"Do you really assume that all feminists are bitter, harsh, and rude?"


X-From_: html@www.deltanet.com Sun Nov 29 13:31:05 1998
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 98 21:31:02 GMT
To: cybrgbl@deltanet.com
From: DeltaNet Form Processor (formpro@www.deltanet.com)
Subject: Guest Book Signature

The field values for the form received were:

Name="Maria C. Garibaldi"
Findout="Just surfed on in!"
How is life treating you?=""Life does not 'treat' me, Life IS what you make of it""
comments=" Richard,

At first I was very impressed, surfing into your massive web site, and finding the Page about Tennamen square and the students who died there...
Then on your home page and FAQ page I discovered that, while you are highly educated, have thrown out your tv and have read many great thought by many great minds Your statements about "feminists" stand out.
Do you hate all feminists or are you merely on that 'bandwagon' of people who hate the WORD feminist?
Why do you slam Hillary with the statement ( "I did not Vote for her)???
Does this mean you wish all women to hold a sub-servient place to all men? Or do you just wish YOUR women to make sure they stay in their place and accept from you a condescending attitude?
I notice you talk in your FAQ ABOUT women in the lowest way, as if we are all meat in your market. Body Parts and acceptable with "half a mind"....
I hope this is a mis-assumption, merely from the limited venture your pages offer in regards to females...(we are barely mentioned although your pages are extensive)
Do you really assume, ( not rolling back to the section found in your FAQ page, this is not a direct quote) that all feminists are bitter, harsh, and rude?
If so, this is truely sad. Especially sad for the memories of your own mom. (Please accept my condolences on her loss)
I was at first bothered that you call yourself Republican.(as I am a long time Democrat) But after reading you consider yourself pro-choice, pro-environment and okay with gay-rights, I have to ask: Are you Republican merely out of Family Tradition?
I doubt very much if there are many Fellow Republicans who would accept you into their fold. Which brings up yet another question:
You state that the first time you voted was for Reagan... well, the "big Tent" party is not the Republicans. I hate to be the one to mention this (as you will probably accuse me of being a "feminist" *LOL*) the Republican's are the party of Big Business, anti-Union, anti- Civil Rights, Anti-Women, and Anti-Gay... gee they even refused money from Gay-Republicans! If they have a Big Tent, it is a tent filled with White-men-in-suits holding big check books. Look Again.
Also I doubt very much you will Kemp or Powell running in 2000, The ticket I fear will be Quayle and G.W.Bush. Powell does not wish to fight the religious right. And Kemp is out of Politics. (a personal friend of my dad's by the way)Kemp's national view of "Trickle-Down Economy" was used by Reagan and proved to be a disaster,and he has no 'new' ideas.So I hope you will vote for AL GORE. His wife will not intervene and backs your world view and environmental concerns. ;o)
Finally, I want to add that I really LOVE your pages and would like permission to link them to my own homepage and use some of your ideas.
I am a former teacher. I taught in Syracuse, Texas, New York City and New Jersey. It is a hard but rewarding life as long as you do not "let the Turkeys" get you down (administration).
And in closing, one suggestion FOR your long long FAQ page. Perhaps you would wish to add at the top a list of topics covered and scroll dots to them? It would make reading the page much much easier. I am sure you know the HTML for this.. but if not, check out my Vegetarian page or (Heavens! It MAY SCARE YOU!) my Wild Women Page..they both have index links.
Thank you for an enjoyable afternoon on a dark, cold, rain-turning-to-snow Sunday in the Miserable North East where we never, almost never, have an earth quake or a tornado and all the drivers have blue-hair,

Environment Variables

HTTP_ACCEPT=image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, */*
HTTP_USER_AGENT=Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows 98)

      Dear Maria,

      So many questions! I am not sure where to begin! It is true I find most card-carrying members of feminist organizations harsh and abrasive, and equally true that I am a Republican out of conviction and not mere family loyalty. But labels are reductionist and do not tell the whole story, and I hope in this e-mail to better explain where I stand on these issues.

      You claim that while my webpages are "extensive," I rarely offer anything with regards to women. Not many of my pages are devoted to women per se, that is true -- although there are many which do (touching on rape, female circumcision, men knowing nothing, and how to get a baby). But neither are the vast majority of my pages directed solely at men. Most of the "Thoughts Worth Thinking" deal with the "human condition" - for both men and women. I think the overall difference between the sexes not great and don't usually see the need to say one thing for men, another for women. You might argue a masculine theme runs through many of my pages. This would not be surprising, insofar as their author is a man. But most women from whom I hear say they appreciate the love poetry and erotic photography; they don't find it to be an ode to feminine "body parts" or "half-minded" bimbos.

      Every now and again a message tinged with feminist phraseology does dribble into my electronic mailbox, and it makes me think; but I console myself with the thought that the vast majority of my reader e-mail from women claims to love the poems and pictures. The tiny minority of critical e-mail I receive comes from squeaky feminist college students of English literature from some university or religious fundamentalists who a priori find pictures of naked woman immodest and offensive. (I have always found most interesting this alliance against "pornography" between militant feminists and fundamentalist Christians). Clearly you cannot please everyone. But I did not write these pages to please militant feminists or fundamentalist Christians. I wrote them to appeal to almost everyone else.

      As for my personal views on the matter: no, I have almost never met a self-described "feminist" with whom I got on well. So let me be clear on this: I consider most such feminists I have met or heard speak a vexation and an irritation; I see them as contributors to male-female hostility rather than any part of its palliation. I remember reading the campus feminist magazine as a student at UCLA and being irritated by the polemical and provocative rantings and ravings. I remember the feminists irately spitting "NO MEANS NO!" yells at me during protest marches ("TAKE BACK THE NIGHT!") and describing all sexual relations as a form of patriarchal power politics -- if not rape! The masculine virtues and the virility of manhood they abhorred; they seemed to have a problem with me personally, simply because I was a man! I would hardly apologize for being a man! An anger began to creep into my relations with women, and even with my mother. But I exited the noxious environment of radical campus sexual politics, found a life removed from the effluvium of strident feminism, let the relationships with the women in my life develop naturally and with mutual respect, and the anger dissipated until it was virtually non-existent - a mere memory of something I did not wish to re-visit. I could go hang out at the local feminists' collective or sisterhood bookstore and probably all that past anger would return to the fore. I choose not to do that. That most men I know tend to ignore silly feminist blather is a gauge of their collective mental well-being. What would I choose to be any different?

      In the very complex interaction between men and women, attitude is almost more important than anything else; and above all, my problem with hardcore feminists lies in their attitude. Look at Betty Friedman, Andrea Dworkin, Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem! It is the caustic "I-eat-nails-for-breakfast", "in-your-face" attitude of many women who sport "National Organization for Women" bumper-stickers on their cars whom I strive dutifully to avoid and consider anathema. These feminists are polemical warriors of the angry pen and prodigious producers of endless grousing: spleen venters, regurgitators of bitter bile, people who would prefer to make war than love! Who has time for that? And hardly anyone listens when you yell at them! Men and women will never understand each other, but they can endeavor their best to love one another. You seem to assume that to dislike feminists is to dislike women in general. The argument is specious. I love dearly and could hardly live without the female sex, but I can hardly tolerate feminists of Andrea Dworkin's ilk. When you read the ungentle comments about feminists in my FAQ, please bear this in mind.

      You might argue that not all feminists are militant or extreme, and you would be right. However, almost without exception the only women I have ever met who wore their feminist identity on their sleeves were the militant and extreme ones. Think about the irony of how although most mainstream American women agree with core feminist tenets, few label themselves as "feminists" and fewer actually join feminist political organizations. This has everything to do this image problem that won't quit! Feminists are so often radicalized and militant far beyond what most women are comfortable with, casting men and masculinity almost inexorably as the enemy. In my humble opinion, feminism never will rehabilitate its public persona with today's generation of women if they do not moderate their message and, more importantly, their hostile and confrontation attitude towards men. The vast majority of women do not really want to be like men, and the reverse is equally true -- although to hear certain feminists talk you would think otherwise. Politics is largely a battle over language and symbols, and too many feminists are rigid, harsh, intolerant, and mean-spirited. They are humorless scolds made livid and pugnacious by bitterness and hatred and endless polemic, and fruitful conversation with them, as opposed to arguing, is nearly impossible. Much more than their message, it is the unquenchable anger of many feminists which I reject. These dyspeptic battle-axes never learned that how you say something is almost more important than what you say. So many of the irate feminists I hear blathering in a white-hot heat about the "patriarchy" are more strident and truculent than even the most aggressive of men! They convince few, alienate many. Hence their appeal is limited and transient.

      Rancor and conflict between the sexes is hardly new. The earliest dramatists and poets take us modern-minded people to school to teach about men and women at each other's throats. But I wince in acute embarrassment when I read the more pungent observations from centuries past where some men (particularly the religious) would decry the female sex as inherently evil and corrupting. "Woman is a sink of vice, the source of man's fall from paradise, a font of irrationality and weakness, the reason we are not better than we are, a heavy weight burdening down our souls!" Nowadays we have come full circle and hear bandied about by many feminists similar declamations denouncing the opposite sex. "Men are aggressively selfish animals unable to control themselves, the root of the violence and aggression in the world, oppressors and rapists by their very natures, the causes of our misery and suffering, that which we need to remedy inside and outside of ourselves!" The converse is equally true to these scorched-earth feminsts whose hatred for men leads naturally to self-congratulatory messages that run like this: women are morally superior creatures due to their innate empathy, kindness, ability to listen, and so on. Nevertheless, a perspicacious individual can clearly see the various virtues and vices putatively ascribed to each sex as more often than not present in both sexes; sex roles being undeniably important, only a fool or a polemicist (in my opinion) would claim they are so important as to dwarf all other considerations. Why see the world in binary tones of "men" and "women" when they are so nearly an "infinite variety" of human beings all with their unique quirks, talents, and demons? And how sad it is to see this delicate balance between men and women made into cannon fodder for the gender wars! We poor humans are unfortunate to have the delicate, precious relations between the sexes upbraided and sullied by such people. To go to a feminist rally today and hear calls to arms in the gender wars is to despair for the future, but this is an internecine war (I solace myself!) in which the vast majority of women (or men!) don't wish to enlist.

      Most women have too much invested with the male sex to write them off as beasts and scoundrels -- this idea some women have that every man is a potential predator and violator! I try to remind myself that many feminists are the way they are because they have been brutalized by certain of the men in their lives; there are, after all, no shortage of men behaving badly. I remind myself that these feminists are more to be pitied and understood than challenged and fought. Nevertheless, when I hear about the barbarities that some men commit against women in parts of the world (ie. female circumcision, burning brides to death because of insufficient dowry, killing "undesirable" baby girl infants, etc.), I almost want to become a feminist myself! But then I hear some feminist ranting and raving and frothing at the mouth and am brought quickly back to reality. We men and women are cut from the same cloth, sharing the same essential humanity. I cannot see terribly much difference between the two sexes, although ones finds enormous diversity between individual human beings. But dfferences do exist -- rooted in evolutionary biology and social custom -- and they are as important as often they are subtle. For all the talk about equality, most women don't want to be treated like men -- and vice versa. But all this is to speak in measured tones and to try to find the truth of the matter in between extremes. It is ambivalence, complexity: these are not personality traits native to political crusaders. And all this is why I rarely share word one civil word with feminists in America today.

      I apologize if my comments alienate, and I try to remain charitable and understanding towards feminists here in the United States, but it is difficult -- and nowadays I give the radical ones a wide berth, as if they were rabid dogs in the corner who find nothing more enjoyable than biting and yapping at passerby's. In the "gender wars" that rage hotly in corners of the republic, I would prefer to stay well out of jawing distance. My father occasionally gets angry and bent out of shape by pugnacious feminists. I urge him to simply ignore such people. You can try reasoning with your average man-hating feminist. You can try reasoning with a barnyard animal also for that matter.

      I note an animus in your e-mail against the more extreme elements of the Republican Party (ie. the "Religious Right"). I see such pugnacious conservatives as little different than the hardcore feminists and homosexual activists; let them all go out into the desert and bark and bite at each other, I say. They are two weasels struggling blindly in a hole, seeking desperately to eviscerate the other; it is down and dirty combat with little honor and no ultimate victory. Matthew Arnold catches well the mindlessly contentious Washington D.C.:

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with the confused alarms of struggle and flight
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Such are the so-called "culture wars" which wrack America and alienate the citizenry from public affairs. I say let Pat Robertson and Germaine Greer apply the boxing gloves and proceed to beat each other senseless: such are creatures of ideological battle who live to wage war on each other, but most people prefer not to fight. I take much consolation in this fact. I myself don't want to fight; and for the life of me, the Fundamentalist Christians of the Right or the Militant Feminists of the Left will never my mortal enemies be! We have had more than enough such angry messengers and their decidely dour views of the world and bitterly adversarial approach to human relations.

      Changing topics, it is true I dislike Hillary Clinton. But it is only a superficial dislike, as I have never met the woman nor devoted terribly much thought to her. Hillary seems to me merely another power-lawyer, cold-fish political operator in the Washington D.C.-beltway tradition. I do not, as you insinuate, dislike Hillary because she is a woman or out of mere condescension. On the contrary, I would vote for a qualified, strongly no-nonsense woman for President of the United States whom I thought could lead the country domestically and internationally (ie. Madeleine Albright, or someone of her ilk), but Hillary will never be that woman, and that has everything to do with who she is and what she believes. But clearly I wish Hillary to remain relatively inactive in politics as First Lady. Let her do ceremonial duties and show the flag, so to speak; but keep her away from major policy initiatives. I did not vote for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States but for her husband! If Hillary wants to run for office on her own merits and positions, then so be it. But I could not for the life of me understand why she was beginning to make policy in the White House (ie. Health Care bill); I only came to see Hillary Clinton as a problem when she declared herself minister-in-charge of American health policy. I felt like Bill Clinton had promised me one thing during the election, and then I was having something else sprung on me afterwards (ie. his wife). Bill Clinton is not the king but a chief executive elected to a fixed term of office. Similarly, Hillary is not queen of the realm but a civil servant's wife; and like most Americans, I have a discomfort with people who acquire political power through their bedmates. I would feel anger towards Senator Diane Feinstein here in California if her husband started making speeches and lobbying for bills. Mr. Feinstein appears to have the decency to let his wife do her job without getting in her way -- or let him run for office himself!

      You would have me vote for Al Gore for president, claiming his wife would stay out of his husband's affairs. What does Gore's wife have to do with anything? She would be nearly irrelevant as to whether I vote for him or not. Anyone who thinks a woman by virtue of her sex cannot effectively serve as head of state should study the persons of Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher! But did anyone care about Thatcher's husband? Was Golda Meir even married? This is the context in which I criticized the activist role of Hillary Clinton inside her husband's administration.

      In my political preferences, I am not particularly partisan. A good buddy who is a very conservative Republican castigates me endlessly for voting for Democrats Bill Clinton for President (which I did twice) and Gray Davis as Governor of California (which I accomplished in the latest elections). His anger is the unadulterated frustration of the true-believer facing a recreant to the faith. "With Republicans like you, who needs Democrats!" he pleads at me. I fear you would be more comfortable if either I joined him on the far Right or adhered closer to your "pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-homosexual, pro-feminist, pro-union" message of the Left. But by itself, I care not terribly much whether a candidate is a Republican or a Democrat; I do care about the candidate first and foremost and what they stand for -- and political affiliation by itself is not central to me. I will, however, vote against any candidate which goes too far to the Left of the Right; and as long as the Republican Party has people like crabbed, angry, dour, intolerant men like Patrick Buchanan and Paul Weyrich in it, I can hardly be counted on consistently to vote the party line! It is no different than if the Democrats tack too far towards the ideas of blowhards Tom Harkin or Jessie Jackson on the liberal left! I admire pragmatism and cautious reform, rather than bold leaps into the dark.

      Perhaps I just don't fit easily into the usual nomenclature; and I dislike the ideas of national politics as combat where I am forced to choose one side or the other. But I am a Republican by virtue of belief in limited government, a strong defense policy in an unpredictable and violent world, regulated private capital as the strongest engine of economic growth, and a desire to stay close to the tenets of the Founding Fathers (ie. the ideas of John Locke: life, liberty, and property; limited government and an aristocracy of merit), as opposed to the saccharine sugars of multiculturalism or insidious poisons of the Professional Resenters in the form of militant feminists, fire-breathing homosexual organizers, minority activists, union organizers and "world peace" wooseys on the liberal Left -- as well as their mortal enemies the fundamentalist Christians, the NRA-gun nuts, the anti-government militia kill-joys and greedy real estate developers, etc. of the conservative Right. I very much like the fact that I get hate mail from both sides of the political spectrum from my webpage, and I try to speak with those in the middle who are ambivalent and open to reason -- not to the polarized zealots who have already made up their minds. If the vast majority of my fellow citizens were to adopt the positions and postures of either extreme, I would consider it nothing less than the End of the World. And I am not the only Republican -- or Democrat, for that matter! -- who thinks this way. I think it would be well to remind the temper-tantrum throwing legislators on Capitol Hill this on both sides of the aisle, as they seem more eager nowadays in digging up dirt and "getting" the opposition than in serving collectively the larger interests of the nation. Revenging grievances which are increasingly personal has become more important than pragmatically working to organize the affairs of state and lead the nation. So much sound, noise, and fury lately -- and signifying so little! This is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they fashioned a bold experimentation in representative democracy not seen since Roman antiquity! And we have become our own worst enemies. This is nowhere more true than with Bill Clinton.

      I see myself as religiously centrist, and will vote for a candidate from either party who speaks common sense and, as far as I can judge in advance, would lead the whole country the best. Many people bemoan this centrist bent of American voters, complaining that there is really no choice between the two major political parties. I am not one of them. To me centrist politics symbolizes political stability and a relatively consensual national policy. Let those who view politics as ideological war move to Chile or Cuba -- countries where people find themselves obliged to shed blood, go to prison, and even die for their beliefs. I prefer the United States and a political life which is stable and pragmatic -- where nobody gets everything they want, but everyone gets something. This is what, in my humble opinion, explains the fact that we still are using the same Constitution almost 210 years after it was first signed. In contrast, France has a more colorful and lively political history but is also on its fifth republic since 1789. But sometimes it seems as if the center will not hold, and the country would fly apart at the seams into civil strife and disunity. Back at the very beginning Alexander Hamilton feared and warned of this "demon of faction" which could tear the country apart, and still it threatens us today. John Adams claimed, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Abraham Lincoln warned, "If ever it [danger] reaches us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Ironically, Lincoln said this many years before the war between the states and his central role in re-defining the American nation. It gives one pause to think.

      Perhaps it is always that republics end in disharmony, chaos, and civil disintegration. I think it wise to remember that, for all its reputed military prowess, the Spartan alliance never did conquer Athens in the field of battle during the Pelopennesian War. The glory which was the democratic Athens of Pericles received its death blow only when Critias and the Thirty Tyrants treacherously betrayed their fellow Athenians and entered into an alliance with their mortal enemy Sparta. It is not so easy for a people -- or a family, for that matter! -- to live together in peace. We see evidence again of this in current events as Clinton is impeached and the bonds of bipartisanship cooperation and civic good strain and risk breaking. But strain is not always bad, and disagreement need not always lead to separation. After winning the contentious election riven by bitter Republican-Federalist enmity in 1800, Jefferson spoke to the nation the following in his conciliatory First Inauguration Speech: "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle... We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists." Jefferson wanted to achieve the consensus necessary for self-government in his young country, and he only partially succeeded. But it is true our political genius in the United States lies in compromise; it has only failed only once so far, and that was grim enough. "What is conservatism?" Lincoln asked himself rhetorically, as he campaigned for the Presidency of the United States on the eve of the Southern secession. "Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?" We have much to improve in our ship of state, but we have more to lose.

      I don't wish to be party to the current gladiator bloodlettings; and so I shy away increasingly from the culture wars taking place today in America, not wanting to contribute to today's increasingly harsh and strident polemics -- if I can help myself! But the cultural warriors warn that if you are not a part of the "solution" you are a part of the "problem." They claim the personal is inexorably the political; neutrality is not an option, and ambivalence is a form of moral cowardice and abdication. What are you to do? On the one side, you have the feminists, the black power people, and the social justice revolutionaries of the Left shouting for the fall of the racist, oppresor power establishment. They would raze the republic to save it. On the other, there are the scolds of the Religious Right and the anti-government screwballs claiming there is no longer a "moral majority" in the United States. The private scandals of President Bill Clinton are of course the symbol of all things gone morally wrong with the nation, and they call for a voluntary segregation by the supposedly moral minority (?) which still remains in the country. They want to separate themselves from the "hostile culture" of the "decadent mainstream." Such a patronizing attitude towards the American people is astounding! This is hardly the attitude Jefferson tried to impart to the country as president! The militant minorities -- the Religious Right; the Radical Left -- battle over homosexual or abortion rights while most people hold their noses at the public fray and the civic culture suffers. But all ideologues in the United States sooner or later discover to their chagrin and disadvantage that elections are won in the center of the political spectrum. I console myself with this thought.

      Most people (including me!) have come to resent exhortations to choose one side or the other. I will not (if I can help it!) sally forth to the cultural wars. I prefer quietly to do my work as a teacher and help my country in that way. I am firmly convinced I do more good there than in the trenches lobbing grenades in attack journalism or yelling slogans at a protest! Nevertheless, I pay close attention to what is happening nationally and seek to understand what I think and where I stand on the issues. Increasingly I do so, however, while holding my nose at the stink coming out of Washington D.C.

      And so I doubt very much that I will vote for Al Gore. He has been Vice President for almost eight years and I have no clear impression of him other than as cheerleader for Bill Clinton (although this may be an occupational hazard of that job). Leadership is hard to define, but I know it when I see it -- and if Al Gore were any stiffer, you could take him out surfing! I will also vote against Gore in part to punish the Clinton Administration for all the reckless mess of the past year or so (Lewinsky et al). Enough of all that! It is time for a change! Newt Gingrich is gone from Capitol Hill, and it is time for a corresponding change at Pennsylvania Avenue. Eight years of the Democrats in the White House! Enough! A voter angry at what I have seen lately, I am in a punishing "throw the bums outta office" mood! It is time to clean house! I'll stick with Clinton, but Gore's gotta go! Let the Democrats lose the White House in the next elections and let the Republicans lose the House of Representatives! That would be justice!

      If (as I hope) the Republicans run a moderate like Texas Governor George W. Bush, Jr. I will most likely vote for him. I like him. He has done a good job in Texas and is willing to stand up to the extremes of the Republican Party so repudiated by voters in the last election. His father was a man of near impeachable integrity; and that is something we have sorely missed in the past few years in the Oval Office. Perhaps George, Jr. could bring some of that back to the Presidency. Washington D.C. is in dire need of an outsider to come in and bring back a sense of honor and integrity. Let Mr. Bush rise to the occasion!

      When I find the time I will have to change the Kemp-Powell banner on my "About the Author" page to Bush-Powell in 2000. Please keep in mind I haven't read and/or changed that URL in over six months! Sometimes the comments on my webpages are dated; often I even forget what I once wrote. The comments about Bill Clinton and his relative innocence are especially dated in light of his bald-facedly lying to the American people. I do not support the impeachment of a sitting president for a personal failure as opposed to a professional one. I support President Clinton and hope to see him survive l'affaire Lewinsky. Yet while Clinton has my support today, he has lost something more subtle but valuable which he never really will regain: my respect. Let William Jefferson Clinton, a man whose exceptional political talents seem inexorably intertwined with destructive personal traits, serve out his term and then creech away into retirement.

      But Clinton seems to have done his job with mixed success -- serving as best as he could with his serious character defects, and that is worth something. "No man will exit the Presidency with the reputation he had when he entered," lamented slick Willy's namesake Thomas Jefferson, back when that Founding Father served two terms himself as Chief Executive at the beginning of the 19th century. It is a comment worth noting. Clinton is the archetypal hero of a Greek tragedy, the basically well-meaning man with fatal flaws doomed to suffer for them. He has served the public, and that one must admit is more than most can say in our selfishly materialistic age; but like no previous president he has made himself risible almost beyond belief! He has cost this country much with his recklessness and imprudence! A complex cat, this Bill Clinton. Who can say what really goes on inside Clinton's head? At this point, I would hardly believe him if he told me water was wet.

      Nevertheless, I do not regret voting for Bill Clinton. Moreover, I am very proud to have voted for Ronald Reagan! After four feckless years of Jimmy Carter, post-Vietnam/Watergate, the Iranian hostage crisis, inflation, self-flagellation and national malaise, and communist gains throughout the globe, this country (and the world!) direly needed a re-invigorated United States willing to stand up to Soviet assertiveness and able to contribute to the world economy. Reagan came into the Oval Office with an upbeat, can-do attitude and things changed for the better. The Berlin Wall fell, the Cold War ended, the global economy opened up, the American economy re-invented itself, and it was again time for a change. Hence Bill Clinton. Eight years later, it is time for another change. Since I turned 18 and first became eligible to vote, I have voted for the winner in very presidential election. My vote has reflected the conservative shift in this country over the past two decades, and this often seems something which discomfits greatly "lifelong liberals" such as yourself. However, the United States is certainly in better shape internationally and domestically since 1979; and I see no reason to tinker greatly with the status quo today. The federal budget is currently balanced for the first time in God knows how many years, a bloated government bureaucracy has been trimmed down, and the pernicious welfare system has been drastically re-shaped.

      The United States has never been more powerful vis--vis the rest of the world. The amazing prosperity and dynamism of the American economy is the psychological and material center of the world and this shows no signs of letting up. U.S. military power has no peer and is ascendant. Even arch-enemy of the United States Fidel Castro has claimed publicly in plaintive tones that we are a country today whose reach and power exceeds that of the ancient Romans, a global Pax Americana having been put in place far exceeding the scope of the Pax Romana. I have no regrets in my ballot box choices, Maria. I do not sum up the Reagan years as the failure of "trickle down" economics, as you do. I doubt that will be the historical judgement, either.

      What are the effects of this "Pax Americana"? I posit that during this tortured 20th century the world has never been so stable and peaceful as is the case today. International relations are relatively free of major conflict and the threat of open warfare; Iraq, North Korea, and Bosnia are certainly far cries from the grave dangers of great power conflict and the widespread misery and death occasioned by WWI, WWII, and even in the Cold War. Critics like to point out that parts of the world still endeavor to develop their economies and emerge from poverty, but it has been worse in the past and there is reason to believe it will be better in the future: technology and international trade offers new opportunity for travel and education, and science and global communication networks make the world smaller than ever before. In the wake of the latest Asian and Russian monetary crises, the United States is almost the only engine of fiscal stability and economic growth in the world today.

      Nevertheless, history shows us that rarely do human relations remain so pacific, and I wonder if we will not look back at the late 1980's and 1990's as halcyon years of respite from danger and instability. The possibility of economic meltdowns, chemical-biological-nuclear weapons in the hands of rogue governments and terrorists, outbreaks of virulent new diseases, giant asteroids crashing into the earth... Our luck has held for many years, but who knows? And maybe politically a shift to the Left will be apposite some day in the future as circumstances change; and then I will vote that way. But for now, I vote Republican. As the country has moved rightwards over the past two decades, many Democrats have chosen to run on platforms and positions which used to be properly labeled "Republican"; and this explains why I often vote for them. The true-believers of the liberal Left lament this trend and see centrist Democrats as turncoats and traitors to the faith for their pragmatism and lack of ideological zeal. The centrist Democrats, however, have been rewarded by the voters with power. I -- a lifelong Republican -- have been and currently am such a "voter." No regrets.

      I realize my FAQ is terribly disorganized and long-winded. I know very few (if any!) people are going to wade through all of it without any points of reference or organization. Nevertheless, the FAQ is more for me to sound out my thoughts than to present them lucidly to others. Consequently, it somewhat of a swollen mess! But such inevitably are writers' notebooks devoted to chronicling new ideas and fleeting impressions as they pass through the consciousness. One wants to write them down before they escape forever into the ether! I fear it cannot be helped. Forgive me.

      The FAQ has been the part of my webpage to which I have devoted by far the most attention over the past year. I work on some part of it nearly everyday (believe it or not!) and have memorized most of the main threads. Many of the arguments you read there are ones that have been raging inside my head for years. If my comments about feminists were the only ones to arouse your ire, I will consider myself lucky. I comment on just about everything under the sun and don't always take pains to be politic.

      So I hope this answers your questions somewhat. You might not agree with much of what I have said, but at least you know where I stand. Go ahead and link to or use any part of my webpage you would like. Jefferson, who would have loved this kind of discussion via the Internet, once said: "He who receives an idea from me, receives instructions himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening mine." I hope you can forgive Jefferson the "patriarchal" reference to "he."

      I trust this message finds you well personally and professionally. And I apologize for the length of this e-mail. You will not fail to notice I was thinking out loud as often as directly responding to your question. Mea culpa.

      Very Truly Yours,

      Richard Geib

Back to Rich Geib FAQ Page