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These are the real issues facing all of us

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

I recently received a letter about a column that I wrote back in July. Let me share it with you.

"Dear Mr. Dobbs,

"Your post July 4th editorial stated that the founding fathers were 'true radicals.' If they espoused the views of a majority of Americans, does that make them radicals or mainstream? "Since Sean Hannity and Rush also speak for a majority of Americans, and like the founders, love freedom from government tyranny, why would they think 'these guys are dangerous leftists?' You then took a clumsy stab at satire by asking if Jefferson was 'a Commie.' Why? Because he too wanted limited government? Then you smugly added that you'd 'bet Dick Cheney doesn't' love Jefferson.

"What are you trying to imply Mr. Dobbs? Wouldn't it be better if you just came out and said it? Let me help you. You detest Bush, Cheney, Rush, Sean and anyone else with a voice, or who has power, who disagree with your leftist views. The country is going right and you can't stand it. There, don't you feel much better? Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery.

"You should stick with local issues, like trash collection, and save your frustrated venom for private discussions with other 60's holdovers."

This was from Don Crossman of East Longmeadow.

Originally I wasn't going to comment on the letter and just run it. But I think Mr. Crossman makes a point about how the "left" and "right" look at each other.

Radio personalities such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are just that and nothing more. They are not statesmen trying to create a nation out of a colony as was Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries. They do not speak for the majority of Americans on all issues at all times. They couldn't possibly do that. We're just too diverse.

They speak for themselves in their effort to attract an audience in order to sell products as any pundit does. It's interesting to note how many advertisers buy time on both liberal and conservative talk radio shows. Those advertisers are not apparently interested in the ideology. They just want the talk radio audience.

Even if folks wanted to believe that Hannity and Limbaugh reflect the dominant American mindset, the current poll numbers do not agree with them. The majority of Americans do not approve of the way the President has handled the war in Iraq. And I would venture the opinion of the majority do not approve of the way the Bush Administration has reacted to Hurricane Katrina.

The Bush Administration is actually upsetting some conservatives who are concerned about the growing federal deficit. This administration does not have a "smaller is better" philosophy when it comes to the size of government.

What many people in this country are not realizing thanks to the over-simplification and distortion heard from people such as Hannity and Limbaugh is the real fight isn't one between the "left" and the "right." The current struggle is one of economic class.

More and more people are having trouble achieving middle class status and those of us in the middle class feel that our situation is slipping.

Consider for the moment the overwhelming debt so many young people are facing when they graduate from college due to student loans. They must take the loans to afford pursuing higher education and then their debt lasts for years. Despite their degrees, these young people are having a very hard time of reaching a point of having the traditional trappings of American life home ownership, two cars, annual vacations and a family.

The job market in this country is quite fluid. More and more out-sourcing combined with the trend to make several part-time positions from a full-time job to avoid paying benefits is affecting the fabric of American society.

Many Americans are seeing their buying power shrink and are forced to be more and more dependent on consumer goods made in China a country with shockingly low labor costs. Buying cheap doesn't necessarily help competing American businesses. It is a necessity of survival for too many of us.

These are the real issues facing all of us. The sooner we all realize that people such as those in the Bush Adminstration do not share the values that founded this country, the quicker we will be on the road to a brighter future.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent the views of Reminder Publications' publishers or advertisers.