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Its because this is America

March 26, 2010 - John Stack

 So, health care reform is now law. Lets look this over. 59 Senators out of 100 voted for this. A majority of congressmen voted for this. We do not live in a popular democracy, where everyone gets to vote on everything. It is a republican, or representative form of government. We elect people and they make the laws. To me, it looks like the system worked. How is it that the Democrats control both houses of congress? The voters wanted change from what we had. As in most elections, not everyone was voting FOR a candidate, but they were voting AGAINST a candidate, a party , an ideology or just against the former administration.

Obama wasn’t elected because everyone wanted health care reform. He wasn’t voted in because the majority wanted him to bail out the banks. They didn’t vote him in because they thought he was going to bridge the gap between left and right and pass everything by bipartisanship. He wasn’t voted in primarily because he was prochoice. Or that he favored gay marriage. He was voted in as much because the country didn’t like the direction we were headed under the prior administration. They saw the GOP card as a losing one. One they thought was going in the wrong direction. Voters who weren’t democrat-leaning had to ask themselves some tough questions. It was no secret Obama was pro-choice, would push for health care reform, was pro-gay and wouldn’t be setting up tax breaks as a cornerstone of his presidency. Yet they voted for him knowing this full well. The feeling they had in their gut over the previous 8 years was too much for them to stand, and they chose Obama.  They knew they were voting for someone who did not support all of their values.

Now, all of a sudden, people are all up in arms claiming ‘they aren’t heeding the call of the constituents!!!’. So, what else is new? I’m definitely not an ideologue or an idealist. I am definitely a pragmatist. The majority of us know that neither party really represents us. We vote or register for the party that represents 2 or 3 things that matter most to us. What party do I register as a gun rights, pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-death penalty pro-health reform , pro separation of church and state and pro-Pay-go supporter ? Am I a liberal right wing gun nut secularist ? Does that put me on the liberal-republican-libertarian –tea party ticket?

How do we get along knowing all these contradictions of who we vote for? I know I have to tell myself that Obama really doesn’t hate guns. He’s just waiting for the right time to get rid of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’. I believe that the health care reform bill will probably be detrimental to some. I have to look at it as it is definitely better now than it was last week. I believe that ‘doing nothing’ is as often worse than doing something. Not passing health care reform to me is worse than not passing health care reform. I believe Health Care is a right. I also understand that trying to convince someone of this is as easy as a pro-choicer convincing a pro-lifer, or vice versa. That’s OK. We don’t always agree on everything, and we all have some issues where we are intractable. But, that’s America.

We are much more homogeneous than the media (on both sides) would lead us to believe. Even with some of my Conservative friends and family, we agree on the majority of things. We even agree more often on what is wrong with some part of our economy or social structure. We just differ on how to fix it. But, we are also not all sheep. We have many issues that divide us, such as what I have wrote of above.

I like to run. My favorites are the Thursday night Fun Runs in Saranac Lake. When I go there, we are all of the same religion and political party – Running. As I am struggling while I run up Indian Pass, and someone shouts encouragement, he or she is in the brotherhood of running. I don’t care that she may not agree with me on tax policy. I don’t care if I agree with him on cap-and-trade. When I see someone at about 11:30 PM at the end of the Ironman, just making it in under the official time, they could be wearing a Heritage Foundation’ T-shirt and I will cheer them on. When I finished up the Ironman, when I came into the oval, and the raucous crowd was cheering, I’ll bet there wasn’t a single one who cared if I was registered as a Republican or a Democrat. Or, on a different tack, when a fireman goes into a burning building, he or she is there to save lives and homes. They don’t care for politics as they bust down a door. They know in the big scheme of things, there are many things much more important.

So, to those who are losing their senses over health care and the like, resorting to death threats and the like, remember one of my favorite, if outdated quotes “The Russians love their children too”.


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