May 13, 2006 Letter to Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH)

by Timothy Horrigan

Here is a letter I wrote to Foster's Daily Democrat, the local daily newspaper in Dover, NH. It was published on May 13, 2006 (and written a week or so earlier.) They provided the headline.

URL for May 13, 2006 Letters to the Editor page, which may or may not still be working by the time you see this page (registration required):

Right wing misuses political monikers

To the editor:

Right-wingers are very fond of labeling their liberal adversaries as "socialists" or "Communists." Ironically, if you look at the actual ideas, such as they are, of Bush, Cheney and company, you see they have more in common with Mao Zedong or Joseph Stalin than do so-called socialists such as John Kerry or Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Strangely, the label "Communist" is a much-used insult even though Communists basically no longer exist, except on the tiny tropical island of Cuba.

The world's largest nation, China, is still ruled by a fascist regime which admittedly uses the old name of "The Communist Party." However, China is also the fastest growing capitalist economy on the planet, and the outskirts of every city in America are overrun with big-box stores overflowing, literally in some cases, with Chinese goods.

China is so un-socialist it now ranks with America as the only major industrial power with no universal health-care system for its citizens.

Soviet-style Communism has receded so far into history that a new sports team in the first President Bush's hometown recently chose to name itself Houston Dynamo without arousing any controversy. This is more than just a cool-sounding European-inspired name for a soccer club. Dynamo was an international Soviet-bloc workers' sporting collective which operated a number of powerful soccer clubs and other sports teams.

Timothy Horrigan

Durham, NH

A couple of weeks later, my letter elicited an impassioned but not particularly relevant response by someone named Ann Syphers, of Berwick, Maine. I would say that she failed to address any of the points in my letter. It was published in the May 29, 2006 issue of Foster's Daily Democrat.

URL for May 29, 2006 Letters to the Editor page, which may or may not still be working by the time you see this page (registration required):

Socialism is alive in America

To the editor:

Timothy Horrigan is wrong about communism and socialism. There is a Maine Socialist Party, an Exeter (N.H.) Socialist Party and a Socialist Labor Party in Seabrook, N.H. The list goes on.

The Communist Party and the Socialist Party are alive in this country. Google Maine Coalition for Peace and Justice and see what you get. Google Communist Party USA and see what you get.

The reason why Timothy Horrigan may think socialism does not really exist is because the people who advocate this stuff keep their agendas hidden when outside of their circles. They will mimic words and phrases from various manifestos, but don't publicly admit to the true origins of their beliefs. They spout socialist ideas, but don't want to be labeled as socialists.

I was recently at a health-care forum where socialist ideas were being surreptitiously promoted, to the point where I truly felt I had been duped into attending an indoctrination meeting of the Maine Socialist Party. When I asked if these gentlemen were alluding to socialism or communism, due to the tone and content of their speeches, they became defensive and outwardly angry at my assertions. Red-faced furious, they accused me of being undemocratic and therefore un-American if I didn't think "outside the box" when it came to their ideas.

I was stunned at this foolish accusation. So, in essence, I was being accused of being un-American for not embracing what I considered un-American and insulting ideals.

I had been verbally offended many times about my Republican/conservative/Christian beliefs by one of these gentlemen right from the moment he first met me, calling my religious beliefs "organized religion" and misguided.

So, Mr. Horrigan, don't tell me there is no socialism in this country, much less in this immediate area. I've seen and heard it with my own eyes and ears. Believe me, the Republican Christian conservatives do not represent this political party in any way, shape or manner.

Ann Syphers

Berwick, Maine

I followed up on Ms. Syphers' letter with an impassioned but possibly less than 100% relevant response of my own. After a longish delay, it was published in the June 16, 2006 issue of Foster's Daily Democrat.

URL for June 16, 2006 Letters to the Editor page, which may or may not still be working by the time you see this page (registration required):

“Commies” are not a big threat

To the editor:

Even though I had recently written a somewhat provocative letter to the editor not long before, I was still surprised to see an attack from someone I don't know: Ann Syphers of Berwick.

She objected to my statement that "Communists basically no longer exist, except on the tiny tropical island of Cuba."

Oddly, she didn't point out that one of the other few remaining Communist countries, North Korea, has done several stints as President Bush's enemy of the week and was a charter member of the "Axis of Evil" (alongside Saddam's Iraq and Iran.) She refuted my point by citing several relatively obscure groups, the most famous being the Communist Party of the USA. She also told a tale of woe about how she went to a health-care forum "where socialist ideas were being surreptitiously promoted" and where she felt she was treated badly.

Ironically, I think she proved my point: if socialists and Communists were as much of a threat as she says they are, they would be much more visible.

In any case, the difference between the "Commies" and "us" here in the USA was never that great. In many ways, Communism is more congenial than classic 19th- and 20th-century capitalism to today's Wal-Mart-style big box capitalists. One of the reason our big box stores are full of Chinese goods is because big box capitalists find it easier to do business with ex-Communist regimes than with their fellow capitalists.

Timothy Horrigan

Durham, NH

See also:

Forgotten Liars cover
The Forgotten Liars