An Open Letter to Congressman Perriello
by Hank Martin

Dear Congressman Perriello,

There seems to be some confusion on your part, as well as the leaders in your party, as to why there is such passion, emotion and stalwart opposition to the currently proposed changes to what is being called The Health Care Reform Bill. I can only speak for myself, however I suspect that my thoughts on this issue may indeed reflect the thoughts of many other citizens that you represent in the 5th District.

First, there has been a very serious mistake and assumptions wrongly made over the last four decades. Your party and its leaders have mistaken civility, for agreement. By that, I mean that in the past, political activists within your party have taken the attribute of discipline and polite behavior in citizens, and used it against them. In 1963, when the Supreme Court took the tenants of the Judeo-Christian foundation of our country from the public forum, the relative silence of society was assumed the sign of accord. A decade later, when that same judicial body had made it legal for a mother to take the life of her unborn child, again, that same silence was taken as agreement. One must remember that the majority of people in that era were raised with the notion that the two discussions not to be held at the water cooler or the lunch counter, were the powder keg topics of religion and politics. While indeed the public face was silent on these issues, the private face was completely opposite. This may help you and your party to understand why those who stand in opposition to this reform, are so diligently exercising our right to free speech.

Secondly, you must recognize that there is a very large body of citizens who possess the ability to read and understand the history of America, the writings of the founding fathers and most certainly the Declaration and the Constitution. WE THE PEOPLE see our ship of state being blown off course, and we are raising our voices to the quarterdeck in warning to the helmsman. We have witnessed the erosion of the values and characteristics that has heretofore made this country great. While your party desires to spread the wealth, we desire to spread our work ethic. While your party desires to create a government that does everything for everyone, we desire a government that allows the individual to do for themselves. This basic difference will continue to be profound and can not be ignored, especially if these reforms are so adamantly and hastily rammed down the collective barrel of the American gun.

Thirdly, the records of history manifest the reason for our basic mistrust of the ability of the government to effectively administer these reforms. Our government declared a war on poverty; it failed to eliminate poverty, but somehow managed to decimate the traditional structure of the family. The government declared a war on crime, current FBI statistics indicate that war, as well as the one on drug abuse, is far from being won. Millions upon untold millions of dollars have been spent on teenage sex education and family planning, yet `we still have far too many “unplanned” pregnancies. The Department of Education was founded and funded at taxpayer expense, yet we continue to witness problems and declines in education. The Community Reinvestment Act of the 90’s, created by the government, has demonstrated its fallacies in our now failed economy triggered by the collapse of the real estate industry. Lastly, it seemed like a good idea for the government to introduce Asian Carp into our Mississippi fed rivers, to combat algae. Now, we are building million dollar underwater electric fences to prevent the same carp from destroying the fishing industry in the Great Lakes area. WE THE PEOPLE can not afford to allow the federal government to make such a mistake with so important an issue as health care. Certainly, we can not afford to make this decision so hastily. We just made one of these hasty decisions with the Wall Street Bailout Bill, and we are still asking ourselves where did all the money go?

Fourthly, WE THE PEOPLE are told that there will be no such things as health care rationing or death panels. That seems to be debatable, depending which version of the bill, the house or the senate is being discussed. Nevertheless, why not simply assure the citizens and remove any and all such possible language from all drafts and versions of the bill! It would be far easier to believe that, if there were not even the slightest hint of such possibilities being allowed in future versions of the bill. WE THE PEOPLE have seen the effects of unintended consequences. These consequences literally are a matter of life and death. Those who support such language in the bill appear to be in there 20’s and 30’s. This generation is very narcissistic and shortsighted. I am most assured that these same individuals will be as equally vocal when they see their 59th birthday start to appear over the horizon. WE THE PEOPLE are standing for them now, because we know that rights once lost, run the risk of never being recovered.

Fifthly, as a matter of personal honor, you should not be able to support this bill as it is currently being presented. Why? I too am a former Boy Scout. Scouting played as essential a role in my understanding of my country and my responsibility in it and to it. I too made the same pledge and took the same oath as you. Week after week, year after year. The oath and pledge given in our youth, are totally and utterly irreconcilable to the actions that this, and similar legislation threatens. It is diametrically opposed to those points of honor, and it stands in opposition to the Catholic faith of your background as well as the Protestant faith in mine. It also stands in opposition to the very nature of America. When you sift away all of the ruffles and flourishes, our system of government was designed to perform essentially two functions. It was created to protect life and to protect property. We have already seen the erosion of property rights, too numerous to consider in this letter. We stand upon yet another abyss in the consideration of the protection of life. We have the tragic consequences with the lack of protection at the conception of life, let us not now enact legislation that will literally open up the gates of hell, for those at the other end of the spectrum.

I do not wish to impart the idea that the health care system may not need some improvement. It does however seem worthy to remember that the health care system in America worked until the 1980’s. Why? Because the consequences of improper social behavior had not shown its full impact, until the epidemic of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases began to manifest themselves. Drug and alcohol abuse, illegitimate births and finally an aging population, dragged the expenses to the state they are now. Perhaps, before such a radical reform is passed, a sober and objective assessment of the impact of frivolous lawsuits, illegal aliens and poor lifestyle choices needs to be performed.

Lastly, it is worthy to remember that the primary reason that the first American Revolution transpired, was due to the fact that the colonial citizens felt as if they were being denied the same rights and considerations, as natural born Englishmen. They felt as if their voices were not heard. They drafted appeal after appeal to the king and parliament. When they felt that no matter what civilized actions were taken, they were not being listened to, and their wishes honored, they resorted to the sword. In most of the town hall meetings, I see the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, as well as other similar flags from our past. Please, I beg of you and your party to respect and understand these touchstones of our heritage. History has demonstrated that the flags were first, and when politicians refused to listen, flintlocks followed. I see a wedge being mightily driven between the generations with this legislation. If you threaten to basically end an individual’s life at the age of 59, and they have played by the rules, paid their taxes, and done all they can to contribute to society, and still they must pay the ultimate price with their life, we can not be surprised to see them not simply go quietly into the night.

I pray that God will bless you with the wisdom and the courage required to make the most sound choice for all of those that you represent in the 5th district, in these, the most tragic and perilous of times.

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