Aging: Column takes political bent for one time onlyCritics might wonder why the Superior Telegram has been running this column for more than a year.
By: Bernie Hughes, The Daily Telegram
Critics might wonder why the Superior Telegram has been running this column for more than a year. On the contrary, I am enjoying it; as the old saying goes, “Time flies by when you are having fun.” My Republican friends have complimented me for staying off politics, because they know my political leanings. In fact they probably, correctly, make the point that I lean way too far.
Today, however, I had a first. A fellow at the Y, obviously not a Republican, complimented me on essays that I have had in both the Telegram and the Tribune which were political in content. He said that he would like that emphasis in the Aging Column too, at least once in awhile. I mulled that over and decided to do this one time only. After all politics are very important; it makes our world go around here in the good old US.A. People in our democracy have very different political interpretations and the following are mine.
As you’ve undoubtedly surmised from these early comments, I lean Democratic. I have voted for a few Republicans along the way, but usually that has been local or state officials who I knew more about than political affiliation.
Having been a boy on a hard scrabble dairy farm during the depression years probably planted my political seed. Those were not easy years. FDR exerted the leadership, as president for four terms, to make those hard times gradually better. Hard for me to forget that — it would be like looking a gift horse in the mouth.
In the Republican political platform, I have appreciated their stressing the importance of the need for balanced budgets. That makes a lot of sense and one that I have personally followed but then came Reagan and now young Bush. What happened? Right now, China, alone, is loaning the U.S. over $2 billion a day. Sorry state of affairs. I can’t even imagine that amount of money.
The Republican party platform has always rated national defense as a number one priority which I can’t disagree with either. But defense has taken on a new and very much broader meaning; we have selected who to defend and why, how, when and where. Defense for me is the homeland. But as our military strength has grown, we have traveled further afield. It has taken on the look of empire building. We have troops all over the world. Now as one example only, we are building 27 buildings on 104 acres of land in downtown Baghdad for an embassy. And for public consumption we are claiming, with a straight face by the way, that this is not intended to be permanent.
Another component in the Republican platform is limited government. How often do Republicans cry the need to get government off our backs? That is, of course, until they need welfare as in the savings and loan bailout and now the investment banks and mortgage loan folks.
Privatization has become a Republican watchword. They believe that private ownership is always best and one example has cost us a good portion of our automobile industry. Since 2004, Michigan has been replaced by Ontario, Canada. The reason is simple. In the United States, car manufacturers have to pay $6,500 in medical and insurance benefits for each worker. By moving to Canada, which has a government run health system, the cost to them is around $800 per worker. And I believe all of us in the aging category are happy that one of the many G.W. Bush failures was not being able to privatize Social Security.
This has been more political talk than many of you would want to hear so we’ll call a halt with this one column and close with lighter fare:
“Some of our politicians who act foolish aren't acting.”
“We probably should limit our political conventions to the winter months so that all that hot air wouldn’t go to waste.”
“The mocking bird can change its tune 87 times in seven minutes. Politicians regard this interesting fact with envy.”
“The only thing dirtier and harder to clean up than a boy is politics.”
“Political oratory is an art in which nothing you say reveals the fact that you are saying nothing.”
“Politics is the art of obtaining money from the rich and votes from the poor on the pretext of protectin each from the other.”
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D., is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at Bernie1@cpinternet.com.