2010-03-19 / Letters

Let’s Change The Subject

Dear Editor,

Well, first I wrote a letter to The Wave mentioning presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, but really talking about the recent Tea Party convention. Then naturally enough a reply to that letter appeared in The Wave. It did a great job of missing the point, talking all about how Ms. Palin was giving her speaking fee “right back to her party,” and a “Louisiana purchase for healthcare” what people are doing with “OUR money” and how if anyone questions Ms. Palin it is because they are “afraid of Sarah Palin.”

Misdirection is a wonderful thing. Some people in this country have gained great political power and wealth from it. Really.

But first of all, why does anyone have to defend what Sarah Palin does with her $120,000 speaking fee? Sure it’s a lot of money, more than most American families will see in a year, but it’s her business what she does with it. Unless she’s having to justify this kind of thing all the time, I don’t see where it’s anybody’s business to ‘explain,’ how Ms. Palin disposes of her money.

Hey, but speaking of misdirection, how about that “Louisiana Purchase”? Wow, in one shot it doubled the size of the country, opened up our western frontier and made westward expansion possible. It gave us control of the Mississippi River which made greater commerce and trade possible and increased agricultural markets, ceded the major port of New Orleans and other Gulf ports to United States shipping and to our Navy (very helpful in the War of 1812 and since), and made sure we faced no foreign power on our western border. It increased our population, boosted our economy, gave us vast untapped natural resources and encompassed all or part of 14 future states. And it added a rich diversity of language, music, food and culture to our national mix. What a bargain. Even Napoleon Bonaparte said “This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States…”

So if a health care plan is being compared to the Louisiana Purchase (and yes, that did cost us money –nothing’s free), who wouldn’t want it? Well, who wouldn’t want a health plan that covers all Americans, that means that if you no longer have a job (as millions now don’t) it doesn’t mean you and your family can no longer ‘afford’ to get sick. Why that would eliminate the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in America all by itself. Can you imagine losing everything to health care costs, as you can today, in the greatest country on earth? Also our longevity rates might go up and our infant mortality might go down, just as they have done in many other countries even as costs per patient have dropped. Unless you don’t care about old people living longer, or babies dying, or cost. Or protecting the national security of America’s health from epidemics, global pandem ics, bio threats or recurring diseases such as tuberculosis or virulent influenza. After all, untreated diseases really do not respect income or property lines or care that you are insured while your neighbor is not.

You know, at least 39 countries worldwide, and all of the industrialized nations except us, have a national health system. No one has reported that these countries are crumbling, that doctors are scattering or that people are fleeing due to disastrous health care. Even Afghanistan and Iraq have incorporated such a plan, at the behest of the Bush administration. Is someone saying we Americans are not smart enough to build a better plan than these countries and work for the betterment of all Americans? We have been debating such a plan since at least 1917. Of course we can do it.

Or could you argue against the type of medical plan that our veterans have had for years, unless you think our troops shouldn’t have universal coverage. Or what about that government run health insurance that our Congress people enjoy, and that none of them dropped during the current debate? Maybe they’re saying it’s good enough for them, but not for us?

But while we’re changing the subject, that would be like saying we should shut down our police, close our fire departments, disband our military, stop garbage collection and public health inspections and monitoring, lock down our libraries or board up our schools, because they are all government funded, government run and universally provided to all citizens. The next time you need a cop, see if he checks your coverage before helping you. But all this, although all factual, is way off the point of the original letter. And maybe the above was just too subtle.

So let’s be direct. One, whether these people are paying out to Sarah Palin or the late Ulysses S. Grant is completely irrelevant. For the Tea Party convention, or any other organization, to pay out $120,000 for one speaker, let alone also pay several speakers and cover all overhead, they have to be raking in a hell of a lot of money. Unless there is a gigantic donation or grant fund, that money comes from admissions and product sales. Those admissions are paid by hard working or even strapped Americans who are sincerely looking for answers.

Two, as responsible citizens (as opposed to irresponsible ones) it is our obligation to think for ourselves, be informed and form our own opinions based on truthful information, not swallow the pre-formed phrases and ‘thought’ slogans someone else made up for us. Hey, you wouldn’t let somebody else chew your food for you, why would you let somebody else’s prechewed ideas into your head?

People have lived, fought and died for our right to think for ourselves. Never disrespect that sacrifice by freely giving away that or any other right.

And finally, as a citizen I will question anyone I damn well please. And as an American and as a New Yorker I was born and raised to fear no one. Not Sarah Palin, not anyone else.

But I will say this, as an American I will never tolerate anyone who abuses, swindles, deceives, bullies, bamboozles, misleads, rips off and/or otherwise makes a tidy profit off the backs of or cons even one hard earned buck away from my fellow Americans. Party doesn’t enter into it. I myself am a registered Republican. But we are Americans first. Period.

There’s no misdirection there. My name is on this letter, just as the first, and I can’t be any more direct than that.

DAN GUARINO

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