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January 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Obama's brand of progressivism is practical, patriotic

Brooks is a true conservative

I read the column by David Brooks in the Jan. 23 edition of The Times with great interest. I found in the column “Obama’s pragmatic progressivism” [Opinion] a statement written by a true conservative. As a person who has long thought of himself as a moderate, I found Brook’s material interesting and informative, although I disagreed with portions of it.

Unfortunately, much of the material advanced as conservative today is not. It is reactionary. The people writing and saying stuff purported to be conservative is “my way or the highway” rhetoric. These people, whether in Congress or in state legislatures, seem to be nostalgic for a world that never was, and if there is any justice and humanity left in the world, never will be.

State laws and policies that promote voter suppression and deny women’s rights in cases of rape suggest that many believe in statements such as the one a man made to me in all seriously when I was 12 or 13. “Women should be barefoot and pregnant, living at the edge of town. Work and politics are a man’s business.”

That was in the 1950s. I thought it was wrong even then. Finally, when the leadership of the National Rifle Association advocates absolutism as a great policy, somehow different from extremism, I have to be frightened for our democracy. Unless the rest of us moderates, conservatives and liberals maintain our vigilance, we are in serious danger of succumbing to the authoritarian society the NRA finds so desirable.

--George H. Westergaard, Clinton

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