Letters: Responses to Chuck Prochaska’s “Democrats don’t get it”

By The Daily Illini

I could reply to much of Thursday’s column, contradicting it with my own viewpoints. However, since it is an editorial, it would be fairly pointless because it is a matter of opinion. One sentence, however, struck me as something worth responding to: “I call it guaranteed security from terrorism, sound economic policy and a protected national moral fabric.”

A few things came to mind when reading this statement. First of all, the first attack on the homeland since Pearl Harbor happened during the Bush administration. Where were the terrorists when the “anti-war” Democrats were in office for eight years prior to Bush’s 2000 election?

Second, the economic policy. Of course “sound” is a relative term, but still, it’s worth noting that every member of the Bush administration’s original economic team was either fired or resigned by late February of 2003. Also, Bush’s top tax policy advisor, his budget director, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Undersecretary for Domestic Finance resigned during the first four years of his presidency. Most of these individuals stated that they wanted to spend more time with their families as their motivation for leaving. Interesting.

And finally, protection of the national moral fabric. Well, if that means a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, you make your point. Here’s perhaps another way of looking at it, though: The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program reported in 2000 that there were 1,424,489 violent crimes committed in that year, with violent crime being defined as murder, robbery, forcible rape, and aggravated assault. What really constitutes our nation’s moral fabric? Who is protecting it, and how?

The point of this is not to contest Bush’s victory, or even to say Kerry would have been better prepared to solve our nation’s problems. The thing that disturbed me most about Chuck Prochaska’s editorial is this: His verbatim reiteration of the things Bush said in his campaign as reasons for celebrating his victory. Indeed, 51 percent of the electorate did vote to re-elect President Bush. However, I believe many of those individuals did so because a few catchphrases from Bush’s campaign stuck with them after continuous exposure to them. Vague statements such as, “We’re safer now,” “I’m protecting our families,” or “Don’t trust him, he changes his mind on every issue,” are easy to remember, but unfortunately hard to put to any kind of test, because they are completely subjective. I was disappointed with both presidential candidates’ methods of debate, as their techniques seemed to center around this type of approach.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The least they can do is take the time to try to base it on something concrete, and not a list of stereotypes and unquantifiable statements.

Elmer J. Weaver

sophomore in LAS

Like most Democrats across the nation, I felt like the election was a disappointing and awful mess.

However, after reading Chuck Prochaska’s column titled “Democrats don’t get it” (Nov. 11), I was filled with disgust at this so-called “winning” attitude.

He speaks of liberals as “chain-smoking” and occupying their time at “all-organic wheat-free coffeeshops.” What an ignorant thing to say! The diversity of the Democratic Party extends from environmentalists to union workers to civil rights activists. This diversity is the very fire that drives the Democratic Party, and the picture Prochaska paints of liberals is absolutely incorrect.

He speaks of Bush’s policies that have yielded “a safe homeland and booming economy.” Perhaps I missed this “booming” economy. The last time I checked the facts, Bush had managed to turn a $236 billion surplus into a $415 billion deficit. And the reason? Oh yes, to wage a war on a sovereign nation with non-existent weapons of mass destruction. And as far as safety is concerned, I think the fact that bin Laden is still alive is enough to make any American fearful.

Prochaska also mentions that the French government’s disappointment in our political decisions makes him happy. This cowboy mentality inspired by our president implies that we’ll do whatever we want because we’re America. This is the very attitude that disgusts other nations. Quite frankly, they have a right to worry, too: two world wars were fought over the issues of excessive national power with respect to foreign relations.

I’m sorry Mr. Prochaska, but your distorted Republican views make me nervous for what the next four years will have in store for this country.

Anu Biswas

freshman in engineering

You know, I thought that I was hardened against the idiocies that so often disgrace the DI’s opinion section, and that, were I to read something as appalling as Chuck Prochaska’s column on Thursday, I would just bite my tongue and move on. Yet somehow I simply cannot keep silent. The language used here is that of a voice heard by a hallucinating schizophrenic. It is alien, yet undeniable; it is brutal, yet seductive; it is sick with hate and ignorance, yet pretends to be strong and vigorous, cloaked in words of love. But it’s the kind of love a group of bullies feels after making a cruel joke about others.

Jesus reached out to those in need, those who were reviled and shunned. Why can’t his followers do the same in this age? If the Bible is full of love, why do his followers vomit out its passages, convulsing under the spell of their hatred? These are honest questions that hurt my heart because of the need to ask them. My own family claims Christ as their savior, yet turn their back on others. I just don’t understand why.

And perhaps some will read this and automatically dismiss it because I said the name “Jesus” or the romantic version of the word “heart,” or they will assume that I’m some latte-drinking liberal and write me off; but when a person speaks the truth, it doesn’t become less so because others reject it with little or no critical thought. Truth is like an ember that can become a roaring blaze if fueled well.

Stop smothering the truth of Jesus’ life with obscure passages that are taken out of context. Just stop, for the love of God.

Stephen Antieau

sophomore in LAS

This is in response to Charles Prochaska’s column on Thursday, titled “Democrats don’t get it.”

Prochaska’s “forum” was a very frightening demonstration of what happens when overzealous religious and fascist conservatives decide that it’s safe to crawl out of the holes they have been hiding in. First of all, do not generalize the Christian far-right with conservatives. There are many conservatives who are not Christian (like myself), just as there are many Americans who are not Christian. The next two problems with this column are equally disturbing because of how misinformed ignorant Christians are about politics – Prochaska opened the door, I just walked through it.

Foremost, Republicans have not dominated politics since 1968. President Clinton was in office for eight years and presided over two houses of Congress that were in Republican control. Prior to that, however, the Republicans did not have a majority in the House. And before 1981 they did not have control of the Senate. Just because you’re writing in the opinions section does not mean you are allowed to make stuff up.

Secondly, no matter how you slice it, the economy is not booming. Are there more jobs? No. Is there a federal surplus? No. Are we even cutting the deficit? No. In fact, Bush has set astronomical records in each one of these categories. Mostly because he forgot that the other part of being an economic conservative is to cut spending, as well as taxes. The last problem was just a little bit hilarious. Where is the Midwest, Mr. Prochaska? Just because it’s not touching a coast doesn’t mean it’s in the Midwest. In closing: Charles, you scare me. Just because you are the stereotypical middle-class Christian Republican zealot does not mean you have to be ignorant and hateful. You will realize some day that exercising tolerance is not a double-latte liberal thing to do, but just a mature one.

Justin Doran

sophomore in engineering

president, College Libertarians

Chuck Prochaska’s article in Thursday’s paper was an outrage – and a part of me wants to believe that was his purpose, because anyone with such intolerant views cannot possibly consider himself to be part of a free society.

Though it is hard to believe that anyone could consider a Midwesterner close-minded after reading Chuck’s article (strong sarcasm), it appears that there are some serious flaws in the politics of a select few hard-core conservatives. Many Republicans seem to believe that the “overwhelming” victory of their party based on ethics has brought this country closer to God. The article argued that the re-election of the Bush administration will lead us closer toward “a significant Christian influence in our government and our lives” and “true American values.” Maybe it is not clear enough that this “Christian influence” is alienating a good portion of our country. Wasn’t the main principle upon which the United States of America was founded the freedom from religious persecution? Whatever happened to separation of Church and state? Let me also remind the readers that this “freak show” – Chuck’s rendition of homosexuality – represents 10 percent of our country. The further we move toward this Republican ideal, the further we move from the founding ideals of our country. The “true American values” that have been forgotten are one’s rights to express oneself – the pursuit of happiness in whatever form that may take. Apparently Mr. Prochaska has failed to realize that while “51 percent of voting Americans saw the failures of the [Democratic Party],” the other 49 percent saw the glaring deficiencies of the Republican Party, without being pressured because of the war. There is no better half of this country. And the 1 percent of all voters that made the difference is no more significant than any other sector of our society. The article also implied that the Bush administration would make America invincible to all harm. As far as this “guaranteed security from terrorism” goes, if you are willing to sacrifice your God-given rights granted to you in the Constitution for a so-called “safety blanket” that no one can truly ensure, you do not deserve to be called an American. Perhaps the “charade” of which you speak is not held up by Democrats but rather the Republicans, changing the rules of our long-standing democracy as they go. Wait, that’s not all Republicans, that’s just Georgie.

Mandy Poole

freshman in engineering