Off the cliff of decency
The special-interest campaign of disinformation and deception threatening to derail progress toward health care reform for all Americans has angered and frustrated me. And now, the right-wing fear and hatemongers have dived off the cliff of decency. As a reasonable American and a liberal I am all for free speech. But let’s be civil and honest. Attacking President Obama’s proposed speech to schoolchildren as socialist propaganda is despicable, dishonest, and yes, downright unpatriotic.
Many of our presidents have given similar talks to children about staying in school and studying hard, including Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. I don’t recall anyone, right or left, vilifying them for doing so.
If you didn’t vote for President Obama, at least respect the office of the president of the United States.
They claim Democrats want to kill your parents, your handicapped children and veterans. They will tell you that AmeriCorps is an attempt by Barack Obama to create a personal army. They bring loaded guns to events where the president is appearing. When given an opportunity to have a public discussion of the issues, they shout down and abuse their elected representatives and pretend this kind of bullying is just an expression of free speech. They label Barack Obama a socialist, fascist, Nazi and racist.
With all this, and so much more, these sons and daughters of Limbaugh and Beck demand that we respect their opinions and take their beliefs seriously. When a man is standing on the sidewalk shouting incoherently and shaking his fist at the sky, it would do little good to approach him and discuss his delusions in a rational manner.
There have always been people driven by fear and hatred born of ignorance. The difference now is that these folks are being encouraged by mainstream media like Fox News and conservative politicians who believe they can use the passion of these groups to achieve their own ends.
Joseph McCarthy had widespread public support until courageous Republicans like our own Margaret Chase Smith confronted him. The current Republican Party is in disarray and is hoping that the energy and heat of the loonies and extremists will carry them to electoral success in 2012. They may be right. But it is also likely to be a Faustian bargain.
I would like to clarify the remarks attributed to me in the story on Sept. 3, “Health care battle going back to D.C.,” in regard to health coverage for veterans and military retirees.
Military retirees receive health coverage provided and funded by the government as the employer, the same as former members of Congress and retired federal employees. Some retired employees of private companies also receive health coverage as part of their retirement benefits. This is not the same as the government health care being promoted as part of the health care and insurance reform bills being considered in Congress, but has been earned during the years of service to the employer.
The “debt” I mentioned is to the veterans themselves, and refers to the medical care available to them through the Veterans Administration. Many veterans were promised medical care for life when they enlisted and thus are entitled to it.
Neither of these programs is socialized health care, a charge I have heard from some proponents of government health care. Neither is relevant to the discussion, just as health coverage provided to retirees by private companies or federal, state and local governments is not relevant either.
Also one correction: I stated that I had contributed to Medicare, not Medicaid as quoted. These are two distinct programs. Most, if not all, employees contribute a percentage of their wages to Medicare. Medicaid, or MaineCare, is the government-paid funding of medical treatment for people with low incomes.
Sue R. Berryhill
President Obama addressed the nation’s schoolchildren at noon Sept. 8, for 18 minutes. His message was purely inspirational, urging personal responsibility — that they do their homework and stay in school. Why weren’t all the students in RSU 24 watching? Why weren’t all the students at Sumner Memorial High School, with one of the state’s highest dropout rates, watching?
Our children need all the positive reinforcement they can get. Shame on the administrators for this missed opportunity.
Sour grapes gripes
Do these people who object to schoolchildren listening to our president see the extraordinary hypocrisy in that objection? They preach patriotism and love of country, but object to subjecting those same children to the privilege of our president addressing them directly, thereby generating pride and honor toward our government, while encouraging children to become involved in the process. Since when has it become controversial to involve kids in government and civics at school, much less listen to the president? Is it like sex education — protect the young mind from too much knowledge?
This is not about that, but about neoconservatives’ sour grapes over losing the election to a less sympathetic party. And it’s not about religion. It’s about power. Less informed followers of these political activists, either within churches, or without, are being used by activists to further a hidden political agenda, using people’s fear of change to further that agenda.
I’m really tired of folks who claim to love God and country, but tear down and fear those who express love for both differently, or in a different color. The great strength of this democracy is in that very difference and variety. It is not our president who is “bringing the country down,” as they claim, but they themselves who tear down those who think differently, and are “dangerous.” Through their efforts to denigrate the democratic process and those who serve it, they are only projecting their own behavior onto those with whom they disagree.
Consider Kucinich bill
The public knows little about another health care reform bill in Congress, HR 676, introduced by Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. It is the true public option bill and the only way we will see health care provided to all citizens of our great country.
Forget about HR 3200; it has been tainted with the interests of for-profit insurance companies. It will subsidize big pharma as well as big insurance. It will force-feed the public a private insurance company. If you refuse it, they will tax you 2.5 percent of your gross annual income when you file taxes.
Please, for the sake of your health, your pocketbook and your countrymen, consider HR 676.
Evan E. Livonius