Friedman’s article and letters to the NY Times

October 3, 2010

In reference to the Friedman article on 3rd parties: The problem is not with third parties themselves or whether we should or shouldn't have them. France, England and other countries have multi-party systems and end up fielding the same kind of howling cacaphony and stasis we have here when it comes to the hot button political issues. We unfortunately have ever growing masses of hapless enablers who sanction candidates like Angle, DeMint, O’Donnell, Paladino, Gingrich etc. to mount campaigns. That these people have constituencies is the problem not what party they may be representing or whether it’s a third or a fourth party. Here are some parties you might like to see so that we can have more than two. How about the NRA as a party or the Heritage Foundation. Like that? The Klan might still have a base somewhere, let’s have them. The Federalist Society, The American Legion, The Cato Institute. How about that fake religious group that provides a safe house in D.C for Republican members of Congress and the Senate so they can have affairs and a free place to say. It is an axiomatic falsehood to say that more of this is going to begin to fix our problems with political dialogue. Moronic would be a clearer assignation. Since so much of the divisive debate centers around the big government issue it seems worth making one long point in that regard. The great advocates on the Right forget that the original big government crowd were the folks they hail as our saviors: the founding fathers. They went from NO government to the world’s standing model for big inclusion and big civil society almost in an instant. They created three--not one--divisions of government, buildings and a place to house it all, taxation systems, a census, courts, banks, agencies, executors and eventually parks, a library, museums, a standing army--the list goes on. This was all done before the twentieth century had even begun. They were a LIBERAL, philosophical, educated, religion-neutral fraternity willing to set their sights on creative "big" change. I guess that can only be allowed to happen once and then, for ever after, it’s up to the reflexive "thinkers" to carry out and protect the grand mission. Of course we will have a bigger government to govern 300 million than to govern a tenth that. Want a big war in Iraq to protect us from terrorism? Big government is your answer. Want another one in Afganistan just for good measure? Big government is here to serve you. Air travel getting you nervous? Homeland Security, big government’s balm, is there to calm your shattered nerves. That next hurricane? FEMA and my friend Alex are doing what they can in big government to ease your burden. Most people on the conservative end of the stick want these things. They want big government when it fixes something for them. As a liberal (and more liberal than most) I should want these things too because they are big. But FEMA is about all I care to pull for in this particular laundry list and I only feel better about that because I have a great deal of faith in Alex. I was recently in Washington, D.C. I picked up good a very good vibe about big government and the very big buildings that go along with it. Big government can be good and it is our fortification against many of the ills that are likely to plague us. On that trip among the institutions I visited was the Library of Congress. It is a magnificent place. I got a

library card there. Later I found out that because it is a Federal document you can use it to ID yourself for domestic air travel. I probably shouldn’t be spreading that around and I can’t tell you just yet if it works in Europe or other places where they have big government too. The card, which has my picture on it, identifies me as a “READER”. This I already knew but still there was a certain feeling of pride that came along with having that stated simply on something issued by my friends in big government. In the end though I did find out what I liked most about big government. REALLY BIG LIBRARIES ! Steven Woodruff

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