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Reader suggests I open my eyes, ears and mind

By G. Michael Dobbs
Managing Editor

In last week's column I wrote about my impressions concerning the Tea Party protest at the Springfield Post Office on April 15, and I received the following letter from Linda Fitzgerald of East Longmeadow:
"In your opinion piece entitled 'State of the economy fuels anger,' you ask what the Tea Party protest was all about. Well, I was there from 4 to 6 p.m. and for me it was about a chance to have my views heard. As an unenrolled voter in this one party state my views on matters political are routinely ignored by our legislators on the local state and federal level.
"This event gave me a chance to make a sign that said 'Stop the spending' on one side and 'Cut taxes and legislative salaries' on the other side.
"While you heard comments about cars that people were driving, I heard comments about trillions of dollars of debt being passed down to children and grandchildren, the passing of a stimulus bill that was not read by those voting on it, a need for term limits in Boston and Washington, Congress' outrageous pension system and massive war chests and the proposed plan to deny a private vote on unions just to name a few.
"The 'few bucks' a week that Obama has recently put in your paycheck doesn't hold a candle to the thousands that now have become a tax liability for the shrinking number of taxpayers, their children and grandchildren.
"I was able to hear the concerns of the people at the tea party despite the tea bag earrings given to me by one of the grandmother protesters. Maybe I could hear them because not one sign was thrust in my face nor did I thrust a sign in anyone's face.
"I am not angry because my candidate didn't win, but I am furious that Barney Frank assured one and all that Fanny and Freddy were in great shape and did win!
"Maybe you would have come away from the Tea Party with a clearer picture of what was going on if you weren't spending so much time pondering what people would say about your car and opening your eyes, ears and mind."
No offense intended here, Linda, but did you even read my column? Go back and take a look at what I wrote.
I agreed with the local Tea Party spokesman Dan Rose on several of his points and said that what people of all political opinions need to do is start talking about common ground.
What the heck is wrong with that?
By the way, what do you think about the Fair Tax proposal? Gosh, even a liberal like me who has never voted for Kennedy and believes in term limits for all elected officials thinks it has much merit.
You've proven my point: until people are actually willing to listen and talk without one another without couching everything in political sound bite rhetoric, we're not going to make the progress we need to make.

***
The Valley Press Club will once again host its annual roast of newsmakers and journalists on May 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Keg Room, 87 State St., Springfield. Tickets are available in advance or at the door.
If you're a news junkie, come on down for an evening of pointed jabs, nasty remarks and endless skits. Or, yes, booze.
As Don Rickles used to say, "We do in love." That makes me laugh just writing that!
Various local and state politicians are expected to attend along with the public. Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe and Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott and other public officials are expected to attend.
There's food, a raffle and a cash bar. The proceeds benefit the club's scholarship funds for journalism students.
The emcee is Jim Polito, a former reporter and anchor for abc40, who because he no longer works here is bound to rip all of us up and down.
WAQY-FM Rock 102 radio personality John O'Brien will once again perform.
Tickets to the roast are available in advance by sending a check made out to "Valley Press Club" for $10 per person, mailed to Valley Press Club, P.O. Box 5475, Springfield, MA 01102. To reserve a ticket, or for information, call 575-4954. Tickets at the door are $15.
This is a great evening I hope you can join us.
TThis column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to mdobbs@thereminder.com or to 280 N. Main St., E. Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.


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