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LETTER: There Are Many Rails In American Politics


The following is a letter to the editor from Paul Cully. Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views of WestfordCAT or its Board of Directors. To submit your own content, e-mail [email protected]

There are far more than three rails in American politics today.  There is the traditional conservative rail, the radical conservative rail, the traditional liberal rail, the progressive rail, the Green rail, the isolationist/separatist rail, the Libertarian rail – even the Galvin rail that rails against all other rails.  And there are many grey spaces between rails.  All these opinions and viewpoints resolve to create an America that is unique and should make America strong. 

Mr. Galvin especially criticizes progressives and singles them out for playing a significant part in bringing about the division in our politics.  According to him, progressives want to tear down and rebuild society, advocate for centralized re-education (whatever that is), rule by fiat, wealth redistribution, and believe that the constitution is biased towards certain classes.  Further he criticizes the President for his “anemic response … to ISIS” and his “vehement public attacks on Republicans, rather than homicidal radical Islamists.” 

For more than 50 years we have engaged in war after war.  How has this worked for us?  Is the planet a more peaceful place now?  What conflicts were resolved?  What has it cost us?  In light of what history teaches us, what is the correct response to ISIS and like organizations – more war?  Does it make sense to repeat, over and over again, an activity that produces the same result every time we repeat it?  I recommend reading and studying “America’s War for the Greater Middle East” by Andrew J. Bacevich, a 20 year veteran of the U. S. Armed Forces, (Random House – 2016). 

What have we considered about those who now oppose us worldwide?  Have they been radicalized, in part, by our actions?  If making war creates enemies, have we participated in a “self-fulfilling, self-perpetuating activity” – the more wars we fight, the more enemies we make, which leads to even more and larger wars?  Whose needs were met by 50 plus years of war – the common man, the military personnel we sent to fight the wars,  the ordinary people living in those regions where war has been fought – or those who send young men and women to fight?  Is “protecting American interests” really the interests of the average American, or is it in reality the interests of a more elite, limited, class of Americans? 

Progressives espouse expanding public education beyond grade 12, “single-payer” universal health care, rule by fair elections (not by fiat or by the elite), free markets that are also fair, and constitutional interpretations that consider the full phraseology of its tenets instead of partial phrases.  They believe that higher education is not just for the elite, and that placing those who haven’t the funds into financial slavery to obtain a higher education is unfair and not in society’s best interests.  They believe that every citizen should have access to health care as a right, not as a matter of circumstance, religion, race, or any other condition.  They believe that all citizens have the right to vote in elections, and that practices that exclude any person or group are unfair and un-American.  They believe that markets that take advantage of a surplus of low cost labor to exploit and suppress, are wrong – are inherently not free because they are not fair.   Progressives believe that when political campaigns are determined by unregulated funds, those with nearly unlimited funds dictate the outcomes, and that this is un-American and results in legislation, policies, and practices that are harmful to the general populace.  Progressives believe that the legal construct that we know as corporations, are not people.  Progressives believe that if the constitution insures the right to bear arms, that the full meaning of the wording, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” also insures that the government has the responsibility to see to it that those whose bear arms are regulated in accordance with the best interests of all citizens and in a manner that insures that government cannot abuse its regulatory powers.  All this and much more is what progressives believe. 

It is completely false to say that progressives are Marxists.  It is completely backwards to contend that progressives “care only about their agenda” – it is the agenda itself that tells the story that progressives do very much “feel affinity for their nation and fellow countrymen.”  Indeed, Mr. Galvin is correct, we do have far bigger problems than just ISIS.  Pogo got it right: “We have met the enemy and he is us.