Let everyone speak

I could’ve been born the son of wealthy parents, but, alas, fate stepped in and dealt me a cruel blow. Perhaps the one thing that has most shaped my personal and political beliefs is the fact that I was raised by a single mother. She put herself through school while raising me, in a time when peace, free love and that moronic movie Easy Rider—a story about an apocalyptic journey by two self-righteous bikers dealing drugs—were the banner for an entire generation of people who believed you could do as you pleased but any consequences imposed by “the establishment” were generally considered unfair.

When RN&R offered me the opportunity to write from the “non-liberal viewpoint,” I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to. I am not a journalist, and I don’t claim any knowledge about newspapers or the manner in which they are operated. I am, in fact, a recovering attorney, a businessman and a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, from-my-cold-dead-hand, die-hard conservative. The liberals in the peanut gallery would most probably and accurately use the term “right-wing nut job.”

Even before my column began, there were those who lobbied against it. One example: “First, the Reno News & Review provides a unique source of journalism. Second, there are many stories that are untold. [A conservative column may take space that should be given to these stories.]” (RN&R, Letters, Aug. 5)

Perhaps someone can explain how the inclusion of my 600-word column would make this newspaper cease to be “unique.” You can always choose not to read the column. You also may have noticed that Aug. 12’s back-to-school issue (at 76 pages, the largest in RN&R’s history) had 75 other pages of fascinating information to read.

It would appear that rather than being exposed to differing viewpoints, some of you would prefer to simply censor them. Another choice example from a reader’s e-mail: “Mike Lafferty makes some good points. He’s confusing me. Please fire him.” I was under the impression that it was conservatives who are generally labeled closed-minded.

A similar argument appears to have developed around the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” Regardless of how you feel about Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry’s service record, his response to this group has been most telling. A group of 254 former swift boat veterans exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech, yet John Kerry and the Democratic party piously demand President George Bush denounce them.

Democrats claim a “right-wing conspiracy.” I find it curious that 254 swift boat veterans claim Kerry is a fraud and only 14 claim he’s a bona-fide hero. All partisan considerations aside, which would be easier, to get 14 liars to keep a secret or 254?

Democrats whine like children when one of their ilk gets called on an issue. Bill Clinton got a free pass over his military service running against George H. W. Bush in 1992 and again with Bob Dole in 1996. Both Bush and Dole served in active combat during World War II. Predictably, Democrats cry foul over Kerry’s treatment at the hands of the swift boat veterans.

I don’t care about Kerry’s service record. Kerry could have run on his 20-year record in the Senate; he instead chose to focus on a four-month tour in Vietnam where he received three purple hearts for injuries, yet didn’t miss a day of duty.

The swift boat veterans have every right to challenge Kerry. They, more than anyone, fought for and earned the right to exercise free speech.

Apparently Democrats believe that right only applies to Moveon.org.