From letter to book

My Land, Too

Mary Lou Reed seems to be having some trouble understanding what the Tea Party folks are all about (“Carroll Was Correct,” 7/22/10)  First, she seemed awfully upset that they were singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”  She should consider reading the verses:  It’s primarily about personal freedom.  Two verses also mention land being fenced off with “No Trespassing signs.”  Considering the limitations government puts on property, these verses may also resonate with Tea Partiers.  Yes, Woody was a leftist, but his songs belong to all Americans.

I’m not from Idaho, and I’m not familiar with the platform of the Republican Party there, so I’m going to address just one item.  The 17th Amendment was, indeed, passed to reduce corruption in selecting senators.  How’s that been working out for you! I don’t know that it has helped, but I do know that under the old system, the senators had to at least answer to someone.

Finally, Ms. Reed’s use of Alice in Wonderland as a literary device was cute.  However, if a rabbit hole exists to a world of insanity, it’s probably located several blocks east of the Potomac River.

Joe Polowski

Deer Park, Wash.

(From the Inland Northwest Inlander letter to the editor)

I decided to address this superbly silly letter first as it is only the latest attempt by a narcissist to get “legitimate.” Any time you read something from a “TEA” Party member, let us put it bluntly, they don’t mind grasping for the most absurd arguments in order to rebut who ever (in this case, Mary Lou Reed).  Well yes, (old) leftist Woody Guthrie did mean the above song for “all Americans,” that’s exactly why he was an (old) leftist.  However, when it comes to the “TEA Party” membership they have a problem with certain Americans sharing this great democratic experiment called the U.S. of America.  Such as Democrats in general and Obama in particular.  “This land,” in their view, does not belong to Democrats and Obama.  That is exactly why this above letter is blatantly absurd.  Even more, why Mary Lou Reed could be upset enough to deliver a protest about the “TEA Party” to the Inlander.

I picked up this copy of “The Inlander” on the same day that I was to finish reading a book, “Fear on Trial” authored by John Henry Faulk.  It had to do with “conservatism,” and the black listing by “conservatives” during the McCarthy era in the entertainment industry in particular.  Mr. Faulk was accused by innuendo (but without proof) of at least being a Communist sympathizer.  He became unemployed by reason of black listing and had a long legal fight to not only clear his name but to win a monetary judgment by lawsuit against the people who had acted with malice to libel him.  A private organization referred to as AWARE, Inc.  I picked this book up at a local yard sale.  Apparently, it had originally been the property of the Pasco, Washington public library.  I’ll assume that this book was put up for sale and eventually was donated to a yard sale here in the Dalton Gardens area.  But my purchase of this book was for $3.00.  I’d have to say that this gruesome and horrific story of black listing when juxtaposed next to the above letter, serves as a pure contradiction to the radical trying to legitimize what can’t be legitimized.  That is, what he would attempt to base a “TEA Party” point of view on:  personal freedom.

The Cold War can be said to have started right after the hot one of World War II.  When our putative alliance with Stalinist Russia suddenly ended with our fear of Communism on the upswing.  At one point in this autobiography, Faulk tells his lawyer Louis Nizer about those who drive the black listing; that they are in fact pro-Nazi.  And at other times, refers to them as “super patriots.”  But in either case, their actions are an indictment against “Americanism.”  And Americanism can only be categorized in one way, the application of the U.S. Constitution to the American way of life.  The black listers however, did not think that the U.S. Constitution should apply to those they only had to accuse (without proof) of Communism.  In Faulk’s case, because of his open opposition to AWARE, Inc. he could be black listed for being a Middle of the Roader and denied work.

What this book also details, is just how much the black listing literally affected the free market.  The entertainment industry then (1950s) to today (July 2010) is heavily dependent on sponsors, those who’s ads appear routinely in between television show segments.  Read Faulk’s work and Hollywood (or for that matter any other venue where the entertainment industry may be found in this case:  New York) required as much private enterprise sponsorship in a symbiotic relationship as private enterprise had new venues to expose its wares and services to a greater share of the public.  When black listers such as AWARE provided their own version of the midnight knock at the door; they literally did threaten that symbiotic relationship by controlling who could sell what to whom whether in the grocery store to a TV ad depending on who was deemed “controversial” by way of AWARE, Inc.’s standards.  The trial portion that Faulk delved into deeply described this at length.  Based on a small group composed (at the time) of Johnson (grocery store owner), Hartnett (vegetable and fruit buyer) among others, they literally used the “fear of Communism” to control the marketplace.  Any aspect of the marketplace.  And further, they had the able assistance to do this through the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).  As Faulk was to prove, that AWARE was known to consult with them regularly.

The “TEA Party” according to the above letter writer, bemoans the idea of the government putting up no trespassing signs.  This they call “conservatism.”  For this, they’ll sing a Woody Guthrie song.  However, the long tradition of “conservatism” that they want to claim the mantel of, is indeed that of government putting up those “no trespassing signs” if you are of the wrong religion, wrong political leaning, wrong political party, or simply someone like Faulk, who doubts and questions.  And as far as Polowski is concerned, he wouldn’t mind a few no trespassing signs too, to make sure that there can’t be any more Obama’s in the presidency.  This country really can’t be “ours” as long as a black man is in office.  Uh, has it occurred to this guy that this country is also Obama’s?  That this country is in fact for all the people who voted for him?  “This land is my land, this land is your land, from the redwood forest…”  Obama is as far as the “TEA Party” people are concerned, not included.  If you are going to sing an (old) leftist song and essentially contradict it, then the rabbit hole to insanity drops Alice into Polowski’s front yard.

It is easy enough to bandy about “Commie” and “Socialist” today.  But there was a time, as Faulk was good enough to tell us, when to get stuck with such a label was actually devastating.  Not only did it cost livelihoods, it also cost lives, noted briefly in the trial portion of his book.  What Nizer had to say however would prove to be just as devastating to the black listers, when they were also compared to the communists (by way of their actions) as being just as dangerous and destructive to the American way of life.

The “TEA Party” wants to claim this mantel?  They want to claim a “conservative” argument by throwing around gvt run amok (it actually did do that during the McCarthy era), smearing the president as a commie or even a Nazi (never mind what the first amendment says about the people who can petition the gvt they elect to redress grievances),  it’s a damn shame that someone with a foreclosed home can ask the taxpayers to bail him out (it was a damn shame that Faulk brought a libel suit against AWARE, Inc.).

As a conservative (someone who truly does believe in Americanism);  I do not label those who question and doubt as being utterly against this nation.  It is what moved this country forward to begin with.  It is what made it possible for this country to be a sovereign nation.  But, the “TEA Party” suffers greatly from a lack of historical knowledge and perspective.  They make the same liberal arguments that Faulk’s sister, Texana made.  Then bite that argument in the ass by deciding that the great American experiment can not have a majority electorate putting Obama into office.  Yes, it is easy to bandy about “commie” or “Socialist.”  But it was Nizer who said it best, that this private “research” group who opposed Communists, were themselves Communists.  It is what they refused to believe in, Americanism, that made it so.  So, Polowski doesn’t believe in Americanism?  How about that.


One Response to “From letter to book”

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