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Who Are You Calling 'Crazy'?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rick Perlstein's Aug. 16 Outlook article, "In America, Crazy Is a Preexisting Condition," made a very partisan case for crazies. The author conveniently ignored the past five years of crazies on the left, more than likely because he believes in the message of those who railed against Bush policies in the same manner that I believe in the message of those who see the danger of adding government programs in the face of our skyrocketing deficit.

I returned from Iraq in 2006 and recall the antiwar protesters from groups such as Code Pink interrupting political sessions and similar antiwar groups in Berkeley, Calif., preventing our Marine Corps recruiters from entering their workplaces. The anger and hatred seen in San Francisco on Nov. 3, 2004, during an anti-Bush rally attended by thousands was much more vicious than anything I've witnessed in the health-care debate. In fact, the anti-governmental health-care rallies are as loud and nonviolent as the gay marriage protests that evolved nationwide after California voters approved Proposition 8, eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Ironically, we see few of those crazies from the left since President Obama entered office, even though we have tens of thousands more troops deployed, and he came out firmly against same-sex marriage during the campaign. I can only imagine the outrage on the left if it were President Bush appointing so many czars and expanding the faith-based agenda.

Fortunately, we Americans represent the minority in this world who can freely and passionately state our views without fear of political retribution.

CRAIG OLSON

Alexandria

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I take exception to Rick Perlstein's basic premise that the crazy tree blooms only in periods of liberal ascendancy. From the disruptions at the 1968 Democratic Convention through Code Pink and Greenpeace today, the left's crazy tree has just as many blooms. And, of course, Lyndon LaRouche supporters have the distinction of blooming in all seasons.

The one correct observation Mr. Perlstein made is that any moment of genuine political change produces strong reactions in Americans, grass roots and organized. But genuine political change is not solely the province of the left.

JEANNE M. MALLETT

Washington

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In the Aug. 16 Outlook commentary, "In America, Crazy Is a Preexisting Condition":

I appreciated the irony of the photo of the man with his gun strapped to his leg and holding a sign pleading for liberty. This man is standing unfettered, in public with his gun, protesting his government. How is he being oppressed? He is a living example of how the fears of oppression by the right are completely unfounded.

AARON HUNTER

Washington

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