To the editor:
Steve Taylor’s letter (“,” March 14) is helpful to understanding the debate between Left and Right that has been enveloping politics in our country and here in Minnesota’s Senate District 50.
In 2010 the voters of the district overwhelmingly chose Barb Goodwin, Carolyn Laine, and Kate Knuth to represent them in St. Paul. These are fine, intelligent, effective, hard-working women who, in Taylor’s rhetoric, are liberal, socialist, statist.
The voters of the district chose each of them by overwhelming margins over the best the GOP/Tea Party had to offer. The voters chose them because they recognized in the GOP/Tea Party candidates the Tea Party faction that has taken over the GOP of today. The voters of SD 50 evidently either saw what they liked in the policies and positions espoused by Goodwin, Laine, and Knuth, or recognized something they didn’t like in the empty Tea Party rhetoric of the three Republican candidates.
And by empty, I do not mean to be pejorative; I mean the GOP/Tea Party side had nothing to offer. Consider what Taylor has written as the thrust of the GOP/Tea Party policy theory—apparently it’s do nothing to help, and undo whatever is now in place that does help. There’s nuthin' more nuthin' than that!
As for the GOP as we once knew it, we have been let in on how the Tea Party has changed it. We’re being shown what’s to come in 2012. Once upon a time the GOP held that to speak ill of another Republican was a mortal sin. No more. George W. Bush wasn’t conservative enough for the Tea Party. Tim Pawlenty was always in cahoots with us vile liberals. Evidently there is a special Tea Party hell reserved for those Republicans with the temerity to seek any sort of compromise with Democrats. In 2012 we apparently can expect the new, and Tea Party-improved, GOP to eat its own. Bon appétit!
The Tea Party (now GOP) commitment to “limit government to its constitutionally empowered duties and obligations …” has been repeated again and again. The problem is that they don’t care to enumerate those duties and obligations. Those Tea Party members who do, always ignore the charge to provide for the general welfare. That provision carries the duties of government well beyond the narrow interpretation given by the Tea Party.
A simple example is that, according to the last GOP/Tea Party candidate in 50A, since nowhere in the Minnesota or U. S. Constitution does it specifically say that nursing-home care for the elderly is to be provided for, to do so as is the practice today is an example of government overreach. As such it is unconstitutional and must be stopped.
Policies like that that are so unpalatable to most Minnesota and Fridley voters that usually GOP/Tea Party leaders refuse to discuss them in other than meaningless generalities. From his lack of specifics you can see that Taylor is no exception.
Finally, while Taylor professes Christianity, he ignores the Christian tradition of social justice. Perhaps, like Glen Beck, does he feel Christian social justice is actually a bizarre mix of Communism and Nazism? Since earliest Christianity social justice, rather than “me first,” was the order of the day for a thriving society. Even now in contemporary evangelical Christian circles, and even here in the United States, Christian social justice is being emphasized as the Christian value (i.e. The Sojourners).
Taylor is certainly entitled to hold and profess his own brand of Christianity. You can believe what you want, even Me-First Christianity. Me-First Christianity, however, is not grounded in the reality of Christian tradition or history in that it is a contemporary phenomena found only in the most radically right realms of the Christian universe. Of all the flavors of Christian thought, it is likely only the GOP/Tea Party that considers greed-focused Me-Firstism to be Christian.
So, as we in Fridley get willingly or reluctantly dragged into present-day political and social policy debates ,we have a bit clearer view of what the GOP/Tea Party represents and has in store for us. They would apply their interpretation of God’s will, as revealed to them, to undo the social safety net we as a state have struggled since 1858 to establish. They would disinvest in education. While espousing personal freedom and responsibility they would interfere in our right to marry who we please. They would deny our right to healthcare, a right enjoyed in every other developed country in the world and in many second and third world nations. And they would split us, creating a nation and a state without a middle class, one divided into the very rich and those who struggle to care for themselves and their families. Already in the U. S. the 400 wealthiest individuals are richer than over half of all of our households combined. (Actually they are shown to be richer than almost 60% of our households combined!) Does Taylor and the rest of the GOP/Tea Party want the nation’s wealth to be concentrated even more? And do the GOP/Tea Party faithful really think promoting this culture of greed is God’s work?
Having said all the above, and reflecting on the ongoing tragedy in Japan and its social policies and the type of society it is as compared to our own, I looked online for information as to just how the Japanese people were pulling together to see each other through this crisis—something that we liberal, socialist, statists think we should do here.
I was surprised to find the following on the GOP/Tea Party website Regular Folks United: “There is something noble about a society that chooses to look out for one another before fending for their own selves.” (You can read the full article here.) The point is that in the minds of at least some GOP/Tea Party types, a society based on community ideals, a society that looks out for one another is admirable in Japan, but it’s an abhorrent policy for us here at home. It’s just another GOP/Tea Party inconsistency.
—John Haluska, Fridley
Editor's note: The letter-writer has served as campaign manager for state Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL-50A). Fridley Patch welcomes your letters and opinions on topics of local interest. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.