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December 21, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

A remarkable country

Even with the political divides, America continues to shine bright

In 1776, representatives from the American colonies assembled in Philadelphia and approved the Declaration of Independence, formally announcing separation from Great Britain.

It was more than an official notice to the British crown; the declaration laid out founding principles and ideas of the United States of America, including this famous statement:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The declaration has shaped the American imagination with such proclamations. There is, however, an inherent tension in the Founding Fathers’ vision between the role of the federal government and states and individual rights. It was at the center of the Civil War, and the tension is always present because people have different beliefs about what America should be.

That has been evident in the political fights in recent years. A survey released in June by the Pew Research Center showed that Americans’ values and basic beliefs are deeply split along partisan lines. The divide was the worst in the survey’s 25 years.

That’s unfortunate, but it’s not disastrous. The Founding Fathers ingeniously created ways to handle conflicts and protect liberty and rights.

America was created with a baseline of rights and freedom. The country was steeped in a brand of liberty that hadn’t fully been seen at the time. The “American experiment,” as some historians have dubbed it, put trust in the citizens to work within the framework of the Constitution. It has worked remarkably well.

Not that America was or is perfect. It is a shame that it took several generations before all men — and women — were granted the full rights of citizenship. It is notable, though, that the victories in suffrage, civil rights and other areas came as people worked through the government the Founders established, using the liberties and freedoms they had.

Despite the nation’s recent divide, we have hope for the future because of the liberty and freedom Americans have.

We are reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s musings at the constitutional convention in 1787. As the last of the members were signing the Constitution, he pointed out the chair convention President George Washington had used, which was crowned by a sun peeking over the horizon. Franklin said as he considered the issues throughout the debate, he had “looked at that (sun) behind the president, without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but now at length, I have the happiness to know that it is a rising, and not a setting, sun.”

The sun is still rising on America. Ours is a country with a great future due to the way it was founded and the generations of Americans who have paved the way to continue our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Long may it continue.

Happy Independence Day.

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  1. The health care question of the day:

    Next time one of your relatives/friends bitches to about ObamaCare tell him/her some of the key points what this act really does an then ask the crucial question.

    Put the information in the context of the health situation of that person. Let's use a diabetic uncle or father-in-law who is Republican, doesn't like or more likely hates President Barack Obama and feeds those Republican lies and misconceptions about this measure.

    Folks, Republicans are trying to re-create the mass hysteria of the infamous 2009 congressional recess when Dream Work, an ultra reactionary organization heavily financed by the billionaire brothers of Charles and David Koch, the Financial Godfathers of the Republican Party.

    MSNBC show host Ed Schultz before the July 4th holiday gave five points how you can counter uncle Fred. I agree with his points and I think we will have to teach ObamaCare 101 until the election, if we are to sell it and make sure Republicans can't reverse the act and/or take these benefits away.

  2. Part 2. Let's take five main points of the law:

    1. It eliminates "pre existing" conditions from preventing you from getting insurance. So tell diabetic uncle Fred that starting in 2014 you no longer have to worry that you can be denied insurance because you are diabetic. Children already enjoy that protection. In 2014 ALL ADULTS will get that protection -- regardless what condition or illness they have.

    2. There no longer is a lifetime coverage limit.

    3. Insurance companies have to apply 80 percent of all premiums money go to medical coverage or you get a rebate.

    4. Children can stay on their parents' health insurance until they become 26 and six and half million have already decided to do so.

    5. A company can no longer drop you from coverage when you get sick because of some excuse, like they do now.

    These are the five points Schultz used and I completely agree with his choice. Because of lack of informative reporting about the details about this measure and poor Democratic messaging many -- if not most -- people don't know about many of the benefits in the law.

    The one big advantage we have this year over 2009 and the 2010 congressional election is that in this decisive round is that this time there is a law and people have or soon will see the benefits.

  3. Part 3 of 3 parts. Millions of people will get rebates under point 3. The so called donut hole for seniors who have expensive drugs and previously faced a period in the middle of the year when they fully had to pay for their medications will be greatly shrunk this year. It is now in effect thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, ObamaCare.

    So folks, we must ask our Republican relative/friend if he/she wants to lose all these benefits by repealing the law?

    Finally, if he/she gives you the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell BS that "we have the greatest health care system in the world" you must tell him/her that is absolutely pure baloney.

    We pay about twice as much for health care than any industrialized country in the world. Yet we rank 37th in the globe in quality -- behind illegal drug exporter Columbia.

    We have precisely the kind of health care system opponents of universal care -- McConnell said universal care "is not the issue" -- try to scare us with. We currently have some 50 million uninsured. This is exactly the health care "rationing" reform opponents scare us with. This lack of coverage results in 45,000 people dying each year.

    Of course, many Republicans don't care. I took my Jack Russell, Gilley, on a walk early morning on July 4 and ran into a neighbor I didn't know. We got into a political discussion that turned into an argument.

    He kept lecturing me about "independence" and "self reliance." So when we talked about ObamaCare I said "what you are saying if are are sick and can't afford to deal with it, die." And he readily said that is precisely what he was saying.

    You political junkies may recall during the Republican presidential primary debates CNN Wolfe Blitzer asked one candidate during one of the debates if he was saying in effect if a young person who was uninsured and had a major accident that he must die, the partisan Republicans broke out into loud cheers.

    Simply, amazing! We must spread the word via e-mails, letters to the editor, postings on our social website and getting our friends to do likewise so Americans will know what kind of a choice they face this November. Please help me do this by spreading the word.

    Retired political and investigative reporter.

  4. The United States of America is indeed, a great social experiment envisioned by our Founding Fathers. It is a "work in progress." We do have a problem that has plagued our country since its inception...that of destroying itself from sources within, as the late President Lincoln once stated. By observing the internal bickering and political obstruction that permeates each and every meeting of the Executive Branch of the USA government, we witness the gradual demise of our country.

    After all the 4th of July festivities, it will be business as usual: political gridlock, election campaigning, vicious political commercials. The editor of this article stated, "Not that America was or is perfect. It is a shame that it took several generations before all men -- and women -- were granted the full rights of citizenship. It is notable, though, that the victories in suffrage, civil rights and other areas came as people worked through the government the Founders established, using the liberties and freedoms they had."

    But please permit me to posit, that at no time in history, have Americans ever seen and experienced the systemic stripping away of their "liberties and freedoms" as they have experienced in the last 20 years of government. The so called "Drug Wars" and Homeland Security have virtually made a shambles of our American rights and priveledges. And there is NO sign of those things ever being given back or reinstated.

    Americans need to become "remarkable" once again. We cannot become deceived into believing that living in the past is what is currently going on in the present. We the People need to participate...that feat will be "remarkable"!

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star