Archive for August, 2009

I am a fairly outspoken person and have been most of my life. Over the years, I have been known to speak before I thought through what I said or with no real understanding of the consequences. I chalk that up to immaturity in some respects and the results -albeit sometimes negative – have been valuable life-lessons for me. 

But I always find it interesting when I tell family or friends about a time I spoke out about an issue – either through the written word or by speaking with others – and they express concern that I did so. Not because I said anything inflammatory, or harmful, but just the fact that I spoke out at all.
 
For example, if many of the people I know, or maybe work with, have Democratic or liberal opinions, I have actually been questioned on whether it’s wise for me to speak in public forums about my Republican or conservative opinions, in any context. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Speaking about what we believe in is fundamentally American. It is what makes us different than other countries. I don’t understand the mindset that says that it’s better to be quiet then to speak about your beliefs.
 
I understand that with any action there are consequences. You can lose a job for speaking your mind. You could be ostracized in some manner or another. That’s where the maturity comes in.
 
For example, if I worked for an insurance company and felt strongly that insurance is too overpriced and a government option is the only solution, I run the risk of losing my job in speaking out about that belief. However, here’s a question for you…if you feel that way, why do you work for the insurance company to begin with? Maybe an alternative career is in order?
 
You do have to determine when the right time to speak up is. But if we are all to be silent about any issue that we feel strongly about simply because of the idea that you may bring attention to yourself, what really is the point in this country being what it is?
 
I truly feel that we are in the mess we are in, in this country, because too many people have kept silent. And when I say mess, I am not specifically referring to the Obama Presidency (although there is argument for that being called a “mess”). No, I’m referring to the fact that we have a group of Senators and Representatives – on both sides of the aisle – that simply no longer believe they work for us and that too many of us have simply decided to be quiet. In fact they count on our silence and our tendency to keep the status quo by voting them into office again and again.
 
I think that’s why the Democratic Senators and Representatives have been so shocked in the last few weeks at these town hall meetings. People seem to have come out of the hypnotic haze that we have been in for so long that told us, “Shh, be quiet…don’t rock the boat” and are telling them that we don’t want what they are trying to give us. I for one am glad to see this awakening.
 
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
 
It’s the First Amendment for a reason. It is the most important part of what makes us Americans. We need to be involved in the process. We need to stop standing back; afraid of the repercussions of speaking our minds and let our representatives know what we want. And this has to happen on both sides. We may be conservatives and we may be liberals, but we are ALL Americans and we can find the right solution for any problem if we simply work together.
 
Speak up people. America is listening.

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 8/31/2009.

I am fast approaching my 40th birthday and as I do so, I have been very reflective on my life. Of all the things in my life that I feel truly blessed about, one is that fact that I live in the most wonderful country in this world. Being an American is a privilege that I am wholeheartedly grateful to have.

We are unique. I don’t think saying that makes me arrogant. We ARE unique. No other country grants their citizens the freedoms that we have as Americans. We can worship Whomever we want, we choose who are leaders will be. We are able to make our choices on what our career paths are going to be and as such, that allows us the opportunity to choose where we live, what we wear, drive, eat and how we are taken care of when we are ill.

These are just a few of the wonderful rights of this country. But one of the most fundamental rights, one that makes us stand so completely away from many other countries, is our freedom to say what we want. It’s a right that sometimes is misunderstood.

As a kid, I used to fight with my Mom and Dad (as kids do) and I’d always argue, “it’s a free country, I can say what I want!”. And that’s true, it is and I could. What I didn’t get – or was too immature at the time to understand – was that yes, I can say what I want, and as my parents, they could exact whatever consequence they deemed fit for my insolent attitude.

The freedom to speak our mind does come with the possibility of having some type of repercussion to what was said. If I’m at work and I call my boss a name, I lose my job. I had the freedom to say it, and he had the freedom to fire me. If I go out in public and mock some individual for whatever reason, he (or she) may decide to clean my clock. Not necessarily his “right” to physically assault me, but it is a possible repercussion of my actions.

But, there’s a definite fear of those repercussions going to the other extreme. Just in the same sense that the individual I mocked doesn’t really have the right to assault me, our government has no right to throw us in jail or some other harsh punishment for speaking out against it.

This is why I am so disturbed by this blog post on the White House web site (http://tinyurl.com/kpl3qe). The idea that our President has one of his people asking for citizens of this country to send them any emails/web sites that seem “fishy” in regards to the Health Care issue strikes a real chord of fear into my heart. Why is this being done? Are we seriously asking people in this country to “rat” out their fellow citizens? What is being done with this information?

If it doesn’t walk the White House administration party line, what happens? Do those people suddenly find themselves audited? Are their names stored in a database somewhere and will those people be treated in some harsh manner? God forbid, when/if this ridiculous Universal Health Care plan comes to fruition, will those people be “denied” treatment for some issue or another?

That seems a little paranoid, but the situation we find ourselves in today seems to call for a little case of paranoia…or at least a strong sense of awareness of what’s happening.

This is just wrong. We are better than this. Our country is better than this. For a President who has gone out of his way to apologize for our country in his overseas trips, he sure seems bent on doing things here in this country that go against everything that made it great.

We have to stand up against this. Not in an uncivilized manner, but as citizens of this fantastic country we must speak up. We must tell our representatives when we think they are not representing us. We must do so loudly if necessary, but always with great resolve. It is our duty to tell them how we feel.

That being said, I feel obligated to speak up right now. Mr. President, I do not agree with this health care plan. I am worried about the possibility of rationing. I am worried about “end of life” counseling sessions. I am worried about how much I am going to be forced to pay for a system I don’t want.

I am not getting all my information from Fox News alone. I have looked at health care as it is handled in other countries. I have read news from the UK and the issues they have with rationing and the quality of their hospitals. I have listened to news stories about people in THIS country being denied health care from a state run program but offered an option for euthanasia instead (http://tinyurl.com/kvvbe2). These are just a few pieces of information out there that paint a very bleak picture of what you are offering. None of them come from the “dreaded Fox News” organization.

I want nothing to do with this plan. It is wrong and it will harm this country. If it is passed, I will never vote in a future election for anyone who signs it. That’s not saying a whole lot admittedly, because most (if not all) of the people who will sign it will be Democrats. But I will do everything within my rights as a voting American citizen to ensure all people who sign this will lose their jobs as of 2010 and/or 2012. And I go on record now as saying that, if passed, those who sign this bill will lose in those elections.

I plan to send this hub to the flag@WhiteHouse.gov email address per the White House blog above. I plan to include it in an email that I will send to our two South Dakota Senators and our one Representative. I feel as an American citizen, I have a duty to tell them what I feel.

So flag me, White House. I am a little fishy. You work for US. We do not work for you. This government of the people, by the people and for the people needs to have the people remind it of who is responsible to who once again.

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 8/06/2009.