Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I read with interest the recent article on Harry Belafonte. Clearly, Mr. Belafonte contributed greatly to the Civil Rights movement in this country and should be praised for his accomplishments. I would like to raise a few points however.

Mr. Belafonte says his favorite presidents were Kennedy and Johnson. Indeed, they ushered in some groundbreaking civil rights legislation but they also gave us the Viet Nam War, killing 58,286 Americans and nearly two million Vietnamese. Johnson’s Great Society was a budget buster and many argue fostered generations of Americans increasingly dependent on government programs that did not help them get ahead.

He concludes by taking a pot shot at the Tea Party: “I think their stupidity and arrogance gives us a lot to look at and reflect on.” Really? The man who admires Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez is chastising concerned, law-abiding Americans? The same man called George W. Bush “the greatest tyrant in the world” and considers Bush a “terrorist.” He also referred to our Homeland Security Agency as a “new Gestapo.”

The Tea Party is a big tent, welcoming everyone and anyone who wants to get involved. Our primary concern is economic, basically that smaller government is better than bigger government. When more people are in the wagon than pulling the wagon, the wagon stops and the wheels come off, as we have seen recently in Detroit. Over 50 years of Democrat policies have left the city bankrupt, with approximately 78,000 abandoned buildings, high crime and 18.3 per cent unemployment. About 60 per cent of Detroit’s children live in poverty.

Other big cities are about to collapse too. Chicago will have a $1.5 billion deficit by 2016. Their unfunded liability is $19.5 billion this year. Who’s next?

Mr. Belafonte, the Tea Party wants government to get out of the way and let Americans grow their businesses and hire new workers. The Obama administration has worsened an already powerful recession. He is part of the problem. Data shows that 77 per cent of new jobs went to part time workers. Meanwhile, 6.6 million Americans have given up looking for work and are not counted in the government unemployment figures, forming a faceless, voiceless army of hopeless citizens.

Americans are tired of Democrats blaming Republicans and the Tea Party for the nation’s weak economy. The newest Gallup poll finds that the president’s approval rating has fallen to 41 per cent. Only 42 per cent approve his handling of the economy with 53 per cent disapproving. A vast majority of Americans still disapprove of Obamacare.

We are not going away, Mr. Belafonte. We are not intimidated by you or George Clooney or the Democrat machine. We will continue to speak out for Americans of all colors and creeds who desperately need meaningful work. Clearly, we cannot continue doing what we’ve been doing since 2008.

Peter B. Robb, Holliston and Oak Bluffs