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12 Steps for Reformed Leftists-I am a recovered leftist, with over 25 years of sobriety.
FrontPageMagazine.com ^ | February 18, 2005 | Gail Penniman

Posted on 02/18/2005 5:29:28 AM PST by SJackson

The first step in any successful recovery program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, is to admit that there is a problem. For a leftist, then, stepping out of denial is the beginning of a journey toward clearer thinking and political sanity. I approach this topic with only a hint of humor, because I myself am a recovered leftist, with over 25 years of sobriety. Was I drunk on left-wing propaganda? Yes, and I became a user at a very tender age – as a child, in fact, in the home of my parents, who schooled me in the ways of communism and socialism.

I believe this topic is extremely important at this juncture, because the far left is finding itself on the wrong side of history yet again and many of its members are lost at sea. I try to imagine myself, had I not awakened to the wrongness of my ideology, trying to survive both the re-election of George W. Bush and the successful Iraqi election. I would be beside myself with anger and disappointment. My index fingers would be in utter fatigue from non-stop pointing to assign blame. I might even threaten to move out of the country, as my brother and his wife are doing!

I feel sad for leftists because they are stuck in their addiction. Strong wording? I think not, because I was there. Leftist ideology is a powerful and cunning potion, and if it gets into the mind at a young enough age, it can be extremely difficult to kick. Let me explain.

I was brought up in the 1950s and ’60s in a suburb of New York City by two World War II veterans whose own parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. My mother’s father took her to Communist Party meetings when she was a youngster, and my parents attended camps in upstate New York where young “reds” congregated, and where they met. As a child I read the works of Howard Fast and the periodical entitled The National Guardian. By the age of twelve, I was completely indoctrinated into the Communist mind-set and openly debated my seventh-grade social studies teacher on U.S. policy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I was convinced of the evils of capitalism and believed that if the West would just not interfere, the Soviet Union would become a workers’ paradise (an old rant still mouthed today by many, including my mother and my son’s college history professor). My mother took me to various demonstrations before I left for college, at which time I involved myself in activist work against the Vietnam War, to my everlasting shame.

There is no way for a “cradle” conservative to imagine the pain that a recovering leftist goes through when the veil is finally lifted. The second step in official 12-step programs is belief in a higher power, believing that your higher power can restore you. In recovering from leftist thinking, this step is not a requirement, but for me it was essential. In fact, during my 30th year I experienced a spiritual awakening that initiated many changes in values, which in turn brought me to my first conservative action step: voting for Ronald Reagan in 1980. To borrow Michael Medved’s term, I had become a “theo-con.”

Belief in a higher power is not always the starting place for a leftist in recovery. For some, it is intellectual honesty. Most recently, the Iraqi election came under attack from the far left in the United States and abroad. British Prime Minister Tony Blair rightly opined that anyone believing in liberty and self-rule could not possibly oppose the election. But leftists were able to do so because of intellectual dishonesty and their belief in ends-justify-the-means politics. Since a successful election in Iraq means a victory for the hated Bush and a vindication of the military, the left must oppose it.

But in opposing Iraqi self-rule, the left must abandon one of its core positions: freedom from tyranny for the oppressed. Those on the left cannot have it both ways, and in continually trying to do so, they expose themselves as the intellectually bankrupt people they really are. Leftists ready to recover must use what recovering alcoholics call rigorous honesty to rid themselves of the habit of “dual think.” The fourth step in AA is a fearless moral inventory, and the folks on the far left who dare to take a fearless intellectual inventory will realize that their dual-think positions are untenable.

It can be frightening for a person to walk away from a lifetime of strongly held beliefs and into new ways of thinking. Family and close friends may misunderstand and even reject you. This happens. It is similar in many respects to what happens to individuals who leave a cult; they find themselves ostracized, ridiculed or marginalized. It is best not to engage in too many political discussions until you are sure of what you now stand for, how to defend your new positions, and who you can trust. Reading magazine articles and books to develop a knowledge base is essential.

I was in recovery for over 20 years when I read David Horowitz’s “Radical Son,” which documents his life journey from “red diaper baby” to leftist activist to highly regarded conservative scholar. It was not until I read this book that I realized that I was not alone in my “conversion” and how deeply angry I was at having been so brainwashed as a child. I now regard the politicizing of young children as a form of child abuse. This realization enabled me to deal with my anger and to begin to grow beyond it.

The 12th step in the AA program is to carry the message of recovery to others. It is a marvelous step because in doing so, you cement the fact that you have finally arrived at some place of clarity and are strong enough to spread the message. To all those whose beliefs have been shaken by recent events, to all those whose ideological houses have been built on sand: Take heart, because there is hope if you will bravely admit that you were in the wrong and move to the right. As Dennis Prager says, it is okay to be wrong; it is not okay to stay that way.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: epiphany
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1 posted on 02/18/2005 5:29:29 AM PST by SJackson
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To: SJackson

Might have been written by Ronald Reagan himself.


2 posted on 02/18/2005 5:31:46 AM PST by standupfortruth
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To: SJackson

Wonderful article. Thanks for posting.


3 posted on 02/18/2005 5:34:48 AM PST by speedy
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To: SJackson

read later


4 posted on 02/18/2005 5:36:08 AM PST by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: SJackson

His statement about the left wanting things both ways is so true. They are the have your cake, my cake and everyones cake and eat it too croud.


5 posted on 02/18/2005 5:37:46 AM PST by satchmodog9 (Murder and weather are our only news)
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To: SJackson

==== Most recently, the Iraqi election came under attack from the far left in the United States and abroad. British Prime Minister Tony Blair rightly opined that anyone believing in liberty and self-rule could not possibly oppose the election. But leftists were able to do so because of intellectual dishonesty and their belief in ends-justify-the-means politics.====

Just the other day I heard some leftist screaming about "Bush lied us into war" which is one of their favorite claims. They use the mis-characterization of his statement "British and American intelligence indicates there are Weapons of Mass Destruction" to assert that he lied. They KNOW that their assertion is a lie. Bush told the truth.

They also suggest that Bush never mentioned "regime change" or "democratic rule" in Iraq prior to the war and that he came up with that idea after the WMDs failed to materialize. This is also a lie.

Until they get to a point where the truth is under their feet, they can not make progress.. and that is good.


6 posted on 02/18/2005 5:37:56 AM PST by Paloma_55
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To: SJackson

Very good article. Thanks for posting.


7 posted on 02/18/2005 5:38:39 AM PST by TexasTaysor
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To: standupfortruth
Hey, He's telling my story!
8 posted on 02/18/2005 5:40:45 AM PST by liberateUS
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To: SJackson

Excellent article. I concur with reading Radical Son. That was a good book to read.


9 posted on 02/18/2005 5:41:02 AM PST by hellinahandcart
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To: big'ol_freeper

Maybe you could send this one to Malinowski.


10 posted on 02/18/2005 5:42:22 AM PST by sauropod (Hitlary: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.")
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To: SJackson

save


11 posted on 02/18/2005 5:44:28 AM PST by krunkygirl
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To: SJackson

"The right looks for converts while the left looks for heretics"


12 posted on 02/18/2005 5:45:23 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: SJackson

"It is best not to engage in too many political discussions until you are sure of what you now stand for, how to defend your new positions, and who you can trust. Reading magazine articles and books to develop a knowledge base is essential."

Good article. The above is excellent advice for the newly converted. I never considered myself a liberal; I've always been conservative, but putting your beliefs into words is a difficult thing to do, until you truly know what the heck you're talking about. When you stick to the TRUTH and you base your arguments on FACTS and not FEELINGS, it all falls into place. :)


13 posted on 02/18/2005 5:52:49 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: sauropod

Hehehe...and one other from the same company who, upon losing another intellectual argument yesterday, had to resort to telling me my problem is that I have no respect. I just smiled and flashed the 3-D L at him.


14 posted on 02/18/2005 5:56:13 AM PST by big'ol_freeper (World Series Champion Boston Red Sox!! Has a nice ring to it.)
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To: SJackson

Bump


15 posted on 02/18/2005 6:00:02 AM PST by roaddog727 (The marginal propensity to save is 1 minus the marginal propensity to consume.)
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To: SJackson
It was not until I read this book that I realized that I was not alone in my “conversion” and how deeply angry I was at having been so brainwashed as a child. I now regard the politicizing of young children as a form of child abuse.

And that is exactly what the public school system and lefty activist 'teachers' are doing. It goes beyond abuse, adding persecution. It has to be stopped.

16 posted on 02/18/2005 6:05:29 AM PST by JesseJane (KERRY: I have had conversations with leaders, yes, recently.That's not your business, it's mine.)
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To: SJackson

A Conservative = A Liberal who gets mugged.


17 posted on 02/18/2005 6:18:45 AM PST by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: SJackson
If you read Michael Medved's latest book Right Turns, you know why more and more Americans are starting to turn away from Leftist views. His description of why his generation has done considerable damage to this country is so true, to say the least.
18 posted on 02/18/2005 6:18:59 AM PST by RayChuang88
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To: big'ol_freeper

I am waiting for the day that I finally meet him < g>


19 posted on 02/18/2005 6:22:39 AM PST by sauropod (Hitlary: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.")
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To: SJackson

ping


20 posted on 02/18/2005 8:14:20 AM PST by lunarbicep (If the opposite of pro is con, then whats the opposite of progress?)
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To: SJackson
"I was convinced of the evils of capitalism and believed that if the West would just not interfere, the Soviet Union would become a workers’ paradise" Which is why the NYT purposely hid the news of the great famine, a holocaust worse in many ways than the holocaust Hitler visited upon the Jews. Where collectivization of Ukraine's agriculture, resulted in the starvation and deaths of well over 10 million people, not to mention the imprisonments, tortures and killing of those who resisted it. Fortunately for me, my great grandparents survived it, although all their brothers sisters aunts and uncles didn't, resulting in the complete loss of their family history, properties, etc. Therefore leftist/communist/socialist thinking, the rewriting/ignoring of the historical failures of communism/socialism and the mass murdering it caused were never part of my upbringing or political thoughts except to be very vigilant against it.
21 posted on 02/18/2005 8:22:00 AM PST by Nathan Zachary
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To: SJackson
But in opposing Iraqi self-rule, the left must abandon one of its core positions: freedom from tyranny for the oppressed.

I'm not sure that freedom from tyranny was ever a core conviction of the left. Their core conviction is anti-capitalism. How can we forget their suppport of Stalin, Lenin, Castro, their love affair with Che, etc?

Their support for the oppressed has been trumped every time by their support of socialism.

22 posted on 02/18/2005 8:36:15 AM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: SJackson

You illustrate well what the problem is with our country in that you present leftism as a disease (as I have seen people on the left present the rightist view). In the end, the truth is in the middle.

Did we go into Iraq to make Democracy? No. If that were true, we'd have gone into a horde of other countries long ago.

Is it good that the Iraqis are freed from the power of a brutal dictator? Maybe. We won't know the outcome of this for years, but I'm optimistic, even as one of those diseased leftists. They may turn into a realtively free country, or they could balkanize, and be ruled yet again by dictators.

Does one vote change everything? No. If the government can take that ball and run with it, and bring real improvement in the lives of Iraqis, then we'll have something. There is ample historical evidence that Democracy is not a cure all (Zimbabwe, Haiti, etc).

Have our efforts created a breeding ground for terrorists? Yes.

The Iraq war is not simple enough to exalt as a success or condemn as a failure on the basis of what has happened so far. What the US did was set a lot of pieces in motion, and I don't believe that anybody could predict where it would go. It may turn Iraq into a beacon of hope for the rest of the middle east, or it could devolve into a region-wide conflict.

Only time will tell.


23 posted on 02/18/2005 8:44:29 AM PST by sterno
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To: SJackson

Red Diaper Doper Baby


24 posted on 02/18/2005 8:46:35 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: SJackson

"Radical Son" is a great book and one of the leaders into the what was a new genre at the time, "conservative books". It was widely understood by the New York publishing industry that Republicans were all stoopid and did not reed books.


25 posted on 02/18/2005 8:49:32 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: Paloma_55

Did Bush and company lie? Not precisely. I do think they honestly believe, as many did, that Saddam had some sort of weapons program. However, their belief was so strong that they ignored the evidence they had in their hands that indicated he didn't. They did exaggerate the evidence they had to make their case though. They did knowingly ignore contradictory evidence.


26 posted on 02/18/2005 8:51:14 AM PST by sterno
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To: SJackson

Excellent article. "Radical Son" should be required reading in every college US History class. I don't think anyone really understands the US in the 60's without that perspective.


27 posted on 02/18/2005 8:59:38 AM PST by TChris (Most people's capability for inference is severely overestimated)
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To: SJackson

I was just having a discussion with a leftist this week... they don't just deny reality in things politics, they truly do live in their own little entitlement world.

Brief story, They are tryign to sell their house, its an ok house, fixed up really nice, but its the only single family house on the street and its oddly shaped/looking, surrounded by businesses and apartment buildings... the house is priced as the 2nd highest priced house in the neighborhood, and of course its not selling.

They are adamant they aren't going to take one dime less than their new reduced price (they decided to come down 10k.. still leaving it the 2nd most pricey house in the neighborhood, and its the agents fault its not selling.

Now please keep in mind, at the price they are asking you can buy houses in the neighborhoods old millionaires row, not the only single family amoung apartment and commercial buildings. But they are going to sell it for that, period.
(as though they can force a buyer to show up willing to pay it).... Fact is simple, its not going to sell for anything near their asking price...unless they get extremely lucky.. but its not their fault for overpricing their house.. its the agents fault for not getting people into it and the markets fault for not recognizing their house is a great house.

They need that for the house, and they aren't coming down, and its not overpriced, just that the agent isn't working it. (Sorry guys, anyone lookoing for a house in that price range is going to turn onto that street and say NO... I don't care if it has italian marble and gold faucets, thats reality... they'll go over to millionaires row and buy a house thats in a residential street with other high end homes.)

Lefties... gotta love em.


28 posted on 02/18/2005 9:03:11 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: SJackson
Yes, and I became a user at a very tender age – as a child, in fact, in the home of my parents, who schooled me in the ways of communism and socialism.

It is so nice to know that one is not alone. My family didn't condone communism but they are socialist. As a child I was taught that the world should be run by Unions. My brother is a shop steward for the railroad where he works.

My father is getting way up there in years and it is doubtful that he will ever change his political beliefs. I do give my Dad credit for the fact that he says while he doesn't agree with my political beliefs he is proud of me for speaking out.

29 posted on 02/18/2005 9:09:55 AM PST by armymarinemom (My sons freed Iraqi and Afghanistan Honor Roll students.)
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To: sterno
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Hi!

30 posted on 02/18/2005 9:11:54 AM PST by MarineBrat ("God is dead"- Nietzsche,1886. "Nietzsche is dead"- God,1901)
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To: sterno; MeekOneGOP

Sort of a "False but accurate" kind of thing?


31 posted on 02/18/2005 9:22:27 AM PST by MarineBrat ("God is dead"- Nietzsche,1886. "Nietzsche is dead"- God,1901)
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To: sterno
Why are you here?

This is a Discussion board for Conservatives.

The fact of the matter is, if Bush lied, so did Blair, Howard, Burlesconi, The UN and all his neighbors.

Revisionist history does your argument little good.

Cheers,

knews hound
32 posted on 02/18/2005 9:30:56 AM PST by knews_hound (Out of the NIC ,into the Router, out to the Cloud....Nothing but 'Net)
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To: SJackson
My name is Spiff...

Hi, Spiff...

I was a leftist. In my late teens and early twenties I was a registered Democrat, I voted for Michael Dukakis, I supported socialized medicine, I thought former California Governor Jerry Brown would have made a great President, I hated America for dropping the A-Bombs on Japan, I liked Ted Kennedy, I was a member of Nuclear Freeze USA, I donated money to Greenpeace and Amnesty International, I thought that "choice" was a good thing, I kept a copy of the Communist Manifesto on my desk (I was a federal employee during the last years of the Cold War) just to enrage people, I thought that communism was OK but that it hadn't been done correctly yet, I liked organic foods, I hated Ronald Reagan for putting missiles in Europe and for invading Grenada, I thought the "Sanctuary" movement which smuggled illegal aliens across the border was nifty, I liked to browbeat people who were "bigoted" against gays, I railed against the prudishness of America, I wanted drugs to be legalized, and my thought process on any chosen political issue was no deeper than the last bumper sticker I had read.

Thank you Rush Limbaugh, Ezra Taft Benson, Cleon Skousen, William Norman Grigg, William Jasper, National Right to Life, Phyllis Schlafly and especially Jim Robinson and Free Republic for helping me through the painful process of awakening to the lies I had been told and for helping to set my mind straight.

33 posted on 02/18/2005 9:38:58 AM PST by Spiff (Don't believe everything you think.)
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To: standupfortruth

place marker for later


34 posted on 02/18/2005 9:39:49 AM PST by ezoeni
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To: sterno; MarineBrat; 4mycountry; TheBigB; VRWCmember; Zavien Doombringer; jriemer; mhking; ...


35 posted on 02/18/2005 9:44:57 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: sterno

Yeah, that's what happened.

36 posted on 02/18/2005 9:51:34 AM PST by Hi Heels (Trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Twain)
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To: sterno
Have our efforts created a breeding ground for terrorists? Yes.

WTF are you talking about?

37 posted on 02/18/2005 9:54:19 AM PST by andyandval
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To: sterno

Do you like cheese?


38 posted on 02/18/2005 9:57:33 AM PST by scott0347 (Commander of the 0347th Lancer Brigade, Operator of the Immaculate Steamroller)
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To: andyandval
Have our efforts created a breeding killing ground for terrorists? Yes.
39 posted on 02/18/2005 9:58:25 AM PST by andyandval
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To: sterno
You illustrate well what the problem is with our country in that you present leftism as a disease (as I have seen people on the left present the rightist view). In the end, the truth is in the middle.

*************

You do like cheese.


40 posted on 02/18/2005 10:02:06 AM PST by trisham (proudly jackbooted and pajama clad!)
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To: sterno

Trollin' are ya'? How did you get here? Did someone over at DU leave your cage open?


41 posted on 02/18/2005 10:04:05 AM PST by PilloryHillary (Welcome to America...now speak English)
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To: sterno

You like cats huh?

I know you do.....

Cheers,

knews hound


42 posted on 02/18/2005 10:05:15 AM PST by knews_hound (Out of the NIC ,into the Router, out to the Cloud....Nothing but 'Net)
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To: sterno



and this is just the tip of the ice berg
43 posted on 02/18/2005 10:06:18 AM PST by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: sterno

44 posted on 02/18/2005 10:06:36 AM PST by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: sterno; timpad; TBarnett34; MeekOneGOP; Old Sarge; PetroniDE; Lady Jag; mhking
Have our efforts created a breeding ground for terrorists? Yes.

Terrorist have been around for thousands of years. The middle east would still be a breeding ground for terrorist even if we did nothing in Iraq or Afghanistan. The warped minds of extremist will use any excuse to justify their insanity and yours is the latest justification.

Did we go into Iraq to make Democracy?

It seems to be working for them at the moment

Is it good that the Iraqis are freed from the power of a brutal dictator? Maybe.

The only reason why the libs are upset about Iraq is that they and the UN lost their money supply from Saddam. Other than that, I fail to see any other rational reason to keep Saddam in power.

There is ample historical evidence that Democracy is not a cure all (Zimbabwe, Haiti, etc).

Communism only killed a few million people...Let's give it another chance argument?

Kitties are watching


45 posted on 02/18/2005 10:07:26 AM PST by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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To: sterno; MeekOneGOP
He gassed thousands of people with known illegal chems. Remember the Kurds? That's the start of my evidence.

Now where's yours?

46 posted on 02/18/2005 10:07:50 AM PST by Lady Jag (All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power)
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To: Hi Heels
in the future, please don't post random pics of howard dean with a warning!



some of us are just no in shape to deal with those

47 posted on 02/18/2005 10:11:08 AM PST by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: sterno

48 posted on 02/18/2005 10:12:39 AM PST by wolicy_ponk
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To: SJackson
Happened for me when I was thirteen.....
Asked my pop (who was a democrat) What is communism.?
He said, Communism is like this..

If you work real hard with much effort, and somebody else is lazier than you.. Who do you think will make more money.?.

I said, me of course, get serious and answer my question...
He said, under communism you would be paid the same.. or close to the same..
I said, no way, nobody would stand for that for very long...
He said, lazy people would...

At that I became Anti-Communist.. at thirteen not knowing left from right, socialism from democracy, patriot from traitor..

It was much later that I learned democracy CAUSES socialism, and communism "IS" socialism.. and that socialism is merely a symptom of democracy but democracy is the social disease and that the United States is a republic, a unique republic, and whats posted above is WHY it is...

49 posted on 02/18/2005 10:14:48 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been ok'ed me to included some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: SJackson

"I now regard the politicizing of young children as a form of child abuse."

I taught my kids about Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, John Kennedy, and FDR from an early age. Two grown conservatives and one liberal was the result, still 66 percent.

Communist indoctrination is indeed child abuse, but if parents can't teach politics to their kids who can?


50 posted on 02/18/2005 10:21:44 AM PST by Luke21
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