Pious blubberings like those of Thomas Creed (Letters, Aug. 19) lamenting the "rampage" of the public response to the town-hall meetings, labeling the passion of the protesters as "lunacy," and lecturing us all on the "fragile process of sitting at the table to work out a common goal" have failed utterly to see the forest for the trees.
The fact is that the people aren't in a debating mood at this juncture. Certainly that's regrettable, because a full-throated, wide-ranging discussion is clearly in order. It can't happen at this time, however, because the people are, frankly, pissed off—and quite understandably so. This administration has rapidly overreached itself, and the public is balking.
There has been a groundswell of not merely discontent, but indeed very deep resentment building almost since Inauguration Day, and there's no point ignoring or denying it any longer.
What's more, the protesters—in the main—aren't politicos of any stripe. What they are, largely, are independents who are feeling increasingly betrayed and used. This isn't the "change" they signed on for in November, and if the president thinks he's got a mandate to restructure the healthcare system or the health-insurance industry (let alone the broader economy), he's in for one rude awakening.
When the administration and congressional leadership declared their intent to have a healthcare bill in the Oval Office for signature before the August recess, they exposed their high-handed elitism for what it was.
In effect, they were signaling their intention to push through this legislation without a public debate—because that's precisely what a pre-recess bill would have entailed. So all this shmegegge now from the reform proponents—about how their desire to "discuss" the matter is being foiled by the "disruptions" of "organized mobs"—is the height of chutzpah. It's outrageously disingenuous and precisely 180 degrees bass-ackwards.
Let's be candid: if the Democratic Party leadership truly wanted a debate, they would never have attempted to ram through a bill before the recess. What's more, while various elements (conventional or less than) may well be trying to make political hay of it, this movement is neither Republican-inspired nor Republican-organized. Get real: the GOP could neither inspire nor organize a pissing contest in a brewery.
Nor is this the "creation" of conservative talk-radio. Arguably, in fact, it's just the reverse. The insurgents have effectively taken their discontent to talk radio, not from it. You can't "create" that kind of passion, and it's damned hard to co-opt it. Go ahead; ignore these words if you like. Write this off as the ravings of an addled crank. But the longer you remain in denial, the greater will be your shock of awakening when it finally arrives.
Re "Boy, People Sure Hate Taxes" (Letters, Aug. 5), I think a little historical research is needed here. I asked a former California state legislator, a former California town mayor and both pro- and anti-Proposition 13 people for the facts. This is what was concluded: Prop. 13 was and is a double-edged sword, a pork barrel initiative and a wolf in sheep's clothing. There is no doubt that Prop. 13 is a root cause of California's fiscal crisis.
Here are some sensible solutions:
• Legalize marijuana and tax it. There has to date been no medical, scientific or rational argument for marijuana to be illegal. All the "offenders" who have been imprisoned for committing the victimless crime of smoking or growing pot should be released from prison, with an apology. This will also further reduce the draining of our economic resources.
• Eliminate or at least suspend the death penalty. Keeping inmates on death row costs us billions.
• Tax off-shore oil. That alone would probably solve the state's budget problems. (But then, the oil companies and corporations have more say over our government than we, the voters, have.)