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Educating the Under-Educated

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Where do I begin? The letter to the editor from Jim Fry in the Houston Chronicle of February 2, 2010 was so filled with stereotypical tea-baggin' clichàs that I wondered whether or not it was some kind of joke played by the Chronicle on us readers. Assuming that is not the case I just have to take a deep breath and respond and hope that Mr. Fry stops watching Fox News long enough to read my response.

I must admit that the Republicans, including this latest Palin/Beck wing of the party, have been very good at framing their arguments so that the least of Americans can understand them. They know how to put it in simple terms to tug at the heart strings and raise the fearsome specter of terrorism and socialism to gain support for their side even though their side doesn't have a counter policy to those that they rail against. They just rail against them.

Repetition is one of their most frequently used tools. Say that health care reform is a government takeover of one sixth of the economy enough times and eventually some people will treat it as fact even though it isn't. Repeatedly say that Obama is a socialist and is taking this country into socialism and sooner or later the minions will believe it even if they don't really know what socialism is.

Obama inherited the biggest government with the most infringements upon civil liberties since WWII from George W. Bush. To fix the broken economy he inherited extreme measures have to be taken, like the one Bush, McCain, and Obama all agreed to when they bailed out Wall Street with $800 billion.

Imagine a country where your phone conversations can be tapped without any kind of warrant. Imagine a country whose government can check into what books you check out of the library without any kind of warrant and can force the library to stay mum about it. Imagine a government that can throw someone in jail without charges or legal representation and hold them indefinitely. Imagine a country whose leaders never say no to financing a military incursion into another country even though social services in their own country are pitifully underfunded. Imagine a country that condones torture of prisoners and openly disdains international law. Sound like the old Soviet Union? That country is the United States and those are all policies established by Bush/Cheney that Obama inherited.

It's difficult enough to run a democracy when the voters are educated. But when half of the people just refuse to read beyond the headlines or listen past the sound bites or check more than one source of information it makes it pretty much impossible for a democracy to work. Heck, this group is still ranting that Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya.

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A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo with an MBA in 1980, John went into the banking business from 1981-1991. John went into the gymnastics business with his wife, with whom he has two children, in 1992 and grew it enough (more...)

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