Letters to the Editor

‘Me’ America

February 7, 2011


To the editor:

I saw my neighbor a few houses down shucking his driveway snow into the street. He and a couple of others also throw the snow furrows left by the city snowplow back into the street instead of between the street and their sidewalk. That snow will get packed and freeze again making it slick for his neighbors. A guy at my gym has a habit of standing in front of the large fan after his workout with his hands in the air to dry his bare underarms while patrons downwind are subject to his body odor.

These are two examples of what I consider the “me” mentality that seems to be edging into our culture. I see this trend in the ideology of the tea party. “I have health insurance so please don’t let the government have a program to help others get health care and, by the way, don’t mess with my government-run Medicare.”

Climate change deniers are not convinced that global warming is manmade in spite of the overwhelming science that tells us otherwise. It doesn’t fit into their corporate-driven ideology that may cause us to make a sacrifice today to help those who follow us. Those who oppose gay marriage do so because they say it will hurt the sanctity of marriage and they don’t want others to have the same rights they do.

Perhaps we didn’t heed to one of the basic teachings of kindergarten: “sharing.” The social IQ of some doesn’t seem to have gotten past that level.


BornAgainAmerican 3 years, 11 months ago

Typical liberal rant...

The LTE writer still wants to blame the Tea Party for something. Liberals have tried to label them as violent, uneducated and racist. That didn't work, so now Mr. Bretthaur wants to call them selfish and unwilling to "share" because they are against O'Care. Sheesh! With only 18% of the american public estimated to support the Tea Party, it's highly unlikely that they own all of the opposition to this terrible piece of work. Particularly when Rassmussen says 20 percent want the law repealed and nothing done to replace it; 28 percent want it repealed while seeing its most popular provisions put into a new law; and 27 percent want to leave the law in place but get rid of the unpopular provisions. Or to put things another way, 55 percent want to see a middle-ground approach--repeal-and-replace, or leave-it-in-place-and-improve.

As for global warming, the lefties' "science" tends to lack credibility.,,,it keeps changing. Read the next two posts for a look at the Global Wierdos.

SnakeFist 3 years, 11 months ago

"Liberals have tried to label them as violent, uneducated and racist. That didn't work..."

Actually, it did. Only the rabid far-right still idolizes the Tea Queen, Sarah Palin.

Daniel Dicks 3 years, 11 months ago

Science is niether "left" or "right", nor is math. 2+2=4 , there is not another correct answer.

devobrun 3 years, 11 months ago

2+2=11 in a trinary base system. And rules define math. First rule of math and science is definitions are important.

What is global warming? Temperature of the entire globe? The integrated temperature from the core of the earth up until the atmosphere is trivial? Is it the temperature at 5 feet above the ground where the Stephenson Boxes reside? Is it the integrated atmospheric temperature from the earth's surface up until the atmosphere is trivial?

And if it warming...what is the time over which temperature is to be integrated?

These are other poorly defined aspects of global warming that continue to make the concept ill-defined and therefore, poor science. In the world of climatology, an experiment is a model run on a computer. That's right, you can do climatology "experiments" by changing a parameter in a program and run the program....and call it an experiment. Outrageous redefinition of the concept of science. Post-modern science, where the goal justifies the experiment. Bad science

I make this assertion on the basis of bad definitions and bad science. Not corporate-driven ideology.

The same cannot be said for the global warming scientists like James Hansen who recently called for the dismantling of democracy because the people were making the wrong decision regarding global warming. He called for a benevolent group of experts to run our country and do away with democracy. Politics. From a global warming scientist.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 11 months ago

What do we want jobs? Or, destroy corporate America.

Mr. Bretthauer All you need to know about Global Warming/Climate Change is many who were driving the bus on massive economy busting reductions in energy have changed views.

Spain is now teetering on the edge of a severe economic depression. BTW, Spain has relatively cheap electricity because they use nukes, but I digress. Spain gambled it's economy on Green jobs.

Heed history my friends, the Green jobs were a myth.

FloridaSunshine 3 years, 11 months ago

@grigori...I'm laughing out loud at your post...can't's hilarious!!

Fred Mertz 3 years, 11 months ago

Why are you so threatened and offended by the tea party? They are simply exercising their right of free speech and doing what all Americans should do - get involved in our government. Opposition to the Obama health care reform is not opposition to reform or not wanting people to have access to health care, it is opposition to an unconstitutional mandate that people have to buy health insurance and to the idea that the government can keep on spending even though we don't have any money.

Maybe if you had a set you'd stand up to your neighbors or to the guy at the gym, but I suspect you'd rather just whine instead of doing something or have the government do it for you.

linksmonger 3 years, 11 months ago


You pay for all those people who don't have health care one way or another and probably more since they wind up in the emergency room with advanced conditions. And your solution to everything is standing up to people who should already know better - or confrontation. Sometimes pointing out their rudeness in an editorial can have a broader and more helpful impact. Maybe if you had a set, you would post your name instead of remaining anonymous:)

notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

"You pay for all those people who don't have health care one way or another and probably more since they wind up in the emergency room with advanced conditions."

The myth that refuses to die ...

Fred Mertz 3 years, 11 months ago

LOL - you criticize me for not posting my name and yet you too are anonymous.

While it might be true that those who are covered by health insurance pay for those that use an emergency room, the difference is that the government is not footing the bill. The government is broke and can't afford it.

linksmonger 3 years, 11 months ago


I wrote the editorial. My name was published.


Jimo 3 years, 11 months ago

"Why are you so threatened and offended by the tea party?"

Because with the possible exception of Santa Monica liberals, they represent the most stupid and self-indulgent phenomena in American politics. Stupid is as Stupid does.

I, like many, would welcome an involved, participatory movement of Americans dedicated to informed consideration and reform of American political systems. The Tea Party ain't it. Not to get all academic on you but the TP is the anti-thesis of this, the very source and root of the problem!

While the TP's ignorance is well documented, when pressed for time in discussing politics with 'candidates' I usually just ask about one topic: foreign aid. Invariably, a true TPer will place the topic close to the center of budget problems and overstate the spending by an enormous factor (one person was off by a factor of 10,000!). Ditto, 'earmarks,' whether tax burdens have been rising or falling (mixed, actually), whether Reagan increased taxation (yes, by a lot!), or a propensity to digress into social policy (rather than stick to budget/tax policy).

Fred Mertz 3 years, 11 months ago

Help educate me....since the TP's ignorance is well documented, please cite a few with sources.

Jimo 3 years, 11 months ago

A reasonable summary:

Or you could just try Google! Or a bookstore.

Jimo 3 years, 11 months ago

Indeed as someone remarked yesterday:

"Nobody’s arguing that the alternative to Beck-style lyin’ and cryin’ is to adopt the Democratic agenda. Rather, the alternative is to present a passionate, reasonable, and honest defense of conservative principles. I just prefer Ronald Reagan to Sarah Palin, George Will to Ann Coulter, and Bill Buckley to Glenn Beck."

Or someone well-informed to a Know-Nothing living in the Fox Propaganda Bubble. I can't even imagine what the Tea Party would do to Ronald Reagan if he were alive today. Shout him down? Throw rotten food at him? Threaten him with 2nd Amendment remedies?

RoeDapple 3 years, 11 months ago

Hi Jimo! Hey, are you a registered user of wikipedia? I am, so that means I or any other registered user could have written or contributed to your link. Think of it - - - the "facts" you quote are most likely posted by anti-teaparty far left liberal propagandists who don't just disagree, they want to poison the political process. . . although that in itself may be an oxymoron.

Jimo 3 years, 11 months ago

Follow the footnotes - like all citations, that's your shortcut research resource. Good Luck!

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 11 months ago

Why are you threatened by a source that is open to be written by anyone? There are safeguards and watchdogs in place to make sure articles aren't "hacked" or written in a biased way. (My husband is one of them.) As Jimo says, if you don't trust the bias of the article, follow the footnotes and citations.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 11 months ago

Jimo, you're being very silly by suggesting that I have not researched the tea party. I stay current on political events and while I am not a tea partier, I do support much of their agenda. The link you provided does not document their ignorance. In fact, this section from the link sums it up nicely.

A concern has been raised that this article's Criticism section may be compromising the article's neutral point of view of the subject. Possible resolutions may be to integrate the material in the section into the article as a whole, or to rewrite the contents of the section. Please see the discussion on the talk page. (May 2010)

I can accept your opinion of the tea party, but remember it is just an opinon and not fact.

Jimo 3 years, 11 months ago

See comments above re footnotes.

The comment section of LJW does not lend itself to essays. Questions were asked regarding documentation of TP fact-ignorance. A link to the answers was given. I don't provide term papers (or newspaper articles) for free. Please do your own research (assuming of course your question wasn't merely rhetorical and you really wanted to dig into the gross ignorance of the typical "movement" member -- Indeed, the most casual observer of the endlessly unanswered "so what do you want to cut to eliminate the budget deficit" would be easily tipped off to this point.)

And, yes, I too am sympathetic to the TP cause ... including back in the days when a certain reckless Texan was spending the country into oblivion with the full-throated support of 95% of today's TPers! (I just didn't feel the partisan need to make excuses for him). As one commenter noted the other day re Kansas politics -- the only group that Kansans seem to need protection from concerning overspending are Republicans!!

Fred Mertz 3 years, 11 months ago

True, you gave an answer, but there are two kinds of answers right and wrong. I am sorry, but your answer was wrong.

You tried so I'll give you an A for effort. Thanks for trying.

BTW, I opposed the spending of Bush and the wars he got us into. Wish Obama would stop spending and get us out of those wars.

jonas_opines 3 years, 11 months ago

I notice that you provide no citation for your claim that his answer was wrong. Oversite?

Fred Mertz 3 years, 11 months ago

Nah, just an opinion, no citation needed.

Jimo 3 years, 11 months ago

Wrong? Because . . . . . . . . ???

See, that's the problem here - when confronted with inconvenient facts, you run away.

To help you out a bit more, here's an article from a core-GOP bigwig published in the pages of Forbes - broadsheet of the running dogs of capitalism - underscoring my thesis that Tea Partiers are grossly ill-informed:

cato_the_elder 3 years, 11 months ago

"Maybe if you had a set you'd stand up to your neighbors or to the guy at the gym, but I suspect you'd rather just whine instead of doing something or have the government do it for you."

Very well-stated indeed.

In reality, demanding government-run health insurance and crippling our economy in order to combat non-existent "global warming" (now conveniently called "climate change" after "global warming" was proven to be the biggest hoax of the 20th century) are two of the best examples of the "me first" attitude that I know.

SnakeFist 3 years, 11 months ago

What you've described is self-interested capitalism and the childish notion that the only reason to get out of bed in the morning or do anything at all is because there's some profit in it for me.

You may have noticed how conservatives reject the opinions of thousands of scientists that the Earth is warming, but immediately accept the opinion of a single author that college students learn nothing in the first two years of college. Its a phenomenon called "cognitive dissonance" - people (especially weak-minded conservatives) will reject any evidence that doesn't fit their worldview, and accept any evidence that does, without regard to the reliability or validity of the evidence. You can see the same process at work in the ignorant conservative responses to your letter.

You are entirely correct that many of the most ardent opponents of government receive government hand-outs in the form of social security, medicare, medicaid, veteran's benefits, etc, and don't want those hand-outs reduced in order to allow others to benefit.

bacon 3 years, 11 months ago

You do realize that Veteran Benefits are not a government handout, don't you? Please tell me that was an error on your part. If anything the VA Benefits need more work to better serve our veterans.

Moderateguy 3 years, 11 months ago

Well Don. This libertarian leaning, tea-party supporter fired up his internal combustion snow blower last week and cleaned his driveway. I then proceeded along with the help of a neighbor to clear every driveway and sidewalk in my cul-de-sac. It's what neighbors do.

You solution would be for the government to require me to clear the driveways of the "have not's." Because after all, the only reason I have a snow blower is by exploiting all the poor folks. Not because I work hard and saved up my money to buy it knowing that a snowstorm would eventually occur.

Selfish folks are everywhere and part of every political affiliation. The concept of redistribution of wealth however is perhaps the most vile form of selfishness I can think of.

More snow on the way.

notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

"Climate change deniers are not convinced that global warming is manmade in spite of the overwhelming science that tells us otherwise."

You (and a lot of 'weak-minded' liberals) seem to be easily overwhelmed. Psssst: Consensus isn't "science".

"It doesn’t fit into their corporate-driven ideology that may cause us to make a sacrifice today to help those who follow us."

Whereas for liberals, It fits quite nicely into their faith-based ideology that demands we all be constantly riddled with guilt and become devout apologists for all the world's problems, whether we contributed to them in any way or not.

Here's some science for ya', Mr. Bretthauer: This planet underwent bigger climate shifts than the current ones when the only way fossil fuels got burned is if they were struck by lightning while out grazing. The consensus of opinion that they are anthropogenic is based on the hubris of scientists who believe they can control the planet's climate, and the reason so many sheeple swallow their edicts so readily is out of abject fear that we really are powerless to control something that has such a major influence in our lives.

SnakeFist 3 years, 11 months ago

"Psssst: Consensus isn't 'science'."

Yes, it is: "Scientific truth" is nothing more than the consensus of those who study a particular phenomenon. Science is no less opinion than philosophy, but the opinions of those who study a phenomenon (e.g., climate change) are much more likely to be correct than the uneducated opinions of those who don't.

Your argument that climate change is "just an opinion", is no different than the creationist argument that evolution is "just a theory" - if you reject research-based opinions/theories, then you're a nihilist because no one can satisfy your standard of absolute certainty.

notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

"Yes, it is"

Um, no, it's not. When you get a moment or two, have someone explain something called the "scientific method" to you (if anyone you associate with is familiar with the concept).

What kind of "science", fist, says human beings are responsible for making the planet warmer - until it's not getting warmer, then they change that to "climate change"? That's like a cop pulling you over and giving you a ticket for running a red light, then, after you demonstrate that the light was yellow, he says 'That's what I meant, I'm giving you a ticket for running a yellow light."

Is it science that tells us to brush our teeth up and down - no, wait, side to side - no, hold it, up and down - wait, wait, side to side?

"Your argument that climate change is "just an opinion", is no different than the creationist argument that evolution is "just a theory""

1) I didn't say climate change doesn't happen. It happens all the time. It happened long before mankind was even present on this planet, let alone burning fossil fuels. Nice attempt at a straw man, though.

2) The slight difference between evolution and anthropogenic climate change being that there's evidence supporting evolution. It can be observed in the fossilized remains of flora and fauna from over the millenia, and it's even possible to demonstrate through fairly short term, small scale controlled experimentation. And while there is comparable evidence that the climate of this planet does indeed change from time to time, that evidence also clearly shows that similar (or greater) changes took place without the intervention of humankind.

"Science is no less opinion than philosophy"

Seriously? Wow. That little tidbit doesn't even require a response.

llama726 3 years, 11 months ago

On your cop analogy: It's good that you have a cute analogy. Actually, what it's "like" is exactly what it is, and you don't need to make a ridiculous comparison. Someone reported on findings. A term was coined to make it easier for less informed people to consume. The people then can be made to feel misled because the term isn't an absolute fit. A two word concept, and people think it has to be exclusively and absolutely applied.

On brushing teeth: Who cares? Brushing your teeth, in general, has obvious ties to better oral health. So some scientists disagree about how to brush your teeth. Humanity is full of disagreement about everything from politics to religion to business practices, etc.

On climate change and burning fossil fuels: Burning fossil fuels has negative consequences for the environment. Take a general chemistry and introductory biology class. Try to understand air pollution at the molecular level. Try to understand what that constitutes air pollution, and what that dissociates into. Try to look at relevant data like the acidification of the oceans. Generations of shellfish in the ocean have evolved over thousands of years. They have not shown this much difficulty in shell calcification at any point that we can see. The decrease in pH (and increase in acidity, for those who aren't familiar) is strongest along the most industrialized and developed countries and weakest along undeveloped countries. So no, that's not concrete proof, in the same sense that a jury in America often isn't able to convict a murderer with a firsthand recording of the occasion in every case, we can eradicate a reasonable doubt that we are harming, profoundly, the environment.

On the point comparing evolution and man-made climate change:

The truth of the matter is that the evidence isn't completely available, which makes this a tough argument to handle on climate change. However, humans do have an impact on global climate. How substantial that impact is - you and I don't know because those studies aren't easily accessible. What we can see on the micro scale are dozens of problems similar to ocean acidification, and it has to be worth our time to start working on it now, rather than continuing to see if we can crush biodeversity on land and in the oceans.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

I think the letter makes a good point.

In my lifetime (I'm 49) I have noticed a distinct decline in our social fabric - being considerate is much less common, and many people seem to have an attitude that they can do whatever they want regardless of how it affects others.

notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Oh, that was his point. Kinda' got lost in his ranting about global warming and gay marriage and armpits.

Has it occurred to you that the phenomemon you describe may be a response to societal changes, and not the cause of them?

FloridaSunshine 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm just laughing all over these posts today!!! FUN!!!!

Jimo 3 years, 11 months ago

A not very convincing exercise in armchair psychology. Marriage rights for same sex couples, global warming, the Tea Party, an armpit waving exercisers may have some common link but this letter writer has failed to uncover it.

Next up: tea leaf swirls and sun spots - mere coincidence?

sr80 3 years, 11 months ago

peekingdon are you sure your neighbor is just drying out his armpits.i think you might have something you want to tell all of us.come on donny boy the door is slightly cracked and your peeking out!!!! don't be shy!

jhawkinsf 3 years, 11 months ago

Me-ism, edging into our society? It's been here for as long as we've walked upright. And it will be here until we destroy ourselves. It's in our DNA.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 11 months ago

Didn't the me first generation start in the 1960s with the baby boomers? You know, the "if it feels good, do it" hippies that brought so many wonderful things to our society?

sr80 3 years, 11 months ago

that me generation is now the leading pols in the congress/whitehouse and crooks in banking,wallstreet etc.times haven't changed.

1029 3 years, 11 months ago

If you don't like America, you should move to another country. The defining characteristic of the American is to be able to do whatever he wants to, without wasting his time having to take other people into consideration.

I proudly shovel the snow from my driveway into the street. Why should I care about other people having to drive through it? I don't want snow in my driveway, and that's all that matters. If my neighbors have a problem, they can grow a spine and come say something to my face about it. However, I am a proud supporter of the 2nd amendment, so I'd advise them to just mind their own business.

And I'll dry my armpits wherever I want to dry them. Real American Men sweat. Deal with it.

You know what's another perfect example of this whiny liberal be-aware-of-others attitude? Turn signals in automobiles. Does a driver really need to flip on a turn signal so that he knows it is time to make a turn? I, for one, never ever use the turn signals in my car. Obviously, I know that I'm about to make a turn and I don't need a signal to remind me. The cars behind me should just deal with it. If they rear-end me, it's their fault anyway.

And it's just laughable that this letter writer has to mention gay marriage. Well, boo-hoo. Nobody is making gay people decide to be gay. Maybe if they want to get married they shouldn't have decided to be gay. Not my problem. And I doubt that so-called "global warming" will ever destroy the planet in my lifetime, so I don't even waste my time thinking about that.

We're becoming a nation of softies. It's time that people stand up for themselves and realize who is priority number one. It's yourself. Just mind your own business and stop wasting your time thinking about others. Thank the Good Lord everyday for what you've got, but recognize that it's all yours, and you don't have to share it with anyone.

monkeyhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

LTE writer - I agree. I am incensed when people talk waaay too loudly on their cells, and it appalls me when public toilets go unflushed. It automatically reminds me of arrogant, disjointed elites.

Tom, ain't it great to soak up the sun in the middle of winter? My biggest dilemma these days is golf or the beach.

Judgesmails 3 years, 11 months ago

basically, the entire human population is a bunch of selfish, a-holes. the end

ivalueamerica 3 years, 11 months ago

I call it the Homer Simpson Mentality.

I am referring to his often repeated quote....

It is funny because it happens to someone else.

And yes, the Carpetbaggers and extreme right have made that the new American value.

Moderateguy 3 years, 11 months ago

I would actually argue that the selfishness evident in our society is more a result of the liberal mindset. When my ancestors came to the prairie, they relied on themselves and the good will of their neighbors to get them through. Our nation thrived. Over time, people started relying on the government to be the solution to their problems. The ever expanding role of government created a diminishing belief in personal responsibility. Now people who aren't willing to help themselves look to the government to "help" them. When your neighbors push their snow into the street, they are saying "oh well, the government will take care of it."

Daniel Dicks 3 years, 11 months ago

Liberals- We are all in this together. Conservatives- Every man for themself. We will never agree to anything except when liberals compromise.

Mike Ford 3 years, 11 months ago

as the denialists speak unknowlingly about global warming here, Alaska Native elders speak at Haskell about how the wreckless selfish behavior of the lower 48 has wrecked a subsistence way of life they've had for about ten thousand years hunting seal and whale with no outside assistance. I love how aowg's rant in total ignorance about their right to be irresponsible. You know, viagra wouldn't be needed by aowg's if they gave a hoot about their health or the health of the world around them. If you wonder what aowg is look at the Cal Thomas editorial on Reagan. You won't like but I don't care. You are who you are Archie Bunkers.

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