I don’t know when it happened and I don’t know how. But a couple of years ago I had seriously injured my right shoulder. My shoulder would hurt from doing little, simple things like jumping down like from the bed of a truck to the ground. If I let my right arm hang and do whatever the resulting jolt of pain would make it feel like someone was trying to pull my shoulder out of its socket. The pain would be severe. I could avoid the pain if I actually my shoulder muscles and kept my arm close to my body before sudden movements. I would look like a stroke victim but the pain would be avoided. If I used my right arm to pull open heavy doors my arm would pulse with eye watering pain. Lifting heavy objects wasn’t a problem. In that respect my right was as good as my left. But extending my right arm and sudden movements had to be avoided and I’m right handed.
I will never forget the day I found a flying bug in the house. The locals called them stink bugs and they were very prolific for the time of year. One had managed to get in the house and I was going to get it before it could release its foul spray. I rolled up the paper and moved in for the kill. I slowly moved across the room and raised my bug killing arm, the right one. I swung as if I was A. Rod on hypodermic delivered “vitamins”. To say that my arm felt like it was on white flame, plasma fire doesn’t do the pain justice. It was as if all the nerves in my teeth were being scrubbed with eighty grit sandpaper and all that pain was being focused to my shoulder. I screamed like I’ve never screamed in my life. My legs buckled and I lost my balance. Tears welled up in my eyes. The only thing I could think to do was to roll over on to my shoulder and use gravity to put pressure on my arm to put it back in its socket. Everybody in the house came running. I’m not sure but I think somebody came in the room with a bat thinking I was being attacked. It took about fifteen minutes for the pain to go away. And to top it all off I missed that freaking bug. I wasn’t even close.
I was told to go to the doctor. I had something that started with a B and sounded like bronchitis but escapes me at the moment. Somebody knew some woman who had the same symptoms I exhibited. That woman had to go the rest of her life getting occasional pain shots. It was suggested that if I wanted the pain to go away I was going to have to get some cortisone injections. The thought of getting pain shots for the rest of my life bothered me. I wasn’t working at the time and I didn’t have anything that remotely resembled medical coverage. A doctor’s visit was going to be an unwelcome expense. But what was my main concern was having a preexisting condition as part of my medical record. A doctor’s visit wasn’t totally out of the question. But it was on the back burner. I decided to try and work it out. I had to get into a gym.
The apartment complex I stayed in had a workout center off the swimming pool with one of those multi station workout machines along with a complete range of dumbbells, a couple of treadmills, an ellipse machine, and an exercise bike. When I would try to do something like a military press, where you’re sitting upright and lifting a barbell off the chest and straight up, it proved extremely difficult to perform. Compared to my left shoulder my range of motion of my right arm was severely impacted. When I would lift dumbbell weights in front of the mirror my right shoulder went through a series of distortions trying to keep up with the left. It was quite disturbing. While my left side was strong enough to do certain exercises with a thirty five pound dumbbell, my right side, supposedly the dominant side, was limited to about twenty five pounds. I was mortified. I used to do these exercises with twice that weight. But a bum shoulder’s got to start somewhere. After eight months I got stronger. But working out in that little room at the complex my shoulder never completely healed itself.
I left that apartment complex and moved to an area that was much more convenient for me getting back into working out at the local Bally’s health and spa. However, I stopped working out for a while. After months of going without a job I had lost interest in working out. Without a job and virtually penniless I couldn’t even afford the gas to go back and forth to the gym. Even if I could afford it my head wasn’t straight and I had no energy. I’m pretty sure it was depression. I heard months of unemployment can do that to a person.
But when I started my new job it was like life bloomed again. Suddenly, I had to go back to the gym just to be able to get back into my professional clothing. I’m going to have to work off at least a couple of inches. But regardless, going back to the Bally’s was like going back to an old friend.
About a couple months after I started working out at the gym with the peace of mind of a job, I suddenly realized that my shoulder restored itself. I made a workout program that had me doing legs one day and chest, back, and shoulders another day. Initially I thought I had lost some strength again. I couldn’t even lift the weight I used back at my old apartment complex. However, with a full gym at my disposal I was sure it would only be a matter of time before I was back to what I used to lift at the apartment. And I thought it would be a month or two after that before I’m back to a comfortable body size or weight or strength that I will be happy with. But that one morning I was working out and I realized that the stiffness and pain associated with extending my right arm was gone was like Christmas. The distortions the right side of my body went through to keep up with the left were gone as well. But the real test came when I simulated the jump from the bed of a truck. I stood on the fourth step from the bottom and jumped to the landing. No pain, big gain!
And I didn’t need any drugs. When I made that swing to kill that bug and my pain receptors went bizerk I would not have refused one of those pain killing Star Trek hypo sprays out of a starship doctor’s futuristic black bag of tricks. If I had medical coverage at the time I probably would’ve ran to the doctor as soon as I stopped seeing stars. I would have gladly taken a cortisone shot and would have praised my doctor each and every subsequent visit to get another one. But that wasn’t a very attractive option at the time and I had to do something a little different. It took a few years, but I’m happy to put whatever was causing me so much pain off for at least another few years. In the mean time I’ll keep going to the gym and do my best to keep arthritis at bay. Where’s that freaking stink bug now?
The argument over the public healthcare option is reaching a fever pitch and coming to a head. The health industry lobby is working overtime and pulling out all the stops to keep the public option from ever becoming an option for the public. The industry claims that the government plan would destroy the very fabric of the space time continuum. All would be lost for our nation if we let people purchase healthcare through a government option. These people contend that it would be better if we simply stay the course and let people lose their homes and their lives because of the cost of healthcare and health insurance. The fact that people are being denied claims under the pretense of preexisting conditions is nothing to worry about. Just pay your premiums, don’t ever make a claim, and you’ll do just fine.
In his push to make change that the people can believe in President Barack Obama is putting a serious effort behind the public healthcare plan. On the surface at least, it looks like Mr. Obama wants to provide healthcare to the people. It just might be nothing more than a push for some kind f legacy as the first black President. But irregardless of that, there is an effort by the executive branch to provide the public option to the people.
One of the claims about the public option that the healthcare industry makes was to convince the people that they don’t want a government official in between them and their healthcare. But the fact that we have so many people’s claims for healthcare coverage being denied after they have religiously paid their premiums for years for the most minor of reasons by corporate personnel who are willing to do anything management demands in order to protect their bonuses, let alone their jobs, is never mentioned. If the corporate bureaucrat wasn’t a real and immediate problem for so many people wouldn’t be clamoring for a change in the system.
The industry is fighting back and fighting back hard. The commercials to convince the public that the public option isn’t in their best interest is being complimented with claims of horrendous tax increases, the threat of loss of healthcare options (as if we have options), and a lobbying effort to leverage as many politicians and other public figures as possible. And all these efforts are wearing away our resolve to do something to change the system.
The conservative politicians are voting as a bloc to deny the public option. Whatever their individual reasons may be, these politicians are moving as a single unified group without exception. The conservative politicians know that their conservative base favor a hard stance against any social program with possibly the sole exception of an exceptionally strong military machine. These people think that the healthcare system is fine and if some people are losing everything they worked for because of a medical condition then that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. These are the same people that were working to convince me that Sarah Palin was the best choice to sit at the ready to replace the President in case of emergency.
But there are a number of politicians who have a bigger idea of what is at stake and yet are still unwilling to take the plunge and support the President’s effort. These people know that there are simply too many conservative constituents in the districts that they represent to take a chance on their political career. These politicians might recognize the fact that universal healthcare or a public option might be a good idea. But if these politicians vote to support the President and his social program, they can kiss reelection goodbye. So goes the cowardice of political office.
Right now America is embroiled in two wars. These wars have demanded the ultimate sacrifice from well over four thousands American troops. We thank these people for the sacrifice that they voluntarily make on behalf of their country and the greater good. But the American public constantly works with politicians who refuse to lay their political careers on the line for the benefit of the American people. It’s okay for us to sacrifice our children and our future and our fellow citizens. But the idea of a politician sacrificing their career for the benefit of the American people is something much too strange a fruit for the American people to pick. That should help to put things into some perspective.
We keep talking about the sacrifice our men and women in uniform make in our military services on behalf of their country. Everyday these people are dying in service to their country. However politicians can’t even think about sacrificing their job to help their country. But then again, many of us fellow Americans refuse to pay an extra dime in taxes as a service to our fellow countrymen. Way to sacrifice America.
On Sunday morning I usually watch This Week with George Stephanopolous and catch up on the political flavor of the week from various political pundit perspectives. The show usually features George Will and Cokey Roberts. Sam Donaldson and Robert Reich are regulars among a long list of others. Yesterday I watched these people discuss the ramifications of universal healthcare and how President Barack Obama is wasting political clout on a fruitless attempt to get a public healthcare option for the masses who continue to do without.
At one point, in order to drive home his argument, the conservative Mr. Will pulled out his Medicare card and told the story of how he presented it to his doctor and his doctor said that it was great that Mr. Will’s children was going to pay their father’s bill. Some of the people around the table laughed. Mr. Will made the statement that no one wanted universal healthcare. I thought that was a stupid thing to say. I would like to see universal healthcare. Mr. Reich was arguing for universal healthcare. There are about fifty million Americans without any kind of healthcare who more than likely would like to see kind of universal healthcare.
All of the political experts around the table with Mr. Stephanopolous had healthcare. They all had high dollar jobs getting paid to express their opinion and help shape the public’s political perspectives. No one at the table felt a desperate need for healthcare. Somebody at the table called the American healthcare system the best healthcare system in the world. They didn’t add the fact that it’s only the best for those people who have healthcare benefits. Otherwise, the people who don’t have coverage or who may have a preexisting condition, the system sucks.
About a year and a half ago, there was one morning I was getting dressed for work. My partner and I were acting silly the way fairly new couples do. She was getting baby boy ready to leave the house for a few errands. She got the baby dressed and turned her back towards him. The baby was sitting in the middle of the bed. He was kind of cranky and wanted his mother’s attention. He suddenly threw himself back and simultaneously kicked his legs up ready to throw a tantrum. Although he was in the middle of the queen sized bed, when he went back, his head was over the edge of the bed. The physical makeup of toddlers is such that something like ninety three percent of their body weight is above their neck. When he thrust his body back and simultaneously lifted his legs, the momentum was enough for gravity to grab hold of his head and pulled him over the edge of the bed head first like a real life Humpty Dumpty.
Talk about time slowing to a crawl. My body took a totally useless adrenaline dump. There was no way given the physics of this universe I could reach him in time. The mother was standing in between us with her back turned away from the baby. My partner could only see the horror in my face. She turned around just in time to see the baby’s feet disappear with the rest of his body. We both waited for the sound of the baby’s head hitting the hardwood pine floors. But instead of the thud indicating head to floor contact, our ears heard the sound of feet hitting the floor. The mother ran around the bed. I braced myself waiting to hear the wail of a baby in serious pain. But instead we heard the cry of a baby frightened and frustrated. As best as we could figure out, when he kicked his feet up and gave his body the momentum to go over the edge of the bed, that same momentum managed to flip him totally over and he somersaulted before he hit the floor. The baby was fine. We laughed. We were both relieved.
As a first time father I saw my baby’s ten months of life flash across my eyes. I thought about our brand new healthcare and thought how fortunate we were that I had a job that afforded us coverage. If the baby was injured we had some protection. But what about all the people that suffer serious injuries from the occasional accidents that are bound to happen when people make the mistake of taking a moment to be less vigilant than they should be?
Even though we are protected the issue of healthcare for others remains an area of deep concern for me. I’d like to think that this concern comes from a sincere interest in the welfare of my fellowman. But I can’t help but think that as a black man living here in America and unwilling to completely conform to the standards of behavior for black people as dictated by the corporate culture that is dominated so completely by a mindset skewed to protect white privilege, it is only a matter of time before I may find myself unemployed and without adequate healthcare once again. Some noble sentiment may sound nice and community oriented. But my concern for the unemployed may just as well be a selfish one based on the possibility of future events.
For the moment my family and I are doing well. I have a job that allowed us to pay back the people that helped us during our leanest of times and buy a house. We are weathering this storm and appear to be coming through the other side after waiting for what appeared to us to be the longest of time. I hope and pray for the wisdom that we never forget the experience of being among the less fortunate people. By no means are we out of the woods just yet. I won’t be retiring from working anytime soon. But we are definitely doing a lot better than a lot of the people who live around us. We are not black community Rockefellers but we are beginning to develop options for the future that many black people in our neighborhood do not.
However, just because we are doing well now and for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean that the issue isn’t still an important one. There are people who need help. As a supposedly civilized culture we should not allow ourselves to develop the false sense of security to think that it is okay to leave such a large chunk of our community unprotected. And more often than not the unprotected part of the community that is most susceptible will be comprised of the lower class that is overly represented by black people.
All too often people want to label people who call for true universal healthcare as irrelevant. No one wants universal coverage except for the cry babies looking for a handout. But the issue remains the same. There are way too many people who don’t have healthcare. There will be parents who will be distracted for just a second and their baby will be injured. There will always be people who will suffer accidents. These people will need medical help. But instead of us acting as a civilization working to help the weakest amongst us we will scold them and discard them for being part of the group of unfortunates unable to help themselves. We are quick to dismiss those who can’t afford healthcare. They are the nobodies who want universal healthcare and who wants to listen to them?
Now let me make sure I get this straight.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Colleen Hauser of after she failed to appear in Brown County Court in Minnesota for a hearing regarding her son Danny’s medical treatment. Judge John Rodenberg ordered that Danny Hauser be placed in protective custody once he is found so that he can receive proper medical treatment for his Hodgkins Lymphoma, a potentially fatal form of cancer that can be treated with a relatively high level of success in children.
A court order was issued for Danny Hauser to undergo chemotherapy treatments for his cancer despite the family’s insistence that being ordered to submit to medical treatment violated their personal freedom of religious expression. The Hauser family are members of the Missouri based religious group Nemenhah Band that believes in natural healing. Thirteen year old Danny was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma earlier this year. After he underwent the first of a recommended six phase chemotherapy treatment, the family decided to seek alternative methods to treat Danny.
Judge Rodenberg ordered the parents to present the boy to a doctor for an examination to determine the extent of the cancer and to choose an oncologist for the standard medical treatment. But in a prior hearing Danny testified that he believed that the chemo therapy was doing more harm than good to him and he would resist if he was forced to undergo treatment. The Hauser family attorney said the family would comply with the order but equated forcing chemotherapy with assault and extended treatment against Danny’s will as torture.
Danny complained of pain at the site in his chest where a device was inserted in order to administer the chemotherapy drugs. The boy had rated the pain as a ten on a scale of one to ten with ten being the most painful. The pain was attributed to the fact that the cancer tumor in Danny’s chest had increased in size and was pushing the device out of the place of insertion.
These people are doing their best to refuse healthcare for their son and the government is doing its best to force healthcare upon their son. They have defied recommendations by medical personnel and court orders. The mother became a fugitive for kidnapping her own son. Contempt of court charges were considered against the father, Tony Hauser, for refusing or being unable to tell the court the whereabouts of his son. Mr. Hauser was intentionally kept ignorant of Ms. Hauser’s plans.
Is this not a first class example of how bureaucrats and authorized government personnel going over the line practicing medicine? It seems to happen whether we have universal healthcare or not.
And if the family doesn’t want healthcare for their son, couldn’t the government better serve the public by finding some parents who really do want healthcare for their child? I mean, aren’t there parents out here waiting for somebody to take an interest in their children’s health? Isn’t there a list of children waiting to be added to somebody’s medical insurance program?
Instead of moving on to the next child in line waiting for some medical attention we need to waste time and money on a boy whose parents are doing their best to refuse care. The boy himself said he didn’t want it. He was convinced that the pain of treatment was too much. He’s willing to take his chances with alternatives. But instead, we are wasting the court’s time, the sheriff has been involved, Interpol and the FBI even got into this dog and pony show.
Is that the jest of what we’re hearing on this case?
I find it amazing the way we can waste such limited valuable resources on forcing one person to take what others may be dying to get. If I was running that medical program, I would simply apologize to the family, wish them good luck, turn back to all the other people waiting in line for help, and simply say “Next”. I’m pretty sure that some times doing the right thing means respecting somebody’s wishes to be left alone, or for their child to be left alone. There are way too many people waiting for help with arms outreached to spend time forcing help down one person’s throat.
The state of Missouri is losing its reputation as being a reliable political bellwether. The state of Missouri voted for the winner in every United States presidential election since 1904 with the lone exception of 1956. That was before the 2008 election. Last year, Missouri went with the Republican Party candidate Arizona Senator John McCain and his sidekick Sarah “Bulldog in Lipstick” Palin. It was a very close race. It took two weeks for the results to be made official. Out of 2,925,197 votes cast, the difference between the two candidates was less than four thousand votes (1,445,814 versus 1,441,911). But after the political dust cleared, the majority of voters in the great state of Missouri simply couldn’t see voting for the black Democratic candidate Barack Obama. The rest is history.
Demographics are often cited as the cause of Missouri’s former bellwether status. The demographics of the state are a close approximation of the demographic, economic, and political makeup of the nation. Missouri is a microcosm of the country’s current political makeup with its two Blue political west and east regions of Saint Louis and Kansas City combined with a wide swath of a majority Red political middle and southern areas. It’s no coincidence that the vast majority of the state’s black population lives around Saint Louis and Kansas City.
Not too long ago I was listening to a political conversation on the radio that zeroed in on the impact of the current economic situation. Various people were asked what it would take to give people a better sense that the situation has changed and that there is a new economic era without business as usual. The suggestion was made that the politicians should tackle the healthcare issue head on. Universal healthcare would help alleviate the individual healthcare burdens we face separately.
The radio show played a clip of a white woman from rural Missouri who summed up the attitude of a good portion of America very nicely. The woman said that universal healthcare would be good for the country. But the woman was sure that too many people in places like Saint Louis and Kansas City would abuse the system and therefore it isn’t a good idea. The narrator of the radio show said that sounded like code for racism. The other people participating on the radio show agreed. America would have some kind of universal healthcare if we could figure out a way to keep black people from participating. And the best way to do that is to make everyone responsible for their own healthcare.
Since black people are already economically disadvantaged with lower pay, higher unemployment or higher rates of underemployment with few or no benefits, it is a given that fewer black people would be able to enjoy quality healthcare and not suffer through chronic conditions while relying on abhorrently expensive emergency room care in a prime example of how a stitch in time could have saved exponentially more stitches.
Like most things associated with a culture that strongly prefers to practice racial disparity, we would rather shoot ourselves in the foot and take the most expensive and complicated route to counter even the most basic form of racism. In the meantime, racial disparity continues to flourish. We cannot do anything about the economic or educational disparities less we fall into the evil clutches of reverse discrimination. We can’t do anything about spending money to repair the crumbling schools in the black community. But it’s okay to spend a fortune trying to bus black students to schools in less black communities, continuing to let the black schools fall into further disrepair. Welfare is okay until we think of black people on welfare and then all of a sudden many of us imagine welfare queens living high off the hog and driving Cadillacs.
So many Americans take issue with a government that tries to exercise some form of social responsibility. People are quick to say that they don’t want the government imposing social responsibility on people in the form of a Robin Hood higher tax collection and welfare distribution system. Some people say that people should be free to pick and chose who receives assistance and who doesn’t. The idea of everyone having a safety net is just too much for some of us to bear. The idea of a black person taking advantage of any system is so repugnant that we actually think it is better to have no system at all.
Like the majority of people throughout the country, the people of Missouri would rather do without than give people in the black community another opportunity to take undeserved advantage. Universal healthcare would be the death knell for any racial disparity in the distribution of health services. Who would want that?
About nine months ago I found out I had been exposed to tuberculosis. As a new employee for one of the hospital complexes in the area, tuberculosis is part of employee orientation. The company couldn’t have employees putting patient’s health at risk. And employee health screening is standard procedure. I had a reaction to an injection of some form of tuberculosis solution just beneath the skin. A week later there was a small raised bump at the injection site. It was a positive result.
The last tuberculosis test I had was almost twenty years ago when one of the supervisors at the little information processing company I worked for came down with full blown tuberculosis. Everyone in the office was tested and we all tested negative. At least that’s what they told us. Back then they used the little four pronged poker to irritate the skin. I tested negative then. That might not have been the source.
I could’ve been exposed to the strain while living in Texas and traveling throughout the state. It could’ve happened when I took that jaunt to Nuevo Laredo. It could’ve happened when I took that trip to London, England or Petit Valley, Trinidad or Red Deer, Canada. I could’ve gotten it anywhere. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was that I had tested positive right then and right there. I had to go for further testing. I had to get a chest X-ray. And that X-ray machine was cold!
I thought about my son and I was scared. I didn’t want him coming down with it. I am ashamed to say that I really didn’t think about anyone else but him. I didn’t even think about myself. I was scared for him. The doctor at the employee clinic in the basement of the hospital explained to me that the tuberculosis could be controlled or neutralized to a point where it would never develop to the full blown version of the disease. If I consented to nine months of taking a couple of drugs I had an excellent chance of keeping the disease at bay. I took the offer. And after eight and a half months of popping the pills I have two weeks left to go.
But the tuberculosis scare got to me. If I had tuberculosis what else did I have? I consented to a hepatitis treatment and an HIV test. Waiting for the results of the HIV test was like torture. What would I do if the results came back positive? I started hating every woman I ever had sex with. Both of them! Just kidding. But you get my drift. I started wondering what in the world did I see in them. The sex wasn’t even close to being worth it. But the test came back negative and my biggest worry evaporated. I was so happy that exposure to tuberculosis was the only thing I had to worry about. Life was good in a twisted kind of way. Two weeks of pill taking to go and I can go back to a pill free existence.
Now, why does this come up today? I am so glad you asked.
Yesterday, March 24th, was World Tuberculosis Day. I didn’t find out until I was at work surfing the Internet on official company business. At least that’s my story and I plan to stick with it. Irregardless, I was at work and I wasn’t about to take a chance of modifying my blog on the clock. That’s a really good way to get canned and now is not the time to take unnecessary risk with one’s employment. I had to wait until after I got home to do my part. It’s just that my part will be a day late and hopefully not a dollar short.
World Tuberculosis Day is designed to build awareness that tuberculosis remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of over a million and a half people each year. March 24th commemorates the day when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. In 1882, when Mr. Koch made his announcement in Berlin, Germany, tuberculosis was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Mr. Koch’s discovery opened the way toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.
The Global Plan to Stop TB, 2006-2015, is designed to dramatically reduce the proliferation of tuberculosis by 2015 by ensuring that anyone and everyone infected with tuberculosis, even those with a drug resistant from of the disease, benefit from universal access to diagnosis and treatment. This strategy supports the development of new and effective tools to prevent, detect, and treat the disease. And if the actions in the plan are implemented, millions of lives will be saved while everything possible is done to reach those most vulnerable to the disease.
The Contract with America was a concept implemented by the Republican Party and presented to the American people six weeks before the 1994 Congressional election campaign. It was developed by Larry Hunter with assistance from Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Bill Paxon, Tom DeLay, and others. The Contract was based in part on text from one of former President Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Address. The Contract detailed the actions the Republican Party promised to take if they became the majority party in the United States House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. It was introduced during the first midterm election of President Bill Clinton’s Administration, and was signed by all but two of the Republican members of the House and all of the Party’s non-incumbent Republican Congressional candidates.
Supporters of the Contract with America described it as revolutionary in its commitment to offering specific legislation for a vote, describing in detail the precise plan of the Congressional Representatives. Its provisions represented the view of many conservative constituents on the issues of shrinking the size of government, promoting lower taxes and greater entrepreneurial activity, and both tort reform and welfare reform. With all the promises that the Contract represented the Republican Party gained a majority of seats in the 104th United States Congress. It was viewed as a major triumph for the Republican Party and its leaders such as Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and for all the people who were part of America’s conservative movement.
During the first hundred days of the 104th Congress, the Republicans pledged ten bills. Each bill was to be given a full and open debate, a clear and fair vote, and each was to be made available for public inspection. These bills were not intended as governmental reforms but represented significant changes to policy. The main points of this program was included tax cuts for businesses and individuals, term limits for legislators, social security reform, tort reform, and welfare reform. The Contract with America was responsible for:
- The Fiscal Responsibility Act which would require a balanced federal budget, unless sanctioned by a three-fifths vote in both houses of Congress.
- The Taking Back Our Streets Act which was an anti-crime package including stronger truth in sentencing, good faith exclusionary rule exemptions, death penalty provisions, funding prison construction, and additional law enforcement.
- The Personal Responsibility Act which made cuts in spending for welfare programs by means of discouraging illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to mothers under eighteen years of age, denying increases for additional children while on welfare, and enacting a two years and out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility.
- The American Dream Restoration Act which created a five hundred dollar per child tax credit and initiated steps to repeal the marriage tax penalty and the creation of the American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle-class tax relief.
- The National Security Restoration Act which prevented troops from serving under United Nations command unless the President determines it is necessary for the purposes of national security, to cut America’s contribution for United Nation peacekeeping operations, and to establish guidelines for the voluntary integration of former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO.
- The Common Sense Legal Reform Act for tort reform which instituted loser pays laws, limits on punitive damages, and the reformation of product liability laws to prevent frivolous litigation.
- The Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act which was a misnomer for a package of measures to act as small business incentives such as capital gains cuts and risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis and an unfunded mandate to create jobs and raise worker wages.
- The Citizen Legislature Act was a not very seriously supported amendment to the United States Constitution that would have imposed a twelve year term limit on members of the Congress.
The Contract with America is credited by some as having helped secure a decisive victory for the Republican Party in the 1994 midterm elections. Some parts of the Contract were enacted by the Republican controlled majority while others were unsupported by the Congress and President Bill Clinton vetoed other parts. It was Mr. Clinton who sarcastically referred to the Contract with America as the Contract on America.
With the presidential election of 2000, the country gave the Republican Party a perfect political trifecta where the conservative right controlled both houses of the legislative branch as well as the executive branch and control of the judicial branch as well. A Democratic President was replaced with a Republican President. And whatever Republican President George Bush wanted the conservative Republican legislature was more than happy to provide.
The people of the United States haven’t enjoyed a balanced budget since Mr. Bush took office. Mr. Bush inherited a budget surplus and managed to create one of the largest budget deficits in his first year in office. The national debt has doubled to ten trillion dollars. So much for that Fiscal Responsibility Act. And the Personal Responsibility Act is little more than a farce as companies like Halliburton and Blackwater enjoy corporate welfare in the form of no bid multibillion dollar contracts without having to produce much in the way of results.
And all the tax cuts passed since the Republican’s took over the White House haven’t produced much in the way of jobs. Jobs have evaporated as corporate profits soared. Oil companies have jacked the price of fuel to record levels with their profits making their own historic records. Companies enjoying record profits are steadily cutting jobs and outsourcing their work to the very cheapest places available. Another round of tax cuts won’t do a thing for creating jobs. It’s socialism to do anything to provide tax relief to the public. It’s not socialism when we provide tax relief to corporate entities. While the public is given a five hundred dollar tax credit per child, corporate America gets millions of dollars.
The past eight years has demonstrated our leadership’s penchant to take care of the handful of us at the highest pinnacle of our economic hierarchal pyramid. Our troops die in a foreign land protecting our freedoms and then corporate America swoops in and reaps all the economic benefits. And with our government that heavily favors corporate America, while many corporations are more profitable than ever, more people are struggling to make ends meet. The tenets of socialism that spreads the wealth have been resoundingly reversed. It got so bad that many of us couldn’t even afford gas to go to work.
But to counter the fact that we were getting economically screwed, our leadership got us focused on family values. In order to distract us from the fact that some corporate entities are more profitable than ever, the American people were given personal issues like abortion and the protection of marriage from the evil homosexuals with their dangerous beliefs that they could express their commitment to their partners the same way heterosexuals could. We have to defend marriage even though we do nothing to protect marriage from people who cheat on their spouse or get divorced. The sanctity of marriage must be protected. And while we are discriminating against homosexuals, the middle class is steadily dwindling. And then we weren’t being patriotic to question our leadership. It is unpatriotic to criticize our government leaders when we are involved in a misguided global conflict. But it’s okay for corporate entities to pillage the national treasure and profit handsomely at the expense of the public through global conflict.
Mr. Clinton was very prophetic when he called the Contract with America the Contract on America. And many people have awakened out of their political sheep slumber to implement change. America started to initiate change in the 2006 midterm elections. America took away the Republican majorities in both houses of the legislative branch. Instead of seeing the signs that people wanted change it was business as usual. The chickens of global unilateralism came home to roost. The focus to make corporate America profitable has bankrupted middle America. Corporate America was fat and happy as Middle America continued to lose jobs and faced entire communities of foreclosures homes and a credit crisis. Obviously the message didn’t get through the first time. More political change was necessary.
The 2008 presidential election was proof positive of what the people think of our contract with the Republican Party. Since 1994 they had a chance to do what they said they would to help us all. But I don’t feel like we have been helped at all. I feel more like we have been gang raped and bitched slapped. You damn skippy I’m voting for a reverse course. Even the people who voted for this contract nonsense have reconsidered. And the verdict is that this contract should be terminated effective immediately. Our experiment with this thinly veiled American brand fascism just doesn’t work