Tahlequah Daily Press

Letters to editor

May 7, 2014

Americans for Prosperity?

TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

About a half dozen Democrats and Republicans engaged David Williamson, the Oklahoma deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity, in an intense, but friendly, three-hour political discussion at breakfast Thursday morning. It was democracy in action in the best sense.

As David pointed out, we probably didn’t change many minds, but it was a valuable exchange of ideas, and it is important to keep the conversation going. We covered a wide range of topics, and David was a very effective advocate, but I am sure he rarely encounters people with minds of their own and the knowledge with which to back up their opinions. Still, only half of us were Democrats, so he did OK.

He was of the opinion, for example, that teachers are difficult to reason with because they think they know everything. My response, of course, is that teachers are educated people who recognize the difference between fact and propaganda. Since fear, propaganda, and polarization are a major focus of AFP, it is sometimes hard to see eye-to-eye on things. As you can see, a lot of it was fun stuff.

The strength of Americans for Prosperity and its sister organizations certainly shows the power of money in today’s America. They are weak on facts, weak on logical reasoning, and their arguments are anything but convincing, but they can’t be beat when it comes to whipping the public sentiment.

Right now, they are promoting such benign issues as lower taxes, less government power, more trust in free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit, and “NO on the Core Curriculum,” so they seem anything but dangerous. Still, I can’t help worrying about and wondering what they will advocate when they completely whip the Democrats, take over the government, and can do anything they please.

We are getting a taste of their governing style in Oklahoma City already, as they try to impeach the Supreme Court, fight teachers and the Core Curriculum and waste millions on worthless school tests.

As things now stand, they have limitless millions to spend on grassroots organizing and self-promotion. I can’t help wondering though, how supportive AFP and the Koch Brothers will be of the masses they are cultivating when they don’t need their votes any more. David was an interesting and challenging advocate who made several good points that I support. Still, you just can’t trust a situation where all the power is on one side.

If Democrats are going to remain in the game, though, we are going to have to familiarize ourselves with the issues, stand our ground but admit when we are wrong, seek better solutions, and listen to what Republicans are telling us. That doesn’t mean surrender, by any means. It means getting our act together and reclaiming the high ground. America needs an overhaul, and we better get crackin’.

Fred Gibson

Tahlequah

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