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Letter to Editor: Dear Dr. Harris Pastides,

November 29, 2009
Dr. Harris PastidesPresident, USC

Dear Dr. Pastides,

I read your editorial in the Greenville News, November 26th with great interest. I agree with you that Americans need to keep as much civility as possible when discussing the great, and often volatile, issues of out times.

I do take exception to one characterization you have made and ask you to consider my view of the matter. You wrote, in part “Hecklers financed by special interests have disrupted town halls and forums across the country …”

Sir, I believe you have misunderstood the phenomenon you are observing; and, you have been misinformed about the financial arrangements. I have been to a number of “town hall” meetings by Senator Lindsey Graham and several members of Congress. I have also attended numerous “tea party” events around South Carolina as well as trips to Washington, D.C. on 9/12 and again on 11/5 of this year. Members of Congress spoke at most of these events and the reception they received ranged from tumultuous applause, (for Jim DeMint) to, in at least one case, exchanges of shouted barbs.

I wish to make two points. First, much that you see merely as a lack of civility, is, in reality, a deep seated frustration. It is frustration at not being listened to. The citizens of South Carolina have seen Congressmen Bob Ingles, Gresham Barrett, and Senator Lindsey Graham, attending meetings to tell us what must be done because they, rather arrogantly, believe they are better informed and just plain smarter than we are.

Dr. Pastides, if I addressed you, in the manner these “public servants” have addressed us, you would probably not still be reading.

The frustration is deepened by the fact these Congressmen and this Senator, have rather arrogantly forgotten just who pays their salary. They have forgotten they work for us sir!

Instead of listening to the will of the people, they want to marginalize their detractors by saying they are “bigots” or supporters of one failed Presidential candidate, or otherwise out of the mainstream – therefore, their opinion does not count. The folks inside the beltway know best. The unwashed masses need to just shut up, and go meekly about the business of being good little Politically Correct serfs.

It is that attitude of condescention, arrogance, and derision, that has driven the rank and file American voter to record levels of cynicism, frustration, and (justified I believe) anger. When you are not being listened to by the very people who are supposed to represent you, it is natural to get more than a little frustrated and raise your voice.

So, yes sir, you did see folks raising their voices in anger, and displaying a lack of decorum. I suggest this is not because of any deficiency in their education, upbringing or breeding, but because they were sorely provoked. If that anger is not justified, it is at least understandable. And if the ruling elites who really are “financed by special interests” don’t get the message; there will be even more uncivil discourse, not less.

This brings me to my final point Dr. Pastides. You claimed the folks disrupting town halls, friends of mine, were “financed by special interests.” You have been completely misinformed about that sir. The angry Americans coming to town hall meetings, and who went to Washington, D.C. both times, were not financed by anyone but themselves. They would be insulted by your implication that they could be bought.

The kind of passion you have seen comes from the heart, and from deep frustration; not from any mercenary interest. The people who went to Washington, D.C. did so at their own expense. Those younger than retirement age, had to take time off from work or away from businesses they own. That means, not only were they not paid to be there; they lost real money in order to do something they believe just may save this country from a slide into socialism.

Probably less than 3% of the people who went on the bus trips to Washington, mostly senior citizens, were financially unable to afford the trip. There were businessmen in town who could not be away from work obligations who paid for a few folks to go in their place. Not big corporations either, family physicians and college professors, mostly. There was no corporate money, no party money, no PAC money, and none of our people benefited from any grants by a 501 (c)(3) foundation, or some group like ACORN.

In my own case, I did not have a trip to Washington, D.C. in my family budget. The economic downturn has hit me as hard as anyone. A friend paid for my bus ticket on 9/11 and I lost money being away from my home based business two days. On the second trip to Washington, a different friend called me, said he was taking his SUV to Washington, and there was an empty seat I could sit in. He really wanted me to go. I did chip in $20 for gasoline once, and I am quite sure that was less than my full share, so once again I was subsidized by a few dollars.

None of us were paid a penny to be there and all of us lost money, and time with our families, in order to do something we believe is making our country stronger and keeping it free. I will be 59 years young this coming Tuesday. Riding all night in an SUV, or a bus with a bunch of strangers, was very uncomfortable, and the sleep deprivation was not really good for my health. Still, it was better than sleeping on the ground as I did  the last time I had to fight communism, in Vietnam. Oh yeah, all those strangers on that bus, and in that SUV…. we are friends now! And we are getting organized. You ain’t seen any lack of civil discourse yet!


Dean Allen
P.O. Box 4173
Greenville, SC 29608

(864) 641-0066

2 Comments leave one →
  1. liz permalink
    November 30, 2009 8:35 AM

    Yes Sir Mr. Allen, you got it.

    Ask Mr. Pastides about his own personal politics and should he be honest, you’d hear a tale of USC being arm in arm with the elected elite.
    Of course, since hardly anyone is honest these days, a cover up of historic proportions will continue albeit only for a while longer Sir.

    The elite are going to be forced to run for cover when my issues are finally allowed to see the light of day . They are all well documented and they affect every single resident of this state.

    People like Pastides are paid to continue the distracting the public from the real issues.

    Thanks for addressing him Sir.


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