Health, A Right or a Privilege For The Few

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

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On September 14, 2006, the Commonwealth Fund revealed the results of a recent study on Health Insurance.  The news was disheartening though not surprising to me.  Nearly nine out of ten workers seeking Individual Health Care coverage do not find a plan that they can afford.  Ultimately, these persons decide to forfeit medical protection.  They hope and pray that they will stay healthy.  Such is the state of the union in the United States of America; it has been my state of affairs more often than not.

Currently, in 2006, sixty-one [61] percent of American firms offer health care benefits.  Only a year ago sixty-nine [69] percent offered such prized perks.  However, as health care costs increase employers forego providing this “luxury.”  Since 2000, premiums have increased eighty-seven percent; wages twenty percent.  Employers are only willing or able to extend themselves so far.  Corporate executives say something has to give; they have concluded it can no longer be them.  Thus, more and more individual citizens are seeking health care coverage and finding they cannot afford it.

In America, we are experiencing a health care crisis.  It is not exclusively, nor is it predominately a poor persons problem.  Eight of ten of the uninsured are working families.  60.4 percent of the uninsured are full-year, full time working families.  Well over twenty-two percent are working slightly less than full time.  Just over seventeen percent of the American population fit the poverty profile typically attributed to the uninsured.

I know this personally for I live it and have for years.  One incident alone illustrates my reality.  I was fully employed, though technically by the standards of some considered less than.  It mattered not that my most every waking hour was consumed with work, planning curriculums, reading reports and journals, researching, offering comments and concepts to my students, officially I was not working full-time.  Supervisors acknowledged my commitment, as did administrators, still there are strict guidelines that must be adhered to.  I understand.  I do as I do because I care, regardless of the less than thoughtful structure of the system.

One day I awoke with excruciating pain.  I felt as though I needed to urinate; yet, I could not fully.  I felt hot, white-hot.  I took off all my clothes.  Later, I felt icy cold.  I cuddled up in a down comforter.  I could not get comfortable.  I was paralyzed in a fetal position.  Though I have an extremely high tolerance for pain, I relented.  I moaned, I groaned; periodically I even cried.

After eight hours of agonizing, burning, aching everything I telephoned my doctor and asked for his advice.  He strongly suggested I needed to go to the Emergency Room.  He said, “Call the paramedics and go.”  I calmly declared I could not do as he thought best.  Urgent medical services are costly and I do not have health insurance.  I endured for an hour more.  As I fell in and out of consciousness, I realized a need to retract my earlier statement.  I called for assistance.  After, indeed, the bills came pouring in.

Upon making the call for help I knew that I would experience a newer, more novel suffering, one our compassionately conservative President has yet to address.  George W. Bush and Congresspersons, people in the upper echelon choose not to imagine what is a daily truth for many of America’s citizens.  They prefer not to know the sense of futility and helplessness that huge medical bills can and do bring.  They revel in their blissful ignorance.  Instead of addressing profound issues of the day numerous people in power profess, “All is well,” for it is for them and their kind.

According to this Administration and those economically at the top of the power pyramid, all is well.  The Administration and elite entrepreneurs avow our economy is strong; job creation continues.  I ask; has Mr. Bush ever gone out looking for a job, particularly in times such as these?  Have those amongst the “Corporate Clan” born with silver spoons in their mouths and more than pennies in their pockets ever pounded the pavements?  I have.

I experience the sense of desperation economists, experts, and even some corporate executives now reluctantly state.  Employers and employees find themselves strapped.  One need only look at the automobile industry for evidence of the health care crunch.  General Motors and Ford are both laying off workers in an attempt to lower health care costs.  These companies are not alone.  They are only more prominent.

To assuage the pain of paying for health insurance, many companies are asking their employees to cover all or part of the expense.  Workers are concluding they cannot afford the coverage.

Millions of employed Americans who are offered health insurance through their jobs are turning down the benefit because of high costs.  This has been a tragic fact for many years, but the situation is only getting worse.

According to a recent, report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the number of workers who declined to accept health insurance when it was offered by their employer increased by three million between 1998 and 2003.  All told, some 12 million workers eligible for work-based health insurance turned it down in 2003.

Then there are those full-time workers that do not have access to employer-paid health care.  There numbers are growing.  In a country where careers no longer last a lifetime, businesses are no longer loyal to their workforce and personal recognizes there is no permanency.  Job security is thing of the past.  Thriving in a stable career is rarely possible; survival may be the only satisfaction a worker receives in 2006.

A wide variety of occupations now involve large numbers of people with no choice but to be self-employed consultants or to obtain work through temp agencies or contract houses.  At least 20 million workers — one-seventh of the American workforce — are self-employed or working on contract.  More and more firms are relying on these non-permanent but often long-term relationships with workers to get specific tasks done.  A major reason is to avoid paying for health insurance and other benefits.

In my own life I worked as a Faculty Lecturer at a prominent University.  Three quarters of the teaching staff were not permanent employees, though their contracts were renewed year after year.  By maintaining a workforce that does not receive benefits, operational costs are lowered and after all, operational costs are a greater concern than people.  People, personnel, come and go; institutions prosper on into infinity, or rather, more accurately infamy.

Belatedly I discovered that some of the part-time Faculty does qualify for benefits; however there is no effort to inform them of this.  If they do not ask, they are not told.  The eligibility does not automatically generate a provision.  When the union informs the employee, it is through a flyer or an email.  These often go unread and thus, the process is overlooked.  In most cases, the requirement for benefits is not met.  Professional people are left scrambling for security.

This increasing reliance on non-permanent employees permeates a wide array of occupations for which college is a prerequisite.  They include software engineers, accountants, human resource professionals, producers in advertising and broadcasting, writers and editors, even teachers and college professors.  Many people in these occupations earn middle-class incomes over a year, but they must constantly hustle to get the next contract to maintain them.  Most do not belong to an employer-group that gives them access to low-cost health plans.  This puts them at a tremendous disadvantage for obtaining, much less affording, health insurance.

In my own life, I have worked full-time without benefits for many years and in many situations.  Technically, I am a “trained professional.”  However, I have often felt as though I am a peon or less.  I am poorly paid and compassionate compensations are not offered.  I experience, in many industries, employers do not provide life-sustaining benefits.

I did take a job in a mailroom for a time.  I thought it would be a summer respite.  This employer did offer benefits.  After years without medical options, I needed these.  There was dental work to be done and physical examination that were past due.  While I thought and hoped that all would be taken care of in the warmer months of the year, sadly, this was not true.

After taking this position, I felt like I was loosing my mind.  I thought my brain was turning to mush.  The work I was doing was mindless; a machine could have done such tasks.  While it is pleasant for those in power to have a person to relate to when doing their mailing transactions, for the mail clerk, the exchanges are too often unreal.  The pressure not to be the thinking, creative, productive person I am was taxing.

I developed physical problems; the demands of being a peon in the eyes of authority are enormous.  My mind and body felt imprisoned.  The politics involved in being a subservient and silent servant felt overwhelming.  The stress of this occupation took its toll.  I began to grind my teeth in my sleep.  I became disillusioned with people.  When you are merely a paid slave, you see people at their worst.  When I was away from work, I did not wish to engage with others as I had.  I was mentally and physically drained.  I was tired!  I felt locked into the world of nothingness.  I could not afford health care without this employment; nor could I afford to be without the coverage.  Ultimately, I left this position or condition.  I could no longer sacrifice my soul.

Private insurance is costly.  I could not pay the premiums.  I, and millions of others decided to forego the coverage.

The percentage of Americans with private health insurance declined to 67.7 percent in 2005, marking a pattern of erosion for the past several years.  A new research study by Jack Hadley, a health economist at the Urban Institute, found that the main reason that adults’ private insurance coverage has faded in recent years is that the costs of insurance premiums have climbed, making coverage less affordable for employers and employees alike.  Hadley also found that rising private insurance premiums have led to higher Medicaid enrollment of adults, as low-income workers are squeezed out of private coverage and into Medicaid.  Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that, on average, employers are requiring employees to contribute more in cost-sharing (i.e., premiums, deductibles, and/or co-payments) for their health insurance and that fewer small businesses are offering health coverage.

As conditions prevail, the number of underinsured Americans increases.

People nationwide are assessing their options.  For the most part, there are three.

In Massachusetts; they can purchase a policy in the health insurance market for individuals, where policies typically cost $300 a month without prescription drug coverage and more than $400 a month with it.  The third choice is to become uninsured.

However, even if insurance can be secured there are other considerations.  For years, I had a pre-existing condition, bulimia.  It was my burden and my truth.  It was a costly proposition.  Bulimia can be costly.  There is food to buy, consume, and then purge.  However, that is only part of the equation.  The price tag for purging is greater than what is easily evident.  There are hidden charges, the fee for this “infirmity” is ineligibility.

Insurers in the individual and small-group markets are wary of their own potential customers.  Because we do not require people to purchase health insurance, insurers suspect that those who apply for coverage are more likely to have high medical expenses.  So they charge individuals and small groups higher premiums.

Thus, those that need insurance walk away from the prospect or more accurately, are forced to flee the market.  Health care in this nation heals only the few and forgets the rest.  The classes are ensured quality care.  The masses for the most part must care for their own.  However, rarely is that possible.  Eventually, the poor or less powerful must turn towards medical professionals.  They too must ultimately pay the exorbitant prices.

There are discussions of Universal Health Care; however, these go nowhere.  We accept what we know and what has always been.  Most of us suffer silently.  

From 2004 to 2005, the number of US Americans without health insurance climbed from 45.3 to 46.6 million.  One of every six US Americans faces the most expensive health care system in the world (both per capita and as a percentage of GDP) without the safety net of insurance.  A shamefully low 60% of US workers receive coverage from their employers.  Lamentably, over 11% of children in the United States have no health insurance.

To add some perspective, the 46.6 million uninsured are or represent:

  • Over 12 times the number of millionaires (3.8 million) in the United States.
  • Almost equal to all Americans age 65 and older (35.9 million)
  • 12 million more than the population of Canada (32.2 million)
  • Nearly 7,500 uninsured Americans for each hospital in America
  • Over 84,000 uninsured Americans for each Member of Congress

(Thanks to the Center for American Progress for the above information)

Though the numbers speak volumes, as they did during the Clinton era, when experts wrote,

The population of full-time workers and their families without employer benefits is a generally healthy-and insurable-group that has health care expenditures similar to those of all insured workers.  They are working to support themselves and their families, and they have earnings that could be used toward health insurance premiums, if only coverage were available at reasonable rates.  An increasing number of American workers find themselves uninsured.  The numbers of uninsured have risen from 25 million in the mid-1970sto 42 million in 1996, primarily due to erosion of employer group coverage.  Today, full-time workers and their family members are 60% of the uninsured.  Neither tax policies nor market reforms have yet given them the same kinds of financial assistance and well-functioning markets as better-organized worker and business groups.

These problems affect more than workers and dependents in the individual coverage market at this time.  A worker with group coverage today can lose coverage in the future, e.g., the worker may decide to switch jobs, his or her company may go out of business, or the employee may be “downsized,” “out-sourced,” or laid off.  Potentially, many more individuals are at risk of having to seek health insurance in the individual coverage market.

. . . little has changed for the better.  Health Care in the United States worsens, as does the health of our citizenry.  The millions of uninsured stay silent.  These individuals and families are as a heart attack waiting to happen, quiet killers.

There are millions in America’s mainstream suffer needlessly.  Yet, these individuals do not speak of their pain; nor do they tell their stories.  Personal sagas are rarely stated aloud.  On occasion, we may read an anecdote such as this.

A little over five years ago, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  Even with my insurance, it still took me years to pay off the thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs.

After three years of follow-up visits, my insurance company told me that they no longer considered my hospital a provider for their plans.  I had developed a relationship with the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital.  They had been there during some of the toughest times of my life.

When it comes to a person’s well being there isn’t much of a choice.  Who chooses not to seek treatment for cancer?  When the doctor tells you to do something or you will die, who says, “Gee, that’s a little more than I was hoping to spend today”?  It isn’t like choosing between Coke or Pepsi.

  However, few of us can place a face with a telling.

Until this moment, I was among those that could not think of a scenario that a friend or family had shared.  Then, my telephone rang.  A close friend and co-worker wanted me to know of a colleague that I admire.  She was in a serious motorcycle accident.  She broke her hip and arm.  She is in the hospital and her wellness is in question.  She can be healed, physically.  Yet, the financial strain is in question.  Melinda has not worked for the company long enough to receive her health care benefits.  She is not covered.  Though she is a professional, pursuing a career track, in this moment she is among the uninsured!

Melinda’s life hangs by a thread.  She will survive; thriving with such, a potentially debilitating debt will be a struggle.  Melinda’s current experience, among millions, and my own reality forces me to ask, what will we as a society do?

Will we claim to be strong as we watch people suffer.  Will we care for the masses as we do for the classes?  Will we accept what does not affect us personally, though has a profound impact on our image and our communal health.  Will we as a nation stand by knowing that eighteen thousand Americans die annually because they do not have health insurance.

You decide; then act on your decision.  Choose to continue being silent, sullen, sorrowful, and, or avoidant, or choose differently.  You have the power for you are among the people that make this country robust or not.  We can accept our station while ignoring that of others or we can be compassionate, conservatives and progressives alike.

Resources that will Not Pay Medical Bills . . .

Be-Think

May I introduce the being and thinking behind this blog.  I am an educator, an author, and a student of life.

As a mentor, I massage learning; I facilitate discovery.  As a scholar, I endeavor to energize minds.  As an essayist, I explore.  As a pupil, I devour wisdom.  I am a person who consciously chooses not only to be; I choose to think.  I am as you are, on a path towards enlightenment.

As a person who thought to peruse a site titled “Be-Think,” you too may be interested in the essence of our being and thought.  Possibly, you probe in search of a treasure.  I believe that the most valuable riches are within us.  When we ponder our principles, as well as consider the insights of others, we grow wiser and more wondrous.  Our worth increases.  An individual open to expansive opportunities is precious and priceless.

It is my belief that our thoughts are the catalyst for our actions; for “As we think so shall we be.”  I wonder; What will we be?  Please explore with me, for  . . .

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

~ Shakespeare: Hamlet, IV, c. 1601

As we delve deeply, we might wish to acknowledge the paradox that is “people.”  Sadly, soooo much of what we think true is not what we say is sound.  What we profess to believe in principle is frequently contrary to what we claim is correct.  Our truest beliefs are often buried beneath the surface.  Few of us can proclaim to be consistent or knowledgeable when the subject is self.  Yet, most of us have faith that we are familiar with all the is outside our being.

Please muse with me for a moment.  How often do you say that you will succeed and yet you suspect that you will not?  Do you hear yourself speak optimistically while your inner self shouts out words of gloom and doom.  Have you spoken of yourself confidently, decidedly self-assured.  Perhaps, at the time you genuinely felt certain of who you were.  Then, seconds later, when alone with yourself, you discovered that you had no idea who you might be?  You realized, all that you trusted to be real, was but an illusion.  Once verifiable facts were, indeed, errors.

As you enter BeThink, please contemplate the term reality.  Reflect upon the notion that what we truly believe may be learned.  We are taught to think, to be, [to say, to do, to feel], and to believe as we do when we are very, very, very young, before we realize that there are other options.  Sadly, some of us never reflect and realize that the truth for others is as ours.  Each of us was told to honor a veracity.  Yet, these absolutes vary.  Hence, humans argue needlessly over actualities.  Perchance, that is why, BeThink exists.

Here, anyone can safely ponder.

In this site, opportunities are offered to open minds.  At BeThink, we acknowledge that facts are fluid.  We may know and yet, not understand all at once.  Hence, we come together here to stimulate thoughts that avail other options, alternatives beyond those that you, I, or we might have already imagined.  

Let us hope to travel beyond, to journey together, to take a trip that is never ending.  My desire is that our expedition is intellectually, emotionally, physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually expanding.

Mike Pinder, of the Moody Blues offers, as I believe.  In 1968, he wrote . . .

“Thinking is the best way to travel . . .”

~ From “In Search of the lost Chord”

While thinking is the best way to travel, at least it is for me, I know and have faith that what we accept, and what we do with our observations affects our being.  I offer a contemplation that changed me eternally.  I believe that it is one of the most meaningful expressions ever voiced.  

Horace Walpole; the father of the Gothic Novel.  He lived in the 16th century, yet, for me, his wisdom is timeless.  His male parent was the first Prime Minister of England and he himself was a Member of Parliament.  The Earl of Oxford writes . . .

“For those who think, life is a comedy.  

For those who feel, life is a tragedy.”


~ Horace Walpole [Father of Gothic Novels, Member of Parliament]

Might we smile, laugh, and look at the foolishness that is our lives.  For I believe that we all feel, and if we choose to think through the feelings, we will find such folly, funniness, and fun.  Therefore, I ask you to please tour with me, think, and be better, the best, and then even beyond!  For, as Nicolaus Copernicus states . . .

“To know that we know what we know,

and to know that we do not know what we do not know,?that is true knowledge.”


~ Nicolaus Copernicus  

[February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543]

Astronomer, Mathematician; Proponent of Heliocentric Cosmic Model.

May your life be full and fulfilling. May [spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and conjointly physical] abundance be yours.  May we all Be and Think . . . Betsy

Be-Think ©


May I introduce the being and thinking behind this blog. I am an educator, an author, and a student of life.

As a mentor, I massage learning, facilitate discovery.  As a scholar, I endeavor to energize minds.  As an essayist, I explore.  As a pupil, I devour wisdom.  I am a person that chooses consciously not only to be; I choose to think.  I am as you are, traveling towards enlightenment.

As a person that is choosing to investigate a site titled “Be-Think,” you too may be interested in the value of being and thinking. Possibly, you are probing, searching for a treasure. I believe that the treasure of our being increases when we contemplate our own thoughts [as well as the thoughts of others.]

It is my belief that our thoughts are the catalyst for our actions; for "As we think so shall we be." I wonder, "What will we be? Please explore with me, for  . . .

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

~ Shakespeare: Hamlet, IV, c. 1601

As we explore, we might acknowledge that, sadly, soooo much of what we think is not as we say, or even what we say that we believe. Our truest beliefs are buried beneath the surface. How often do you say that you will succeed and yet you suspect that you will not? How often do you find that while you state the affirmative, what you believe is less than? How often have you spoken of yourself as though you knew your self and then discovered that you did not? How often do you believe that you know what you yourself are thinking then, later discover that you were in error? You did not truly admit to yourself your own inner thoughts.

What we truly believe is learned. We learn to think, to be, [to say, to do, to feel], and to believe as we do when we are very, very, very young, before we realize that there are other options. Sadly, some of us never reflect and realize that the truth for others is what they learned to be true. Nor have we reflected and realized that this too is true of us.

In this site, I hope to offer opportunities, open minds, stimulate thoughts that avail other options, options beyond those that you, I, or we might already know. I hope to travel beyond, to travel together, to take us all on a trip that is never ending. My desire is that our expedition is intellectually, emotionally, physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually expanding.

Mike Pinder, of the Moody Blues offers, as I believe. In 1968 he wrote . . .
"Thinking is the best way to travel . . ."

From “In Search of the lost Chord”

While thinking is the best way to travel, at least it is for me, I know and trust that what we think and what we do with these thoughts affects our being. I offer a thought that affects me eternally. I believe that it is one of the most meaningful thoughts ever expressed. It is written by Horace Walpole; he is the father of the Gothic Novel. He lived in the 16th century, yet, for me, his wisdom is timeless. His father was the first Prime Minister of England and he himself was a Member of Parliament. He writes . . .

For those who think, life is a comedy.

For those who feel, life is a tragedy.


~ Horace Walpole [Father of Gothic Novels, Member of Parliament]

I believe that we all feel and if we choose to think through the feelings, we will find such folly, funniness, and fun. Therefore, I ask you to please journey with me, think, and be better, and better, the best, and then even beyond! For, as Copernicus states . . .

To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.”

~ Nicolaus Copernicus  [February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543]  Astronomer, Mathematician; Proponent of Heliocentric Cosmic Model.

Marital Status. Single. Married. Satisfactory or Searching?

copyright © 2006 Betsy L. Angert

Early morning television viewing can stimulate a mind.  Today, while preparing breakfast, I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning Show.  They announced this is National USA Singles’ Week.  On the screen statistics were flowing.

  • Ninety-six [96] million Americans are single.
  • Fifty-four [54] percent of singles are women.
  • Sixty-three [63] percent of singles have never been married.
  • Fourteen [14] percent of singles are widowed.
  • Twelve and two-tenths [12.2] percent are single parents.
      [Ten [10] million women, two and two-tenths [2.2] percent men]
  • In New York State alone, fifty [50] percent of the population is single!
  • One third of all births in 2002 were born to single mothers.

I thought; how fascinating, so many singles celebrating their marital status; yet, from my observations many are actively searching for a spouse, a soul mate, a sense of security, a sex partner, or something else.

I wonder how many of these people have any idea what they are seeking; do they understand what they might find.  It seems for some marriage is the mission.  For others, staying single is their intent.  Though in either case, there is often an unspoken reluctance, an apprehension, or merely an overwhelming state of confusion.

Social scientists stress human beings are gregarious in nature.  They crave a meaningful connection.  I observe they do and they do not.  Often they unknowingly create chaos, controversy, conflict, and counter all that they value.  “Til death do we part” often becomes divorce or worse living in a relationship that is dead or destructive.  Still, individuals hunt for bonds; they gather a throng of relationships.  People want to unearth that profound liaison.

Many are looking for the love of their life, or at least a quality companion, a supportive soul who would be special friend, an intimate.  We all want a shoulder to cry on or so “they” say.  Perchance, a person to share our space would be nice.  We want so much or so little.  Some are certain of their needs and they say so openly.  They ask and they receive.

The day before, while listening to Cable News Network, a reporter introduced a news story.  With whimsy in her voice, this journalist avowed, “Every young person dreams of the day.”  In a fanciful tone, she went on to explain, “Even in our youth we look forward to such an auspicious occasion.”  The Make-A-Wish Foundation was granting a young girl, Nicole Hastings, her dying wish.

Hastings, a cancer victim, wanted to “wed” her beau.  In a union ceremony, the two were joined.  As I listened, I found the overture more dramatic than the tale.  I thought and said aloud, a wedding is not the fantasy of every youth; “It was never mine.”

That thought coupled with the two narratives caused me to ponder further.  My assessment became personal.  I am intentionally among the millions of singles.  As I observe the raw statistics and contrast these with the notion of every child’s dream, I wonder.  Are the raw emotions that led me to my choices similar to those others experience?

Days earlier, before reviewing the aforementioned anecdotes, I was discussing my own familiarity with marriage.  The topic arose because I had expressed my disdain for the “three try rule.”  Apparently, for some, when people disagree, neither “should” try to “sway” the other more than three times.  For me, this notion is silly.

I do not consider a sincere sharing an attempt to convince another that they are in error.  To illustrate my belief in consistent, caring, and calm dialogues I shared a personal story with an acquaintance.  I recounted the tale of my former mate and I.

Considering the divorce rate, the longevity of relationships, the frequent disputes among couples, and the fact that Eric is my former, one might think this will be a tale of woe.  My words will be expressions of wrath, rage, and fury.  We all know there nothing comparable to a woman’s scorn.  That said; let the saga begin.

Eric and I knew each other for about a year before we spoke of “moving in together.”  There was no hesitation on my part or on his.  During the twelve months of our acquaintance, we spent most every waking hour together.  When we purchased books, we would buy two of the same and then read and discuss them together.  We could and did talk for hours.  Friends commented, “If you saw one of us, it was likely the other was nearby.”  We were best friends.

Our courtship was not formal.  We never actually “dated.”  At home, in restaurants, on street corners, and in moving vehicles Eric and I chatted endlessly.  We were together in public places and in private sanctuaries.  We sat, or walked together for hours; we talked the entire time.  Religion, philosophy, psychology, and politics were our favorite subjects.  We spoke of the personal, professional, and the profound.  No topic was taboo for us.  Yes, physical intimacy was part of our repertoire.  Eric and I exchanged passionately and with pleasure.

Eventually, we decided to share a home.  There too, we worked well together.  We never had a dispute about the toothpaste.  We each squeeze the tube from the bottom.  Eric and I are each extremely tidy.  We love to decorate; aesthetics is important to each of us.  I love to cook; he loves to eat.  Shopping is our shared entertainment.  Gardening warms our hearts.  Most of all, we like each other’s company.  Disagreements were few and far between.

If the car needed repair, this was distressing.  Dollars were tight.  During summer, our incomes were reduced.  At the beginning of this season, there was a period of adjustment.  In those early days of summer, there was usually one disagreement.  Again, financial pressure was the catalyst for our quarrel.

If Eric loaned our one and only vehicle to his badly crippled Dad, I was not happy and said so.  Mr. Smyth had rheumatoid arthritis; he could barely maneuver his feet or let alone hold a steering wheel.  This worried me.  I felt if his Dad needed transportation, one of us could drive him.  I usually did.  That was fine with me, for I enjoyed the father of my beau.

Over the years it was evident, Eric and I had few struggles and much joy.  While we did not have problems between us, being human, there was a need to grow, individually and together.

I always thought Eric knew me better than I understood myself.  However, that did not negate the fact that his opinion of what might be best for me, was not always identical to my own.  When he would voice his viewpoints, particularly if it differed from mine or caused me to question my lack of ego strength, I would, initially become defensive.  That reactive stance did not stop me from reflecting upon what he said, for I knew he truly had my best interests at heart.  His expressions were consistently delivered with love.

In the moments, days, weeks, months, and even years later I was thankful that we always shared openly and that he told me of his truth.  I needed to hear these views so that they were in my mind, available when I was ready.  There was so much I wanted to learn; there still is.  I felt a need to be in better balance, to blend more pleasurably with the world around me.  I loved my life; however, then and now, I feel there is always a need to grow.

Eric also wanted to evolve; mostly he wanted our relationship to go forward.  He wanted to marry me.  I was not ready for marriage.  Eric genuinely wanted us to be legally committed.  I know to my core that Eric would not have changed my mind or me after three futile attempts to influence my way of thinking.  An enduring and meaningful transformation would not occur if the dialogue ended permanently at that point.

If Eric had worked to persuade me on only three occasions I would have never learned, let alone truly heard to the wisdom he shared.  I believe it highly unlikely someone will change after another states an opinion three times.  The chances are less likely if the exchanges are volatile.  I think change is a process; it evolves, as do we all.  Saying that and contrasting it with my thoughts on marriage, I question.  Did I develop as much as I thought I had?

Please allow me to continue the pondering.  Perhaps you will join me.  Are you reflecting on your own relationships as a married person or a single?

Eric words were consistently kind, calm, caring, and loving.  He was not critical of me; nor did he condemn my choices or me.  He came to me with love and though he left our abode, or I did, it was not because we no longer cared.  I feared marriage!

Patient as he was for oh so many years, he tired of waiting for me to change my mind.  He felt he could not go on as we had.  He wanted us to marry.  I was certain I could not.

Eric and I parted ways physically, though not fully.  We never parted emotionally.  To this day, decades later we are still deeply connected.  I marvel at this.  Intellectually I know much; I have grown infinitely, even my emotional realities evolved far beyond where they were.  However, as I evaluate my essence, I wonder how much of the past still permeates the present.  It seems, when I am placed in a position to truly do as I had not done with Eric, I freak.

I recall reading a study long ago reporting that children of divorce, long into adulthood, struggle with the prospect of marriage.  Many wed; however, even the elderly that were once children of divorced parents show evidence of scarring.  The wound formed in youth does not truly disappear.  It may be modified, still it lingers.

After parents drop the bomb of divorce on their kids, and many believe the impact is immediate and brutal, but gradually fades over time.

That is not at all the case, contends clinical psychologist and divorce expert Judith S. Wallerstein.  In her new book, “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce,” she writes that the effects of divorce on children are less like a bomb than a time bomb, carrying lasting ramifications well into adulthood.

When I was young, eight years old, ten days after my natural parents twentieth wedding anniversary, my Mom walked out.  This shocked me.  My family seemed so stable!

Though my Mom re-married, as did my birth father, and all was perhaps more wonderful than it was before, I grew skeptical.  The scar swelled up in me.  It was invisible; yet, imposing.

I had serious relationships; I chose well.  However, when I feel or felt as though the other person was getting too close, or at times, even before this realization, I would subtlety sabotage the relationship.  The departure was never bitter, for I never chose an explosive man.  Nevertheless, these break-ups were painful.

I would always conclude of the men in my life, excluding Eric, “They never really knew me.”  Then I would realize, “Of course they did not; I never allowed such an intimate connection.”  Sex was always good; however, an individual can sustain a separated self even when co-mingling.

Then, I had a liaison where the other did as I had always done.  He pushed away any closeness, I thought that I had evaluated anew.  I truly believed that I had worked through my anxieties.  I surmised that this situation helped me to see myself as I really was.  In being with the man that rejected familiarity, friendship, and a deeper intimacy; I saw myself through him, my mirror reflection.  I essentially established the fallacies of my fears; yet, now I wonder.  I am uncertain.

As I watched the statistics roll by, as I assess my current circumstances, I am thinking; I may not have evolved as I thought I had.

Granted, for years the divorce of my natural parents impacted my decisions.  Their deep division influenced me infinitely.  They had been together for twenty-plus years, then poof!

My Mom remarried and chose a man I love.  However, after twelve years, this nuptial also died.  There was reason to think it might.  After a two-year courtship, the two married.  My Mom attested to the notion, once the vows were taken, everything changed.’  Her new husband was not the man she thought she knew.

I later learned, my Mom felt that she entered her first two marriages for the arrangement seemed convenient.  True love had not been her motivation.  Knowing this, when involving herself again, she consciously chose to look for a deeper, more meaningful, love.  She married an amazing man.  The two intertwined as one.  Their union was glorious to observe.  Being part of it was even better.

Having experienced the delightful thirty-plus year legal joining of my Mom and my newer father, I realized that what happened to my natural parents marriage need not be life, that of others or my own.  Not every one feels a need to separate or divorce.

Still, I now acknowledge that I struggle with the idea of cohabitating.  It is a fine construct and wonderful for others.  However, when I consider the possibility, I still say “No.”  I am not alone or lonely.  I may be single, but not sullen.  I experience no sorrow.  In truth, I love my life.  Still, I muse; do I truly wish to be without a significant other?

My Grandfather always wisely claimed, “No one does anything that they really do not want to do.”  I flash back on Eric.  I acknowledge, at times our fears stop us from recognizing what would bring us greater pleasure.  I have often mused of the Rolling Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want; we get what you need;” What we need is more than we ever allow ourselves to knowingly want!

I am so very confused.  I feel that I cannot talk to others of this for I experience that we all justify our emotions.  I feel lost.  Single and sensationally happy, or married in wedded bliss.  What is real and what is fantasy, or is the more accurate term self-fabrication.

Thus, I ask myself, is it habit and the pleasure of my own company that keeps me from joining with another?  Are my earlier experiences still within me and looming large?


I can still belt out a Carly Simon favorite, “That is the way I always heard it should be.”  The line, “Soon you will cage me on your shelf; I need to be me first by myself” resonates for me now, as strongly as it did in my youth.

As I listen to all the discussion of weddings, marriages, and single-dom, I cannot help consider, what is true for all of these people.  Do humans desire a connection, thus wed?  Do marriages meet expectations, good, and the converse?  What of being single?  How many truly enjoy the prospect, as I definitely do; and do they also feel great anxiety at the thought of genuinely being alone in the world?

Oh dear reader, I invite you to share your story, to probe your mind and your heart.  Whether you are married, single, or strolling the streets with another, though there are no legal documents to bind you, what do you think of commitment and closeness?  Are you as I, do you acknowledge that one does not necessarily lead to another.  There is no direct correlation.

For me, the question is, what feeds our souls?  What do we need, want, crave, and create?  Sigh, I have no answers, only curiosity.  I do not celebrate my singleness; nor do I embrace marriage.  I only feel great confusion and ask for your sharing.  What have you discovered, discerned, and what deliberations were most helpful to you?

I invite you to open your heart, your mind, and to join with me in seeking a truer understanding of coupling.

What Do You Want, Need, Deeply Desire?  Perchance it is here . . .

Cleanliness and Godliness. Wash Your Hands of Guilt? ©

They rendezvous and exchange kisses, the mistress and her mister, or was it the gigolo and his social partner.  Perhaps they are only friends and lovers.  It does not matter.  The two are having a tryst.  I do not recall; has this escapade been going on for hours, days, months, or is it years.  Sigh; it is unimportant.  The two twist, tangle, and turn their bodies into one another as they walk down the street.  They arrive at their destination.  Swiftly, the couple enters their room.  They passionately engage while on the sofa, on the floor, and finally, they fall into bed.

They “make love,” generate heat.  The ordeal is hot and they are sweaty.  Ultimately, they decide to shower together.  Upon cleaning their bodies, the duo realizes they feel relieved.  All their perspiration and transgressions were washed away.

Studies conclude; the sense of cleanliness after committing adultery or sex that is not ordained by a moral authority appeases guilt.  The sensation, that all is “right with the world” if I wash after violating a value or ethical principle, is called the “Macbeth Effect.”

This marvel of “washing away my sins” is operating in the minds of many.  Researchers, Chen-Bo Zhong from the University of Toronto, and Katie Liljenquist of Northwestern University, establish there is a “psychological association between bodily purity and moral purity.”

They surmise it is no wonder.  Religious rituals have focused on physical cleansing since the beginning of time. Initially, many of these rituals were in fact practical ways for controlling the transmission of diseases.  Ultimately, the obsession to be clean or perhaps, guilt free led to an antibacterial trend.  Numerous products touted they would prevent the spread of germs.  After years of this campaign, scientist stepped in to remind the public, some bacteria is essential for good health.  Society was shaken; people want to be cleansed, totally [inside and out.]

Even those that consider themselves non-religious are affected by societal mores.  Traditions are learned and passed on from generation to generation. Whether we ourselves believe in Christ, Allah, Jehovah, Mohammed, or the Lord, it is likely that we were raised in a family where these deities were cherished.  Our parents may have been Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or agnostic, or atheist, still they too were likely observant of societal standards.  Please consider.

Christians baptize their young; they sprinkle or immerse the progeny into water.  This act symbolizes that the young person has been accepted into the faith.

In the earliest Christian times, water was used for expiatory and purificatory purposes.  As early as the fourth century various writings, the authenticity of which is free from suspicion, mention the use of water sanctified either by the liturgical blessing, or by the individual blessing of some holy person.

For the devout Muslim cleanliness is a requirement.

Islam requires physical and spiritual cleanliness.  On the physical side, Islam requires Muslims to clean their bodies, clothes, houses, and community.

In Islam, God will reward those of faith for their cleanliness.  People throughout the world may consider cleanliness desirable; however, those practicing Islam think purity is essential; it is a vital part of their religious life.  In books discussing the philosophy, there is often an entire chapter devoted to this very requirement.

The Jewish people also honor cleanliness and absolution.  Kosher laws are essentially a means to create and maintain healthy practices.  They have since ancient times.

The passage, Ps. xxvi. 6, “I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord,” also warrants the inference that Ablution of the hands is requisite before performing any holy act.  This particular form of Ablution is the one which has survived most completely and is most practiced by Jews.

Indeed, most religions equate cleanliness with holiness.  If we wash our bodies, then our souls will be purified, or so we are taught.

In the minds of numerous persons, ethically corrupt acts can be and often are associated with physical filthiness.  The act of washing one’s hands seems to free individuals of their guilt, their sin, their indulgence, or even their crime.  In three distinct experiments people acted as though they were able to “wash away moral feelings,” said Chen-Bo Zhong, coauthor of the three studies on the Macbeth effect.

As I ponder the results of this research, many thoughts occurred to me.  There are those that clean when they are upset, frustrated, or feeling overwhelmed.  What might that be called, avoidance?  Perchance it is meditative.  I know that for me, a good vacuuming or shower can fill my mind with reflections and resolutions.

Apparently, a shower first stimulated this study. 

“One day when I came back from the gym, had a shower, and had this fresh feeling, colleagues and I started talking whether there’s something more that you’re washing away while you wash your hands,” [Zhong] said.

Zhong, found himself reflecting on the thought long after the conversation concluded.  He mentioned the dialogue and his theories to a fellow post-graduate student, Katie Liljenquist.  Together they hypothesized; might washing be more than a physical act.  Might it involve the psyche in ways not typically considered?  Are physical and moral purity connected in the mind.  Then the two decided to test the possibilities.

During the study, about 170 undergraduate students were asked to focus on ethical or unethical deeds while taking part in several exercises such as word completion.

The researchers found that volunteers who had recalled a misdeed were more likely than those choosing a good deed to make choices associated with being unclean, says Zhong.  These included interpreting the word fragment “W–H” as “wash” and picking an antiseptic wipe instead of a pencil as a gift. Researchers Zhong and Liljenquist labeled this act of absolution “the Macbeth effect.”

  Just as was true in the Shakespearian play persons participating in depraved, degenerate, lewd, or lascivious behavior become obsessed with cleansing their souls.  Indeed, “the subconscious [was] manifesting itself through its choices.”

According to Dr. Zhong, “We found that after engaging in unethical behaviors such as lying or cheating, which leads you to question your moral self-perception, whether you’re a good person, whether you’re a moral person after all, this induces an urge to engage in physical cleansing, you want to wash your hands.  You feel that literally that you’re dirty.”

Zhong went on to state there are “limits to the absolution afforded by a bar of soap.”  While it is true, 41 percent of the subjects who cleansed their hands chose to engage in volunteer work, one never knows whether the same subject would have responded as well were they given the opportunity to help the person that they wronged hours earlier.  One never knows.  In truth, much remains mysterious.

I personally am fascinated.  Why do pious persons accept and acknowledge one aspect of religious dictums while ignoring many others.  It might be said that America is becoming more secular; if that is truth we might understand why we are such a combative society, engaging in crime and combative worldwide.

However, contrary to this common belief, America is not becoming more materialistic and less spiritual.  In fact, this nation is dominated by a belief in God.

A recent comprehensive study, designed by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, reveals that in America

the unaffiliated are currently at 10.8% of the population, as opposed to the 14% percent claimed by other surveys.  This three to four percent difference is significant.  Based on the current population, it means that researchers have previously over-counted the religiously unaffiliated by 10 million Americans, and may have overlooked as many or more Americans who are actually affiliated with Evangelical congregations and denominations.

Barely one in ten Americans (10.8%) is NOT affiliated with a congregation, denomination, or other religious group.

Fewer than five percent of the U.S. population claims a faith outside of the Judeo- Christian mainstream.

Fully a third of Americans (33.6%), roughly 100 million people, are Evangelical Protestant by affiliation.

Worldwide the non-religious, which may are not necessarily non-believers, comprise about 14.7 percent of the population.  Self-proclaimed atheists are only 3.8 percent of the global populace.

Yet, as we observe the nature of man worldwide, one has to wonder.  Considering the number of wars here on earth, the abundance of adultery, the litany of larcenies, countless examples of coveting, the lack of honor bestowed upon parents, elders, humanity, and animals are we the cleanest creatures in the universe?  I suspect we are.

Now, I need to shower.  Feel free to contemplate.  What might the reasons be; I wish to wash.

Wash your sins away.  Worry no more.  Bathe in resources . . .
Lady Macbeth Not Alone in Her Quest for Spotlessness, By Benedict Carey. The New York Times. September 12, 2006
Washing Away Your Sins: Threatened Morality and Physical Cleansing, By Chen-Bo Zhong and Katie Liljenquist. Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science. September 8, 2006. Vol. 313. no. 5792, pp. 1451 – 1452
People Really Do Wash Away Sins, By Charles Q. Choi. LiveScience. September 7, 2006
Washing away your sins: the Macbeth effect, Erica Harrison. Cosmos Online. Friday, 8 September 2006
Washing Our Sins Away — Literally? By Siri Nilsson. ABC News. September 7, 2006
Holy Water. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. 2006
A Muslim’s Daily Life – Tahara (Cleanliness or Purification), By Dislam. Discover Islam. Sunday, February 5, 2006
Judaism. Wikipedia®
Ablution, By Bernard Drachman and Kaufmann Kohler. JewishEncyclopedia.com.
Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents. Adherents.com.
Hand-washing may help cleanse conscience as well. Boston Globe. September 11, 2006
Washing our hands of guilt, There’s more to cleansing ourselves than good hygiene, study suggests, By Eric Shackleton. The Canadian Press. Friday, September 08, 2006
How religion defines America, By Dr Richard Land. BBC News. Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Majority in U.S. believes in God, By Jennifer Harper. The Washington Times. December 25, 2005
Losing My Religion? No, Says Baylor Religion Survey, Baylor University. September 11, 2006
Why people lie ?” and how to tell if they are, Dr. Gail Saltz. MSNBC News. January 31, 2004
Infidelity, Adultery, Cheating, … Divorce Peers.
Summary of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, Department of Justice ?” Federal Bureau of Investigation.
War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, and Terrorism. Human Rights Library.

Crimes Against Persons Age 65 or Older, 1992-97 U.S. Department of Justice · Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Animal Abuse. Pet-Abuse.Com.

The World Can’t Wait, Activists Publishing in USA Today ©

We never know what might help in our campaign to regain America.  None of us can predict what might assist and what might hinder our efforts.  We can only choose to act on what we believe in.  Vocal activist may choose one path; the more quiet voices may state their support in other manners.  I offer an alert, a way in which you might contribute to the cause.

This method may not be your chosen means for expression; that is fine.  However, I think we agree, the World Cannot Wait!  Thus, I present a communiqué I received.  The organization, the World Can’t Wait is asking for your assistance.  You might donate to sponsor a USA Today information advertisement.  You might join a mass protest.  You might hold a fund-raising party.  The Bush Crimes Commission is about to release their findings; people may be motivated by this case.

There are many ways available to you.  Please choose your own.  This is just one possibility for re-claiming America.  You may have other ideas.  I only offer this for those that might find it interesting.

8 days to begin to change how the world sees us!

It’s 9-11, and what has been shoved into world news this week? U.S. torture camps, justified by the Bush regime, and about to be accepted by Congress. Do we want to be seen by the world as torturers?

George Bush goes to the United Nations on Tuesday, September 19 to announce “we’re doing this all over again” ?” this time in Iran. What is the world going to see that day? There is the possibility of something different beginning to show itself in this country?¦

On September 19, the World Can’t Wait will publish a full page ad in USA Today, the nation’s largest circulation daily, saying “Bring the Bush Crimes to a Halt!” and joining with the protests of Bush at the United Nations, and with people acting around the country on “Bush Crimes Day”. The ad will contain the Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime, announce mass protests on Thursday, October 5 to millions of people, and spread the spirit of “history will judge us sharply if we fail to act to stop this.”

No one is going to send this message to the world for us. WE must do it.

Debra Sweet

National Coordinator

The World Can’t Wait ?” Drive Out the Bush Regime

Be part of acting, wherever you are, by donating. $104,000 needed by Friday September 15. $500,000 by Thursday, September 21.

Forward this email to 10 of your friends with a personal note on why you are contributing.

Hold a fund-raising house party. Show a DVD of the Bush Crimes Commission hearings. Order here [janet@nion.us]

Do you have the resources to make or raise larger donations of money or stock? Contact World Can’t Wait Development Director Samantha Elena Goldman. [elena@worldcantwait.org]

1300+ organizers for regime change gathered last Thursday to plan October 5 protests in 50 cities.

24 days until October 5! Join in Innovative and Bold Outreach and Massive Fund-raising

Whether you choose to engage in this manner or not, please pursue peace in a manner that works well for you.  I thank you for seeking world tranquility.

Co-Czar Cheney Claims American People Pose Threat To War Effort ©

The war in Iraq is not the problem; the American people are.  Administrative policies are not to blame for the crisis in this war-torn nation.  Our only dilemma is public opinion.  These are the claims of Vice President Dick Cheney.  Co-Czar Cheney stated his judgment strongly during his Sunday, September 10, 2006 interview on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert.

This morning Cheney in a single hour continually reiterated his position.  He posed, as he initially had on June 22, 2006, “The American people do not have the stomach for this fight.”

Co-Collaborator Cheney went on to explain his case.  He professed; the American public and the media are erroneously connecting the dots.  The Bush Administration does not believe the September 11, 2001 attacks gave the United States reason to strike out against Iraq.  This protracted war is not a means of retaliation.  We, the Bush Bunch know that Saddam Hussein did not cause the Towers to fall.  The American people are making this mistaken claim.

The public is linking three distinct rationales.  They perceive these as one.  Americans need to understand this is a war on terror, not a war on Iraq.

Yes, Mr. Cheney, the citizens of this glorious country are possibly at fault.  After all, a majority re-elected this dire and dreadful Administration in 2004.

An apathetic or fatigued populace allowed the Supreme Court to select George W. Bush President in 2000.  Perhaps, Vice President Cheney you are correct.  The American people are to blame for the Iraqi war, not all of us, just a silent and submissive majority.

?¢ This treatise may be expanded once the transcripts are available.  Nevertheless, the reference and resource are provided.  Perhaps, at the time of your review, dear reader, the transcripts will appear.

The Transcript is Up . . .

VICE PRES. CHENEY: So you look at situation today in Afghanistan or even in Iraq, and you’ve got people who have doubts. They want to know whether or not if they stick their heads up, the United States, in fact, is going to be there to complete the mission. And those doubts are encouraged, obviously, when they see the kind of debate that we’ve had in the United States, suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists.

  . . . .

MR. RUSSERT: Then why, in the lead-up to the war, was there the constant linkage between Iraq and al-Qaeda?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: That’s a different issue. Now, there’s a question of whether or not al-Qaeda, or whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11. There’s a separate?”apart from that’s the issue of whether or not there was a historic relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The basis for that is probably best captured in George Tenet’s testimony before the Senate Intel Commission, an open session, where he said specifically that there was a pattern of relationship that went back at least a decade between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

MR. RUSSERT: But the president said they were working in concert, giving the strong suggestion to the American people that they were involved in September 11th.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. There are, there are two totally different propositions here, and people have consistently tried to confuse them. And it’s important, I think?”there’s a third proposition, as well, too, and that is Iraq’s traditional position as a strong sponsor of terror.

So you’ve got Iraq and 9/11, no evidence that there’s a connection. You’ve got Iraq and al-Qaeda, testimony from the director of CIA that there was indeed a relationship, Zarqawi in Baghdad, etc. Then the third…

MR. RUSSERT: The committee said that there was no relationship. In fact…

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I haven’t seen the report; I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but the fact is…

MR. RUSSERT: But Mr. Vice President, the bottom line is…

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We know, we know that Zarqawi, running a terrorist camp in Afghanistan prior to 9/11, after we went in to 9/11, then fled and went to Baghdad and set up operations in Baghdad in the spring of ??02 and was there from then, basically, until basically the time we launched into Iraq.

MR. RUSSERT: The bottom line is, the rationale given the American people was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and he could give those weapons of mass destruction to al-Qaeda and we could have another September 11. And now we read that there is no evidence, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, of that relationship. You’ve said there’s no involvement. The president says there’s no involvement.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No, Tim, no involvement in what respect?

MR. RUSSERT: In September 11, OK. The CIA said, leading up to the war, that the possibility of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction was “low.” It appears that there was a deliberate attempt made by the administration to link al-Qaeda in Iraq in the minds of the American people and use it as a rationale to go into Iraq.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Tim, I guess?”I don’t?”I’m not sure what part you don’t understand here.

The Cheney Case.  Calculate and Connect The Dots . . .

Sunday, September 10, 2006 – Dick Cheney, “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert. MSNBC News.
Cheney Defends Hardline White House Role, By Tom Raum. Forbes. September 10, 2006
Cheney, “The Stomach for this Fight.” Oh Really? Reality is Perception. © By Betsy L. Angert. Be-Think. June 22, 2006
Interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney, NBC, “Meet the Press,” Transcript for March 16, 2003. MSNBC News.
It’s ??War on Terror’ vs. ??War in Iraq’. Tim Russert on Politics.  MSNBC News.
2006 Meet the Press transcripts & resources. MSNBC News.
Bush Team Casts Foes as Defeatist, Blunt Rhetoric Signals a New Thrust. By Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei. Washington Post. Thursday, August 31, 2006

Civics. Activism. The Cure For Voter Apathy. ©

“Nothing will ever change; it never does” said the twenty-something, quiet, caring man.  Brian was resigned to the fact that elections did not matter.  Initially, when I asked if he had voted, he stated, “I missed my opportunity.”  I inquired, “Did you forget to register?”  Though I am new to this state I know in many regions there is a window of opportunity to register for the general election even if you did not do this in time to vote in the primaries.  I offered, “There may be time to register before the general election.” 

Many miss the primary ballot, it seems this is national tradition.

Turnout hasn’t cracked 40% in any state.  In most, primary participation was in the 20%-30% range.  Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia posted their lowest primary turnouts in at least eight years.


So far, the year’s rock-bottom has come in Virginia, which did not have a 2002 primary.  The June 13 Democratic Senate primary drew national attention and was open to all Virginians, regardless of their party.  Fewer than 4% of more than 4.5 million eligible voters showed up to nominate former Navy Secretary Jim Webb to face Senator George Allen in November.

There is no reason that Florida would be different.  Apparently, it is not.

Turnout in Florida primaries has declined since highs in the 1950s and 60s.  It was 29 percent in the 2002 gubernatorial primary that included former Attorney General Janet Reno, and 17 percent in the 1998 primary that Jeb Bush won on his way to becoming governor.

As of Wednesday, approximately one dozen precincts had yet to report their numbers.  Nevertheless, the outlook for voter turnout was grim.

Tuesday’s preliminary turnout of 15.5 percent was even lower than the 20 to 30 percent that was predicted.

Initially, as Brian spoke, I was hopeful, “missed opportunity” I could relate.  At the age of nineteen I was tired and feeling ill.  A special election was being held.  The only option on the ballot was the appointment of a School Board candidate.  I did not familiarize myself with the applicants, and therefore, I chose not to vote.  I have never forgiven myself.  I had not missed an election before; nor have I since.

I understand that my experience is obviously different than Brian’s; nevertheless, I understand regrets.  I was interested in learning of his.  I wanted to learn of Brian.  That was why I asked of his ballot initially.  However, I never expected what came next.

Brian declared, “I do not vote; my ballot would not count.”  I was startled.  For a moment, I was without words.  It was not that I had not heard these utterances before, I have.  However, I was so captivated by the phrase “missed opportunity.”  Not missing a beat, Brian quickly continued.  He said, “Voting is not a worthwhile pursuit.  I have other hobbies to occupy my time.”  Apparently, in America many do.  They have hobbies and beliefs that hamper their desire to vote.

A good friend of mine in California, a man in his fifties truly believes that if he registers to vote he will be called to jury duty.  Mike devours the newspaper daily; he discusses politics with ease.  He has definite opinions on polices and practices.  He is an extremely successful business owner.  Yet, he will not register or vote.  He does not want to be bothered by the legal system.  Mike feels the law badgers him enough.  Paying Workmen’s Compensation Insurance for him is more than enough government in his life.  He will participate no further.

Joe, a long-time acquaintance is a multi-millionaire.  He has much to gain or lose depending on who is in office.  Joe considers himself a historian.  Political parlays are his preference; he is adamant about his party affiliation.  Yet Joe does not vote.  To this day, I am unsure why.  I am as befuddled by all this  as I was when another associate, Suzanne, said to me, “I have no opinions.  I do not wish to engage in political dialogues.”

For Brian the perspective may differ, though the result is the same.  He and they do not vote.  Brian stated he has no interest in politics, civics, or government issues.  He believes “The few will always decide for the many.”  I spoke of this with him.  I stated my belief, officials are elected to represent their constituents.  I mentioned that those in government are not chosen to select for us; they are to act for us.  Thus, in my mind we need to elect a Senator, Congressperson, Governor, or President that will work for what we believe in. 

Nevertheless, Brian was committed to his resign.  I inquired, “Would you really want someone else to make decisions for you.”  Brian said, “That is fine, it happens all the time.”  I sighed and pondered further about voter apathy.

I walked on; I approached another young man, Eric.  This fellow is one I have learned to respect in the short time I have known him.  This fellow willingly and passionately pursues knowledge.  As I came upon him, he was, indeed studying.  Eric is enrolled in classes at the local college.  I was pleased to see him and certain, a man so aware and involved surely would vote, though he may not have done so yet.

The polls would be open for another five hours.  I queried joyfully.  “Did you vote yet?”  He replied quickly, saying,  “Today is Election Day?  I had no idea.”  I sighed.  We chatted.  Ultimately I was told, “Perhaps when I am a member of ARP [AARP, American Association of Retired Persons] I will think about voting.”

I wondered; am I experiencing the known historical fact, the youth of America do not vote or is apathy more pervasive than ever.  Experts say, in the 2000 election more than ten million persons between the ages of eighteen and twenty were eligible to vote only 3 million did. 

In an article, Survey: Young people losing trust in government, By Carl Weisner, Gannett News Service. USA Today it is noted,

Young Americans in the past two years have lost some of their trust in government, other people and their own ability to make a difference in their community, according to a poll out Thursday.  "While it’s not fair to say it’s a dark mood, there’s no question young people continue to have questions about the direction of the country and doubt whether there are good plans to solve our problems," Ed Goeas said.  The Republican pollster, along with Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, conducted the poll for two groups focused on civic engagement.

The poll of 1,000 Americans ages 15 to 25 found that those who say they trust the government to do the right thing a lot or some of the time fell from 62% in January 2002 to 50% in November 2003.

The conventional wisdom is, “They will vote later, generally, when they have kids in school and mortgages.”  Only then will issues that affect their daily lives seem more real to them.  Yet, what of Mike?  He is older, perhaps wiser; nevertheless, he still is not ready or willing to truly involve himself in the voting process.

Even when people are paying attention for a moment, many register to vote, then do make their way to the polls.  In 2004, there was an influx of registrations; young and old were represented.  However, ultimately, excluding the purposely, purged registration forms, countless new potential voters did not vote.

Beaten and battered, I walked on.  There was much to do in this day.  I went to Whole Foods to purchase a few products.  I tend to think of this store as an intellectual haven.  This particular Whole Foods market is across the street from a state University.  For that reason alone, I thought the employees and clientele might be more informed.  While in the bazaar I had another encounter.  I entered the customer service area.  I overheard what seemed a political discussion, though I only heard a sentence or two.  A young chap offered to ring up my purchases.  I chatted with this third fellow. 

I asked him of his voting experience.  He too was unaware of the campaigns, though signs flooded the streets right outside the store.  He had no knowledge of an election.  I marveled; do none of these people listen to the radio or watch television.  For weeks now the airwaves are flooded with political fervor.  I did not express this thought.  After a short exchange, this chap concluded perhaps there was a need to read periodicals and listen to the news more.

I resigned myself to a reality I have always been reluctant to accept.  Apathy is rampant in America.

I realize, in my own life, I was fortunate.  Personally, I became acquainted with the power of politics at the age of five.  My natural father was the quintessence Right-winged Reactionary Republican.  My Mom was very much a Democratic Socialist.  When I was a young child, the two were chatting about the upcoming election.  Suddenly, my Mom turned to my father and asserted her truest feelings.  The exchange became heated and for me, unforgettable.  It was passionate and I was captivated.  Since that day, politics and government held my attention.  In many homes, the topic is taboo.  Indifference is inbred.

In years past, my Mom and I discussed this issue.  We each wondered; why did people no longer vote.  Why were political talks prohibited?  Why was it that in her generation people seemed to care more?  Why are the aged more likely to vote?  Why is it that the elderly still treasure their right to participate?  My Mom and I had a theory; two things occurred after World War II.  Prosperity flourished among the masses, or more accurately, consumerism did.  With this novel occurrence came a change in school curriculums.  The idea of the individual getting ahead, regardless of his neighbor needs became more prominent.  Civics was and is no longer taught.

Generational replacement is part of the answer.  The civic-minded generation that was molded by the Depression and the Second World War has been gradually replaced by the more private-minded X and Y generations that lived through childhood and adolescence without experiencing a grave crisis that called them to action.  Today’s young adults are less politically interested and informed than any cohort of young people on record.  The voting rate of adults under age 30 was 50 percent in 1972.  It barely exceeded 30 percent in 2000.

In my own life, I studied the right and duties of citizens in my home.  The education I received was at the knees of my caretakers.  I feel this maybe true for many.  It may have been for Jimmy Carter.  Jimmy Carter grew up in a time and neighborhood where

the rigid code of segregation required the separation of the races in school, in church and other public places.  Carter’s mother, Lillian, flouted the custom by volunteering her services as midwife and health practitioner to her neighbors.

“Miss Lillian” as she was lovingly called, was far more liberal on social and racial issues.  She had a significant impact on the future President Carter and his social conscience.  In the spring of 1966, at the age of 68, mother Lillian joined the Peace Corps.  Carter became the son of one of the oldest mothers to join such an activist group.

Yes, often, we are more influenced by our families and friends than we are elsewhere.  For some, the greatest education occurs in homes.  If parents are not actively pursuing erudition, if they are not participating in the practical nuances life offers, their progeny are less likely to do so.  Schools can be the saving grace for many youth.  However, if school does not teach civics, if active involvement is not encouraged for more than a mandatory grade, I think society suffers.

Auspiciously for me, when I was very young, about three years after the now famous family political “debate,” my Mom left my natural father.  She remarried and chose to be with a man that shared her philosophical leanings.  The two were very active in community affairs.  When dialoguing or doing deeds that might effectuate societal change, they included me.  Thus, my interest in the greater good of civilization grew and grew.

While in middle school, I marched in my first civil rights march with my family.  When in high school, I rarely did as my peers did.  I was excited by other prospects.  The activist pursuits of my parents were more intriguing to me.  Athletics, dances, drugs, and driving were for me a distraction from what really mattered.  As Nine Inch Nails sings, I wanted to know everything, I wanted to be everywhere.  I wanted  and want to do something that matters.  I trust that these social events matter for many.  Nevertheless, to choose this as a priority to the exclusion of all others baffles me.

When I was seventeen and moved away from home, I immediately registered to vote.  I could hardly wait to contribute to this country.  I wanted to have the power to choose who would represent me.  I looked forward to researching why I might choose one candidate over another.  I anticipated joining in political campaigns.  All of which, I have done.

Ironically, because of my activism and my pattern of protesting against American policies, over the years, many questioned my commitment to this country; however, I never have.  I love America.  That is why I diligently work to improve it.  Yet, sadly, so few do.

However, there are those that do.  They too remember when they first made a difference.  Once experienced they are energized and a pattern begins.

Shawna Sullivan, A&S ’06, can still pinpoint the day she became involved in politics.  Three years ago, a referendum on a proposed new high school in her hometown of North Andover, Massachusetts faced vocal opposition from town watchdog groups.  By coordinating a voter registration drive for her high school classmates, Sullivan and a handful of classmates added 150 new voters to the rolls and helped sway the vote back in favor of the plan.  "Now my little brother and sister can enjoy a brand new school I never got," she said.

"Our age group is viewed as disengaged, not caring, and apathetic – you have the opportunity to change that.  You have the opportunity to make a difference," said Sabia to a group of high school seniors at Boston College High.

Those that experienced making a difference at an early age reach out to others in hopes of originating change.  I only wish that we as a society would work to offer opportunities to all.  I crave a community where civics, the study of rights and duties for all citizens, is not a course, one far too often omitted from the curriculum, but instead is a way of life!

I invite you to share your experience, background, and thoughts.  Where when, and how did you learn about the your rights, privileges, and duties as a citizen?  Did this knowledge influence your life?

Are You Now Feeling Apathetic or Aroused.  If Resources Interest you . . .

Fewer primary voters ‘define the range of choices’. By Kathy Kiely, USA Today. July 16, 2006
Voters head to the polls, dodging downpours By Linda Topping Streitfeld. Miami Herald. September 5, 2006
Experts: Primaries run smoothly, thanks in part to low turnout, By Laura Wides-Munoz. Associated Press. Mercury News. September 6, 2006
Voter Turnout. State of Florida.
The American Voter By Lory Hough. Harvard University Bulletin. Spring 2000
National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960?”2004. Information Please.
Growing number of voters ignore primary elections, By Kathy Kiely. USA Today. Updated July 17, 2006
Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division.
Experts Debate Impact of Election Day Abstainers, By Linda Wertheimer. All Things Considered. National Public Radio. November 5, 2003
Survey: Young people losing trust in government, By Carl Weisner, Gannett News Service. USA Today
Political apathy of youth becoming too typical,By Natalie Gerke. Truman State University Index. October 2, 2003
PDF By Natalie Gerke. Truman State University Index. October 2, 2003
Carter, James Earl, Jr. Scholastic Library Publishing.
Disappearing Act: The downturn in voting continues despite a patriotic fever after 9/11, and much more than citizen apathy is to blame.  By Thomas E. Patterson. Reprinted from the Boston Globe. August 25, 2002
Where Have All the Voters Gone? By Thomas E. Patterson. History News Network.
Why Some People Do Not Vote, By Lance Winslow. EzineArticles.
Jury Duty and Your Voter Registration. Orange County Online.
Obtaining the Consent of the Governed, By Mark Thoma. Economist’s View. June 21, 2006
A promising blueprint, By Harlan Ullman. The Washington Times. June 21, 2006
Book Looks at Roots of Voter Apathy, By Scott Simon. Weekend Edition. Saturday, November 2, 2002
Experts Debate Impact of Election Day Abstainers, By Linda Wertheimer.  All Things Considered, November 5, 2003
Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004. U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration.
Youth voting. The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Bart Maves Interview, By Tom McKenzie. Ambassador Index.
Jimmy Carter Biography Academy of Achievement.
Group fights youth apathy, Project Open the Door 2004. By: Jan Wolfe. The Heights, Incorporated. October 21, 2004

Barbara Bush. Houston Residents. “Send [Katrina] Refugees Back”

copyright © 2006 Betsy L. Angert

The traditional, elegant pearls graced her soft white skin.  They hung comfortably around her neck.  Her simmering silver-gray hair was perfectly coiffed.  She spoke with the dignity and the wisdom of a grandmother.  Her words were harsh, though understandably so.  She and the rest of this country were overwhelmed as they reflected on hurricane Katrina and the community it devastated.  This was perhaps, the nations largest natural disaster.

Everyone was tense; however, few were given the opportunity to talk publicly.  Yet, she was.  The former First Lady Barbara Bush had the ear of Nation Public Radio, Marketplace listeners.

Mrs. Bush stated, “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas.  Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.  And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this is working very well for them.”  At the time she spoke, in September 2005, the nation was uncertain of how to react to her words.

Was her comment a flippant slip of the tongue?  Did it demonstrate the difference between the classes and the masses?  What were we to make of this terse judgment?  One year later, we know.  Mrs. Bush was speaking for her fellow citizens; they want the Katrina evacuees to go home!

Only days after the anniversary of Katrina, on August 30, 2006

More than 1,700 residents gathered in west Houston Wednesday night to blame evacuees for violent crime rates that have increased almost 14 percent in one district and homicides that have nearly doubled in another.

The poor relations had worn out their welcome.  They are unclean, unfit, and are clearly criminals.  These poverty-stricken folks were well hidden in Louisiana and Mississippi, before the storm devastated their homes.  However, now they are out and about; they are walking freely among the wealthy, white Texans.  This will not do!

It cannot be; it cannot continue.  Compassionate conservatism is nice.  As a slogan, the phrase connects “us” with those of lesser means, those whose votes we need in order to stay in power.  However, when destitute drifters enter our real lives, when they live among us and soil our sanctity, it is time to pull the reins in, or so say the genteel citizens of Houston.

In a town hall meeting, Mayor Bill White was empathically instructed to send the “refugees back to New Orleans.”  The outraged citizens said,

In District 19, patrolled by the Houston Police Department’s Westside division; violent crimes are up 13.6 percent over the same period last year.  In District 20, homicides jumped from five to 11 over the same 7 1/2 month period from a year ago.

Enough is enough.  He was told definitively, “These people” have no respect for those that have given them so much.  They have to leave.  Cast them to the wind or send them all back to their homeland.  Humm, I wonder; where that might be, or where do the white residents of Houston think it is.  Do the poor whites need to return to England or Ireland and the Black Americans to Africa, even though their families have been in this country for centuries?  My mind turns.

The Mayor stood stoic and remained humble before the vocal crowd.  Mayor White was well aware of the numbers and the circumstances.  He understood that

As many as 120,000 evacuees remain in Houston since the city welcomed at least 250,000 after Katrina swamped New Orleans last year.  Katrina evacuees are suspects or victims in 59 of Houston’s 262 homicides between January 1, 2006 and August 26, 2006.  Those crimes account for all of the increases in homicides over the same period in 2005.

Considering the evacuees added approximately ten percent to the population of Houston, the Mayor knew this rise in crime was not unreasonable.

Mayor Bill White and Police Chief Harold L. Hurtt are aware of what is occurring.  The officials have taken measures to alleviate the problem.  However, an impatient and xenophobic populace is not gratified.

Upon realizing the reality of the current circumstances, the Mayor and the Police Chief reached out and sought federal assistance.

An increase in violent crime since September 1 and a spate of homicides over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend involving Katrina evacuees have elicited urgent pleas from Mayor Bill White and Police Chief Harold L. Hurtt to the federal government to help pay the cost of providing increased security and to hire more officers.  Hurtt is taking the request to Washington next week as part of a meeting of police chiefs.  White is also in negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Both officials are careful not to blame Houston’s recent rise in violent crime solely on Katrina evacuees, saying such statistics were rising last year before the hurricane.  They point to what they call the majority of law-abiding Louisianans now living in the city and say the crime rate per thousand for the evacuee population is not greater than it was among Houstonians before the influx of Katrina survivors.

But the issue facing the city, officials said, is that Houston’s 2 million population grew by about 10 percent virtually overnight, straining all key city services such as schools, hospitals, emergency services and, particularly, public safety.  The addition of the evacuee population has dropped the ratio of police officers per thousand Houstonians to 1.9, compared with 2.3 before Katrina and with the national average of 2.8.

Additionally, as we assess the “facts” presented by the volatile Houston public we might note that they perceive crime as crime.  They offer no numbers to help us determine how many of the Katrina evacuees are victims and how many are suspects.  These angry residents must know that only late this month, Two Houston Residents [were] Charged with Filing Multiple False Claims for FEMA Assistance.

Dear reader, I inquire how many more Houston inhabitants are profiting on the backs of former Louisianan residents?  Will the truth be told by those focused on finding the victims of Katrina at fault.  the Mayor, the Police Chief, and I wonder as we attempt to provide perspective.

After being bombarded by accusations and anecdotal accounts, the humble Mayor attempted to lessen the outrage.  He spoke highly of his Houston constituents.  Mayor White suggested the complaints are “a result of the fact that we have had some gangs and violent crime.”  White continued, “In Houston, generally, we are not very tolerant of the small minority of people who came here from the New Orleans area who are able-bodied and haven’t found a job yet.”

The Houston administrator declared ??There’s a plan in place for those who break the law, and another plan for those evacuees who want to remain in Houston as law-abiding citizens.’  White said, “If people want do so something unlawful, then we need to catch them, try them, convict them and lock them up.”  The first officer knows, the law is the law and Houston is no place for those that to not honor the law.

However, after issuing this stern warning the Mayor revealed his own form of Southern hospitality.  He stated, “If they’re [victims of Katrina] just trying to get on with their lives, then we ought to respect our fellow Americans, and there’s not much of a home to go to.”  In truth there never was.  Barbara Bush was “right.”  Those left homeless by the ravages of Katrina were “underprivileged” before the storm.  They lived in substandard houses.  They were employed in menial service jobs, if working at all.  Still, they were and are Americans.

When Barbara and her neighbors say, “go home,” they exemplify the sad fact that too often we do not want to know the reality of the poor.  We do not want constant reminders in our midst.  We actually prefer not to see, hear, or experience what bothers us, or reminds us of our own frailty and failings.  When we perceive a “problem,” we blame everyone but ourselves!  I find this fascinating and futile!  How will we ever help others or ourselves if we avoid what disturbs us.

Please Ponder the World of Barbara Bush, Houston Residents, and Katrina Evacuees . . .

  • Houston, we may have a problem.  Marketplace. American Public Media. Monday, September 05, 2005
  • Barbara Bush Calls Evacuees Better Off. New York Times. September 07, 2005
  • Houston residents want Katrina evacuees sent back to N.O. Associated Press. WWLTV.com Thursday, August 31, 2006
  • Residents urge White to send evacuees home, By Anne Marie Kilday. Houston Chronicle. August 31, 2006
  • Katrina’s Latest Damage, By Arian Campo-Flores. Newsweek. March 13, 2006
  • PDF Katrina’s Latest Damage, By Arian Campo-Flores. Newsweek. March 13, 2006
  • Two Houston Residents Charged with Filing Multiple False Claims for FEMA Assistance, U.S. Newswire. August 21, 2006
  • After Welcoming Evacuees, Houston Handles Spike inCrime, Population Swell Fills Apartments and Strains Police Force. By Sylvia Moreno. Washington Post. Monday, February 6, 2006
  • Influx of Katrina Evacuees Strains Houston Police. All Things Considered. December 27, 2005
  • Some of the Uprooted Won’t Go Home Again, By Richard Morin and Lisa Rein. Washington Post. Friday, September 16, 2005
  • Evacuees say blame for crime is not fair,By David Ellison. Houston Chronicle. September 1, 2006
  • Barbara Bush: Things Working Out ‘Very Well’ for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans,By Editor and Publisher. September 05, 2005
  • Houston grows weary of Katrina evacuees: poll. Boston.com News. March 24, 2006
  • Bush To Iran. “Do What I Say; Not What I Do!” ©

    I am the least or perhaps among the most qualified to speak on America’s nuclear weapons policy.  It is not that I have much information.  Facts and figures are not flowing from my fingertips.  I am admittedly naïve and proud of it.  World harmony is the melody I hum.  I never thought that war was an option.  For me, battles are not the first or last resort.  I am against all aggressions, nuclear or otherwise.

    I am a peaceful person in my proclamations; I prefer gentle, caring philosophies and practices.  I denounce the use of artillery.  I want no armaments or ammunition.  I see no reason for manufacturing these.  Yet, we do.  Americans produce more powerful arsenals than all other countries.  We do this as we denounce other countries for even considering the same, though some of us do not want it done it in our name.  For the United States, for this Administration, war is often the  preferred policy.  We prepare for it and work to ensure that others will not.

    In this writing, I invite you, dear reader to ponder our posture towards Iran.  Then, extrapolate; expand your evaluation.  Reflect on our directives towards North Korea, South Africa, India, Israel, the United Kingdom,and the United States!  You choose.  There are many countries, contemplate them all.

    I offer; we as Americans are a nation of hypocrites.  Many define the US as a force to contend with; others claim it is only a farce.  A country consumed with nuclear weapons for itself, believes it has the “right” to demand that all other nations quash their plans for similar.  When they do not, our leaders declare these nation states “defiant,” nay “rogue” countries.

    Speaking at the American Legion national convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, our Commander and Chief said, the United States hopes for a diplomatic solution.  However, the “decider” insisted,  “it is time for Iran to make a choice.”  The bully man more than once uttered the famous phrase, “You are either with us or against us,” boldly bellowed, in our name “There must be consequences for Iran’s defiance.”  President Bush said, “We must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.”

    He loudly offered this proclamation because he could.  The audience, for the most part, was sympathetic.  Many members of the American Legion, as well as numerous citizens consider the USA the one and only the super power.  They support the belief; America must spread democracy.  Our principled philosophy and we must be the dominant influence worldwide.  They think themselves and our country superior in nature.  There is a holier than thou mentality that seems pervasive.  In the United States, this mostly religious republic, a majority of the public seem to believe we have the “right” to dictate to other nation states, “Do as I say, not as I do!”

    Currently, the President of the United States and his diplomatic forces are again insistent Iran suspend all research and development that relates to nuclear power.  It is too clear to US; Iran might use this technology against its enemies, Israel and the United States among them.  Imagine that, Iran might perceive the dictatorial nation of America a foe.  President Bush sounds friendly to me.

    Whether enriched uranium is to be used for practical or political means, according to America, Iran must not produce it, or so says our noble statesmen.

    Yet, we, in this country do not cease production.  We can and will manufacture the same.  We willingly proclaim that our purpose is to build warheads.  After all, we must be prepared to attack or defend.

    The United States knowingly pours more and more money into our nuclear programs.  We do this as we tell North Korea, Iran, and others that they may not.  I sigh, deeply.

    I could continue composing this exposé.  I might cite chapter and verse in my attempt to speak of this silliness.  However, I think it best that I offer this chart.  I believe that it speaks volumes and makes my case better than I might.

    The question weighing on my mind is how many times and how many ways must we destroy the world, all in the name of peace.

    For original documentation, please refer to Wikipedia, “List of countries with nuclear weapons.”

    *All numbers are estimates from the Natural Resources Defense Council, published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, unless other references are given.  If differences between active and total stockpile are known, they are given as two figures separated by a forward slash. If no specifics are known, only one figure is given. Stockpile number may not contain all intact warheads if a substantial amount of warheads are scheduled for but have not yet gone through dismantlement; not all “active” warheads are deployed at any given time.  When a spread of weapons is given (e.g., 0-10), it generally indicates that the estimate is being made on the amount of fissile material, which has likely been produced, and the amount of fissile material needed per warhead depends on estimates of a country’s proficiency at nuclear weapon design.

    • Please read an excellent exposé by Maryscott O’Connor of My Left Wing fame.  I read Do As I Say, Not As I Do  months ago.  It resonated with me then, now, and even after all weapons are eliminated, I am certain that her words will remain with me.
    Protect and Defend Us.  Weapons and Words . . .

    Bush to Renew Defense of War Strategy, By Nedra Pickler. Associated Press. Salon. August 31,2006
    The Iran Plans, Seymour Hersh. The New Yorker.  April 8, 2006
    Bush Speaks at American Legion Convention, CQ Transcripts Wire. Washington Post. Thursday, August 31, 2006
    Bush warns Tehran anew on nuclear weapons program, By Anne Gearan. Associated Press. SignOnSandiego.com. August 31, 2006
    The American Legion
    Nuclear Weapons, Waste & Energy.  Natural Resources Defense Council
    Archive of Nuclear Data. Natural Resources Defense Council
    North Korea’s nuclear program, 2005, By Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen. May/June 2005.  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
    South Africa: Uranium Enrichment, Business Day (Johannesburg). Editorial. AllAfrica Global Media. August 29, 2006
    Nuclear Power in India and Pakistan. World Nuclear Association.
    Britain’s nuclear arms run down, BBC News Monday, 29 November, 1999
    Britain’s Nuclear Weapons. Nuclear Weapon Archive. May 14, 2002
    50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons. The Brookings Institution.
    U.S. built major Iranian nuclear facility, By Sam Roe. Sun-Sentinel. August 23 2006
    PDF. U.S. built major Iranian nuclear facility, By Sam Roe. Sun-Sentinel. August 23 2006
    Global Security Nuclear Weapons. Union of Concerned Scientists. March 22, 2006
    “List of countries with nuclear weapons.” Wikipedia.