Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I Am A Democrat

I was just a little kid when John F. Kennedy ran for President and I can remember my family talking about the election. I remember my Pawpaw saying that he was worried about voting for Kennedy because he was a Catholic and he was worried about the Pope's control of him. At the time I didn't know very much about Catholics so I didn't even understand who the Pope was. Now that I am older and can look back at the issue I understand how much this affected my family and this country. I am proud to say that my family voted for President Kennedy and they never did have to worry about the decisions the President made being influenced by his religion. When the President met an untimely death at the hands of an assassin the Presidency was handed over to Lyndon B. Johnson, another democrat.

Johnson didn't worry about alienating his political party or the members of the southern states who were forced kicking and screaming into the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century. He upheld the rights of all Americans to have equal rights and ordered the National Guard to protect black students who were bussed into white schools and had to go through angry white protesters who were afraid of integration. I didn't realize at the time how important that decision would prove to be and I didn't ever have the opportunity to go to school with black children because we lived in a rural community  and integration didn't happen until years later. The city schools were integrated long before the county schools. Some people took their children out of the local city school and sent them to county schools because they were afraid to have their children exposed to black people.

Many of my fellow girlfriends voiced their support for equality for black people and integration and would have liked nothing better than to have our high school integrated. The boys who went to school with me were another story. They voiced their opposition to integration and used vulgar language describing what they would do if we were to become integrated. That is when I began to see a difference in the way many men and women viewed things. More women were open-minded and accepting than their male counterparts.

The only time I ever supported a Republican was when Richard Nixon promised to end the Viet Nam war if he was elected. After his resignation in disgrace I never supported another Republican. I learned that every candidate will promise whatever it takes to win the election. Nixon was stupid and tried to steal information from the Democratic organization to secure the election. If he had of had faith in himself he might not have been exposed as a dirty stinking politician who would do anything to win.

After President Ford served one term the country was so disillusioned that they finally elected a southern man President. I was so proud of Jimmy Carter for his leadership and felt that he was doing the best he could when everyone in Washington considered him an "outsider" and he had to struggle with the politics of both parties without absolute support from his party. He worked tirelessly to try to free the hostages up until the day he turned the office over to President Ronald Reagan. President Carter didn't cause the gas shortage. He was the first President who had to deal with crazy Iranians and gas shortages. Thirty years later the problems that were first exposed in the '70's are still plaguing us and we are still buying oil from the Middle East.

Ronald Reagan led our country into conservatism and tried to squash liberalism. People across America praised him as a hero. He was the President when the Iron Curtain came down so he took credit for saying, ". . . tear down that wall!" Other than that I never could see where his policies helped or influenced my life. We bought a house during the 80's but that was thanks to the help of family members, not the Reagan administration.

I believe that President Bill Clinton was one of the best Presidents in my lifetime and he could have accomplished so much more if he hadn't been the target of a "witchhunt" by the likes of Kenneth Star and other Republicans. I didn't care about his relationship with other women and didn't want to hear all the dirty details about Monica Lewinsky. The only problem I had with him was the same problem that Hillary had with him, that he was having more sex than she was. Other than that, it is nobody's business who the President is boinking if he isn't having sex with a Russian spy, etc. From what I have read and heard many, many Presidents have had extra-marital relations when they were President even Republicans. I think it is amazing how much Clinton was able to accomplish while he was going through such a public scandal.

After George W. Bush won the election, or stole it, depending on how you see it, we faced the worse crisis this country has faced since the Bay of Pigs during the Kennedy era. The Bush administration cranked up the fear and used it to sway and control the country. Every time something came out in the news against Bush or his administration they put up a heightened alert and effectively squashed any other issue. When they started telling people to buy duct tape and how to secure their homes in case of attact I knew that we were being played for suckers. How is plastic and duct tape going to protect us from chemical warfare or a bomb? That's just ignorant. That's about as stupid as the safety drills we endured in the 50's when we were supposed to duck, cover, and supposedly survive an atomic bomb. Give me a break!

I am surprized that I didn't have a stroke during the Bush years. When he declared war on Saddam Hussein because of the terrorists who hijacked planes on September 11, 2001 I was incredulous. They didn't attack us! The Saudi's attacked us. Bush grounded all planes except for the planes that carried Ben Laden's family members who lived in America out of the country.  He used the excuse of the hijackings to declare war on the wrong country. Actually no country attacked us. It was a bunch of crazy radicals who did. We have crazy radicals who live in this country. Some of they would like to kill other people. If they killed thousands of people we wouldn't condemn all Christians because of the nuts who commit violence in the name of God. We would condemn the radical organizations who support them.

After the attacks by the terrorists the whole world was in support of us. Every country in the United Nations was in support of America. Instead of using that support to curtail terrorism GW Bush declared war on Iraq because Saddam refused to have inspectors examine their nuclear faculties. I believe, and believed all along, that Saddam Hussein didn't want inspectors to examine the nuclear faculties because he was afraid of his enemies around him, like Iran. If Iran had realized that they really didn't have nuclear weapons they would have invaded Iraq and killed them all. They hated each other. Iran is still led by an extremist regime which suppresses all people's human rights. Saddam Hussein had come into power during the Reagan administaration which funneled weapons into Iraq to fight the Russians and Iran.

America would never have elected President Obama if the country hadn't gone through the insanity of the Bush years. By the time of the elections we were saddled with two choices and neither one seemed like the right choice. McCain ran for President twice. You would think that since he had been a Senator for years he would have known many excellent qualified candidates for his Vice Presidential candidate. Instead he met and chose an unknown woman who was the governor of Alaska. He hadn't even known her for very long. How could that have been better than an established candidate like Lieberman, etc? He definitely didn't have her vetted or he would have known that she was known to stab the people in the back who helped her get her start in politics in Alaska like Ted Stevens, etc.

I imagine that Hillary Clinton was glad she didn't win the Democratic nomination after the collapse of Wall Street and the mess Bush left this country in. I had to weigh my decision of my vote on whether I believed that McCain would be a better President or whether Obama would be a better President. I shudder to think what this country would be like with McCain and Palin in the White House. He abandoned his principles to win an election and Palin would have tried to take control of the office. The only reason he chose Palin is because he thought Clinton would be his opponent. That was a stupid and cowardly move which backfired.

I promised to tell you Why I Am A Democrat so this is the reason. I asked my Pawpaw one time why we were Democrat. He said that he believed in the Democrats because of what he went through in the depression. He said that Truman  didn't believe in helping the poor people and people were starving to death. He and his brothers hopped on railcars and rode the rails from city to city trying to find work so that they could send money home to their families. He said the Republicans didn't care about the suffering of the people who were crushed by the economy. He said that Roosevelt helped the poor people. FDR started the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) and employed young men to work creating our state parks. If Roosevelt hadn't helped this country during the greatest depression the world had ever known we wouldn't have been the great country that we are today. He said that the Republicans only care about themselves and making money but the Democrats support the poor and the weak and the needy.

I always admired Ted Kennedy because he came from a wealthy family but he never tired of fighting for the rights of the poor and middle class. He was a great advocate for those who couldn't speak for themselves. People condemned Kennedy for Chappaquiddick when he wrecked and a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, died. Because he didn't report the wreck right away he was condemned and was never able to win the Presidental bid. His service to the country and the people of the United States which spanned over 40 years was his greatest legacy and, in my humble opinion, was a far more profound and lasting gift than the short but tragic political carreers of his brothers, John and Bobby Kennedy.

This country is great because every person has a voice in the government and we have people fighting for the rights of us all. I am not rich and I will never be rich. I don't even want to be rich if it means that I want to suppress the rights of the poor and the minorites and the less fortunate.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Everybody Needs Health Care

I've been going though some dental problems for the last couple of years and it's not cheap. I was diagnosed with periodontal disease. First they planed and scaled my teeth close at the gums. My teeth started getting loose and backing out so I had to go to a specialist. He had to do a bone graft. My teeth were finally healed enough for him to do reconstructive surgery on my gums. I am having trouble with them and don't know what he will do next. We don't have dental insurance so the entire cost is on us. My hygenist said that periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease so the health of my teeth is very important to me.

When we need glasses or contacts we have to pay the entire cost for those, too, because the insurance we have doesn't cover it. My son's have to have a special prescription because their eyes are so bad and the contacts have never been cheap. I don't know how people can afford to go to the doctor and the dentist and the eye doctor and take every member in their family to make sure everyone is healthy and their needs are provided for when it costs so much for glasses and everything. The economy is bad and people have lost their jobs and can't afford to pay that COBRA (or whatever it is) to keep their insurance and they can't even get proper medical care.

I know someone who looks as healthy as a horse but he developed diabetes and has had to be admitted to the hospital because his sugar was so high. He has never had a good job with benefits so he doesn't have insurance. He would never even qualify for insurance if the government hadn't approved the health care act. He doesn't check his sugar every day because he can't afford the test strips. Never mind the fact that he should be on insulin. His blood sugar has spiked over 600 and it is destroying his body. He can't keep it down. He should be able to go to the doctor and get proper attention and medicine to regulate his body but he can't. He is probably just one of millions of people who really do need to go to the doctor, whether they can afford to or not.

I dread it when my husband retires because we won't be able to afford insurance. I can remember my grandmother sitting at the table writing payments for her insurance and it was ridiculous. The cost of health care is outrageous and insurance is sky-rocketing. If everyone had yearly health exams people could be monitored and treated for any unforseen health problems. Fewer people would develope chronic diseases before they were out of control. That should cut down on health cost and provide a healthier nation. It shouldn't be too expensive to go to your GP or gynecologist or dentist.

I don't know how many times I have to say that. "Everybody should be able to go to the doctor." No doctor or dentist, no matter what their specialty, should be able to refuse service to you because you are poor or don't have insurance. Lower income people should have government supplements, if that is what it takes, to make doctors care for patients.

I can remember when being a doctor was a noble profession and doctors didn't turn you away because you didn't have insurance. I doubt many people had insurance years ago. Dear old Doctor Rosen had a first come, first serve service. You went into the waiting room and gave the receptionist your name and she put you on the list. After everyone  who came before you had their turn you was led into the exam room and got the doctor's full attention. I can even remember the last time I saw Doctor Rosen make the last house call in our family. He would come to the house with his little black bag and take care of you if you was too sick to go to his office. He even came to the house when there was a death in the family and he gave my aunt a sedative. You won't find any doctors doing things like that in this day and age. They're in too much of a hurry and aren't willing to go that extra mile. They're probably afraid of law suits, too.

I don't understand why the general public is so against universal health care. Most people don't go to the doctor because they want to; they go because they are sick. It would be a lot cheaper for everyone to have their own doctor than to have to run to the emergency room whenever they are sick. I hate to go to the doctor so I wouldn't go to the hospital unless I thought it was a real emergency. If people had a regular doctor he could monitor their medicines and make sure they weren't mixing medicines or overdosing or taking something that wasn't good for them. He could educate them on how to care for themselves and help them feel empowered about their own health.

I also know someone who had little kids and didn't know better than to let them sleep with a bottle in their mouths and these gorgeous little kid's teeth started rotting at the gum line. Nobody had bothered to teach them not to do this to protect the kid' teeth. I made the horrible accident of giving one some candy and he started screaming in pain. I was so sorry that I had given him candy. If they had of had a caring doctor he should have taught the young parents how to care for their kid's teeth.

As we grow older our bodies start falling apart and you can be healthy one day and falling apart the next. My sons, who are young, think I am kidding but it happens to everyone.

We live in one of the greatest countries in the world in this 21st century. We believe in freedom for all and that includes all men and women and all races and ethnicities. We like to pride ourselves on our generous and humanitarian attitude. As one of the greatest democracies ever established we should extend the protection of LIFE to everyone, not the least of these being the poor and regular people.

I am perplexed with people who are adament that the government shouldn't be involved in health care. Insurance companies aren't going to voluntarily cover people who are sick and need coverage. They hunt for every loop hole they can find to cancel a policy if they can, especially if someone is running up thousands of dollars with a long term illness. Lobbist's work to protect the insurance companies. Nobody is working to protect the people.

Gordon County has a man with a cancer that has eaten up his face. He is one of about 16 people who have contracted this disease and the only one who has survived so long. He had reconstructive surgery and was beginning to look normal again until his face started to split and he is back to living with a hole in his face. He is pitiful but, thank God, he is still optimistic. The doctors are going to try to reconstruct his face again. His family has to be facing millions of dollars in doctor and hospital and surgical bills but the community has had some fund raisers for him. Nobody should have to face such a devastating medical condition and also have to worry about paying his medical bills. He and his wife need all their energy to fight this disease and not worry about money. His name is Donnie Fritts.

I know some people who contracted Tuberculosis in this community and they had to be treated at the county health center for the disease. Since it is a potentially contagious disease the health department treated everyone without charge. One or two people refused to take the medicine on schedule so they were given some shot, I think. I don't know if this would qualify them as having a pre-existing condition but if it does they wouldn't qualify for insurance without the changes that have been enacted in the congress.

Health care isn't a luxury. Health care is a primary need. It is as important as clean water, sanitation, and safe food. We shouldn't differenciate between rich people and poor people. We shouldn't point fingers and blame others. We should be our brothers keeper.

If America can afford to spend billions of dollars for two wars and borrow money from a communist country, China, to pay for it, surely we can afford to make sure every American man, woman, and child has health care. We have poured millions of dollars into rebuilding Iraq after we blew it up and yet we refuse to make sure our own citizens have health care. I am ashamed that people are so callous and uncaring towards their fellow men. I am doubly ashamed that Christians think this is right. All I can say is "What would Jesus do?"


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making Ends Meet

In these trying times everyone is trying to save every penny they can, anyway they can. We like to have a small garden in our backyard every year and we plant different things every year. We always start with lots of tomato plants and any kind of pepper plants we can find. This year we only had cayanne and hot banana peppers but they are overflowing with peppers. We didn't tend to our tomatoes and keep them watered or we would have had lots more tomatoes. We're still getting little tomatoes off of the vines. We also got to plant okra and squash this summer. The squash has played out but the okra is about seven or eight feet tall and still blooming.

I cleaned out my freezer last year and put up as many vegetables as I could. We ate out of the freezer for a year and I still had a shelf full of vegetables I need to finish off. I started filling the middle shelf in the freezer until it was filled to the max. We will have plenty of okra, squash, and tomatoes to eat this winter when all gardens are a fond memory.

I put up 12 dozen boxes of green beans a few summers ago and we are still eating from them. I didn't can anything this year but I plan to put up more green beans next year. My pressure canner is a huge double decker that will hold up to 18 pints at a time. I love it when the jar lids "pop" when they start to cool and the lids seal. That's music to my ears. That guarantees no botulism.

We know about the vegetables we plant from the time they are put in the ground until they are ready for harvest and processing. We don't use pesticides very often and we never pick vegetables with pesticides on them. I feel more confident knowing that our food isn't exposed to harmful chemicals. I want to feed my family the best and the healthiest food possible and I can do that when I can and freeze our own food.

I read that classes are popping up to teach people how to can and freeze food. I guess the economy is changing peoples opinion about buying everything from the grocery store. I am all for learning to preserve food and do everything you can to save a buck. I have been canning green beans for years. After eating home canned green beans it is hard to go back to buying bland soggy canned green beans.

I feel a connection to the women in my life who have instilled this art in my life. My mother and my grandmothers all canned and froze food for their families. They even used to string up beans to dry for leatherbritches.

Women have always had to preserve food to feed their families. Before we had jars and freezers food had to be dried or stored in deep pits dug in the ground and covered to keep them from spoiling. I bet women thought they had died and gone to heaven when the pressure canner and the freezer were invented. I know I feel that way about my microwave.

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