Sunday, May 24, 2009

Re: Jim, I need your voice on health care--Sorry, sir

Mr. President,

It is with great sadness and regret that I must decline your emailed request. I do this with intimate and personal knowledge of how important this legislation is. I am a computer consultant by profession, and with the downturn in the economy, my income has been slashed to a small fraction of what it once was. In fact, our family has had to rely heavily on my wife's part-time income while I attempt to build a whole new business. Last week, that reliance ended. In a fall down the cellar stairs, my wife broke one ankle and the other foot. Because I have been self-employed for the last 2.5 years and my wife is only a part-time employee with no benefits, our only health insurance is what we can afford to pay for out of pocket. The bills arising out of her injury and her inability to work combine put us in a precarious position.I find myself having to rely on the charity of others, on the Council for Aging in our small town, on volunteer organizations such as Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts, and the support of family members.

Believe me, sir, I know how important health care reform is. I understand intimately how critical the Recovery and Stimulus plan are. I could not believe more in the important work that lies before you economically and with regard to health care. I understand that health care was, quite understandably your primary object during much of the campaign and that the economy has become both a problem of its own and an obstacle to the extremely hard work of making progress on health care.

Sadly, sir, while I believe all that, and my own livelihood and home are threatened by the dual threat of healthcare costs and the collapsed economy, none of that is my primary concern. No, sir. My concern is for the health of our Republic and not of the body or the economy. I love my wife, and I love my family, and I love my home. But we are strong and we will survive, somehow. My deepest concern is for the heart and soul of this country, for the Rule of Law, for the principles upon which this great nation was conceived, and to which it is dedicated. And that, sir, I believe is endangered. It is endangered by torture; by indefinite detention; by warrant-less surveillance, search and seizure; by kangaroo courts that fail to uphold either our civilian laws or the uniform code of military justice; by the notion that the highest ranking officials can break our laws and not be investigated, let alone prosecuted; by a government that clouds its crimes in claims of secrecy and unspecified nationally security. Today, sir, it is endangered by you.

After eight years of a Presidency that plumbed depths of deceit, greed, corruption, war crimes and the arrogation of raw power, I voted for you in hopes that we could turn the page, that we could heal this land, that we could restore the rule of law. Sadly, sir, it seems that we cannot; that your view of the presidency, of executive privilege, of state secrecy, of the immunity of the powerful from the rule of law is too tainted by the power illegitimately accrued by your predecessor. It seems, sir, that the old adage is true. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So, no, sir, you may not have my voice on health care, nor on the economy. You may not have it even though the woman I love is in bad need of better health care, even though this economy is depriving me of the ability to support my family. At this time, even in the face of those great crises, I have only enough voice for this: "Return us to the Rule of Law, not men." Close Gitmo. Stop the Military Commissions. Try the prisoners or free them. Forswear prolong and preventative detention. Investigate the War Crimes and prosecute the guilty. Stop hiding behind Executive Privilege and National Security. Save my country. Save it for my children and their children. Save it for your children. This is not a distraction. Without our Soul this country dies.

I will find some way, through the charity of strangers, the support of my family or the Hand of Providence to get my wife the care she needs. I will find a way to join with others to build a company to employ us all and save our homes and livelihoods. It will be hard, but since they brought my multi-great grandfather to these shores in chains for the crime of being a Scot and supporting the wrong absolute ruler, my family has found a way to do those things. Somehow, I and mine will find the way to protect and fend for ourselves. What you, sir, must do, is defend this country, and despite all that has been said in this new century, the threat to this country is not foreign fanatics. It is domestic fanatics. It is power misused, law abandoned. It is forgetting what makes this nation great. It is abandoning our principles.

I am not of your party. I am an independent. Yet, I voted for you, and worked for you and wept with joy to see a man with your background, both in heritage and in principle, elected President. The promise of it! The hope. Live up to that hope, sir. Give us back our Country. That, above all, is what we need. Then, sir, I will join you in working for health care and the economy and the other great works there are before us.

Jim Burrows, aka Brons - Vox Libertas


jr said...

Well said Jim!

Jim Burrows said...

Thank you. Do I know you? (or who shot you?)