Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Confessions of a Marine Officer

I have only shared this with a few people, mostly close friends.  It is not something that you normally share with the general public.

This time I make an exception.

During my time in the Marine Corps, I was twice accused of being tactful.

I hope this eases your mind.  I was acquitted on both counts!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A perspective of time and history

It is an ignoble truth that we look at time and history from our own unique but minuscule perspective condemning much from our myopic vista and applauding things of which we know nothing in fact but which have acquired a shiny veneer from an earlier time.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

With courage not complaint

Everyone seems to have voiced their opinion about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare except me.

I have not ventured into this quagmire for the simple reason that it is a quagmire, will surely drain both life and energy from me should I enter the debate.  So I will not enter the debate, but perhaps offer a perspective to relieve the current debilitating gridlock.

The founding fathers did what no other nation on earth had ever done before.  They put forth a government that divided power among a federal government, state governments, and individuals. It further divided power at the federal level among a legislative, executive, and judicial branch.  It was the epitome of government by the people and an enduring model for keeping tyranny at bay.

It did not provide a problem solving organization, but did provide the opportunity for seizing opportunities, solving problems, and committing the full force of the United States to any cause that was resolved by the executive and the legislature.

Looking back, I would have to give these insightful, faithful, creative, and bold men an A+ on the framework for our nation.

That said, they never saw the issue of health care coming.  The first vaccine—ever—came into existence only a few years after our Constitution was adopted.

In the late 18th century, health care was as much a part of the daily conversation as was space travel.  If your town had a doctor, you were blessed in a very limited sort of way.  Only in the last half century has this idea of health care moved into the mainstay of daily life.

Organ transplants, open heart surgery, placing stints into arteries would have been the stuff of science fiction at the time our Constitution was drafted and for more than a hundred years thereafter.

It has been just over a century since doctors began attempting open heart surgery.  It has been less than half a century since the first heart transplant.

The problem with health care is that we are all rookies.
Taxes have been around forever.
Funding armies and navies is old hat to almost every nation.
Negotiating treaties is as old as government itself.

But health care is a horse of a different color, and we seem to ignore this thinking that we are all experts.
The only thing that seems to progress as fast as modern medicine is modern technology.  Nobody wants to be caught with a phone that is more than 2 years old.  That’s just not the way things work in this 21st century.

We don’t keep our phones for more than 24 months, but we believe that the existing system of health care is a viable longstanding model or take the other extreme and think that the Affordable Care Act will bring balance to what seems to be an industry that is out of control.

Arguments on both sides have validity. 
Government control of a private industry inherently is problematic.
The availability of certain services for only a select segment of our nation seems un-American.
What are we to do?

We as individual citizens are to tell our president and lawmakers that we elected them to serve the people of this great nation.  We sent them to take on a tough set of challenges believing them to be tougher.
Huddling up with only those who think the same way you do and pointing fingers at anyone else hardly shows the meddle that we need from our leaders at this time.

The budget needs fixed—to include taking on this monster known as the national debt.
Health care must be addressed as an issue unique to the current century.  This is a new challenge.  We should approach it with the same tenacity and dedication and national commitment that got us to the moon.  That hadn’t been done before either.

All elected officials must abstain from acrimony, vitriolic tones, and pity parties.  This is a time for men and women of courage to step forward, and those entrenched in petty politics—no party has clean gloves here—to pack up and go home.

Had our founding fathers suffered the same mindset as our current slate of national leaders, we would still being paying taxes to the Queen.

We are in a mess.

It is not hopeless.  Men and women of courage can come together and tackle our nation’s problems and seek opportunities, and work for the common good.

We all have some sort of political foundation that we believe is best for this country.  Bitterness and blaming while holding fast to my way or not way at all does not befit men and women of courage.

Were these same men and women in the armed forces, they would be considered cowards for running and hiding from hostile fire.  They are not soldiers.  They have chosen a different calling, but have become so entrenched in their positions, that they deny even the very profession to which they are a part of.

It is time for politicians to resign and for true statesmen to emerge.

We can emerge stronger from the current dysfunctional state of our national government, if enough of our elected officials will remember why we sent them to Washington and use the modicum of courage needed to take on the challenges of the current century.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

I practiced on this sentence hundreds of times in typing class (yes, I’m showing my age), but it holds true today.  It is especially true today.

It is time for our president and our legislature to step up to the challenges before them with courage not complaint.