I read with interest the guest column by former Congressman Pat Williams (May 25 Beacon: “When Civility Ended”). Because I ran against Pat in 1984, I feel obligated to publicly respond to his column. I think Pat would agree that ours was a “civil” race, although at that time, I was a virtual unknown. We had five debates, and I believe I came out on top three out of the five (Pat may not agree this time.) Pat Williams and I disagreed on most issues during the 1984 campaign, but I believe we expressed our opinions with respect for one another.
It is now a much different time, and I must take issue with much of what Pat addressed in his column. We currently have an administration with an agenda that is contrary to the principles upon which our country was founded. The Obama Agenda is gutting the U.S. Constitution and under his leadership liberal Democrats are attempting to transform the United States into a socialist country making more and more of us dependent upon an ever more intrusive federal government. Thankfully, a majority of Americans are currently more politically aware and involved in government than ever before. The Tea Party movement became a formidable force because Americans believe in “We the People.” They have been watching Congress and this President destroy America. Obama has not yet completed one full term as President, and, I believe former generations would already find it hard to recognize the country for which many of them bled for and died to defend.
As appealing as “returning to civility” may sound, it is always interesting to note that Democrats, such as Pat Williams, always call for “political harmony” when they have recently faced a resounding shellacking, i.e. the 2010 elections. I don’t recall their desire to “get along” after they won a majority in both the U.S. House and Senate and won the White House in 2008. Liberal Democrats are determined to prevent another loss in the elections of 2012. If a call to “return to civility” succeeds in redirecting Republican efforts to win elections, then the Democrats will gladly use this tactic. It is therefore imperative that Republicans become even more determined to keep the focus, remain determined to win, and refuse to let the Democrats set the agenda. They will try anything to undermine, divert and distract Republican efforts to win in 2012.
The bottom line is that the Obama Agenda is dangerous for both our nation and for Montana. Pat Williams should not defend the current Democratic policies under the guise of “returning to civility,” but he knows that the presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and Montana gubernatorial races hang in the balance. As a good Democrat, I guess he has no choice but to defend his party, but let’s not use “civility” as a ploy when it’s the failed policies of the liberal Democratic agenda in question. Even to criticize the new Montana Legislature in his column is a distraction and, frankly, an insult to the overwhelming majority of voters who put them in office.
Pat Williams, you can call for civility in politics until the cows come home, but it’s the failing housing market, the unsecured borders and increasing number of illegals, a failed foreign policy, jobs and the economy, out-of-control government spending, lack of producing gas, oil and coal, just to name a few issues, that concern the citizens of Montana and the rest of the country. I believe Montanans are sick and tired of the typical political drivel and are looking for honest, open and direct discourse to find concrete solutions to the problems that face our families and communities. “Returning to civility” sounds so “civilized,” but I believe it is nothing more than an attempt to redirect the energy that resulted from the 2010 Republican victories. Nice try, Pat, but the good people of Montana are not so easily fooled.
Gary K. Carlson lives in Corvallis.
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