2010-03-04 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Setting Priorities Doesn’t Seem To Count Anymore
By Charles Rogers

Ihate to say I told you so — but I told you so. That White House Summit on Health Care Reform was a lesson in baloney-ism (Hey, I made up a word!). Democrats and Republicans alike went into the Blair House with all that Capitol camaraderie and patting each other on the back for at least attending the forum and, whadya know? They behaved themselves rather appropriately, except for a few bruised shins from being kicked under the table by an opposing party member and some bruised egos because of unnecessary innuendos. But we talked about that last week, didn’t we?

Now comes a look at that nonsense from another perspective: All things being relatively equal, and saying both parties finally do eventually come to some kind of agreement on the health thing, it will wind up costing over a trillion dollars over ten years; some say it will be twice that much. Essentially, a trillion dollars, written in numbers, comes to $1,000,000,000,000 or One-Thousand Billion dollars, or One-Million Million dollars.

I just wanted to make sure the numbers filled both your eyes, so you could light on them, absorb them, digest them and then think about what would happen if we put that kind of money into something else; something we feel might be just as worthy; just as morally prudent; just as lasting.

How about say, cancer research, so we could find a cure — fast, and, maybe, not have to worry about that “health care” stuff at all? Or maybe the war on poverty, so half the starving population of the world — or even the United States — might not have to avail themselves of that kind of “health care” either?

Better yet, let’s think about putting the money — right now — into THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN! While Members of Congress from both parties, along with the President of the United States are sitting at a big, fat, shiny rectangular table with scores of media pundits and press photographers facing them in a house across the street from the White House and, over coffee and whatnot, are quibbling about something that should have been put on the back burner years — no, decades — ago, we have our own Armed Forces arriving in a world thousands of miles away.

Some will never leave there in one piece; and some will never leave there.

Why are we doting on this subject of health care NOW? Here in our safe environment that the enemy has sworn to destroy? Did you get that? I’ll repeat it: THAT THE ENEMY HAS SWORN TO DESTROY!

Ever since 9/11 awakened us to the fact that there are actually people in the world who despise us just because we exist; that they are crazy enough to kill themselves so they can kill us, we’ve tightened our belts and gotten more serious about life in general. Maybe life isn’t really like a black and white movie from the ’30s or the ’50s. There are real ogres out there and we have to be careful. We’ve put a lot of money into self-protection, which has worked well to a degree, so far.

But there are numbskulls — yes, in Washington — who won’t allow themselves to see that. All they can see now is that ELECTION TIME is not that far off and they better pick up some points. “For now, the hell with that war way over there,” they’re saying (to themselves, I’m sure). “Let me get elected in November, THEN I’ll talk about our troops over there in Agfan…AHangif…,Afghanistan. We’ll have ’em out of there in a year!”

I hope our members of the electorate aren’t quite that dumb. I truly do. But it sticks in my craw that they are supposed to designate their own priorities and, so far, the lives of our soldiers — our sons and daughters — are taking second place on their priority list.

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