I read with interest Bernie Kosberg’s column two weeks ago in Mahopac News titled, “A loudmouth remains conspicuously silent,” and I would like to make a couple of comments.
I must start with a memory. Former House Speaker Richard Gephardt of Missouri used a technique to make a point by starting his comments with, “I have a friend...,” and go from there, so whatever he said were not his words but someone else’s, and when called on those remarks, he could say, “I did not say that, but only repeated what someone else said.” It’s called plausible deniability.
From the title on down, Mr. Kosberg uses this technique to spew invectives upon my character and writing. I believe that people reading what I write want to know what I think, not someone else, so I do not do this.
When I speak of my liberal colleagues, the opinion is mine, not someone else’s. So, if he thinks I am a “loudmouth,” let him state that and then back it up. In the column, using his technique, hiding behind some mysterious person who may or may not really exist, I 1) spew “ultra-right venom,” 2) use bogus news, 3) use alt-right media tactics, and 4) am a “radical libertarian Republican, virulently against the role of government for most purposes other than defense. He seems to have little empathy for the persecution of minorities.”
Yes, quite a few of my columns are written out of anger. I try my darnedest to explain that anger, but “ultra-right venom?” I guess if I disagree using anger it is venomous, so be it. Which sources in particular are “bogus?” The New York Times? The Daily News? The Washington Post? The Daily Caller? The Daily Wire? The Washington Free Beacon? Oh, I know, The New York Post!
As for “alt-right media tactics,” an explanation of exactly what that is would have been helpful. Unless a reasoned argument, which one is free to disagree with, backed up by those “bogus sources” is considered an “alt-right media tactic.”
As for being a “radical libertarian Republican,” I have stated many times, I am not registered to any political party but consider myself a conservative. I am NOT “virulently against the role of government for most purposes other than defense.” I just believe that while the intentions of many government programs were pure, they have been bastardized. From the Americans with Disabilities Act to the Clean Air Act to the Clean Water Act to even simple things like seat belt laws and no-smoking laws, each has morphed into what was not intended and each time I explain why. Yes, government has a role, but not to tell me when to wake up, go to bed and when to wipe my butt! I find it insulting to treat people as infants, such as hanging a sign in every restroom telling workers to wash their hand when they are done.
Hiding again behind someone else, he states: “He brazenly describes himself as a barely educated, working-class proletarian while, at the same time, he devotedly serves the patrician and authoritarian interests of Trump and his Republican cronies.” How condescending! I have many times admitted to being a high school graduate. Are we, however, to infer from this comment that not going to college makes one “barely educated?” And, as a businessman/owner, I would never describe myself as a “working-class proletarian.” The only “patrician and authoritarian interests” I see are from the liberals and Democrats. If you are not willing to do what they think is best for you voluntarily, they will compel you by law. Think Affordable Care Act; think seatbelt laws.
It is his column; if he agrees with these statements, then he should say so directly instead of hiding behind others. By the way, why do only Republicans have “cronies?” Are there not Democratic “cronies” also?
Here is where the unabashed liberalism comes out. He states: “He seems to have little empathy for the persecution of minorities, which is both surprising and disappointing, to say the least. Why? Because as Mr. Bazzo has pointed out in his column many times, he is gay; one would think, given the difficult experience of so many, he should be a great deal more sensitive than he is.”
I guess that because I am gay I must consider myself a victim? Others may consider themselves victims or victimized, but I will not! I will not wallow in self-pity bemoaning the unfairness of it all. I learned early on how unfair life can be. I decided to do something about it. I took control of my life. I come from the era of the Stonewall riots, when a group of transvestites, in an after-hours bar, said, “Enough!” I am an American who happens to be gay. I am not a gay American. That is the difference. My sexuality does not define me. I have been alive for 62 years and am defined by all my experiences in those years. Life may have been harder because of who I am, but I would not let it beat me. If that makes me insensitive, so be it.
He then twice uses my husband to score political points:
1) “As discussed by Bazzo in a recent column, his husband needed medical care and the doctor refused his insurance, insisting on a cash payment. This is an indignity many have experienced. Mr. Bazzo was fortunate to find another physician to treat his husband who did accept his insurance, but imagine if they had no health insurance to begin with.” Fortune, like luck, is the residue of design. I always leave myself alternatives. I had them. My husband would have the necessary operation; I would never have contemplated otherwise. To presume otherwise, as Mr. Kosberg does, is the height of hubris.
2) “Mr. Bazzo implies that both he and his husband are aging and that their economic condition is uncertain. I assume that they’ll probably be dependent on Social Security and Medicare to stay afloat, as are so many of us.” See above on presumption regarding my life. I will say, however, that we have been bankrupt twice. It was not the end of the world, just the start of a new adventure which we are still on. By the way, we did for over 40 years pay into those programs. We have earned the use of them! One more thing on this point: I may talk about my husband, which I seem to do in my end-of-year columns, but I do not think it appropriate for Mr. Kosberg to use our relationship to score points. I would never write about his marriage or his wife for such purposes. As readers of my column know, I always say family is out of bounds.
Finally, he states: “Bazzo prides himself on being an advocate for freedom of choice. But what does he say about Trump’s recorded opposition to marriage equality?” First off, what Trump thinks on this topic is not relevant. It has been settled. Same goes for Roe vs. Wade. Until the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that, for benefits purposes, the federal government must recognize same sex marriages that individual states do, it did not matter to us what New York by itself did. All New York allowed was for Tommy to be held liable for my debts. You can say one thing, at least New York did it the right way, legislatively. It was not imposed by the courts. I would advise Mr. Kosberg to stop worrying about what his friends think he should do. Also, stop hiding behind them.
This is what I say. What say you?