During my threescore and thirteen years, the most valuable things I have learned came through practical experience. Such as not to fry bacon in the nude nor try to rationally discuss politics, religion or sports with irrational fanatics. Painful annoyance is inevitable.
One thing I have done "religiously" in recent years has been to read the Charleston Newspapers' "Readers' Voice" and "Ventline," hoping each day to find one of those occasional gems of humor or wisdom that sneak into print. As I wade through the rest of those two fetid swamps of abysmal ignorance, prejudice, venom and outright lies, I'm reminded of comedian Steven Wright's observation: "It's scary to realize that half the population is below average intelligence ... even more frightening is that they're eligible to vote."
What's scary to me is that about half of callers believe their opinions about human conduct are absolutely gospel and that the other 6 billion of us on this speck are headed for ruin now, damnation inevitably, if we don't do exactly as they and theirs prescribe. Another 40 percent appear to be unabashedly greedy, downright uncaring about others or just plain mean as hell.
It's a waste of breath to point out to those numbskulls who use the label as an epithet, that all the founding fathers of our nation were "liberals" who put their lives and fortunes on the line. What is more "liberal" than the slave-freeing Emancipation Proclamation (Lincoln) or creating national parks, ending child labor (Teddy Roosevelt) or environmental protection (Nixon)? All are devout Republican icons.
If you or your parents or grandparents receive "liberal" Social Security and are covered by Medicare, the next time someone bad mouths "liberals" in your presence, you need to give them a good smacking -- at least verbally. There are those of us who remember when, if maw, paw, mamaw or papaw couldn't pay cash for their care, we had to -- and put up our blessed mortgaged home as security to the hospital.
There are strong arguments by religious people who truly know what "communist" means, that Jesus was the first one. But that would take another column.
What is the most "anti-gun" organization in America? No, not the Democratic Party. It's the Brady Campaign, started by Sarah Brady, wife of devout conservative Republican Jim Brady who was Ronald Reagan's press secretary and took a bullet during Hinckley's assassination attempt. Following that, she went opportunistically ballistic. They started a foundation (bradycampaign.org) that has taken in millions every year, from which they receive generous salaries then use the rest to lobby for gun bans.
Name one law-abiding person who has had their firearm taken by Democrats? Not me. I'm a veteran, licensed for decades, and own various utilitarian weapons. I say that if you are such a wildly bad shot you need a fully automatic weapon to hunt or defend your home, you're incompetent to handle any firearm.
Sometimes "Readers' Voice" or "Ventline" will have an "Editor's Note" correcting a particularly blatant comment. I don't think that's necessary. After all, just like watching mercenary entertainers Limbaugh, Hannity and, yes, Maher, it's just show biz.Cook is an author, artist and inventor who lives in Hurricane.