Friday, October 9, 2009

Where's Your National Pride?

Today was a milestone. Our President, Barack Obama, was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for his teams work in their efforts to reshape the global attitude toward stopping terrorism and striving for a nuclear free world. It was the first time in many years that I was able to be proud, once again, to be an American.

Please don't misunderstand, I have always been proud of my citizenship of our country, but these last years have been quite embarrassing for America in several areas. We have tortured prisioners against the Geneva Convention, of which we are signers. We have invaded another country without proper cause, and in the process lost sight of our real goal in the mid east. We have increased the income of the top 1% earners in our country at the expense of the poor and middle class. We have gone from a budget surplus to a multi trillion dollar deficit. We have become the worlds largest international debtor. We have allowed in exess of 44 million of our countrymen to be without health insurance, directly contributing over 40,000 of them dieing each year.

It is horrifying, to say the least, to see what has happened in our country. The place that was supposed to be one of the best places on earth... where people could live decent respectable lives without having to work themselves to death... ", liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."

What happened? How did we go from that ideal to being slaves to giant, multi-national corporations? Theives that run our banks... that are now "too big to fail" taking huge bonuses with the public's money? Investment institutions that make up new types of gambling style investments that rape those who get sucked into buying them? While being regulated by no one?

Finally, the public being enslaven by the health care industry... specifically the insurance cartel... the one that charges a fortune, pays it's executives in the neighborhood of $57,000 an hour and denies coverge for whatever they deem a pre-existing condition or an unnecessary procedure? Who made up these rules and put them into a health insurance policy? What happened to those who regulate the insurance industry? Were they asleep at the switch?

Isn't the purpose of heath insurance to insure that we can affort to get health care... especially when we need it the most... when we are sick? How is anyone supposed to heal when they are worrying about how to pay the bills that are sure to arrive even when they have health insurance? Or worse yet... can't see a doctor because they don't have health insurance and can't afford to buy it!

What happened to our country? How did we end up with radio and television talk show hosts making policy in Washington by exaggerating, spewing lies and filling up the airwaves with garbage in a 24 hour news cycle? These people are interested in one thing... ratings... why? because ratings effectively line their pockets... they say so themselves!!

How did we end up with a Congress that doesn't have term limits? Who can take campaign funds from whomever they please, vote however they please... oftentimes not in line with their constituents, but with their donors... and still get re-elected. How did we end up with politicians who are totally out of touch with the American public, who rely on skewed polls instead of finding out by asking the people they were elected to represent... the American people... what they want.

It is too easy to yell and scream at phoney Town Hall meetings. It's too easy to sit on the sidelines and pass judgement about what others may or may not think and feel. It is too easy to do nothing except talk about one's opinion... as though talking about it has any effect... it doesn't. We can all argue and talk until we are blue in the face, but if we don't get up off our couches and DO something, nothing will change.

There are things we can do. We can pick up the phone and call our Congressional Representatives and Senators. We can write a letter or send an email to those same folks letting them know what we want and how we feel about the issues upon which they will vote, and about what we think of them taking campaign funds from lobbyists who are lobbying against our best interests... the American people.

We can all band together and ask for a national referendum imposing term limits on Congress. We desperately need to break the pattern of insulated out of touch behavior in Washington. Two terms is enough. Congress will never vote themselves term limits... they won't vote themselves out of a job. Congress would be much healthier if they only served a maximum of two terms... like so many other elected officials we would get a chance for change. The effectiveness of lobbying would be lessened to a degree that might make governing the actual priority of our Senators and Congressional Representatives. Wouldn't that be change we can believe in?

Let us take action. There are issues before Congress this year that will impact our lives for generations to come... health care... environmental protection... the war in Afghanistan and Iraq... ending Don't Ask Don't Tell... balancing the budget and ending our dependence on foreign investment... investing in renewable energy... breaking the barriers between politics and governing...

We have a job to do. We each count. We each need to act to make a difference. It is never too late to become part of our country and make our voices heard. The time for allowing the media to set the standards in Washington is over. Nature abhors a vacuum. Let us not leave a vacuum. Let our voices be heard, whether we agree or not is unimportant, just as long as we speak our minds... we are all vital. We are all guaranteed free speech by the Bill of Rights. Let us exercise our right to be heard!!

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