Saturday, March 28, 2015

Walk a mile in a liberal's shoes

As you might imagine I get a lot of email in response to my columns. Some of it’s appreciative; some not so much. There are some folks who think my columns are just too far left. My doctor once asked me, “About that stuff you write for the newspaper. Do you really believe it or are you just trying to p*** people off?

Can’t it be both?

Many readers believe that to serve the community, the newspaper ought only to mirror their far-right opinions. Paraphrasing one recent letter to the editor, “This is a conservative state. Why are you publishing this left-wing stuff?”

It’s called democracy, an arena of ideas.

If you conservatives think it’s hard to put up with a few liberals writing occasional opinion pieces, walk a mile in our shoes. Using last Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (March 22) as an example let me tell you what it’s like for a liberal stroll through the morning paper.

The front-page story about Wal-Mart explains their new store, which they touted as having a huge economic impact on Cheyenne, won’t.  Like the Keystone pipeline there may be a lot of new jobs during construction but few afterward. There was surprisingly good news from the corporation liberals love to hate. Wal-Mart’s increase in workers’ wages to $9 per hour may cause other low-paying businesses to compete for workers by raising pitiful wages. Food stamps might not have to subsidize so many employers.

Page A6, informed readers of yet another juvenile justice study. If you stacked all the studies done on juvenile justice since the 60s, they’d stretch to the moon and back. Virtually all make the same recommendations, which the legislature always disregards when one of the feudal lords complains. The feudal lords are well-connected Republican county attorneys who think these kids ought to be scared straight and have their futures stolen from them.

Readers finding the editorial page were treated to a letter-to-the-editor from someone who believes that once you have a first grade education, you can fully comprehend the Bible. It’s as easy as a Dick and Jane reader, right? He selectively used verses from the Good Book to prove the government should kill human beings. Can’t these small government conservatives understand there’s no government bigger than one that can take your life, especially when you might be innocent?

Page D-1 reports on the GOP budget. They propose a “balanced budget” by repealing Obamacare, which they would claim is the fix for everything including climate change if they believed in it. Of course, repealing Obamacare actually reduces revenue, but if first grade reading can get you through the Bible, first grade arithmetic can get you a balanced budget.

Finally a “Journey” section story confirms the goal of Cheyenne radio station owners to make certain we don’t hear anything but far-right fanatics on local airwaves. Day-long Hannity, Dennis Miller, Rush, Fox, and my friend Gary Freeman (I do consider him one) doesn’t give righties enough of a fix. My old radio employer KRAE, contracted with yet another. Despite being fired repeatedly from other stations, according to the article, for trashing sponsors and sexual harassment, Dino Costa’s willingness to call Barack Obama a “lying, sociopathic liar” landed him a contract doing rightwing sports talk. The news-story said he will deliver “loud, opinionated rants straight from the Capitol City.” Oh goody!

In 1970, KRAE fired me from a rock-n-roll DJ’s gig when I announced I was running for the legislature. It was expected that radio stations present both sides of issues. I understood my firing. What I don’t get is why equal time no longer matters to either the broadcasters or most listeners.

The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle should be saluted, for attempting balance; a goal local radio stations should embrace. There aren’t near so many of us liberals as there are of you conservatives. Still, as the Dick and Jane translation of the Bible teaches, “Even the dogs are allowed to eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

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