VERN’S VIEWS: Desperation ruins intelligent dialogue

Someone once said all politics are local. The politics in my town are decidedly conservative — many of my neighbors see themselves as fiscally conservative, religious and nurturing their children’s education and honest representation. Even though I don’t consider myself a political conservative, I agree with the vast majority here. Some might be shocked by this confession, and those are the people I’m addressing.

Being outspoken and blunt makes people uncomfortable, but sometimes somebody has to speak out for wrongs to be righted and broken ideals to be fixed.

I believe there is injustice in our political environment because people are turning against one another for reasons that have nothing to do with their individual or collective betterment or difficulties. A few of my self-ordained conservative readers have invited me to move to Travis County where I can be surrounded with “my kind of people." My kind of people are my fellow humans. I was further informed by a conservative that only a handful of Republicans read my column and ignore my "lies." My poor mother must be spinning somewhere. Her son is not always correct, but he does not lie.

What is really odd is those holding opposing views read the same news I do and come up with completely different conclusions. Job growth is moving upward, yet I’m told it’s cooked numbers or President Barack Obama’s lie machine at work. National economic growth curves all point toward an improved gross domestic product, thus technically ending the recession. “Not so!” say my naysayers who don’t read my columns. They’ll trot out all sorts of suppositions based on nothing and claim to have irrefutable evidence Obama is destroying the country. I’m waiting for that evidence.

The insults and name calling during these exchanges is normal. The label “liberal” drips with the venom one finds in the countries of Glennbeckia or Limbaughdia. How did people who want their country prospering become so evil to conservatives?

The term “progressive” is seeing more daylight these days, and I think that’s appropriate for people who indeed want to see our country move ahead. But progress requires courage and fearlessness while investing in those projects and philosophies that grow our society.

The fear of losing another presidential election has pushed the most extreme conservatives into paroxysms of desperation such that truth, fact and especially civility are replaced by anger, hatred and absolutism.

To conservatives who are struggling with this, it’s not your fault. Propaganda doctors Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Terry Hannity and the oracle of nonsense, Glenn Beck, have pushed you into this place. These people are raking in millions at your expense. Turn off the radio. Turn off Fox News. Think for yourself. You deserve better.

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at He can be reached by email at

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