Way ahead of tea-baggers

About 800-900 people gathered at the Aug. 24 town hall here with Rep. Charlie Gonzalez; most were supporters of the congressman who is in favor of the public option. No groups were allowed to break up the meeting. A lot of cheering and some boos were followed by quiet so that the questions could be answered and no one could disrupt the meeting.

The congressman made it clear that the numbers of uninsured in Texas were the highest in the nation, especially in our own district. People who are against the government supporting a public option are largely concerned with cost. They see the banks and Wall Street bailouts and fear that our country is going further into debt. Some are afraid of “creeping socialism.” But no one booed when the congressman asked, “Those of you with insurance, would you deny your neighbor health care?”

Keep the pressure on. We are still way ahead of the tea-baggers!

Vivian Weinstein

San Antonio TX

We have to fight

I think it is too early to write off President Obama’s support for the “public option.” HR 3200 has a long way to go until the final version is approved. And the president could veto any bill that he considers insufficient.

I am sick and tired of some people on the left waiting to “prove” that Obama will sell out to the insurance companies. It not only shows a lack of confidence in the president, but shows a lack of confidence in the people who worked hard to elect him. This includes the African American and Latino communities and the labor movement as well as many other politically savvy forces.

This attitude translates to “you can’t fight the rich” or “you can’t achieve any gains under this capitalist system.”

Emphasize the positive, minimize the negative, hit the streets and let the politicians — as well as the president — know about our support for the public option. It’s good for your health!

Lance Cohn

Chicago IL

Funny story

Today, while surfing madly for new insights into the health care reform that this country so desperately needs, I happened to notice e-mails from Facebook saying that I had several messages. Three to be exact, all from the same woman, whom I did not know.

The first message was a request to add me as a “friend” on her Facebook page. I really didn’t know the lady, but thought she might be a progressive who had noticed some of my political ideas and statements, so I agreed to add her as a “friend.” The next message from her was a rather troubling message that “she found an email from a Communist Newsletter website,” that she was sure I did not write. She provided the link to People’s World. I opened it and discovered to my delight, an e-mail I had sent complimenting the coverage and my best wishes for continued success.

The lady’s next message brought a smile to my face. She said, “This cannot be right, Tommy after all you’re a Republican.”

I sent off my Facebook message telling her that indeed I did write the letter and was in fact a Socialist who was not happy with the current political system in this country as it was not progressive enough to suit my tastes. She rapid fired a response back to me saying, “I am a conservative, who would never allow a government bureaucrat to dictate what I or my family can and will do. Please remove my name from your list!!!”

After laughing for some time over this woman’s error in picking me as a friend because she assumed I was a Republican, the thought struck me, what is a very conservative right-wing lady doing getting and reading the People’s World? Perhaps she got lost? Or maybe she was hunting for some truth for a change?

As the old saying goes, “truth can be stranger than fiction.”

Tom Melvin

Denver CO

Role of the left

Regarding two articles: Sam Webb’s on marginalization and John Case’s on mountaintop removal.

The LEFT has never gone away! The great movements for civil rights and to end the war in the ’60s and ’70s were left movements. But they were led by a non-communist leadership.

Twenty thousand people descended on a tiny Louisiana town two years ago to protest the legal lynching of several African American high school students, 2-3 million people came to D.C. for the inauguration of the first African American president, and that peaceful crowd was Black, white, Hispanic, Asian! Those responses to political events were by people on the left.

The anti-communist drumbeat that began in the early ’50s has never ceased, in all its clever disguises. Witness a recent Doonesbury strip where Hitler and Mao are linked as though they were Siamese twins. A friend who just returned from China said, as he handed me a Chinese bank note with Mao’s face on it, “He killed 80,000,000 people.” You can pretty nearly ruin the reputation of anyone if you call them a communist at the right place and right time.

People on the left have learned to censor themselves in their political opinions if they want to keep their jobs, their friends and their reputations. In the United States of America, the word communist is a swear word. No more, no less. There are more reasons than McCarthyism behind that, as Webb mentions. But the left survives. And I think it will rise to the occasion as the twin crises — environment and economy — deepen.

In Case’s short article he bitterly regrets the environmental movement’s lack of interest in the welfare of working people, and says, “Well if it comes to an either-or situation, I choose the workers.”

In California several years ago a young woman — I think her name was Judy Bari — linked the interests of the “tree huggers” and the “tree cutters” and was framed up by the Feds, in which caper she was severely injured. There is no conflict of interest at this point between the environmental movement and the labor movement. It remains for the left in both cases to link them clearly for all to see. Bitterness has no place here. It is a tragic paradox that the U.S. has the strongest environmental movement in the world and is the greatest threat to the planet’s biosphere!

Pete Gourfain

Brooklyn NY