My Title of Liberty

     "In Memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." - Alma 46:12    

Democratic Debate

Sept 4, 2003

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