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LETTERS: Labels and discussion of Obama

'Socialist' labeling is counterproductive

I was flabbergasted at the overly simplistic, shortsighted view offered by the Newsday reader who asserted that, because President Barak Obama acknowledged that America is the "greatest country," any attempt on his part to change it necessarily diminishes it ["Obama's politics aren't popular," Letters, Nov. 8]. By that way of thinking, the transcontinental railroad, the interstate highway system, and the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s were all unnecessary, or perhaps even harmful, since America was already the "greatest country."

But the greatest in any field do not simply rest on their laurels, knowing that to do so invites their competitors to surpass them. And even the "greatest country" has room for improvement, unless anyone honestly believes that having 50 million Americans without health insurance did not diminish our "greatness."

The same letter makes three huge errors: 1) claiming that the Constitution needs to be "restored," when in fact it was never usurped; 2) claiming that President Obama's goal was "national socialism" (the original name of Nazism), which was clearly never the case; and 3) referencing the "hopey-changey thing," an empty and childish phrase used first by Sarah Palin, whose own party has deemed her unqualified for national office. Perhaps the anti-Obama crowd could spend some time educating itself on the issues, instead of simply spouting sound bites from right-wing pundits.

Richard Schloss

East Northport

At a time when we have rampant unemployment, corporations spending unprecedented amounts of money in our elections and two never-ending wars, this type of "discourse" does nothing but waste valuable time.

What exactly has the Obama administration done that is "socialist"? I assume the writer is describing the health care reform act, which gift-wrapped millions of customers to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Or maybe the writer is implying the bailouts of the banking and auto industries are socialist - but those were initiated by former President George W. Bush. Or is it possible that the writer is complaining about higher taxes? But that couldn't be true because taxes have gone down for 95 percent of Americans.

If this list doesn't convince you of Obama's corporatist agenda, simply look at his administration: It is chock-full of former Wall Street executives who are free marketeers through and through.

We have a lot of problems facing this nation. But these problems will not be addressed, let alone solved, if we continue to waste time with talking points and incoherent, misrepresentative labels of presidents, politicians and citizens.

Steven Deering