May 23, 2008

How to Best Serve the Memory of Heroes: Prevent More Deaths

The Duty of a Patriot is Not to Serve as Cannon Fodder

Summer in the US begins with Memorial weekend. The beaches are now open with life guards and with admission fees. I hope this summer is good--obviously this means different things to different people--but we all agree that life should be as good as it can be. But, how do we establish those conditions that allow people to reach their own potential & fulfillment? We start by improving the way our government works and by sending better representatives to positions of power!

I'm excited because there's a very good chance things will change for the better after the general election in November. Yes, I know, there's the big unresolved issue of Obama v. Clinton, but my guess is that this will be dealt with in a matter of weeks. Obama needs some 50 delegates to clinch the nomination and he will get those soon. There will be no fight at the convention and all this tension will be ancient history by Labor Day--when most Americans will start to be paying closer attention to politics.

This holiday is about remembrance, but in addition to paying respects to the war dead, we should take a moment and think what it is to be an American today; what it is to be a patriot. Big speeches, larger flags, and blind nationalism aren't very helpful, at best; at worst, they obscure reality and distract us from taking the necessary steps that actually make a big difference in most people's lives.

Sensible patriotism means to make sure that we don't waste our blood, sweat and tears. To make sure that we don't commit our troops to an ill-conceived war of choice. To make sure that the citizens are informed about the important issues and that they participate in the civic affairs of their country! We have to look beyond the smoke screen employed by leaders who want to lead a flock of sheep, and the bumper-sticker mentality must be rejected.

We have to wrest control of our government from the narrow special interests and make it work for the commonwealth. The US has socialized capitalism! Shocked? What do you call a situation whereas risk is socialized (we pay for it when big private companies fail) while the profit remains private? The middle class is shrinking in stature and wealth. There are two Americas out there, and one of them is dying prematurely. Lack of health care is devastating.

You'd think that any good patriot would like to save thousands of Americans: Prevention and treatment of disease is the key. Terrorists and all those "evil doers" want to kill us. OK, that's easy to understand, but let's put things into perspective here. Lack of health care (no health insurance or insufficient coverage) kills some 20,000 Americans every year--far more than all deaths from terrorism (foreign & domestic). And, we suffer unnecessarily too. The American Cancer Society estimates that 50% of cancer deaths can be eliminated in the US if all people got quick and adequate health care. Senator McCain [check his voting record on Veterans on this Memorial holiday] wouldn't be with us today if he was poor. [same for VP Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, etc.]

Let's remember that Memorial Day is for laying wreaths and respect, but it is also about preventing bad policies that lead to more deaths.


Anonymous said...

We have to change our national psyche when it comes to thinking that being strong means kicking others with a strong military force.

The days of military imperialism are passing (if not over). Big countries like the US cannot wage wars all over any more.

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Claudius said...

McCain and Bush are against giving the troops 0.5% raise!

And, Sen. Webb (D-VA) wants to reward vets with a GI bill for free tuition. Again, this is opposed by the Repubs. They say this would be an incentive for people to leave the armed forces!

Oh, now they admit that people enlist because they have no other good choices to advance or get a job.

Andros said...

The cost of being a militaristic power is too great in my opinion. Of course, we need a strong military, but if half of our spending goes to that (directly or indirectly) then there's something wrong with this picture.

I agree that the time of the military empires is gone.

Anne said...

Are you sure about Clinton not fighting all the way to the convention? I hope you're right.

50 delegates will be found, but that's not enough if the MI & FL are counted. Obama will need many more then!

Andros said...

I can't see Clinton being awarded the FL & MI delegates as the vote turned out, when in MI she was the only one on the ballot and in FL all had signed an agreement not to campaign.

The good news for Obama is that he won't have to accept this and he can prevent Clinton from getting the delegates she wants. After all, it was the DNC's rules that were agreed upon by all candidates (including) Clinton, and that were violated by those 2 states.

My guess is that there will be an arrangement with Obama's consent, which means those delegations will be split evenly more or less.

The math will not change. Obama has won. I think in the next few DAYS there will be more party activists & regulars that will move to make Obama the indisputable nominee, well before Denver. The Dems can't afford to have a fight at the Convention and they know it.

And, no, Hillary won't be the VP nominee either.