Tag Archives: healthcare

Elections, the GOP and more craziness!

Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. : Photo by Ashleighb77

November 6th has come and gone with another Presidential Election behind us!

Wait! Not so fast! We did have an election and Barack Obama was elected to another term in office as President of the U.S.

However, votes are still being counted… Yes, I know we are over 10 days beyond the election so how could that still be going on?

Well, even as Mitt Romney was making his concession speech and President Obama was making his victory speech, people were still waiting in line to vote. Yes, that is true. In South Florida, many people were in line until 1:00 AM. But, they stayed and voted so their voices would be heard.

Why? Voting is their right. People know their vote matters and nothing or nobody will detour them from their vote being counted, at some point… hopefully.

Every election the message gets pushed about the importance of registering to vote, getting out to vote, having your voice heard, etc. But, more and more, it is becoming a divided message.

Plain and simple, who you’re voting for, possibly could determine how much your vote may be sought after or “blocked”.

Laws to protect voters from simply being turned away at the polls on Election Day, based on who you are voting for, but the GOP is working tirelessly on passing new laws to put strains on selected groups depending on different demographics.

As much as one may think law and order is here to protect our nation, preserve our rights and honor our freedoms, that is something that is not only questioned but questionable.

Watch this clip from HBO’s “The Newsroom” to see their look at a very real issue that is only growing worse with each election cycle and is an enormous part of why “Washington” seems to be so bogged down and unable to get anything substantial moved through in a reasonable (if any) amount of time.

“THE NEWSROOM”

Do you think they have some valid points in the segment?  What?

First, the voting fraud issue. The New York Times identified out of 120 voter fraud cases filed by the Department of Justice in five years, only 86 resulted in convictions. In the 2008 elections, between 126.5 million and 128.5 million Americans cast ballots, according to a report by the electorate study center. Compare the numbers.

Rick Hasen, UCI Professor of Law and Expert on Election Law said, “When you do see election fraud, it invariably involves election officials taking steps to change election results or it involves absentee ballots which voter ID laws can’t prevent.

Does that mean there are absolutely no instances of voter fraud that could be caught by enacting voter ID laws? No, that isn’t what I am saying. I don’t think anyone would make that point because it would just be inaccurate.  So, why all the hype?

Well, let’s look at the big picture for a moment.

You have a group of GOP leaders in Washington that have made pledges all over the place. Their biggest job in Washington had nothing to do with the people who elected them but everything to do with some promises, pledges and their possibilities for re-election. Period.

In 2010, the Tea Party took them on and made deals with them. They campaigned to get them into Washington as long as they played by the Tea Party rules. Make President Obama a one-term President, get the government out of our lives, never raise taxes and we will get you re-elected.

It is pretty difficult to go discuss things in Washington and make decisions when your mind is made up for you without having heard both sides of what is actually going on but that is what happened and they willingly signed on the line to get re-elected or elected into Washington.

What was the pledge? It was the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” from Grover Norquist. Two people on the list are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. You can see everyone by visiting the link.

The problem with this pledge is it includes and excludes too much to be anything close to reasonable. By signing the pledge, it shows an unwillingness to work together, discuss the issues of a very diverse nation or the ability and desire to compromise and/or find solutions.

It is a simple pledge.

The house and senate members basically say this by signing;

ONE – oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses, and

TWO- oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates

The governor says this by signing;

I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.

The state legislator says this by signing;                      

I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.

 

 

How crazy is that!

These people’s decisions would and have been affecting people and our entire nation now and for a very long time. Signing short, little summed up pledges with the words, “any”, “all”, “oppose”, “veto” and the rest of the neatly and all-restrictive wording tucked in the little Norquist pledges are unacceptable.

This isn’t new information. This has been known and even so these people have been holding things up with no viable reasoning other than they have Norquist to answer to, voters are still electing them…

As it stands right now, our leaders (I hate to use that word when I am talking about these that sign these pledges) are about to go into their “Lame Duck Session” and try to figure out how to avoid a fiscal debt crisis. How can this be accomplished when all of these who have signed pledges are basically blocked from any type of reasonable negotiations? I mean why are they in there? Why not just send in Grover Norquist? They are basically representing him, right? How do these people get re-elected?

Maybe, some voters need more convincing than others to show them their Party of choice is a complete train wreck at the moment. And, we do have more elections coming up in 2014.

As much as the GOP would like everyone to believe the Democrats, the Liberals or whatever term is being used are trying to take over healthcare, the Internet, the school system or whatever else HASN’T been taken over like it was predicted to be in 2008, let’s focus on what the GOP has been dedicated on changing, pushing through and making into laws.

This is from the same party that says the government should be out of people’s business but somehow want to be a big part of women’s lives when it comes to health care, birth control, unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

This is the same party that can tell a woman if she has been “legitimately raped” or whether her life is really in danger enough for a pregnancy to be terminated to save her life. Yes, they are suddenly ready to jump in the middle of lives there.

These are not doctors or families here. These are just elected officials who are supposed to be doing their job in Washington, not holding someone’s hand at the visit with the OBGYN or at the ER after a rape.

But, are you confused here? I’m not but I will go on.

If they are really so concerned about these unborn lives as they say, then why are they not just as concerned when they are born? Why are they not concerned when they are 2, 5, 10 or getting older? You see they oppose funding healthcare programs, early education programs, free lunch initiatives, student aid and many other things that help along life’s way. They oppose any gun legislation that would limit “the capacity of clips or magazines”. Are they for or against life? Their choices and stance on many issues do not make sense with their stance on others. If they want to protect life, why don’t they believe in helping in assisting those who require assistance and protecting the American people from gun violence? It is one thing to have a weapon to protect yourself. It is another thing to have a weapon that causes massive tragedy in seconds.

Many can say laws of these types or programs for assistance are unnecessary for everyone. How does anyone know? How does anyone know what tomorrow may bring?

A person, or unborn person, can’t decide who or where they are born. Nobody knows what life may bring their way. The fact is everyone deserves opportunity so if this “unborn person” doesn’t end up in a successful, well off family, living in a good area near good schools with access to good healthcare coverage and college, then the care needs to continue past the campaign slogan and stump speeches.

A person watching a movie in a theater, visiting a congresswoman or attending classes at college shouldn’t run the risk of being gunned down in a senseless and often preventable act of violence.

A Party can’t say one thing and live another thing. A Party can’t stand up for what they believe when all they believe in is winning votes.

That is why Mitt Romney didn’t win. It isn’t because Obama bought votes or Americans are looking through “rose-colored glasses” or anything like that. The fact is Mitt Romney was saying whatever it took to get votes from the people he was speaking to on that given day, in that particular location. Different days, different promises, different Mitt. That isn’t compromise or a change of heart.  Those are lies. That much flip-flopping is straight up lying.

It was sad, really.

Mitt Romney was like a GOP experiment to see it just isn’t going to work anymore. Americans aren’t going to buy the promises and lies.

He did get a large amount of votes though. I am not convinced in the least those votes were all for Mitt Romney, not even half. Many of those votes were against Barack Obama. If that was on the ballot ( _ Against Obama), that would have been checked.

Voters need to understand they elect these people into Washington that are keeping things so out of balance. Signing outside pledges is not a way to represent the American people.  That is self-gratification.

Signing pledges is a campaign slogan. Saving unborn babies and turning on them after birth is a campaign slogan. Having smear and fear campaigns are nothing but showing the Party has nothing to promote with their own Nominee or with their own Party. The time for slogans, bickering and pointing fingers as to why Romney lost is over.

Americans voted. We voted our President back and we want action in Washington.

Everyone has slogans. Ours won this time. #Obama2012 #VoiceForChoice #Obamacare

America is strongest as a nation. Stand together to keep it united. Division is never the answer. 

Let Washington be the example.

Votes for change, again

In 2008, the majority of voters made it clear they wanted change. In 2010, the majority of voters made it clear during mid-term elections, they wanted change, again.

The argument can go back and forth whether voters wanted to get rid of Democrats or welcome Republicans but one thing is for sure, things were not okay with voters the way they were going.

When a job is going well, many are willing to stand with their team and take credit but when uncertainties arise and plans either drag out or changes need to be made either to existing programs or benefits in order to set a long term goal or a fix for a broken system, people start backing down, changing sides or turning away, unwilling to have their name attached to an uncertainty.

Many times, this could be understandable or even a reasonable move, but in Washington, when it comes to an elected official whose job is to make tough decisions, many times with uncertain outcomes or no immediate gratification, this can be looked at as running away from responsibility.

An elected official’s job consist of making long lasting decisions on laws, taxes, wars, healthcare, education, immigration, national security and anything that may be put on the table at any time and has to be ready to stay with a task, see it through, until it is resolved whether that means long discussions, comparisons of ideas, hearing out conflicts and finding either a new approach or compromise to resolve the differences and therefore bring a conclusion to the job that was presented. There are no promises of easy answers, but coming out with the excuse no answer can be found is not acceptable.

To be a good representative of the American people, an elected official comes down to having the desire to do the job one was elected for. They can’t hide behind their party, their values, their religion or their future ambitions. Who they are, and what they stand for is what should have brought them to run for office and get elected in the first place, and was part of their character before they were elected. It’s not something used to stall votes, hinder discussions and therefore tie down the ability for America to move forward, holding back Americans from having the ability to see the necessary solutions to the problems facing America.

With these mid-term elections of 2010 behind Americans and changes coming to Washington, let the voices of the Americans be heard. Although there have been many different sides and views to the elections, the overwhelming sentiment is voters are seeking change. The change voters are seeking is in actions more than words, in the behaviors more than the people and in the nation, a country that so desperately needs to be repaired in more ways than many in Washington have been focused on.

Inspired or Angered?

Inspiration:

*In 2007, Gary Oppenheimer ended up with leftovers from his garden that his family could not use. In trying to find a way to put his fresh produce to use, he came upon an idea that has since really caught on and is not only helping him use his excess surplus but is also helping others in need to eat and stay healthy and has given gardeners across the nation a way to get involved and help save lives. His idea grew into AmpleHarvest.org. The free online resource enables food pantries to register and be listed in a central nationwide directory, and makes it possible for American gardeners to easily find the local pantries where they can donate extra produce.

*HelpOthers.org is just an amazing source of ways to reach out to anyone. If you have someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time and aren’t sure how to make that connection again, visit this site. If you want to do something nice for someone and aren’t sure what to do, go by this site. They have a lot of good “random acts of kindness ideas.” They also have something called, “Smile Cards”. They are cards you can either print up yourself or they will mail them to you, FREE!! Yep, totally FREE!! How kind is that?? You can donate if you can or want to but other people donate to keep this service going. The idea is though that you will mail out these cute little smiley cards to cheer up someone’s day. And, let me tell you, cards do cheer up someone’s day. Having a daughter that has spent month after month straight in the hospital, cards are great! But, also think about the fact that now-a-days the only thing most people still get in their mail box is bills or junk mail. When is the last time you sat down and wrote a nice little note to someone and stuck a stamp on it? Yeh, stamps? Texts and emails are nice but a note or letter in the mail? Wow! But, drop by this site, there are a lot of great ideas and even stories on there.

*Out of personal experience and having lived in the “world of cancer” for so long now I can tell you that being around cancer patients and kids fighting cancer, I am surrounded by inspiration. I find it very difficult to complain about a headache or a bad day since I have been introduced to people that daily fight for their lives while being inflicted with so much pain and sickness. Do you know what I noticed right away on the oncology floor that I would have never imagined to have seen? I noticed a lot of smiles, lots of smiles. I am not sure if they were always there, if people were just always smiling and I didn’t notice it or if it was the fact that the people fighting hardest for their lives found more of reason to smile through each day they were living. I think it is the second point. I think they found more of a reason to smile. I will never forget when I noticed those smiles. Ever. They inspired me to notice that each day is different and each day is a gift. They inspired me to realize even more that none of us are promised the next day, the next hour or even our next minute. Life is a gift.

*In a previous article on my blog, “21 Days Makes a Habit”  I spoke about the Pay It Forward Foundation.  . The idea of “Pay it Forward” was brought out very clearly after a movie was released in 2000 based on the novel. In the movie, an 11 year old boy, Trevor is doing a project for his science class. Trevor calls his plan “pay it forward”, which can be described as a charitable pyramid scheme, based on good deeds rather than profit. “Paying it forward” means the recipient of a favor does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back. His plan not only caught on but it caught on BIG! This 11 year old inspired a movement and people really felt so eager to do something for others. They not only did something but they did so with a happy heart and in many cases, their heart had been closed or had been just going from day to day not really feeling much of anything.

*Do you think the above people are still doing what they started doing in the links mentioned above? I mean once someone gets inspired to get involved like Gary Oppenheimer with his garden helping others or people that go by helpothers.org once, do you think they will go by a second time. Well, the people that started that site were inspired enough to start it and the people that donate to keep the cards free obviously have been inspired enough to get involved to help with that part of the service as well. I know we have been so inspired by our daughter’s fight for life and others’ fight for life as well as how different organizations such as BeTheMatch.org, Florida Blood Services, and so many others that we wanted to do our part to further help educating others on the need for marrow donors and blood product donation as well as helping families going through transplant so we started our own foundation, the Katia Solomon Foundation back in 2003. Inspiration tends to continue on a daily basis because it not only touches your life, it touches your heart. It has somehow changed your life and maybe given you purpose.

So, what else moves people to get up and do something? There are a lot of times people get angry over something that happens in a community and a community gets together to make a statement. It can be a tragic accident with a drunk driver, a missing person that a community gets together to help find and sometimes the news turns out with a very happy ending or the reverse of that story the person is found murdered after a long search. When communities come together to help each other, it is great and even better when the news covers the story. When a community stands up against a tragedy together, it often brings the community together.

However, so many things have become arguable. Things that most would think are beyond argument. I mean one can always find a path to an argument if you choose to go looking but these days it seems nearly anyone is ready for an argument, ready to take sides on things that there should be at least a clear understanding on certain parts of the story.

I mean has it really come to the point that everything is an argument and that is what motivates people to speak up? Get involved?

Anger:

Here are a few examples.

*Oil in the gulf… is bad. The problem has to get fixed. We need accountable, competent people fixing the problem until there is no more oil coming out of the oil well. A lot of people have lost their jobs and a lot of damage is being done to wildlife and beaches. This damage is going to last for a very long time. Everything needs to be done to assure these issues do not happen again.






*Immigration Reform is something that will always be a work in progress as our country is in a constant change and each year more people will migrate here from different countries all over the world. As our country is constantly changing and more people are coming and going, laws need to be updated and relooked at on a normal basis. Our country’s safety is always a top priority.






*Education is the foundation to a good future. Every child in every town across America deserves a good education. This should be a top priority across our Nation.






*If you think your child is sick, you take them to the doctor. That is what any good parent does, right? Not if you don’t have health insurance. Well, of course you should be able to take you child to the doctor or go to the doctor if you are ill. Of course you should be able to go to the doctor for regular screenings that can catch cancer early, diagnose the beginning of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or many other diseases that when left untreated can end up causing significant health problems and run up enormous health cost or cause death. Health reform was set out to correct this issue.














Personally I don’t see where there is even an issue with any of the above things mentioned. I don’t see how someone can jump on any of those statements and say how there is a disagreement as those stand. I can see how there is something a person can jump on IF they already have a set view and don’t want to look at the plain, easy-to-see picture as it stands. There is always a way someone can drag it from the “left” to the “right” and not see it in the way of humanity and simply as what is just the basic right thing to do. That is very often overlooked until things get just too far out of hand or something so tragic happens that the cloudiness over our eyes that has been put there by our own views and the views of what we watch, read or listen to is finally washed away by tears of tragedy and sadness. It doesn’t need to come to that to see how we can be a part of doing what is right even though we may feel differently about some things. Just because we may see things in a different view doesn’t mean we should overlook basic human rights, common sense and being part of the growth of our nation and not a hindrance on our growth.




My response to the above issue:

*When a company is responsible for the death of any of its employees, damage to natural habitat, loss of jobs and the ways of lives that have gone on for generation after generation, they should claim that responsibility. It should be done in a legal way according to a way that is laid out and agreed upon. Too often these types of incidents become something more like a “witch hunt”. At this point it doesn’t matter what side you’re on or even if you aren’t keeping up with BP and the leaking oil in the gulf, you are on the wrong side. Someone is totally against you and you don’t know what you are talking about. The fact is this was the first time this has happened and yes, it should NEVER have happened. It has taken a long time for someone to even come close to finding an answer and there is still oil leaking in the gulf at this moment…leaking, leaking, leaking. Not like a dripping faucet either. More like barrels just being dumped! But, the point is, nobody has the answers. I think a lot of people want to do a lot of firing and even more people want to find a problem. Even more wish this had never happened. This is the optimal time for political parties and campaigns to point fingers of blame at each other. It will go on for years. But pointing fingers and placing blame on each other doesn’t make it right and it certainly doesn’t reverse time, fix the leak or clean up the gulf now does it?  While I am typing this, there is hope of a new solution fixing the problem…let’s pray this works.






*Immigration Reform is another one of those issues that either people really have an opinion on or some people just don’t touch the topic due to its heated debates. This country was built with immigrants. There is hardly anyone in the United States that didn’t have family who at some point in time migrated from another part of the world. At different times, there were different standards of how immigration was done, how land was claimed, or what rights a person had as an immigrant. If you have read my past articles, “Will History Repeat Itself?”  and “What Divides Our Nation“, you will see how far our country has come and also have to ask yourself what is going on now? For a country that has been built on diversity, freedom and so many have fought for human rights even fighting for the human rights of others in countries around the world, why is it that the immigration issue is now becoming something that would even come close to taking away anyone’s human rights. Not sure what I mean? Read “Arizona is just the beginning… watch out!”  Yes, Immigration Reform is a necessity and it is something that needs to be done now and continuously monitored. It is a federal issue and it is something that both democrat and republicans need to work together on. You see, everyone came to this country seeking freedom and a better life, right? This country. The UNITED States of America.

*Education is something that everyone should see is a top priority. I think that part everyone would say, “Of course, absolutely.” The education system in our country has moved down the list when compared to other countries and there is absolutely no reason for that. When George W. Bush became president, he signed the No Child Left Behind ActIt was signed to increase funding, accountability of schools and teachers and close the gaps between minorities and children in impoverished areas. It measured students annually through standardized tests. The numbers that came back were shared and showing improvements for the first few years. The gaps were closing and the funding appeared to be working for the teachers’ incentives. Schools that were doing a poor job needed to earn a better grade to get more money. There were problems with the NCLB act. The tests were on math and English. So, to score a higher grade, teachers were “teaching to the test”, basically preparing their students for the test and not teaching on other subjects or preparing them for even their next school grade. There is also the idea that ALL students can take the same test and the school can be judged by the outcome or the teacher can be judged by the outcome. Although a teacher does teach in the classroom, more often, that has less to do with what students take away from a class. Although our students go to school each day, they are taking less education away from school and more outside influence. I feel there could be 10 standardized tests on education a year and it really wouldn’t give much information at all about what students are learning in schools. There is certainly not anything standardized about the public school system in America.

I don’t believe in stating a problem without a solution so here is at least the beginning of a solution because to give anymore would be another blog. What is missing from our public schools and even most private schools today is the communication between the student and their parents, the communication between the parents and the teachers and the communication between the parent, teacher and the student together. If a teacher knows that the parent and the student are communicating (and that is saying you do communicate with your child) and then the teacher knows they can communicate with you if there is an issue at school, it opens up a whole new avenue of tools for the teacher to use to help your child with their education. Teachers have less available to them now than ever before when it comes to dealing with their students. They are teaching less due to funding, testing and class size. They are held back and paid very little but are expected to turn out something amazing after approximately 35-45 a day, 5 days a week with your student. How often do we as parents get involved with our students after school, ask what they are doing, read something they have written, talk to them about their friends, their goals, etc. Teachers can’t do all the teaching. Our children are our responsibility. Teachers are there to help us teach our children. We should know what they are doing and communicate with their teachers. A teacher should have a phone number they can feel free to contact you and know you are there to work with and take part in your student’s education ALL the way through their school years.



*To me, the last one is just a simple fact of humanity. If someone is sick, they go to the doctor or the hospital to get better. That shouldn’t have anything to do with whether they are rich or poor, have a certain type of health insurance or another or have no health insurance. It shouldn’t have anything to do whether they have recently lost their job or do not have a job. It is their health. They are not going to the doctor to get a 6 pack of beer, a tattoo or play poker. It is not a day at Disney or a free vacation. It is the doctor’s office and it is either that they are sick or someone they take care of is sick. It’s pretty simple to me. I am not even going to go into the politics of all the things our country’s citizens will pay money on but taking care of people when they are sick is something that I don’t consider should be one of these things that should cause a roaring debate for over a year in this country. When we are each born, we aren’t promised to be born into a family that has it all!! We aren’t promised to be born into a country that has it all!! During our life we aren’t promised there won’t be any obstacles or tragedies to come our way. Anything can happen to any of us at any time. That I can promise you. A family member can come down with a terminal or debilitating illness and either with insurance or without insurance bills add up. A car accident can suddenly put one of your family members into a coma for a long time and they can come out with irreversible brain damage. Again, even though you may have the best of insurance you can lose everything due to medical bills. What if the person that is diagnosed with the medical condition or involved in the accident is the one the medical insurance is under? What if you have insurance and then lose that insurance? You are then with the millions of others without medical insurance. So many people are willing to stand against EVERYONE without insurance saying they don’t want their money going to pay for people without insurance but yet these people fighting against those without medical insurance don’t know the stories of these individuals without insurance. They think they do. They think they are all people that have never worked a day in their lives, don’t plan to and just live off the system, thanks to the tax payers!


Meanwhile, plenty of the people at those rallies didn’t have health insurance. Many people right next to those people at their jobs making plenty of money to be able to buy their own insurance didn’t have health insurance. Why? A lot of people don’t think they need it. While people at low paying jobs who are thought not to have insurance do have insurance because their company offers it and the employees understand the importance. You see, you can’t judge a person unless you not only know the person but you know the circumstances. So it is best just not to judge. My belief is that insurance is a right. Insurance should be available to everyone. Every company should be able to afford to offer health insurance to their employees and the employees should be able to afford to buy it. If health insurance was seen as a human right and a basic necessity, it wouldn’t be something our representatives could argue over for a year holding up a bill getting signed into law. It wouldn’t be something people fought over while people were getting sicker and dying. That tends to get overlooked or it is looked at and not cared about as though, these sick and dying ones are different than the ones that hold their insurance cards in their hands. They have a card that says they can live, for now.




So, you see I get motivated by both inspiration and anger but anger doesn’t make me go and do something that isn’t going to solve anything. Anger doesn’t make me do something that is going to hold back another person from moving forward in their life. Anger isn’t going to get me to do anything that will hold someone back from getting what they need to live a full and happy life. No.

I have been inspired to do everything in my power to see that I leave this world better than I found it.

I have been inspired to help someone who is down.

I have been inspired to think of a solution instead of dwelling on the problem.

I have been inspired to look past the differences and see the likenesses.

I have been inspired to not only dream but to soar with the possibilities.

I have been inspired to not only see what can be done now but to inspire others that will go on long after my time is over.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose”. Robert Byrne

If You Don’t Like It, You Can…

What?

What can you do?

Is that the question you ask yourself, those around you? Or, are you the problem solver, the one with the answers? For me, it goes both ways, depends usually. I am not one that is easily flustered (well according to me). I have learned that some fights are better off avoided and not to “sweat the small stuff.”

However, if you live in the real world like most of us do, many things are pretty unavoidable as much as it takes air to breathe and water to live. Life is far from simple and what should be simple is often made more complicated by someone, even we ourselves by trying to make it more fun, organized and in some way hoping to get the most of our time with the least amount of effort. In the long run, it usually ends up quite the opposite. We seem to always be in need of more time, relaxation and “wind down”. But, what has everyone so wound up?

Do we not have enough time in the day, not enough days in the weekend? Is it too little family time? Is it too little money? Are we faced with too many bills? Is work too hard or too stressful? Is it traffic jams? Is it our healthcare we just heard our government fight over for what seemed like 10 years? Is it guilt? What exactly could it be?

I think it is each of the things I mentioned above but all stemming from one thing. Choice or the lack of. What do I mean by that? Well, I think we have lost a lot of our ability to be in control of our own lives. In many ways I think we have so many choices to make at times, it is just overwhelming. At other times, the choices are taken away from us and basically it is that we take what we are “offered” or we lose our “choice”.

As time has gone on, jobs have changed to grow with the times, That means our job structure, the number of positions and our job security has changed. More time is required to do different things even if you are with the same company. Throughout our government, economy and our population it has always been accepted that “time is money” but that is growing truer as time marches on. Employees are becoming more replaceable to their employer due to the fact employers can hire a new employee at a lower pay rate and gain newer ideas, fresh outlook and again do the same thing at a later date. Many times as well an employer has done away with retirement savings and healthcare plans to save money for the business and the employee has been the one to lose out. Both can see it from their side and explain why one side makes more sense than the other but what a person works for and earns should be theirs to keep is the way I see it. It is basically a promise made to them and held in safe keeping by the employer. It shouldn’t be something that is held above their head like a piece of meat that can be stripped away at the first, second or third sign of trouble. But, what can an employee do? If it is not physically in their hand, signed in a contract, already in a bank account in their name, what can they do? They can’t do anything. It is a case of broken trust basically. It is a case of losing out what is rightfully yours, something you worked for. I mean you have done your job, earned that time and now it is gone. For some, they were just 5 years or so away from retirement and then it is gone. Their retirement, their healthcare and in a lot of cases their job too. If they don’t like it, what could they do? Join everyone else that didn’t like it. Join everyone else that had worked so hard as well. Life dishes out unfairness a lot. People dish out unfairness a lot. Often it is done in the name of “survival” to save a business or to fix a broken economy. What about everyone who is being dumped on? They have no choice in the matter. Their choice is on the Pink Slip.

Do you remember the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009? The law that was designed to protect credit card holders from jacked up interest rates, sudden change in requiring enormous minimum payments and cutting credit lines from one amount down to less than half or even a third or less. Remember also where the banks suddenly required minimum payments of nearly a third of the balance or half the balance? In some cases a person may have had a minimum payment of say $45 and suddenly been required to pay $300 or more? The banks were getting government bailouts and ripping off their customers. Well, they are still out to get the customers. The banks and credit card companies have plenty of tricks up their sleeves and without being prepared, you can get caught in the middle. Well, there really isn’t a middle. There isn’t much you can do if you get caught so you just have to stay ahead of the game. What else can you do?

These are a few tips found in a Reader’s Digest Article in March 2010. “Credit Card Tricks and Traps

*The Catch: After 12 months, banks can raise rates as high as they want on future purchases as long as they give 45 days’ notice.

*The Tip: Watch your interest rates closely

Some companies are sending out bills in plain envelopes,” says Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance and business economics at the University of Washington. Don’t mistake it for junk mail and throw it out. Remember: After 45 days, the new rate takes effect unless you have notified the bank that you choose not to accept it.

That is just one of the examples of what you will find in the article linked above. Click on the article to learn more. It is a very worthwhile read to pass on as well. This is just one example of ways choices are being taken away. You can chose which credit card you pick by looking at their introductory offers and what they reel you in with but I think most people that have followed our economy and the news over the last few years can truly see what can happen and how much is really out of our control unless we take the time to keep a solid eye on matters each day and keep up with the financial news. Even then, most of us have learned that the banks and financial institutions should not be trusted with our money so many have cleaned up their financial matters and had a quick economical education recently. I mean, if you don’t like it, the banks basically said shove off! They were out to save themselves, not the customer.

Do you ever see the homeless people on the side of the street? If your answer is “No”, where do you live? I have seen them anywhere I have ever lived. In some places more than others and at different times of the year, there seems to be less than at other times. These days, there is more. I have to admit when I was younger I didn’t understand how a person could be homeless. It wasn’t that my family was wealthy but I just didn’t understand how a person didn’t have family member that they could live with. As I grew older, I began to understand. I realized in my teen years that a lot of homeless people in our area were Veterans and that was another thing I didn’t understand. If people fought for our country, why were they homeless? How could that be possible! What was wrong with our Country? My eyes were really getting opened. In my 20’s my husband became a U.S. Veteran and that really affected me even more than I imagined it would. Seeing these homeless Veterans and hearing people insult the fact they were there was unacceptable. What upsets me the most is the fact people don’t know the circumstances behind what brings people to a certain place at a particular time in their life. Was it a choice or a circumstance beyond their control? I genuinely doubt the homeless people I see on the street woke up one day in their bed, at home and had a big breakfast and said, “I think I want to give up my job, my house, my family and go live on the street. That is my CHOICE.”

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Samuel Johnson

I am not saying we should pay people to live on the street but I don’t think we should be going around judging people not knowing what put them there just like we wouldn’t want someone judging us if we look tired and not so put together one day. What if they went around saying, “She must have been out one of her drinking rampages again last night. I hear she does that all time.” Really? Do we have the right to go around making statements and judging people when we don’t know them? Do we have a right to judge people even if we do? Some of my past blogs have been about judging others for reasons beyond their control or things that show a complete lack of intolerance and to be completely up front, this is something that really gets under my skin. But, this is also one of those character traits that is the most difficult to change about people. The title of this blog, “If you don’t like it, you can…” is basically how I think a lot of people are running their lives. I think big businesses are running their companies to the ground, their employees are becoming less and less important to them and the numbers are more and more the focus.

I think overall our government seems to have become less tied to the people because of so many ties and demands on our government. What do I mean by that? Well, to make this simple and due to the fact I intend to continue this in another blog to follow, the U.S. Government has business in every country in some way. There isn’t a day that goes by in which this isn’t true. Americans are spread all over the world and citizens from every nation are here in the U.S. We are so intertwined with our world this is something that is not only possible but an absolute necessity. Our U.S. President cannot have the attitude to walk away from other nations or snub another nation but instead must be willing to negotiate although at all times, keeping our security and economy safe and secure and a number one priority. Our Country cannot have the attitude of, “If you don’t like it, you can…” when it comes to our diplomatic relations or when it comes to having relations with one another. It hasn’t been working and it will only continue to work against us if we have that attitude. As a Nation that doesn’t work, as a citizen that doesn’t work and as a person that doesn’t work.

You may say you don’t like our President or you don’t like our current administration or how the War is going. That is your choice to not agree with something. Elections are also a time for choosing. The outcome of our presidential elections, show America’s choice and ultimately either way we work with that choice for the next four years. As Americans, we should never try to tear down our Government. By doing so, that is tearing down us. Since earlier wars, there have always been people against the wars this country has fought and I can’t think of many people that would be happy to have our soldiers in harm’s way. Personally, I agree things have definitely dragged on but I chose to support our troops. There is a difference between supporting our troops and supporting a war. I am not the person that has a choice whether or not our war efforts should continue but I do know our men and women in the military deserve my continued support and admiration. I have a choice here and that is what I choose to do. I can be up front about where I stand and I won’t send out a mixed or a false message on what I don’t understand.

You see, in many ways a lot of our choices have been slowly voided. They haven’t so much been yanked away but they just aren’t there in the open anymore. They are being made for us or they just happen to be made “by default” these days. Sometimes they are sent to us but they are done in a way that we don’t notice and the company is able to say we ignored our chance to claim making a choice (like the credit card company mentioned above).

But, we do have many decisions we are responsible for making, many choices each day. Do we notice them? Are we taking them lightly when they really could have a big impact on our life or someone else’s?

Look at the statement this way:

If you don’t like it, you can CHANGE IT.

“What you will be tomorrow depends on the choices you make today.” ODB