I watched on TV (PBS) tonight a debate between
candidates hoping for the Democratic nomination for President in next year's
election. Frankly, I was horrified. It was a feeding frenzy and President Bush
was the chum. The Party of compassion and tolerance were baring their teeth.
They generally claimed that President Bush did not try to get
international help with Iraq. I know it was not his plan, but he gave in to
counsel and went to the U.N. Did the U.N. offer help? No, only delaying and
delaying. So, we went ahead on our own. Well, we weren't really alone, were we?
Whatever their motives, we were joined in our efforts by a number of nations.
Even now, the major players in the U.N. have not changed their positions on
helping us. It seems to me that if they had wanted to help, they would have
offered. They were certainly aware of what was happening.
They said that the President did not tell the people the truth
about why we were going to war. I remember him telling us that Sadaam Hussein
was brutal to his people, had weapons of mass destruction, and that he was
dangerous to us and to his neighbors, and that most of his people would be glad
to be rid of him. I believed all that, and still do. Our "friends" in the U.N.
certainly gave him time and opportunity to disperse his arms.
They said that the President did not tell the people how much
it (the war and it's aftermath) would cost. Anyone with common sense must have
realized it would be very, very expensive. And anyway, how could he possibly
know? Even today, we do not know how things will progress; who can say what it
may cost in money, in lives?
They said that the President did not have a plan for the
country after the war. I cannot believe that, but plans have to be flexible; he
must have had to adjust as new situations developed. Things did not develop
exactly as he expected, it is plain. The Iraqis were more cautious in general
than expected, and as some of them have been killed who collaborated with us,
they seem to have had reason for that.
I hope that Iraq will have heroes (besides their American
liberators), men who died, or at least risked their lives, standing up for
their country. We are strong because we have such heroes, even if modern
"historians" tend to reinterpret the events of our country's founding, and the
reasons for it. They will need heroes to succeed, for whatever union of peoples
comes out of this time to last.
The candidates complained because President Bush unilaterally
abrogated nuclear non-proliferation treaties. They also said that he was not
working on relations with our neighbors in this hemisphere. Yet one of them
said when he becomes President, the first thing he will do is cancel two major
trade agreements (one of them with our neighbors).
They said that he was not working on the economy. It seems
they blame him for our current economic woes. They exulted in the economy under
President Bill Clinton, none of them mentioning that the economy started on its
downward path while Clinton was still in office. This was Bush's fault? The
terrorist attacks were Bush's fault? What would Clinton have really done on
9-11 and after? We don't know. I would guess that even he doesn't know.
They said that he has no plans for national health care. The
description of National Health Care that I heard tonight, that we could afford
without raising taxes, except for the repealing of tax breaks we have already
been allowed, was almost irresistible until I thought, if the government
provides all my health needs, where do I go if the government fails, or
Republicans regain control and repeal it? Some of the candidates were only
willing to say they could cover targeted groups. One said all children, up to
the age of 25. Another named three targeted groups.
If the government supplies my health care because it is a
right (like Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness), what about other
things I need to live, like water, food, shelter, transportation? These are
more immediate needs than health care. I am currently unemployed, and have been
for nearly a year and a half. It is not the government's fault, though the
government is helping with food stamps. By the way, the government has no
common sense or flexibility. They gave me twenty 2-zone bus tickets (Portland)
for a month to help with my job search. When I pointed out that the Honored
Citizen tickets which I qualify for are half the cost and allow unlimited
travel on the bus within the same time limit, they were unable to even provide
me with 20 HC tickets instead. I was given to understand that the tickets (or
gas) was based on an amount of $25. With that they could have provided me with
50 HC tickets. I was told that the issue had come up before, but had been
denied (aren't we trying to stop waste in government?). Private concerns have
helped me with rent and utilities. So where do I go?
I do not believe the government should provide everything for
us. If we go down the road of universal national health care, where else can it
lead? Most of our other needs are more immediate than health care. It would
lead to the few who have jobs supporting all those who don't. And since taxes
would have to be as universal (complete) as the coverage, it would essentially
be communism. We would belong to the government. Government would be our God,
all providing and all powerful.
I believe individuals are responsible for the welfare of their
neighbors -- governments, too.
- David Sawyer, September 4, 2003