First a jab, then a hook

I thought I’d share some of the sort of mail that arrives in my inbox on a regular basis. For simplicity’s sake, I respond after each statement, so if it looks like an interview of yours truly, it is not. (I’ve also removed most of the personal insults.)

Reader: Wanted to write you and thank you for putting together such a fine piece of work “Conservatives rule; liberals drool.” It’s clear from the article that you are great at pointing the finger.

Right Hook: Thank you. What can I say? It’s a gift.

Reader: You need to keep in mind that these things you speak of—Hurricane Katrina, national healthcare, crosswalks, etc.—aren’t “liberal” or “conservative” things.

Right Hook: Actually, I think they are. Liberals react with emotion. A conservative uses his or her intellect.

Reader: You CANNOT put a value on human life when it comes to helping people through disasters, a child’s ability to get home safely and the right to receive medicine when you or your kids are sick (regardless of your lot in life).

Right Hook: Actually, yes, you can. Personal-injury lawyers do it daily in courtrooms across the country.

Reader: What if your child was one of the ones hit by a car? What if your mother was one of the ones in the elder-care homes in New Orleans? What if you work an 80-hour work week just to barely pay rent and put food on the table; then your son who was born with a weak immune system gets a 102 fever for the fifth time this year?

Right Hook: Ah, the “what if it happened to you” scenario liberals love to sway the weak-minded with. I have one for you: What if one of your kids was born six weeks premature and spent three of them in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Washoe Med. Oh, wait, that’s what happened to me. That little scenario cost me $30 large (that’s $30,000) out of pocket. The only difference is that I didn’t drop out of high school, didn’t have kids before being ready and did work my tail off to improve my marketability and job skills. Oh yes, and I still work 80 hours a week because I have employees (and their families) who depend on me for their livelihood. (Not to mention a couple dozen governmental agencies that require protection money.)

Reader: Please continue to sit on your imaginary pedestal; meanwhile, I’ll be making sure the people who you try your best to ignore on downtown streets have a warm bed to sleep in and full stomachs. People need help. This is a fact of life.

Right Hook: It appears you have chosen your career path. Who am I to question it? Although I will agree that some people are truly deserving of help. They would be children, the mentally ill and those with genetic health conditions.

Reader: Maybe it’s time for a long stare in the mirror. When was the last time this columnist thought about someone other than himself?

Right Hook: Fortunately, nowhere in the Constitution does it say that anyone has to do anything for anybody. If you wish to take care of the downtrodden, have at it. Otherwise, spare the rest of us the attempted guilt trip and larceny of hard-earned dollars. People are free to share their time and money with the less fortunate all day long. And contrary to your assumptions, I spent five years and countless hours and money on the board of directors for a local charity. When it’s done voluntarily, that’s called sharing. When it’s taken, no matter how noble-sounding the purpose, that’s called communism.