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Food For Thought

I can’t help wondering just what sexual orientation has to do with separation of church and state. I see no connection between gays serving openly in the military and children praying in school– can you? And why certain people are so positive that their own “family values” are everybody’s ideal. Every family has their own set of values, right down to how they want their chicken fried and how much mustard to put in the potato salad. And I have to laugh out loud when that person says he would, “Cut their pay in half and send them home early.” Without their vote on the matter? Really?
When I voice my doubts about the whole election campaign process, people supposedly in the know attempt to mollify me by saying something like, “That’s how the game is played,” or “Politics is just a matter of compromise.” Is it compromise when both sides appear to have ganged up against reaching any compromise at all? More likely they are just ganging up, again, to make our president look bad. That old football coach ploy that claims the best defense is a good offense. I’d like to remind them that this isn’t a game.
Football is a game. Ping-Pong is a game. They require experience and practice, agility of body and mind, and good judgment. The political game doesn’t seem to have such stringent requirements. Games are recreation. They are diversions. They are entertainment. Is that what these politicos are doing with our money and our futures? Just passing the time amusing themselves? Maybe we’d be better off if they spent their time playing Peek-A-Boo or Pat-A-Cake. Even very young children can get those right.
I can’t muster up much confidence in anyone who claims to be a conservative then brays about all the changes he’d make in Washington. Doesn’t he have a dictionary?
That “temporary tax break extension” they’ve been wrangling over for so long is going to turn out bad for the majority of us. Count on it. Our legislators are adept at taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another. “Look,” they say. “We just cut your taxes and gave you better health insurance to boot.” It’s that reasoning that gives us a cost of living increase in our Social Security and raises the cost of Medicare and prescription insurance to gobble up the difference. Just watch– any change in taxes is going to benefit one group of people for sure, the ones who design and pass the legislation. A few of the rest of us might benefit a smidgen, but those numbers will be limited. And speaking of prescription insurance, mine has never paid for any of my meds. I suppose I should be grateful that my health is such that I don’t need expensive medicines but the ones I do take never use up the co-pay on my prescription insurance. In fact, the insurance premiums I must pay, because I’m required to have prescription insurance, are more than what I have to spend out-of-pocket for the prescriptions. Maybe someday I’ll need meds that cost more and will be grateful that I’ve kept up the insurance, but I’ll give you odds that someone will decide that the pills I need are not covered by the policy.
I want to remind you that I don’t understand politics. I know, I said that at the beginning of this column but I want you to remember that I can only understand politics on a very limited and personal level. I do understand English, however, and most of what is being said in this campaign is empty, meaningless doubletalk. These guys promise things they’ll never be able to do, and think they are telling us what we want to hear. What I want to hear is the truth. I want to hear some practical, feasible plans that have at least half a chance of actually being pulled off. As one of my nephews once said, “Aunt Milli is a pretty tough broad,” and I can take a little disappointment and belt-tightening. What I can’t take is being lied to and misled by having my attention focused on spiteful and emotional issues so that I don’t notice what’s being done about the important stuff.
When I was in college, and just beginning to pay attention to election campaigns, in anticipation of someday being old enough to vote, my roommate and I hustled down to the train depot in Iowa City to be there when General Eisenhower’s campaign train made a stop. I’d grown up knowing who Dwight Eisenhower was, his picture was on the cover of some of my school tablets, along with a few other wartime heroes like Jimmy Doolittle and General MacArthur. I was prepared to hear some wise and patriotic pronouncements from a man I’d been led to believe represented the essence of being an American.
Mostly, what I heard was the same sort of thing we’re hearing today. Oh, it’s been updated since then, but it’s still doubletalk.