… We sit in our easy chairs, watch or read the news on our computers. Every day, elemental aspects of America are being changed, manipulated and excised, and most of us sit, watch, read or perhaps engage our family or colleagues in discussion or debate about our country’s transformation.
Throughout my life, I also watched, read and, when I felt my company might appreciate my perspectives, expressed my views. I guess I was a political wallflower.
My earliest memory of a national news event was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I remember the somber mood in our home as my parents spoke with relatives and friends about the tragedy.
As an adolescent, the riots of the 60s raised the issue of racism at our dinner table; I read accounts of the Vietnam War protests and Watergate (resulting in President Richard Nixon’s resignation) in one of my favorite magazines, Rolling Stone. I remember the slogans and chants and probably repeated some myself. I was a typical teenager in many respects: naively judgmental and relatively uniformed.
My high school Social Studies class covered the feminist movement and explored our deep concerns about nuclear proliferation. The U.S.S.R. was our Cold War enemy and the films and novels of the day reflected American fear of a smirking Russian with a ready finger on the nuclear “red button.”
Skyjacking, Libyan-supported terrorism and Muslim extremists replaced the smirking Russian in our nightmares and newspapers. In 1979, the American Embassy in Iran was invaded and Iranian students held 53 Americans hostage for 444 days. President Jimmy Carter organized a disastrous rescue attempt (“Operation Eagle Claw”), but the hostages were freed only minutes after Ronald Reagan, who defeated Carter in the election, took the oath of office.
President Ronald Reagan took bold steps to end the Cold War and did so without a single shot being fired. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Reagan demanded; a bold command that reverberated around the world, changed the course of history and led to the lifting of the Iron Curtain.
There are many memorable events in the Reagan presidency, however, his election was particularly poignant for me because I became a Republican, voted for the first time and chose Ronald Reagan to lead our country.
I remember how empowered I felt after I left the voting booth on November 4, 1980. Later that evening, I watched the election returns and as the final votes were tallied, it occurred to me that if I hadn’t voted there would have been 43,903,229 instead of 43,903,230 votes cast for Ronald Reagan and his vice president, George H.W. Bush. My one vote would not have affected the outcome of the election, but it was counted! I took part in democratic process and was proud to be an American.
During the Persian Gulf War, I read newspapers, watched a war on television 24/7 and marveled at seeing reporters speaking to us “live” from various parts of the world, via satellite, on cable TV news stations. We watched the War as if it was a primetime series (“Operation: Desert Storm”) and combat vernacular (smart bombs, Scud and Patriot missiles) became part of our water cooler conversations.
Such was the extent of my political “activism” until the 2000 Presidential campaign. I joined the Bush-Cheney grassroots effort and created a virtual precinct. I attended some parties, was quoted by a Village Voice reporter and cast my vote. I did something, made an effort, but felt that I had more to give and wanted to give to my country.
The political timeline continues with great accomplishments and disappointments: recessions, recoveries, bear and bull stock markets, technology and Internet booms and busts, the space shuttle program launches Columbia on its maiden flight; later, the Challenger shuttle crash claims seven lives. We endured and observed more terrorist attacks … and, then September 11, 2001. Do I need to say more?
Last November 4, 2008, we witnessed a looming American tragedy: Barack Hussein Obama won the presidential election and ushered in a new era of extreme liberal agendas, supported by majorities in the House and Senate.
Six months into his presidency, Mr. Obama has made swift, drastic and expensive changes to this country without few impediments. Our venerable system of checks and balances in this administration is compromised and the current administration has free rein (or is it “reign”) to plunge our nation into a multi-trillion dollar debt, appoint cabinet officials, “czars” and judges with spotty records with little or no opposition, attempt to institute a government-sponsored health care industry – an ineffective, costly socialist-type of program that has failed to be effective in other countries.
Obama’s health care bill, like the TARP program and industry bailouts, will be a financial burden for generations to come. Experts tell us that H.R. 3200 will create a huge bureaucracy that will amount to 1/6th of our national economy. There are frightening aspects of this bill that may affect the way we treat senior citizens, ration care, create diminished quality of care and will negatively affect small businesses through tax increases and other measures.
Health Care Reform Bill, H.R. 3200 shares some commonalities with Obama’s other hasty endeavors (TARP, corporate, banking and auto industry bailouts): his administration presents lengthy and complicated legislative bills (H.R. 3200 has over 1000 pages) and then applies pressure for an immediate vote. Our representatives in Washington aren’t given enough time to read the entire complex and hefty legislative literature, leaving our representatives no choice but to blindly vote on the measures and their constituents in the dark and at the mercy of Mr. Obama’s aggressive plans.
However, something unexpected (at least to Mr. Obama and his minions) is taking place: seniors and other citizens are verbalizing their concern and anger over the more pernicious parts of the bill. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently wrote forcefully about the health care rationing on her Facebook Notes:
“… who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi compared the protestors to Nazis and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused them of trying to “sabotage” the democratic process. As a nation, we’re in trouble when our leaders try to trample on our First Amendment rights and attempt to suppress our freedom of speech by impugning our patriotism and intentions with inflammatory comments and slander.
I applaud the patriots who raised their voices in outrage over the health care reform bill and I admire those who attended recent “tea parties” to protest tax increases and the burgeoning national debt.
Former Governor Palin has taken more abuse from Obama and his staff than any politician in recent history, but she is unafraid to stand up to his administration and condemn this latest deeply-flawed piece of legislation – her actions and leadership command my respect.
While “Rome” burns, we can sit, read, watch and wait until someone else tries to stamp out the flames or we can, as a country, take a stand and demand better leadership from Washington’s enthroned elite.
It isn’t necessary for all of us to march on Washington, D.C., engage in protests or attend tea parties – we can throw our own Revolution if each of us will just take some kind of action, such as write to our elected officials, send a letter to the editor, attend a town hall meeting or even post a notice on our church or community bulletin board.
We can achieve tremendous results and perhaps douse the flames that threaten this great democracy if we get out of our chairs and start walking our talk… even small efforts can bring remarkable changes.
If the ire of a few of our senior citizens can attract international press coverage and one former governor’s strong statement, via the Internet, prompts a change in the bill, surely we can make a difference in the future of our country if we just stop talking about what we don’t like about the current state of affairs and do something in defense of America. We must act now, before we have nothing left but the ashes of a divinely-inspired Constitution and a charred and ruined country.