Guest commentary: A retort to Mike Kaplan’s commentary
January 9, 2017
I read Mike Kaplan's commentary in The Aspen Times ("We're still here," Dec. 27). I don't know Mike well, but I've met him and respect him as a businessman and a responsible corporate citizen. His comments were mostly spot on, but I'm not sure who he was talking to.
I agree that the 10th Mountain vets who "risked their lives fighting back against human beings' darkest instincts" are owed a debt that we should pay by "standing as bastions of tolerance and civility."
Therefore, we shouldn't harass a mother and her children on an airline flight because we disagree with their father and grandfather's political views. We shouldn't, after hearing about the deaths of a celebrity mother and her daughter, publicly declare, "Oh, God, take him next," referring to the president-elect. We shouldn't dismiss millions as a "basket of deplorables" or respond to the American deaths in a Libyan embassy with, "What difference does it make now?"
I'm a "deplorable" who still doesn't think the Democrats understand why they lost.
Kaplan thinks it was dissatisfaction with government. He misses the point. Our dissatisfaction with government is rooted in the ideology that the Democrats have forced on us for the past eight years: If you win an election, ignore your opponents and force your will upon them, either by legislation or executive order. Make backroom deals to get your agenda through, no matter as long as you pay for what you want. Don't condemn Muslim extremism; they can practice their religion even if it includes the barbaric killing of Christians to make a political statement. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, even if it means surrendering the gains that the military paid for in blood to do it. Don't intervene in Syria, even though it might require boots on the ground. Wait until the Islamic State comes for you here before you try to do anything about it. In fact, invite them in by failing to figure out which refugees are terrorists in disguise. Sell influence to anyone who puts money in your pocket.
Unemploy millions while fighting the bogeyman of climate change, even though it is far from settled science: http://www.nature.com/news/climate-change-the-case-of-the-missing-heat-1.14525.
Kaplan mentions "intolerance" since the election. Most has been directed at the president-elect and his family. Democrats say they're the party of tolerance, but apparently only when you agree with them. Democrats won the previous two presidential elections, but you didn't see Republicans holding up signs stating, "Obama is not my president." If you lose, you lose. You make the best of it and move on. You don't try to get the Electoral College to throw the election. You don't make policy decisions and issue executive orders to hamstring the incoming administration. (Obama made a point of telling us that the Bush administration didn't treat him that way.)
I applaud tolerance, open-mindedness, environmental sustainability and civility, but we should not be tolerant or open-minded toward evil. We are turning a blind eye to the same evil in the world that the 10th Mountain vets risked their lives fighting. Environmental sustainability is not throwing away resources that could last more than 500 years and break our dependence on the Middle East.
I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. I also have gay friends. I don't think it's any of my business what they do in the privacy of their own homes, but I shouldn't be compelled to validate their lifestyle as a societal norm. Marriage, an institution of God, shouldn't apply to a relationship the Bible condemns as evil. I don't condemn sinners, because I've sinned, too. I pray for them to turn to God, who will show them his love and what his best is for them.
Kaplan blames Trump for "terrifying many adult Latinos in our valley and children in our schools with the threat of deportation." I blame the Democrats, who created this problem by not enforcing the immigration laws, while millions streamed over the border. We "deplorables" believe you did this to get them here, promise them things, employ them cheaply, obstruct voting laws so they could vote Democrat, and make them deportable by discouraging citizenship. Democrats started the Civil War to make slavery permanent, and Republicans went to war to save the country and defeat slavery. The Democrats have figured out a new way to enslave people, hoping we didn't notice. We did.
America is a "melting pot," but Democrats don't understand "melting." Become an American — learn our language, adopt our values, embrace our way of life. "American" isn't a race; it's a set of beliefs based on Christian principles that have endured. Become a citizen, get a job, support your family, obey the law, pay your taxes and vote. Anyone who comes here for the American dream should know this is how it's done.
No one is asking you to stand down, Mr. Kaplan. Tolerance is a virtue when you can tolerate someone who disagrees with you, civility is a virtue if it also means fighting barbarism and evil, and environmental sustainability uses all available natural resources in a responsible way.
Kevin Stephenson lives in Glenwood Springs.