The Cambrian

Viewpoint: Don't Mistake reporting for facts, vet's benefits for handouts

I would like to voice my opinion to your other readers of John Brannon’s column in your Feb. 18 issue entitled, “Somebody light a candle” (did the power go off again?). I disagree with some of his opinions. He writes that he is able to cope (calms his anger and frustration) with the outrageous comments about Mr. Obama and move beyond the comments made by Lt. Governor Andre Bauer of South Carolina by realizing “there are a lot of stupid people in this country.”

To emphasize this, he quotes a fact presented by the Pew Research Foundation in 2008 stating that more than 20 percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth every day. So it reads to me, if you don’t agree with Mr. Brannon’s opinions, at least regarding Mr. Obama and Lt. Governor Bauer, you are one of those many stupid Americans out there.

Lt. Govenor Bauer’s comments about the poor on public assistance, comparing them to stray animals, via his grandmother, went something like this: She told him not to feed stray animals because they multiply. I think the rest of that is, they also become dependent on you and unable to fend for themselves. Having been at several news-worthy events, and then seeing the event covered in the news media, I found most of the facts presented to be wrong and sometimes downright misleading.

I figure Lt. Governor Bauer’s statement had less than a 20 percent chance of being quoted correctly and probably a 99 percent chance of being reported out of context for political purposes.

I know that there are some Americans out there who are mentally or physically disabled and require assistance, and some who are just going through tough times and need the help to pull out of it. I believe they are getting public assistance, and entitled to it.

I also believe there are a lot of people, not necessarily poor, drawing public assistance because it’s easier than working, and they are getting it. Here’s a quote that should fire you up: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime — but what do you do if he’s too lazy to go fishing?”

Mr. Brannon goes on to mention the G.I. Bill in this column as to not being a handout but an investment. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I find it totally inaccurate, to say the least, to even mention veterans benefits in the same discussion as public assistance. Every veteran dearly earned his benefits, and not by standing in line at the welfare office. It wasn’t a handout or even an investment, it was payment for services rendered. Do you think it was enough?

In closing, Mr. Brannon quotes Bauer as saying his grandmother was not an educated woman, but living in the Bible belt (what is that? Oh boy, that 20 percent in me is coming out again) she should be familiar with the Bible. Then he quotes a verse from the Bible about being kind to the poor. Well, Bauer’s grandmother didn’t compare the stray animals to the poor, he supposedly did. And I think there is a lot of common sense involved in not feeding stray animals; or giving a man who is too lazy to fish, a free fish every day.

And that brings me to my closing. It is my opinion that the majority of those stupid Americans out there have a lot of common sense, and I would take that any day over a Harvard professor who isn’t even smart enough to get into his own house without having his neighbor call the police on him (Remember that one? Mr. Obama in essence said the police acted stupidly. Oh, boy, there’s that 20 percent again.). And don’t invite me to the White House to have a beer. We don’t all drink beer, I prefer a good Pinot from one of the excellent wineries on the Central Coast.

Well, the sun has almost finished its daily trip around the earth and I just have one more thing to say; forget the candle, light a fire. I hope you are all well in Cambria, and living the good life.

J. Ennis of Fresno is a part-time Cambria resident.