Poking fun at Dan Anderson's ads

July 25, 2013

When I read Arthur Sower's letter in the Gazette’s July 12-16 issue I was pleased to see that there is at least one person out there who is calling Daniel G. Anderson on his frequent fairy tales (i.e., his paid advertisements).

So it was with great amusement that I found in the same edition Anderson’s latest contribution to the Hans Christian Andersen (or maybe the Brothers Grimm) genre: the “Dads & Daughters” tale.  I rather liked the way he introduced his subject, even wondering how he and I could possibly disagree with him, until I got to the last paragraph before the bold type.

The bottom line is it appears that Mr. Anderson thinks that Republicans/conservatives believe in hard work and Democrats/liberals don’t.

It is so easy in a debate to set up a straw man argument so that it can be debunked, but Mr. Anderson goes one step further by pretending in his tale that the straw man (in his case, his daughter’s friend Audrey) deserves a higher grade than she actually achieved.  It is just as easy to draw a comparison between his daughter and another of her friends who had been born poor, and who had struggled to get into college where she had to work several jobs to be able to continue her study and graduate.  How would Mr. Anderson’s thread have evolved in that situation?

Since Mr. Anderson said that he is “all ears” for a better explanation between Republicans and Democrats, let me educate him.

The latter believe that the poor among us who have been left poorer as a result of the 2008 Great Recession deserve help, and that the well-off among us should pay taxes commensurate with our income, and at least at the rates that prevailed during the 1990s.  Today’s Republicans believe in ignoring the large percentage of the population that has suffered over the last five years and letting them languish.

Mr. Anderson finishes his paid advertisement with a number of blue sky comparisons or, in Mr. Sowers’ words, “pseudo-intellectual, simplistic, illogical, and incoherent thinking,”stating a list of “tests” to decide whether a person is conservative or liberal.

The gun test is not a question of outlawing ownership.  Liberals (and even most conservatives) do not want guns to come into the wrong hands.

The vegetarian test doesn’t even deserve a response - in a similar vein, perhaps conservatives own Rotweilers and liberals own Poodles (French of course). So what?

His homosexual test is incorrect because a liberal believes everyone should be respected, regardless of personal lifestyle, whereas today’s conservatives choose the hypocritical path whereby the party’s “leaders” condemn any lifestyle that is not adopted by a majority of the population, even if those in the minority would otherwise be conservatives.

In the “down and out” test Mr. Anderson assumes that someone who is “down” has the capability of bettering himself without help, despite the fact that many people currently “down” are there not due to their own fault.

Mr. Anderson’s  “talk show” test is ludicrous.  No mainstream liberals are espousing getting rid of the First Amendment.  However, to give liberals their due, they do argue for truth in broadcasting.  Fox News take note.

Mr. Anderson’s “non-believer” test purports to ignore the Constitution’s separation of church and state.  Of all his beliefs, I would have thought that Mr. Anderson would respect the Constitution, since so many of his current co-believers on the extreme right wing seem to quote the Constitution at every turn, whether it is relevant to their argument or not.

There are plenty of political “funnies” that I could quote, but I will  stick with Churchill’s comment about democracy being a good form of government until you talk to the average voter - and I expect Churchill (a fellow Brit) would have a conniption fit if he were to have talked with Mr. Anderson. A further comment on the quotes, Mr. Anderson’s last quote, one of Churchill’s: “the inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery” was about Soviet Communism’s form of socialism comparing it with mid-twentieth century capitalism, not 21st century European socialism and capitalism.  But, as I said above, truth in broadcasting (or advertising in Mr. Anderson’s case) is not something at which current right-wing extremists are very good.

The trouble with Mr. Anderson and his ilk is that, in general, they do not understand how the world outside the U.S. works - whether it is on the subject of healthcare (America’s system puts it near the bottom of the industrialized nations for cost and effectiveness) or European social welfare. Today’s European socialism is not communism, but people like Mr. Anderson need some “devil theory” to frighten the masses and get them to vote against their own best interests.

I do hope that there are more people like Mr. Sowers and me who find Mr. Anderson’s advertisements on the more amusing side of discourse.  I greatly doubt that anyone with a good education

Richard A. D. Freeman

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