Progressives aren't the ones who abandoned civility

March 30, 2011

Regarding "Liberals' concern for civility didn't last long" (March 30), Marta Mossburg can rest assured on her think-tank fainting couch that it was long before the Tucson tragedy that the civility that is supposed to be forever associated with progressives had long since eroded.

With the election of President Obama, there was optimism that America was finally being pulled out of eight years of regressive fiscal and foolhardy foreign policies. Unfortunately for some, Robert Dole's version of health care reform became "socialism," Cash for Clunkers became "Marxism," and mild tax increases for the top income earners was "tyranny." Heaven forbid The president pay a visit to a public school — that evoked memories of Nazi Germany. Let's not forget the dubious scholarship about the president's citizenship (which now appears to be mainstream thinking among Republicans, according to recent polls).

President Obama's predecessor rammed any bill he saw fit through Congress, opposition be dammed. President Obama on the other hand, reached out in the spirit of bipartisanship. Big mistake, as the circuses at the health care town hall meetings proved, and it's all been downhill since. The Bush tax cuts remain intact, our wars with Iraq and Afghanistan perpetuate, Guantanamo is still open for torture, and our health care is still governed by business decisions. You would think that would please somebody.

But no, it's the public sector unions that are (now) putting the drain on the economy. It's not tax exempt offshore businesses, credit derivatives, agribusiness subsidies or a lack of progressive taxation — it's those greedy teacher unions and their high salaries and luxurious benefits. Perhaps our newest alternative fuel source could be a turbine fashioned around George Orwell's spinning grave.

But who needs all that bothersome context? Intellectuals like Ms. Mossburg are suddenly aghast that the progressive backlash against public sector unions being smashed doesn't fit her view of progressives being "so kumbaya," as she so adroitly puts it. Worker rights that took over a century to build being dismantled, only to have progressives "protest the [very] legislation they didn't like"? Angry rhetoric by the proletariat? The temerity!

And yet, there are no ominous overtones from progressives about "exercising Second Amendment rights" or "watering the Tree of Liberty." Not that Mrs. Mossburg had noticed.

Paul Dudack, Baltimore

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