Larry Anderson

In writing a column, I express what I want to say, not necessarily what readers want to hear. My goals are to raise awareness and to question as opposed to pandering. This can displease those claiming liberal persuasion. 

A column published in the Forum a couple of weeks ago provoked a double-barreled response from critics Terry Vaughn and Michael Baumli. These were separate letters to the editor, so I will take them one at a time. 

Mr. Vaughn called the column in question a “…diatribe against anyone or anything not supporting his right wing, ultra conservative agenda.” That’s heavy criticism worth analysis.

Clearly I don’t write diatribes or manifestos or political treatises. I do write critically about politics and those who participate, but I get to do that. It falls under the First Amendment, the same protection that Mr. Vaughn has in writing his letter to the editor. If anyone wants to hear a real diatribe, then I will refer you to The Squad. 

I have previously stated in this column I am a fiscal conservative but a social moderate. I am hardly ultra conservative, but I will cheerfully admit I am not liberal in anything nor do I want to be. 

I have no agenda. I am not running for office. That doesn’t mean I can’t criticize politics or politicians since disapproval comes with the territory. Also, critical thinking is a good thing even if it conflicts with the liberal position which way too often lacks it.

Vaughn  added, “I know the paper keeps him on because he fires up the masses…”  Understand, I am not an employee of this or any newspaper. I am a contributing columnist with journalism on my sheet. I don’t write carelessly, and my opinion isn‘t lonely. By the way, referring to individuals as masses was a Lenin thing. Oopsie Daisy!

In that same column I mentioned Biden’s approval had dropped from around 51% when elected to a recent 41% according to a USA Today poll. I have indeed become skeptical of polls during the election season, but now isn’t one. I felt a drop of 10 points after just nine months in office indicated the honeymoon was over early. This was right after the Afghanistan debacle which heavily influenced public opinion.

To be fair, few presidents can long maintain an approval rating above 50%. One has to be successful across the broad political plane, do good things for the country, and be popular. The last president to sustain all these was Ronald Reagan who carried 49 out of 50 states when re-elected in 1984.

Vaughn also made the incredible claim,”…our country will, or can, never be a socialist country.” Trump said the same thing. I disagree with both men based on the practices, policies and plotting of those on the left currently in office. To say we can’t engage in a dominant socialist experiment under any circumstance simply isn’t true. 

A favorite fallback position for testy liberals is to claim writers such as myself just don’t understand socialism and, therefore, misrepresent it. Well, I know quite a bit about it, and I see patterns developing here that have taken place in other socialist countries. The unknown factor is how much socialism will the American people tolerate. 

Another fallback is to claim smugly anyone who participates in social programs such as Social Security and Medicare are already indulging in socialism and aren’t bright enough to know it. Understand, all responsible societies have some social programs, but public education or good highways or a program to protect the elderly does not make a country socialist. Adopting socialist doctrine, replacing a democratic form of government with a centralized one, and attacking individual freedom and rights does. In my opinion, that’s where American is headed.

Mr. Baumli quoted from my column and then got more specific on points  involving the procedure for withdrawal from Afghanistan. One point concerned removing equipment. Mr. Baumli asked, “How were Afghani troops supposed to fight the Taliban if we took their equipment?”

The point is the Afghan army that America armed and trained for 20 years didn’t fight. They stood down which strongly suggests they were ordered to do so. The Afghan government folded, then fled. That suggests an arrangement designed around forfeit. 

Whether weapons were left on the ground or with the Afghan army, they are now in the hands of the Taliban which has returned to its original horrors. President Biden owns the Afghanistan exit and its  consequences no matter what he or his diminishing defenders say.

Larry W. Anderson is a retired educator.