Grace Dolan-Sandrino's letter, which ran in the Downey Patriot on June 16, 2016, touched me deeply. And it moved me to write my first response to an Opinion section in the 38 years I've lived in this great City of Downey.
I read your letter with interest because, at such a young age, you express yourself very well. I also read it with concern because your thoughts and feelings exemplify how the left-wing propaganda machine works wonders on young and old alike. I know there is propaganda expelled from both sides of the political aisle, but the left-wing propaganda is relentlessly and ruthlessly dedicated to spouting out a non-ending barrage of misinformation about the opposite side.
I am a political conservative. The left would label me a right-wing nut, I suppose. I just want you to know that my values and beliefs as a conservative include love of God, love of family, love of country, love of and support for our Constitution, maintaining a small federal government and states' rights that do not impinge upon nor seek to limit my and your individual rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. My values also include tolerance for and support for the rights of every person to be different from every other person without fear of retribution and discrimination.
Your "pursuit of happiness" may include, among many other endeavors, the absolute right to your personal, social and political expression of thoughts and ideas; the absolute right for you to practice (or not) any religion that you feel leads you closer to our creator; the absolute right for you to practice and live any sexual preference you are comfortable with (including participating in LGBTQ rallies and marches); the absolute right to own a gun (or not) to protect your and your family's right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.
You were angered and heartbroken when you came upon the news of the slaughter in The Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I too was heartbroken and angered, for I felt for those innocent people out having a fun evening whose lives came to a screeching halt at the end of a rifle-barrel wielded by a crazed, hate-filled fanatic young man. He did not echo my beliefs and values, nor those of my fellow conservatives, nor of any Republican or Democrat I know, nor of Hillary Clinton, nor of Barrack Obama nor of Donald Trump.
I honestly do not know of any legitimate group of people whose aim is to dehumanize and humiliate and erase you or other persons whose beliefs differ from theirs. That's why America is so unique in the world, that's why so many people around the world risk their lives to come to this country to live and work and prosper. And that's why you and I and those we know need to work together to protect this great country from the continuing onslaught of leftist propaganda that is tearing us apart as a people and tearing us down as the most generous and successful nation in the history of mankind.
You would ask yourself "Why would anyone want to tear down what the United States of America stands for?" Ignorance, sheer ignorance, and the apparent unwillingness or inability of the masses to stand up and challenge the misinformation machine of the left. You want tolerance and understanding, but you, too, need to exercise tolerance and understanding of the beliefs and values of people whose opinions and lifestyles differ from yours, and stop the name-calling and the stereotyping of those people.
We all need to be tolerant and accepting of each other's right to be different. We cannot force acceptance of our own beliefs and values at the expense of another person or group of persons. We can only be tolerant and accepting.
Your goal of a better nation is also my goal. God knows our nation is not perfect, but if we all strive for perfection, we'll get to a higher place as a nation. Together we can find real working solutions to a faulty (not broken) immigration system, the need to protect our borders against invasion by those who would do us harm, the need to repair & strengthen the family unit especially in the ghettoes of our country, the need to respect each other's rights and the need to respect those who serve us in positions of authority.
You say you want not just to be loved, but to be supported and listened to. That's very noble and very fair. I, too, want to be loved, supported and listened to. I don't want to be subjected to name-calling such as "right-winger," "nut job," "racist," "bigot," "hater," etc. You are a transgender teen and I am a straight 67-year-old. And I want you to accept me just as much as I accept you, with each other's faults and merits, and perhaps that way you and I and others like you and me can indeed jump off that rollercoaster of fear and terror that you allude to and start the climb "to the mountaintop of love and liberation."
Thanks for your letter...God bless you!
Peter L. Lago