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Bruce Hotmer: America: go ahead and protest

Posted: May 1, 2009 9:48 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I read Bruce McFarland's column in the April 21 Signal with shock and awe.

It is hard for me to remember when and where I was exposed to so much misinformation. I thought I'd give a more thoughtful point of view.

Now, I have to say, I don't know Bruce McFarland, and I'm sure he's a nice guy, but the tone of his article was as angry and bitter, and even hateful, as I've ever read.

It wasn't just the tone, however, that got my attention, but the complete and utter bias with which he makes his argument. It provides a glimpse into the mind of the State Legislature.

Mr. McFarland starts off with the clever, one-two punch of equating protest with hating America, along with the always calming "race card." In his opening paragraph, McFarland suggests only white people whine about taxes, and it is unpatriotic to raise a protest.

Has he ever taken American history? It is actually quite patriotic, and not at all hateful, to push back when the government heads in an unpopular direction.

It is unpatriotic and hateful, however, to invite protestors to "get the hell out of the United States."

Mr. McFarland is entitled to his opinion that paying taxes is patriotic. The more taxes, the more patriotic, it seems.

Spending in California increased by about 40 percent over the past four years, running us deep into debt.

As a result, we all have a chance to be patriotic in California by participating in the largest tax hike in history.

And the confounding part is that it's not just white folks, but people of color who will pay higher ... I mean, be more patriotic.

What he is not allowed to do is to scream hate at those whose opinions differ with his. He is not allowed to shout down protest by inviting those who have another point of view to leave the country.

My complaint with Mr. McFarland is not about the quality of his argument. It is self-evident that the argument is emotional, even hateful, childish, illogical and poorly constructed.

If this is typical of his thought process, he is a sad district representative of the California and Los Angeles Democratic Party.

My complaint is that he positions this as a race issue, and not the broader issue of raising taxes in hard economic times.

There can be no logic or reason that explains or justifies a 40 percent increase in California government spending when, during the same period, the state's population grew from about 35 million people to 37 million people. None.

More than that, Mr. McFarland equates protest with being unpatriotic. This is a particularly narrow and ignorant point of view. Shame on him.

The last time I heard that was when I was involved in the Vietnam protests. It was unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now.

Once again, McFarland doesn't have a sense of history, or perhaps a knowledge of history to see how un-American that point of view is.

Pick your point of view; more taxes or less taxes. Gay marriage or no gay marriage. Pro-life or pro-choice.

It matters that you have an opinion. It matters that you get involved. It matters that there is another point of view so that we minimize mistakes. It matters that hateful, bigoted points of view like the ones presented by Mr. McFarland do not intimidate you or chase you out of the country.

Bruce Hotmer is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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