Posted in Almost Dorothy, Politics, The Mother, Themes

Listening To A Liar: A Response to Thomas Sowell


Dear Thomas Sowell,

I’d call you a liar but mom says I shouldn’t cast stones or darts, so I won’t, yet. When I read your essay “Listening To A Liar”, which was published on RealClearPolitics.com, I thought your pants were on fire. I listened to you Mr. Sowell and all I heard were jingle bells. Mom says never smackdown anyone who has a PhD, even if they’re not smarter than you or just trying to be controversial, but she’s got a PhD too yet she’s totally bonkers and not credible at all. I make my own decisions.

In any case, I get the sense you, Dear Thomas, are hellbent on fanning the flames of fear and hypocrisy as you stoop down to your cable television logic. I must admit, up front, you have the right to your own opinion, but you don’t have the right to your own logic. I want to assure you this is not an attack on your freedom of speech, but you will probably see it otherwise. Instead, I would like to address 3 points: your ad hominem attack on Barack Obama’s character, your total disregard for facts relevant to the healthcare debate, and your relentless assault on intellectualism in general.

First, your essay is/was, really and clearly, about politics and not substance, but that’s still an understatement. Mom says you made an ad hominem argument. She explained it to me like this: you attacked the content of Barack Obama’s character (based on your subjective opinion of him) rather than the content of his work (the substance of HR 3200 or his actual words). In your essay you suggest, after equating the value of Barack Obama’s life’s work and words to that of convicted life long criminal Bernie Madoff, that we can be “led into something much worse than being swindled out of [our] money.” Mom’s got gas, Mr. Sowell, and not the kind you use in cars. She rams a knife into the heart of a pig, the papier-mache one we have suspended above the kitchen sink, and squeals. She’s nuts but she thinks. And she thinks you’re nuts for comparing Obama to Madoff in your article. She says it’s a convenient way to dehumanize the man who strives to be great (Obama) by comparing him to a man who had committed a $50 billion premeditated swindle (Madoff). Apples to apples Mr. Sowell. Not cats to dogs. In other words, why are you comparing the biggest financial criminal of all time to someone who has not committed a crime?

Just because Obama’s philosophy doesn’t fit yours this does not mean his philosophy is bad or good. It just means it is different. I must admit I didn’t totally get the idea of what she meant by ad hominem, but I think it has something to do with attacks by early man on man, hominid politicians perhaps, or just monkeys or cavemen, who beat each other senseless without logic or reason just because they are men, or monkeys, and can. Or maybe they really want man on man action? That’s another issue all together.

The question that comes to my mind is this: If the halthcare reforms proposed are so bad, why waste your intellectual power attacking Obama’s character like a schoolyard punk? Are you Punky Brewster? Do you have a better solution, Mr. Sowell, beyond bitching about the invasion of czars and body snatchers, Bernie Madoff and chupacabras?

Speaking of chupacabras and myth, you argue that Obama wants to get re-elected in 2012 before the public experiences what the actual consequences of his healthcare reform will be. If health reform was so important, you write, why not enact it now and not wait until 2013. You go on:

If it is not urgent that the legislation goes into effect immediately, then why don’t we have time to go through the normal process of holding Congressional hearings on the pros and cons, accompanied by public discussions of its innumerable provisions? (Sowell)

Well, our recent public discussions have been consumed by talk of Nazis and death panels, not the long term health of our nation. Mom says Obama wants to get the bill passed now so they can plan and get it right, unlike what the Republicans did for Medicare D, which actually passed legislation forbiding the government from negotiating the best prices from drug manufacturers. I haven’t heard a peep about corporate socialism, which is probably the greatest threat to our democracy than the faux socialist epitaphs being thrown around our town halls today. Red Herring, anyone?

This debate is/should be about reform and getting it right and not about benefiting drug companies or special interests, or Glenn Beck. Furthermore, we have been debating the pros and cons of universal coverage for the past 60 years and for most of Ted Kennedy’s life. Were we all born yesterday?

Mom also says Obama did offer immediate assistance for uninsured people like her during his pep talk to Congress so she can get her shit cared for while she’s alive. So, there are immediate consequences already. Furthermore, the facts, Mr. Sowell, are not chupacabras. The facts indicate that the real life consequences of our healthcare system are already here and here and…In fact, not reforming the system now is already a matter of life and death for many Americans. According to a 2004 study from the Institute of Medicine, 18,000 people die every year due to a lack of adequate health insurance. The system is already a big f-ing mess and you haven’t suggested anything to solve it.

The way I see it Mr. Sowell, you like short skirts, the kind mom wears to work to get bigger tips. The kind she wears and gets hoots and hollers from the barbarians at the bar, especially the hairy ones because they’re so hairy no one will touch them. Those guys consume beer after beer and then try to make love to her in the back alley. She wears that skirt when she wants to attract attention, like you, but she knows when to step back and close her legs.

You’re skirt is too short, Mr. Sowell. I can see everything clearly.

I’d like to go on, but no one really cares, however your obsession with the ‘czars’ employed by the Obama adminstration is lunatic. Even little girls like me know every republican and democrat president since Nixon has used the term ‘czar’ to describe his top advisers. In addition, most informed humans know the term czar is what the media uses to describe directors who are employed by the White House because it sounds sexier than saying Director of White House Office Of Health Reform. In any case, the use of the word czar,whether an invention of the media or Nixon, is not an indictment against healthcare reform. It’s just a word used as a shortcut, like mofo. “Czars may wield more power,” you wrote. “So you may never know what these people are like, until it is too late.” I would like to remind you that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, who were elected, wielded more power than any ‘czar’ or ‘adviser’ since the time of the real Russian Czars.

At this point in your essay, your credibility as an intellectual gave me gas, because you still have directly addressed the actual reforms being suggested however you have no problem skewering the person or persons behind the reforms. I almost want you to scream death panels just so we can actually debate HR 3200 Seection 1233, but you don’t. And I’m bored.

But, then, you wrote “the most important thing about what anyone says are not the words themselves but the credibility of the person who says them” I was like, whoa! Didn’t you catch the irony? In essence what you are saying is that words are meaningless. Therefore, your essay and my response to you is meaningless–so who do we believe?

Mom begs to differ. She says I’m not meaningless and I guess she is right. “I pushed your shit out of womb,” she said. So she must be right.

In any case, the point is this: I looked up your resume and your resume illuminates your credentials, i.e. the credentials of an ultra conservative right wing thinker. I’m cool with that but it doesn’t make you right or wrong. It just means your have a certain perspective and an ideologically singular view of what is right, correct or moral, neither of which are written in stone or etched in heaven, unless you are God? Your credibility only holds true for a certain segment of the population and doesn’t give you an automatic pass to universal truth.

Mr. Sowell, yes, you have made a clear political statement but failed, in my eyes, to make a substantive argument for or against policy, or the existence of Santa Claus. I want to know, Mr. Sowell, how calling Obama a liar improves the healthcare system in this country? How does this help mom access health services to help her dementia so taxpayers don’t have to deal with her tantrums or cover the cost to repair her bones the next time she jumps? These are the rigorous intellectual questions that need to be asked but are not present in your essay. Nor were they present in the hundreds of town halls that took place across the country this past August. What ever happened to intellectualism? To critically examining the issues to find a more perfect solution?

Mom said she’ll pay for health insurance, out of her skirt if she had to, but she just can’t make enough. And with her preexisting condition she can’t even get her foot in the HMO’s door. If anything, Mr. Sowell, the content of your essay doesn’t resolve this clear and simple problem: denial of service. The character of your essay is as transparent as the stockings mom wore to the NASCAR race last night. She wore them to make a particular (or partisan) point: she’s a slut.

You are not a slut, Mr. Sowell. Neither am I. And I don’t care if you are a republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, goat or sheep, but it is important to understand that substance and politics are two distinct things, just like opinions and facts. What is clear is that you made a one sided argument that attacked a man because he is simply the President from the wrong side of the tracks, you didn’t present facts relevant to the crucial healthcare debate, and you disregarded intellectualism like it was a dirty tissue. In the end, what I care about is making this country the best place for American humans on planet Earth, not only those in Red States or Blue States, but the whole United States. Not Timbuktu.

Unless we have a rational argument over the facts and scrap over the complex and substantive issues involved in this healthcare debate, we’ll fail. The American Dream means many things to many people and you cannot impose your logic on it just like it should not be imposed on you. I haven’t compare you to a criminal because I know you are an honest, hard-working American. But so is Jerry Springer. My fear is that one day, with your kind of talk show/kangaroo town hall logic, we will become the United States of Jerry Springer, so you’ll get what I mean when I say to you, with all sincerity and hugs, the most important thing about what anyone says are the words themselves and the credibility of the person who says them.

Yours Truly,

Almost Dorothy

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I'm not real, but I'm a writer.

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