Saturday, August 1, 2009

Patriotism: The Last Resort of Scoundrels

The dictionary defines patriotism as a love of country and the desire to defend it.

A patriot wishes the country to prosper and succeed. A patriotic American hopes for a nation

with a strong economy providing jobs and economic security; that same American would want

to live in a nation without fear and with hope for the future. I don't think I am telling you

anything you don't already know; but some Americans need a reminder about what true

patriotism means.

Recently, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican from Kentucky)

stated in an interview that he had secured an agreement with the three Republican senators

who are on the Budget Committee and are currently negotiating with Democrats over

Healthcare Reform. Those three senators have promised Senator McConnell that if no

other Republicans like the legislation, they will not support it so that the Democrats cannot

claim the bill has "bi-partisan" support.

There actually is a great deal of agreement on both sides of the aisle about the

problem. Forty-seven million Americans have no health insurance. Fourteen thousand

Americans lose their health insurance every day. Health insurance premiums will double

in the next few years. More and more employers are not offering health insurance to their

workers; and those that do offer it demand that their employees not ask for a raise in order

to pay for their coverage. Medicare cannot sustain it's rate of growth and could bankrupt

the nation.

For months, as many as eight Congressional Committees have been working on a

healthcare bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will soon pass a bill. Everyone

is waiting for what the Senate will do. So many trial balloons are being floated that the Senate

resembles the house in the movie "Up". Compromises are being struck and a basic structure

is beginning to emerge. The bill must not add to the deficit. It must cut costs and reduce

the cost growth rate. It must not tax middle class Americans, and it must have a public option

or President Obama says he will not sign it. If crafted correctly, this legislation would provide

97% of Americans with health insurance. It would reduce costs (the V.A. and Medicare have

the lowest rate of cost inflation in the country) and help the nation get it's fiscal house in

order, as well as improve the quality of life for Americans who would no longer have to fear

losing their healthcare or being economically devastated by an illness in the family. It would

be good for the country.

Despite all of the above, even if they get compromises that they think improve

the bill, these three Republicans have been coerced into promising that they won't sign on

to whatever is produced for purely partisan and political reasons. I am willing to bet that

they consider themselves patriotic. Their party wears their patriotism on their collective

sleeve. They use the term "patriotism" as a code word for those who think like them, and

to cast their opponents as a group of turncoats and traitors who don't love their country

at all. These Republican "patriots" are publicly stating that they will oppose any bill that

is produced so that they can gain politically against the Democrats. This is their definition

of both patriotism and leadership. Senator McConnell is so worried about the politics,

that he arm-twisted three senators into agreeing to oppose a bill that they will have helped

to design.

It should also be pointed out that the Republicans have not offered an alternative

to fix the problem. They seem to be trying to keep things as they are now; even though

"everyone" agrees that the system cannot sustain itself, nor can the country economically

survive unless some reform is instituted.

When you hear the Republican leadership wail and whine about government

control of healthcare or how badly small businesses will be hurt, when you see the ads

telling you how you won't be able to go to your doctor anymore or some bureaucrat will

be making healthcare decisions for you and your family, when you hear them decry the cost

and tell you that the good capitalist free market can not handle competition between a

government plan and the private insurance companies; remember those three senators

who have promised to vote against a bill they helped to craft because the Republican Party

wants to play politics with an issue of economic national security. Then ask yourself if

they have ever read the definition of patriotism. What do you think? I welcome your

comments and rebuttals. Please send them to


  1. Do you imagine that people, who were capable of killing 3000+ on 20010911 in order to bring you the War on Terror and the death of 100s of 1000s more, are interested in whether you get sick and die for lack of medical care? Or are you one of the ones that still believe Bin Laden did it?

  2. There is nothing the republicans will agree with the Democrats about because they believe they can make Obama and the whole country fail they think that will help them win in 2010. They are fools