The Doctor's Rebuttal
Letter To The Editor
January 25, 2023 | View PDF
I am a physician who has worked in this region since 1986. I look at the local newspapers, browse the headlines, but admit that I do not read the details of most articles. After I read a prominently featured submission, entitled “Middle-class politeness” in the Sidney Herald newspaper (dated 1/22/23), however, I felt compelled to respond.
It irritated me that Jim Elliott (from the far western part of Montana), the author of that article, took former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s words from 1978 completely out of context. The author repeatedly said that Republicans “demonize the opposition” and have waged war on middle class politeness. Elliott’s criticism of Gingrich, and presumably the 50% of Americans who vote for conservatives in elections, is yet another example of the divisiveness in the media and the political class. I presume the goal of this is to maintain power. These policies and practices are certainly not in the best interests of America.
I do not believe this piece represents the views of eastern Montana or western North Dakota. Conservatives are not “evil,” as the article implies, but labelling them as such is evil indeed. There is obviously plenty of nastiness on both sides of the political aisle. It should be noted, however, that 83% of people from Richland County voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election. Maybe our local newspaper should stick to matters of local interest.
Compromise in politics seems to be a thing of the past, but there have been a few situations when the opposing parties debated and resolved issues. For example, Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton disagreed on many things – but to their credit they joined hands in the “Personal Responsibility and Work Act” of 1996. Democrats and Republicans seem to only cooperate during national crises. I believe the time is now for our political leaders to have civil debate and come up with meaningful solutions for our country’s many current problems.
Democrat party attacks on Republicans have been rampant. I offer a few examples: Liberals shamelessly attacked conservative-leaning Supreme Court justices during the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. The confirmation process for newly appointed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in comparison, was quite civil. And when Hillary Rodham Clinton was running for the presidency, she referred to Republicans as a “basket of deplorables.” And don’t forget when Joe Biden famously said to a reporter: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” Comments like these try to exploit identity politics to win votes, and they tear America apart. This politicking ignores the fact that our country is evenly divided between conservatives and liberals, and these contrasting viewpoints often correlates with whether people live in rural versus urban areas.
I was born and raised in the Minneapolis area, which has been a site of great political turmoil in recent years. I supported the DFL political party in my youth. I thought Senators Humphrey and Mondale were great people, although I didn’t agree with their “tax and spend” agendas. I am from a lower middle-class background. Dad had to work 4 jobs to keep food on the table. I was brought up to believe that commitment to old-fashioned values (God, Family, Country, and Hard Work) were the best way to overcome personal and universal challenges. I was liberal with conservative leanings at that time. I now regard myself as a “compassionate conservative,” and I try to adhere to that credo.
I do not think progressive liberals should use scare tactics. For example, the “Earth Day” predictions of 1970 said that civilization would end in 15-30 years, 100-200 million people per year would die of starvation, and that there would be a new ice age by the year 2000. That obviously did not happen. I also remember that Al Gore made predictions in 2006 that the polar ice cap would be completely gone by 2013, and that he believed “humanity may have only 10 years left to save the planet from turning into a total frying pan.” His movie, An Inconvenient Truth, won him an Oscar and a Nobel Prize for saying that. His grandiose and erroneous comments have made Al Gore millions of dollars.
In a related way, the tendency for liberals to label America as a racist country has entirely backfired. About one-third of Americans thought racism was a problem in our country before Barack Obama became president. Eight years later polls said that two-thirds said it was a problem. The “Woke Movement,” as it is called, claims to “be awake” to everything that is terrible in the world. People who are “woke” not only say that America is racist – they also criticize the economic, scientific, biological, societal, and the Judeo-Christian fabric of our society.
Many discoveries were made, and movements occurred, before true critical thinking was abandoned. The Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements of the 1960s were obviously good things. Saying everyone is racist and sexist is simply not true. Cynicism permeates every aspect of our lives. Everything we used to value (God, Science, and the American way of life) is evil and should be rejected. I invite people to read Cynical Theories, copyright 2020, written by Helen Pluck and James Lindsay, for a thorough discussion of these issues.
Where will all this negativism lead us? Pray and work for an end to the division in our society. This has been a great country. I believe it still is. I hope it will remain so for the sake of my grandchildren.
Jerry “Doc” Kessler