Putting aside my skepticism about the motivation of any politician who makes some seemingly profound policy statement during an election year, our President’s lukewarm endorsement of gay marriage has, of course, spurred controversy. When these social issues raise their bloodied head, we have snarling liberals and barking conservatives condemning the other, liberals being portrayed as doomed to Hell while conservatives are racists, bigots and worse. Polls supposedly show that younger people in general are more inclined to support gay rights and some polls even show a majority of Americans support gay marriage. On the other hand, some 30 states have banned the practice including North Carolina within the last two weeks. What should concern us as a people is not that we all agree on any issue but that we respect our differences of opinion. While I favor gay rights including gay marriage, I have many friends who are committed to their religion which condemns the practice. Are they wrong to believe as they do? Some of us could be in for a big surprise if we find ourselves at the Pearly Gates confronting St. Pete who puts a mark next to our names which moves us one step closer to the elevator to Hell! If liberals expect people to agree with their social agenda it can only happen when they loose the mantle of “angry liberal” and begin to acknowledge that people who don’t share their vision are still worthy of respect. And those on the right need to remember that while what they believe should be respected, so should respect and deference be accorded to those who don’t share their life style. The counterpoint to meeting St. Pete may well lie in the words of an atheist friend of mine when asked what he thought might lie ahead for us after death: “There is nothing!”
WARNER B. BAIR, II, ESQ. WRITER
P. O. BOX 263
DEER LODGE, MT 59722 ( 623 ) 680-4525
Fax: 406-846-1330 bairii@msn
May 2, 2012
Mr. Robert Romasco President-Elect
601 E. Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20049
Dear Mr. Romasco:
I will initially presume that as the incoming president of AARP, the people who produce the AARP Bulletin and the AARP Magazine work for you and the AARP Board. I will further presume that AARP continues to at least pay “lip service” to the goal that it represents this Nation’s senior citizens and therefore reflects their views and values.
A recent Gallup poll indicates that 42% of Americans consider themselves conservative or very conservative as opposed to 20% who see themselves as liberals. Another Gallup poll in 2009 noted that 35% of independent voters ( such as myself ) see themselves as more conservative than liberal. And Pew research showed as long ago as 2008 that voters over 65 years of age are three times more likely to identify themselves as conservatives than as liberals. Finally, a Rasmussen poll indicates that 73% of Americans favor voter ID laws. If, as liberals allege, it is conservatives that favor such laws, then it would appear that a large number of older voters, those supposedly being represented by AARP, favor such laws.
I note these polls because of the unfortunate politicizing engaged in by one Jim Toedtman, who identifies himself as editor of the AARP Bulletin who recently editorialized, after bashing several state’s voter ID laws that such laws exist, in his opinion, “All…in the name of fighting voter fraud that has yet to appear.” He went on to assert the liberal argument that “[T]hese initiatives target the poor and the older voter….”
Although these assertions by Mr. Toedtman were in support of his message about the need to be actively involved in the voting process, their inclusion was at best disingenuous and at worst, shoddy journalism.
Contrary to Mr. Toedtman’s assertion, there are numerous examples of voter fraud. Voter fraud has either been uncovered, investigated and/or prosecuted in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Florida. Voter fraud arguably influenced the election of two United State senators in Oregon and Minnesota in recent elections. As the United States Supreme Court said in a case upholding Indiana’s voter ID law, “Flagrant examples of such fraud…have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists.”
In fact, it is arguments that such laws will disenfranchise voters that are currently without merit. Most objective observers have opined that with the voter ID laws being of such recent origin, it is too early to tell whether the supposed disenfranchisement of voters ( however that is defined ) will become a reality.
Beyond the lack of evidence to support his reckless assertion, based on the apparent demographics of AARP’s constituency, it appears clear that Mr. Toedtman’s position does not reflect the beliefs of a majority of those elders AARP purports to represent.
If Mr. Toedtman wishes to do an op ed piece in an attempt to convince AARP members that their beliefs are incorrect and that is perceived as a legitimate aim of the organization or the issue is presented in a fair debate with an examination of both sides of the issue, then that may be a legitimate function of the media arm of the organization. But to make patently false assertions in support of a liberal agenda not in keeping with the beliefs of AARP’s members is not only shoddy journalism but an insult to those the AARP purports to represent.
I suggest that when you assume the office as president of AARP, you consider to what extent your organization does reflect the values and viewpoints of its constituents.
WARNER B. BAIR, II