama is “The anti-American president.”

I agree 100 % that you are absolutely correct! It is a shame there are still many “smart” people who think he has been a good president. I hope your editorial will persuade some to change their view.
Art Saxon
Longboat Key

+ Short on substance
Dear Editor:

Bravo, and many thanks for both your editorial about Obama and your response to his supporters.

Free speech often takes courage and a willingness to receive undeserved outrage. But, that’s what editorials often do, and I welcome your refusal to be intimidated.

Beyond the vitriol expressed by some of your readers, however, there is little substance and much confusion. Your editorial was no more “hateful” than scores of more severe references to George Bush when he was in office.

The selective outrage of those offended by comparing Obama to Chavez and Castro would be telling if those same readers smiled and slapped high-fives when numerous liberals characterized George Bush as a modern-day Hitler. I suspect they did.

Your comparison, however, was more accurate. How best is a political leader characterized whose economic policies talk incessantly and proudly of wealth redistribution and “spreading the money around”?

Is he more fairly grouped with Castro, Chavez and the European reform-Marxism tradition of the welfare state or with Lincoln, Jefferson and Madison?

Which group more distrusts and demeans free enterprise or individual initiative and which believes more in government as the solution to most problems? Indeed, which group is more American and which un-American? Your comparison was quite appropriate.

The anger of some readers is understandable because Obama’s “successes” describe his failures. The “stimulus” stimulated government spending and little else. “We” (read taxpayers) didn’t “save” the auto industry, we saved the UAW at great taxpayer expense and capriciously wiped out the property and wealth of bondholders.

Although it is not the proper role of government to “save” businesses, our principal job creators are small businesses that desperately need help. They fail by the thousands every year, in part because of oppressive government regulations. But they largely are not unionized and so are not a favored group. Meanwhile, small business job growth slumps.

With that record of “success,” criticism is inevitable. Success gathers accolades, failure attracts criticism. Where failures are rampant and obvious, harsh criticism is deserved.

I was struck also by the claim that your editorial “crossed the line” or was an “abuse” of free speech. It is the essence of free speech that it be defended when it is most offensive and disagreeable to some.

There would have been no need for our Founding Fathers to protect only that speech with which all agree. There is a reason I no longer read a long list of liberal-minded media, but read with great interest the Wall Street Journal and the Sarasota Observer. It would not occur to me, however, to urge others vindictively to avoid the ad pages or characterize their comments about George Bush or Republicans as an insurrection.

Tolerance for the rights of others means nothing if we try to silence the voices of those with whom we disagree.

Reasonable readers interpreted your “call to arms” for what it was: an effort to mobilize, rally and unite voters to elect as president someone who understands, appreciates and will dedicate himself to implementing those policies that reflect the American dream of liberty and the pursuit of happiness as free as possible from the yoke of government. Those are worthy purposes and much needed objectives.
Werner Hartenberger

+ Think, don’t just react
Dear Editor:

Thank you for your follow-up on your editorial, standing your ground regarding how our country’s founding principles and Constitution are being “fundamentally transformed” by this administration. This is what should offend us all.

Also, it is instructive that the letters to the editor used terms such as “hate, hateful,” disgraceful,” “treasonous,” etc. They made no attempt to argue the substance of the concerns about the American vision and the current alterations being dictated to us that you articulately discussed. Why not?

Because they can’t without further making your point!
We all need to think, not just react. It’s about the facts not emotion. It’s about where America is headed.
Bob Gault
Longboat Key

+ Look who’s intolerant
Dear Editor:

I just read the letters severly criticizing your Obama article. I agree with the opinions expressed in the article.
The letter writers used phrases and words such as “hate-filled,” “hateful clap trap,” “crazy,” “disrespectful,” “dishonest,” etc. How do they know you are hateful or crazy or dishonest?

The problem I see with Obama supporters and many left-leaning persons in this country is that they will not tolerate any disagreement with their views. If you have a criticism of one of theirs they will lash out viciously.
Meanwhile, those same people have no problem attacking persons who have more conservative views than theirs — e.g. George Bush.

The years under the Bush administration were so much better than under Obama, but I don’t expect any of those critics to recognize that or to even consider that it may be true.
Paul Larson

+ Criticism not tolerated
Dear Editor:

I was not surprised to see the venomous responses to your editorial on Mr. Obama’s latest attack on private enterprise. I was also gratified to see that you are holding your position.

Liberals seem to have a real aversion to free speech when it does not support their beliefs. That was demonstrated in many of the letters last week. It seems that if you dare to speak against their beliefs, you are un-American and will be boycotted.

Opposing points of view should be aired and respected so the public can evaluate both sides of an argument.

Those who challenged you did not present opposing facts; they just shreiked that you are un-American and threatened your publication. That means either they don’t have any facts to counter your arguements, or they know you are right and they can’t admit it.
Bill Bauman

+ Shocking bias
Dear Editor:

I was totally floored by your recent headline in the July 19 Longboat Observer. Your spin on President Obama was totally unfair. He is NOT against capitalism.

He was telling us not to be so smug about our accomplishments. We all have help from someone along the way: parents, colleagues, lenders, public utilities, roads and education, and we should give back a little.
President Obama has, indeed, helped Americans in education, the environment, equal rights, payroll-tax reduction, the affordable health-care bill, thousands of jobs saved, reasonable student loans, rolling in Wall Street crooks, etc. That is what America is all about — not profit for the wealthiest. He promotes fair taxation for all.

Your assessment is way out of line. God Bless President Obama.
Ann Thompson
visitor from Cincinna

+ Look in the mirror
Dear Editor:

I was shocked when I read your July 26 editorial. My reaction echoes and goes beyond the feedback you received. 

Having recently moved full time to Longboat Key from the San Diego area, I have enjoyed reading your newspaper. It has been a way to learn more about our community on all fronts. Hey, I even looked forward to some of the light-hearted stories, including the wackiness of some of the “Cops Corner” reports.

What I did not expect the Longboat Observer’s editorial page to become a platform for national politics, at least this far out from the November elections.

Much of the language in the opinion was over-the-top, inflammatory, even sophomoric, pulled from talking points of campaigns.

As I see it, your piece was neither appropriate nor befitting your paper or our community in tone, language or substance.

I was somewhat pleased to see, what I regard as, a de facto retraction of your original op-ed in the July 19 edition. As is often said, when you make a mistake of significance — apologize early and often. Thank you.
I must say my and a couple of neighbors’ radars is up. I sincerely hope the Longboat Observer can be counted on for balanced, journalistic excellence on all fronts. Let us agree, all of us will be looking — as well as I hope you do — in the mirror.
David Lough
Longboat Key

+ I hope you lose ads
Dear Editor:

I was appalled to read your view of the president. To call the president “anti-American” because he said we all had help in all that we do is unconsciousable.

It is obvious that the Observer is a right-wing biased group, which most rational-thinking Sarasotans would not wrap fish in. This slander is over the top.

I hope you lose advertising support.

Apparently, your view is against public education and a return to the feudal system would suit you. Don’t ask rich folks to pay taxes to educate poor children or build roads and bridges to your gated communities.

And don’t call the fire department when your mansion burns. You got where you are without any government assistance and because of our constitution you can write such slander and not be arrested. So go on alone and don’t share your wealth with anyone, please no handouts, munificently, or otherwise. This is the kind of selfish world you deserve.
Johnnie Bohannon

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