To the editor:
Regarding Justin Smitley's (Public Forum, June 20) criticism of Howard Dean, the right-wing scream machine (Fox, Hanna, Limbaugh, Coulter, MSNBC, etc.) has indoctrinated many of the middle class against their own self-interest. Smitley fails to recognize the obvious - that the Republican Party has been taken over by the Christian right (a disgusting example is the Schiavo fiasco) and has now become the self-appointed party of righteousness and intolerance.
To quote John Danforth, former Republican senator from Missouri and current Episcopal minister, "American politics has become characterized by two phenomena: the increased activism of the Christian right, especially in the Republican Party, and the collapse of bipartisan collegiality."
Yes, Mr. Smitley and other working class Americans do make an honest living, but Dean was not referring to them; his point was the Republican Party has historically been the party of the rich, but recently has become the domain of fundamentalist Christians. Do you remember when Bush smugly acknowledged his base as "the haves and have mores"? Or when he announced, "God speaks through me." Is this not frightening?
Dean is a Christian but apparently not the type suitable for those on the political right. Again, former Republican Sen. Danforth: "To assert that I am on God's side and you are not, that I know God's will and you do not, and that I will use the power of government to advance my understanding of God's kingdom is certain to produce hostility."
As I read letters to newspapers, it seems to me that Will Rogers was correct when he said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time."