OPINION

On ‘The Dangerous Side of the USA’

I am amazed at how people who are purportedly English speakers are able to say drastically misread an article printed in English. 

While the claim that the USA is governed by the coasts is overzealous the rest of the article is not overreaching in it’s assumptions. The point of the article is to highlight the dangerously mislead politics of the Tea Party movement.

Everyone agrees that over-indebtedness is not a good thing. We disagree only on how it should be tackled. I see many commentators arguing that foreigners don’t understand the sociopolitical roots of politics in the USA. Funny, since those politics were founded in Europe. Republicans seem to have forgotten why their political philosophy advocates little government interference. The reason behind the theory is that government involvement tends to handicap your ability to actualize your potential. That is why the author calls it the ‘enlightened right.’

The right has focused on trickle-down economics (which economists have proved does not really create effective change), while the left has focused on transfers as a means to redistributing wealth so that people can pull themselves up by their boot straps.

This is what the author means when both sides were focused on the same progressive goal, that being enhancing the economic situation of the citizens of the USA.

In a society where there exist few factors to create inequality, or with simple economies this may be possible. We must not be blind to the conditions of this modern age however. The Tea Party was birthed out of the need to tackle the USA’s debt and rightly so. It is unfortunate that it wasn’t born with any of the economic sense needed to tackle the problem. It is fundamental economics that when your economy is going down the drain you need to cut money where the loss is not justifiable and spend where it will reap a return.

Most of the unemployed in the USA are people who do not have the skills to compete in the dynamic job markets that currently exist in that country. Citizens of the USA need to wake up and realize the day of car factories and manufacturing jobs are largely over. The economy of the USA is no longer based on manufactures, and that is okay.

The problem is that instead of talking about instituting job retraining programs, or programs to help ease the cost for people with skills to go back to school to update those skills, or to help people who can’t even afford to go to school thanks to unjustifiably high tuition costs that currently outpace the rate of inflation without providing any reason in terms of improvement in quality of education, any mention of spending has become the Golgotha of the politician who mentioned it. That this blind budget cutting, without any serious or enlightened thought as to the consequences is the policy of the Tea Party movement is frightening.

Warren Buffet himself, the third-richest person on earth, recently posted an op-ed in the New York Times, asking why the government is making him pay less of a percentage of taxes on his income over one million dollars that the average middle-class citizen in the USA is paying on their income under one-hundred thousand dollars. He also has some enlightening points on the difference between payroll taxes, which affect most of the low- to middle-class earners, and capital gains taxes which affect most of the extremely rich in the country, the former demanding a higher percentage of income than the latter.

As for the religious focus of the Tea Party movement, it is impossible to say that people should forget about their religion, but it is completely reasonable that they should leave religion outside of the debate when it comes to ensuring equal social rights to all groups, lest the USA become dictated by a Christian version of Sharia, a concept which the same conservative Christians are quick to denounce in Muslim societies.

As one commentator said, there where many Christians pounding on the bible to provide reasons for the emancipation of the slaves. They seem to also have to conveniently forgotten that for individual doing so, there was another person pounding on the bible providing reasons for why slavery is acceptable, the least of which being that it is said blatantly that a man may own slaves in the Old Testament. Europe fears a conservative, inward facing USA for one reason.

The USA is a the linchpin of global peace and there is no other country on earth that has enough consolidated power to ensure international stability like the USA does. The citizens of the USA need to take a very hard look at themselves and put aside the tendency for sensationalism within every person, in order to build a responsible economic policy for the 21st century. The answer does not lay in over-cutting the budget, or in overspending. The answer lays in redirecting spending towards projects which will reap economic, social, and political returns.

For those Christians that do not see the urgency of putting aside their own convictions in order to reach a peaceful consensus, I refer them to Hymn to Love found in Corinthians.

Andreas Argeros

What you are seeing happening in Syria will never happen in the USA. In the USA our Constitution forbids the government from eliminating a citizen?s right to own arms.

As one who grew up in the Greek mountains surrounded by guns during the German occupation of Greece, I can tell you there is no need to fear guns. The only time in my life that I was consumed with fear was on an occasion where I felt threatened, but had no access to a firearm.

We Americans, even those of us born in Greece, know the value of the second amendment to our Constitution. Greek citizens would be better protected if they had similar rights.

Chris Kapsambelis

I read Papachelas’ column with amusement and astonishment for its lack of objective when it comes to American politics and in particular the Republican Party. First of all President Obama is a man who was elected president. His race is not the issue. We do not judge a leader by his color, race, or ethnicity, but by the job he is doing.

The Democrats had full and overwhelming control of the American political landscape for two years with Obama at the helm. In those two years they managed to put us deeper in debt, gas prices have doubled, unemployment has increased dramatically, inflation is on the upswing, housing has tanked, we lost our AAA rating, our stock market is losing billions, we have new government regulations hampering business growth, and we are in danger of a double dip recession. These are the facts. If there is a «dangerous side of the USA» it is the need for President Obama to reverse course from his current trajectory. His policies are leading the nation into a bleak and hopeless future.

Peter Demetralis

Los Angeles

I could not stand the qualities that Mr Papachelas ascribed to current Americans, in 1965, when I moved to Greece, more or less permanently. What I felt then, and he ascribes to the present, are equally true. And what a shame.

But the gun fixation has become even worse. University students are allowed the luxury of carrying concealed weapons in Arizona, and other states have «rights» equally extreme. In Congress recently, a lawmaker bemoaned the prohibition of his carrying a weapon therein.

Then there is the new clown in the ring, Perry, Republican candidate for the presidency. He neither believes in climate change nor evolution. Listening to him speak it is easy to understand his disbelief in the latter. He is the curious Devolving American Man.

George Dillon Slater

Being a Greek-American, there are some things about Greece I just don’t understand, and there are some things about the United States that many Greeks obviously do not understand as well. For one thing, just as the writer said that the Republican Party has been overtaken by the extreme right of American politics, the Democratic Party has been overtaken by the extreme left of American politics since the 1960s. This is what drove most of those of the Bible Belt, the American south and rural American in general, over to the Republican Party beginning with Richard Nixon, who called them part of the Moral Majority.

Before this point in time, the American south was rock solid Democratic Party going back to the beginning of the United States, literally back to Thomas Jefferson himself, when the Democratic Party was center-right. And the American south being largely Republican since 1964 did not stop three Democratic Presidents from being elected from the south: Johnson, Carter and Clinton. Southerners would still vote for one of their own, regardless of political affiliation.

Also, the elites referred to by the writer coming from the east and west coasts of the United States being in control of American politics is only half-true: The real heart of the United States is the American midwest, states like Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio. The writer exposed his political bias by taking a hit at President George W. Bush, who to someone with left-leaning affiliations was the «reckless cowboy,» but to someone on the right was a President who defended his country.

How does the writer who says America redeemed itself by electing Democratic President Barack Obama reconcile the fact that it was this American President who ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden?

 

Peter Kates