Gary Hofmeister: Conservatives think twice

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Lots of truth here. The caveat is daily demonstrable by realizing how easily TV manipulates our feelings through images of emotional scenes they want us to see and internalize. Indeed, it is nearly impossible not to be swayed by such visuals. That they might not be giving you the whole truth is usually considered nit-picking and/or irrelevant.

I found this out firsthand nearly two decades ago with the infamous Rodney King case. For nearly one full year, TV stations televised the beating King took at the hands of supposedly sadistic police officers. The image was so ingrained in most people's minds that to even suggest there was more to the story was shrugged off and dismissed.

Then the night before the verdict came down, I happened to be watching a newscast that showed the entire video. They also filled out the story of the long 100 mph chase that endangered many innocent lives. It showed King's brute size and refusal to stay on the ground because he was so hopped up on drugs. The police were using their batons to attempt to keep him prostrate in order to handcuff him because the electrical shocks they used on him had little effect.

At the time, I was volunteer teaching at a local high school, and the very next day, I tried to explain the complete story. One particular girl in the class, who incidentally was one of the sharpest students, made it very clear to me: "Don't tell me!" she almost screamed. "My mind is already made up." After a year of seeing the tape, it had blocked out all possibility of revisiting the facts. (One wonders if years later she had noted that King was and is a career criminal who is still arrested with regularity and if that would have any bearing on her opinion.)

This specific situation typifies that if one bases his or her political philosophy on externals only, he or she will feel completely at home in the liberal mainstream. There are homeless : so construct more government programs to help them. Wars kill people : so bring the troops home. Black people are victims of prejudice : pass more laws to stop it. The rich are getting richer:enact confiscatory taxes to make incomes more equitable.

Each and every one of the above issues has other remedies, some the opposite of those here described and most a nuanced middle ground. But the point is the necessity of not being simplistic in devising solutions nor in cutting off exploration and thought with solely an emotional answer.

The crux of so much error-prone thinking leading to faulty solutions these days lies in our educational vacuum, which rarely gives us a deep understanding of the philosophical basis for our way of government. I call it the Ad Hoc society, which decides virtually everything based only on the immediate situation. Our founding fathers, thank God, were men of deep spiritual and classical learning who understood that the long-term survival of our government "of the people" was the goal. Thus the reason for constructing a republic rather than a pure democracy, which would be subject to the shifting winds of public opinion. Sharp guys, these.

Conservatives are profoundly grateful for this history. They also are deeply concerned that our citizenry appears to have lost sight of the necessity of a well-developed philosophy based on a solid historical perspective by which each person bases his or her stance and votes. This means looking beyond the obvious to find answers to difficult questions regarding our future. As I said, you have to think twice.

Hofmeister is the owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in Steamboat. He is a director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana.

Comments

Murray Tucker 7 years, 7 months ago

Conservatives think twice? The illustration of a high school girl and her jumping to conclusions is more in line with the ultra right and the Republican Party of God.

It was Jimmy Carter who brought down the programs that were started in the Great Society and pursued by two Republican Presidents. The homeless: Many of the homeless are mentally ill. Community Mental Health Centers were created to alleviate the Snake Pit conditions of State Mental Institutions. Carter reduced funding.

It was the Warren Court (former Republican Governor of California appointed by Pres. Eisenhower) who got the ball rolling to end the discrimination against blacks.

It was Bill Clinton who supported tax cuts that were fiscally prudent.

It was George H.W.Bush who raised taxes and it was his son who made the USA insolvent.

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dogd 7 years, 7 months ago

Nothing is more absurd than the hyper-crooked "conservative"mega-lie that the media is "liberal". The media is so complicit in the ownership of our government by non-patriotic multi-national mega-business that Teddy Roosevelt who (unlike the dim fools who call themselves "conservatives" these days) must be rolling in his grave. THAT was an AMERICAN!!! NOT today's simpering lockstep bushie wimps.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 7 months ago

"That they might not be giving you the whole truth is usually considered nit-picking and/or irrelevant.".... so very true, the media only gives you what will inflame your senses and support their political agenda. We are no longer exposed to "the publics right to know" it has now become "the medias right to lead you". People need to realize that every "news" story is written and reported by a HUMAN with their own thoughts and biases and that all reporting venues are there to make money. You are not going to get the complete and unbiased truth from any one news source and to get the whole truth from a politician seeking office... yeah, right.

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nikobesti 7 years, 7 months ago

Gary, I'm not sure you get the point about the Rodney King beating. I didn't care WHAT he did, getting nearly beat to death by the police is always unacceptable, regardless of how much he "deserved it." The girl in your class was correct: it doesn't matter what happened before-although it does shed some light on the circumstances, it does not justify the act. I realize he was hard to subdue, but I also realize they beat him way past the point of subduing. Regarding the media: The media works within the market, like everything else. It puts out many types of journalism. If many people watch, it puts more of the same out, but if no one watches it, it doesn't go there anymore. These are companies after ad money, after all. You can all guess what we Americans want to watch these days. It's not a 15 minute commentary to educate us on Shia and Sunni relations in the Middle East. It's Anna Nicole and short sound bites that are uprooted from their important context. The problem is that the media gives the masses what they want instead of what they should be seeing. It's ultimately our fault for watching cr@p instead of demanding good journalism, and until that happens, it will be more of the same.

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dundalk 7 years, 7 months ago

niko: You miss the point about Rodney King. Have you ever heard of a MDT? Patrol cars have them, and after King travelled through the city streets of the Foothill division, topping speeds of 100+mph, he then entered the 210 Freeway where he continued to lead officers on a dangerous high speed pursuit. He then exited the freeway and continued at an excessive speed on Foothill Blvd, passing large residential areas. During this chase, King failed to pull over, even with several police squads following behind. The MDT displayed information that officers felt were important: a paroled violent felon, drug arrests, etc. now failing to yield to the squads attempting to pull him over.

Once the officers (some of whom I know personally) had King pulled over, they tried to get him to exit his vehicle, speaking clearly and loudly. King refused to obey the officers. Once he exited his vehicle, King made broad and offensive movements towards the officers, who again were shouting commands for King to get into the "felony prone" position. He did not obey those commands.

King had just lead numerous Foothill Division LAPD officers and CHP officers on a multi-jurisdictional pursuit, through family neighborhoods, and they knew him to be a violent felon, with past arrests for drugs and felony crimes. The MDT led no doubt as to the lengths King might go to if cornered.

It was only after lengthy attempts to get King to obey the prone requests that officers, not only protecting themselves but families in the area , dedcided that King needed to be physically assisted to submit. The officers were doing their job.

Officer Brisineo was found guilty of excessive force, however Sgt Koon was found not guilty of any wrong doing. Almost all the blows which were shown on the bystader as well as King's failure to obey were ommitted/edited by KTLA News 5, which was the first news channel to show the video, which was captured by the film maker, as he leaned over a tall brick wall facing Foothill Blvd.

King's defense team played the race card (wow, big shock) and a jury awarded the criminal King millions of dollars. What did King do: "Can't we all just get along" and then proceeded to blow his money on male cross dressing hookers, drugs and beating his wife.

The cops acted within the scope of their job on the night King led them on a dangerous pursuit.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 7 months ago

nik..."The problem is that the media gives the masses what they want instead of what they should be seeing"... how do we know this? Because the media tells us so... it's their polls that tell us what everyone is watching and wanting. As long as the media can manipulate politics and the general masses by using their free speech rights to tell us what they want us to hear, half truths and opinions, and get rich while they're doing it, we're sh$t out of luck. The news media needs to report the news, all of it without interjecting their political convictions and trying to sway public opinion through commentary. Until the media becomes fair and unbiased in their newscasts, they are just another form of tabloid entertainment and are not to be taken seriously. America... it's time you started to think for yourselves.

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nikobesti 7 years, 7 months ago

JQPUBLIC: So are you agreeing with me about the media? I'm kinda confused because it sounds like you are arguing with me, but you're saying nearly same thing I am. "As long as the media can manipulate politics and the general masses by using their free speech rights to tell us what they want us to hear, half truths and opinions, and get rich while they're doing it, we're sh$t out of luck" is my point exactly. I would also add that they're spouting sh!t because people watch it. Maybe you and I don't, but someone is-we all know money drives the media industry. The best thing we can do is convince our fellow American not to watch/read this stuff and get news from better sources. Maybe we should have a discussion which sources those are:

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nikobesti 7 years, 7 months ago

dundalk: It's apparent we will not agree on this issue. All you have told me is a more detailed version of Gary's argument. I am already said I don't care what King did, I don't care what drugs King was on. None of that justifies the act. Unless I'm wrong, this country guarantees everybody certain rights, even for criminal thugs like King. I'm not defending King and I'm certainly not defending his lawyers. Yes, the police had the right to use force to subdue King and they did the right thing in using force. Most of the blows they delivered were appropriate. However, some of the later ones were definitely not, and that's where the line was crossed. The gray line where appropriate force becomes excessive force comes down to personal opinion, and in my opinion that line was crossed.

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dundalk 7 years, 7 months ago

Its easy to critically critique law enforcement officers when you've had years, months, etc to pull apart actions which were applied in the heat of the moment after detaining a violent paroled felon. It's even easier to pass judgment when the leftist media portrays our cops as thugs.

What about the rights of the law abiding public who suffer at the hands of thugs? What about the rights of the police?

I'll wait for you to report back how you would act if put in the position that the LAPD officers were facing on that night that King was arrested.

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