by Diane V. McLoughlin, writer, peace activist
- main website mcloughlinpost.com
Although I am an agnostic, and consider myself to be an independent politically, one of the many newsletters I subscribe to is Chuck Baldwin's. Baldwin is an American politician. He ran for President under the Constitution Party banner in 2008. He is also founder-pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida (Wikipedia.)
On some things Mr. Baldwin and I agree. This is very interesting to me. For example, we both support the repeal of the Patriot Act.
But there are areas where we differ. I respectfully wish to address in particular the importance of political compromise, and, specifically, for perhaps surprising reasons, on the issue of universal health care.
I feel it is imminently worthwhile to engage. The Constitution Party opposes not only the Iraq war, but any war that is not officially declared by Congress, and any war that is not necessary for America's defense.
Mr. Baldwin writes that patriots:
Are 'strong proponents of the principles contained in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. [Me: check.]
'You also readily acknowledge that our rights come from God, not government.' [I believe rights do not come from government; they are natural rights that are an intrinsically inherent aspect of the nature of Man, whether you believe in God or not.]
That patriots, 'believe in a limited federal government and would never aid and abet the burgeoning surveillance state that both the federal and some State and local governments are creating, meaning you would never allow your business to be used by the government to trample the personal and privacy rights of citizens. In other words, you oppose the so-called USA Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and any other act that abridges protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.' [double, triple check.]
Further, 'you are neither a neocon nor a liberal [check.]
'In other words, you support the principles of limited government; [me: honest, effective government];
'do not believe America should fight preemptive, undeclared wars; [CHECK!];
'oppose Obamacare (socialized medicine); ['Obamacare' is too flawed; hobbled by private, for-profit interests];
'resent the growing police state; [check];
'and refuse to vote for "the lesser of two evils" for the sake of party partisanship. [This is the coming-together problem, right here.]
The Constitution Party is anti-abortion [gray areas for me];
Anti-illegal immigration [squeamy on this. Reluctantly, the law is the law. Some hospitals and school districts are drowning in red ink because of illegals who don't pay taxes but eat up public services.]
They are pro right-to-bear-arms (and believe a patriot business owner would therefore, for example, 'never prevent lawfully armed citizens from entering your establishment.' [Yikes! For your interest, there is something like a hundred to one difference in gun mortality rates between the U.S. and gun-controlled Canada.]
The big shapes: I feel that the initiative is slipping away and time is running out. What is most important is two-fold: fostering peace and protecting constitutional rights - for all the world's citizens.
The Achilles Heel holding all of us back is our unwillingness to compromise even a little bit to get the job done. The malevolent exaggeration of differences between Americans should cease. This is no esoteric exercise in argument. People's lives are being destroyed - ours and our neighbors: American, Palestinian, Israeli, Pakistani, Iraqi, Afghani...
Which brings me to a point of compromise for the Constitution Party to consider:
'...the suicide rate for soldiers who first entered the Army in their late 20s was three times higher than for those in the younger group.
'General Chiarelli said he did not want to typecast, “but I think it’s fair to say in some instances it would be a soldier that’s possibly married, couple of kids, lost his job, no health care insurance, possibly a single parent.” Such a soldier, General Chiarelli said, “is coming in the Army to start all over again, and we see this high rate of suicide.” [From: 'Pentagon Report Places Blame for Suicides'; Elizabeth Bumiller; NYT; July 29, 2010.]
The above statistic is shocking. In order for men and women to provide for their families, they are enlisting in the government's wars to kill overseas so that their children don't starve or die for lack of jobs and accessible health care at home.
The Constitution Party does not believe in no government; it believes in limited government. As surely as a well-paved, publicly-paid-for road gets us safely from A to B, the issue of universal health care is a matter of conscience that no one of any religious creed or political persuasion would deny their neighbor.
Now, it would appear that in its denial to American families, lack of healthcare plays its part in the war machine's inexorable roll to universal destruction.