Lost in the thicket of political opinions and observations


I read your article that appeared in today's (Nov. 11) Review-Journal. It made no sense that you would print it today (after the election). The only thing that made any sense to me was the expression you made about our rights to vote in this country. Your political views are laughable! I guess that's why Mitt Romney lost the election. Sincerely, Clare Sklodowski

So, you open up your Sunday paper and read a column about the "upcoming" general election that has already happened. That is confusing. But not to worry, Clare! You simply got caught in a Human Matters time warp. It happens all the time.

You see, Clare, I don't print my column. Not today or any day. The Review-Journal prints it. On Sundays. And they post my second column on the View website. On Tuesdays. I woke up early on Election Day and wrote that column. Then Sunday came, and the Review-Journal published the column. Just like clockwork.

So, the good news is, neither of us is losing our mind.

Next, it's nice to know you thought the "expression I made about our rights to vote in this country" made sense. I like making sense, and I try every day to make sense. And while I never have used the expression "making sense with my expressions," well, I suppose a man who values making sense should try to do so on multiple levels. So, again, thank you.

Next is what I assume to be the real thrust of your correspondence. You understand my political views to be "laughable." And you believe those laughable views cost Mitt Romney his bid for the presidency.

Now it's Monday, Nov. 12, and I'm sitting in an airport in Philadelphia. I received your letter yesterday morning. I tell you this because I want to be forthright about the time I've had to contemplate your argument. I did not want to seem to be exploiting an unfair advantage.

Not that it mattered, in this case. Give me a week to ponder this, and I'd still be overwhelmed. Completely buffaloed. I'm saying your argument is simply beyond me. You win. My political views are laughable. Touche. I am fallen. Bested.

Perhaps my victor would offer me the dignity of identifying the political views in said column. Because, if there are many political views contained therein, I missed them. I thought they were mostly observations. Let me list for you what I consider the observations I was making:

• That the Democratic party identifies historically and strongly with labor unions;

• That Republicans, under George Bush Jr., gave us the doctrine of pre-emptive war;

• That the Democratic Party identifies itself with "special interest" groups significantly more so than Republicans;

• That the Republican Party identifies itself with what has become known as the "religious right," a relationship I first noticed during the Reagan administration.

• That both parties, starting around World War II, have not given a damn about balanced budgets and must and do share the responsibility for spending us into oblivion. They merely spend the money we don't have on different things.

• That the two-party system in America abides in a painful and hostile gridlock, which I likened to the San Andreas fault.

For me, these are no more "political views" than my "view" that the sun rises in the east. Surely observing things aloud can't cost candidates elections.

Yes, there are some "views" in the column, though a few are merely implied. At the very least, I'd be willing to call them political opinions. They are:

• That "special interest" and the "religious right" bog down and even distort the two parties, respectively, from serving their constituents and wider America;

• That labor unions are, today, in my opinion, near vestigial and worse, sometimes a hindrance to excellence;

• That the doctrine of pre-emptive war troubles my soul deeply, to say the least.

So, if you'd be willing to go the extra mile, perhaps you'd identify for me the "political views" my column contains and which of these are laughable. Or perhaps all of them are laughable. Either way.

Now, to your incisive argument: My "political views" (whatever they are) "are laughable."

See, this is where you lose me. I'm a dinosaur. The world has passed me by. When I learned debate, they taught us to craft actual linear arguments. That the words "I disagree" would be immediately followed by content and substance. In short, we were required to bring actual arguments to the table.

Not today. Today debate is simpler. "You are laughable. You are stupid. You hate America. You suck. My opponent hasn't paid taxes in 12 years. My opponent is a Kenyan nationalist ," etc.

So, there you have it. You win. I'd love to engage you, but I'd need you to type things that might engender "Good point," or "That made me think," or "We disagree, and here's why ."

If you would be so kind.

Oh, and here's a teaser for you: Who did I vote for? Guess right and you win a Dairy Queen blizzard.

Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Las Vegas Psychiatry and the author of "Human Matters: Wise and Witty Counsel on Relationships, Parenting, Grief and Doing the Right Thing" (Stephens Press). His columns also appear on Sundays in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 702-227-4165 or skalas@reviewjournal.com.

 

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