Frank Maguire
Dearest Helen: to Helen Thomas, from the heart
By Frank Maguire
June 26, 2010

"Liberal institutions straightaway cease from being liberal the moment they are established." Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (1888)

"Let's just get the liberal bias thing out of the way. If there was a right-winger who'd spouted so much bile, hate, and ideological agenda-driven nonsense in the White House briefing room for half a century it would be . . . oh wait, no such person would have ever been allowed to become a Washington "institution" in the first place. According to the media graybeards, it's always been a sign of seriousness and unwavering truth-seeking for reporters to attack from the left (c.f. Dan Rather, Daniel Schorr, et al.)." Jonah Goldberg, The Helen Thomas 'Scandal' (June 7, 2010)

"I was very lucky to be born in America.... (My family was) never hyphenated as Arab-Americans. We were American, and I have always rejected the hyphen and I believe all assimilated immigrants should not be designated ethnically." Helen Thomas, from her bio "Early Life."

Dearest Helen,

Perhaps I am being presumptuous addressing you in such a familiar way. But, let me tell you this: "If you don't like it, then tough beans." Know what I mean? Sure, you know what I mean.

You lived the inner-city Detroit experience as a less than fully-acceptable Lebanese, and I lived the inner-city, shanty-Irish Boston life, where we Irish were not among the favored.

Bombast came naturally, or, maybe, nurturally. Awe heck, Helen, ya can't kid an old kidder, it's both, right?

Helen, like most Irish, I do like to "kid." But when I kid, lovely lady, don't think I am merely joking. There is steel in my foundation, and if I might coin a paroemia, "Steel sharpens irony." (Take this figuratively, Helen, for I don't have the slightest idea as to whether steel sharpens iron.)

Regarding your recent caducity — your fall from the pedestal — I wish to offer you something to consider. Here, Helen, I am not kidding. I have my serious face on (which usually makes my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids laugh. It's almost impossible to be a wiseacre [Dutch: wijsheggher, a prophet] amongst one's own.)

We, dear Helen, have some things in common. We have aged having enjoyed certain perq's of "power." Lord Acton was essentially correct in his axiom about power. I just add, here, for clarity, that having power for too long is very seductive. We begin to practice prolepsis. I use the Greek word because I know your Greek Orthodox background. For the readers unfamiliar with Greek, I explain: "Any notion that arises spontaneously in the mind, as distinguished from concepts resulting from conscious reflexion." In other words, we assume an entitlement to shoot-off our mouth, detached from the brain.

Helen, your silly gratis dictum about Israel is, and you know it, nonsense. If you don't realize it, I recommend you read Joan Peters' From Time Immemorial. By her in-depth study , and her proairesis (more Greek, meaning "careful consideration") Ms. Peters arrived at a very different understanding of the history of Palestine. Read the book to see what I mean.

I spent my life in show-biz, enjoying the power of the microphone. You have spent your life with the power of sitting amidst the hoi polloi of political authority. We were both seduced into believing that whatever we pontificated was some sort of transcendent wisdom.

What I am hoping is that you have learned something very important in your fall from grace. Let me tell you how I learned my lesson about the faux-liberals, a deadly brood who should never be trusted.

Years ago, when I began my study of philosophy at a California college, I had a young professor who let the liberal cat out of the bag.

Said prof, recognizing that I had the top grade in his class, beckoned me into his office. It was immediately after California Governor Pat Brown had been defeated by Ronald Reagan.

Prof greeted me unctuously, as a kindred lover of wisdom, assuming that I certainly shared his wise-wise ideology. He pushed a document toward me and said, "Here, Frank, will you sign this?" I asked him what "this" is. He said "It's a recall petition." Naturally I asked "whom do you want to recall?" He said, "Ronald Reagan."

At this time, in my young life, I was a product of my Boston Irish Democrat-Labor upbringing. I had actually voted for Brown, having been pre-conditioned to do so. But, though having been indoctrinated, I was not entirely stupid, and, if I had been stupid, I didn't want to extend the condition.

I said to prof, "Reagan was just elected by the people. Brown lost. Isn't Reagan to be allowed to serve?" The prof's sweetness turned sour. He said, plainly, "No!" We want him out because he is a conservative right-winger."

Pushing the paper back at him, I told him that I preferred to not sign the recall petition. He made no comment, but his body language made it plain that I was dismissed.

At the end of the term, though I carried an "A" through the entire course, he gave me a "C." This was an epiphany for me, and perhaps the most important lesson I learned in my collegiate studies — how pseudo-liberals think and behave. A most fruitful revelation!

So, Helen, instead of joining the ranks of those who are gleeful about your fall, I prefer to hope that you have learned, as did I, an important lesson. You survived the Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan and Bush years, where though you were regarded a bête noire, your nature-nurture foe accepted your opinions as "c'est la vie, c'est la guerre." They learned to live with you. They did not insist that you be dumped — that you be "thrown under the bus."

Don't you, Helen, find it interesting that your dumping came during an administration that pretends to be righteously open and tolerant? Progressive? Ah, such an irony!

That's about it, dear Helen. Perhaps, finally, you might give careful consideration as to who the enemies of openness and tolerance are? I truly hope that you might be moved to proairesis.

Sincerely, and wishing you the best,

Frank Maguire

© Frank Maguire


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.


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