Monday, September 06, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 9-12-04
By Jeff Gill

Medicare premiums go up 17%; this is a dilemma, as Howard Dean said at Denison last weekend (see more below if you like politics), that is a Democratic and Republican problem, and will require a Republican and Democratic solution.
Many of us are experiencing wage stagnation or decline due to the annual 15% to 40% increase in health insurance costs that have been with us for. . .well, all my professional life. Americans are staying in jobs with no future or deferring entrepreneurial options (is the Republican party reading this?) to hold onto insurance unreachable otherwise, and state budgets are looking at whacking libraries and school support because Medicare costs are sucking the fiscal oxygen out of the treasury (Dems, can you say anything to your voters about this?).
As our local Hebron Crossroads contribution to this situation, on Wed., Sept. 22, at 7 pm in the municipal complex council chambers, there will be a public program on “Medicare Prescription Cards: What’s The Deal?” Co-sponsored by Hebron Christian Church, Jacksontown United Methodist Church, and the United Methodist Church of Hebron, we invite everyone who is a) on Medicare, b) knows someone on Medicare, or c) plans on getting older. More next week!

Back a couple Wednesdays, I stood with the Little Guy at the corner of Chautauqua and Lancaster in Millersport. There where the Sweet Corn Festival parade turned the corner, 150 units and more, we heard bands and watched the scramble for scattered candy by sprawling kids (LG safely on my shoulders), with festival queens from far reaches of festal Ohio carefully waving with one hand while holding on for dear life to a convertible trunk lid with the other.
With the show’s end out on the streets, our focus went into Lions’ Park. Reporting to my station in Heritage Village, we had a great view from the steps of the Walnut Township building of the Main Stage bandstand and Lakewood Band’s show, which I later heard they did even better down at OU in Athens (but guys. . .the 80’s? do people really want the 80’s back? The 40’s and Woody Herman and Glenn Miller nostalgia I get, but AC/DC? Yet the Def Leppard tune was oddly uplifting. . .).
Almost every night of the festival had a brilliant sunset – is that an oxymoron? – with blue skies and temperate temperatures. That meant starting with the first day, record sales for all the food booths was the norm.
When we took a break to find dinner for my sidekick, I stood in a briskly moving but lengthy line through Hickory Grove, shagbark trunks breaking up the views of snaking files leading to tater booths, waffle stands, and pizza places. Looking around, you might have a biker with a stroller in front of you, a goth arguing with her mother behind you, and a crowned queen in tiara and evening gown walking away balancing four slices of pizza on her arms, mouth clamped on a stack of napkins.
And the now 25 year old Lakewood Band Booster booth! Walking that way through a dim huddle of picnic tables, the view suddenly opens up to reveal the high prow of the roofline with its painted doughnut, cutting through a sea of customers 20 deep in 10 lines. We got our mixed dozen and swam back to the safe harbor of Heritage Village.
Due to some wedding related complications, I never got back to serve as a host later in the week (and missed my annual steak-on-a-stick, which evidently was bad luck for Fisher Catholic since their booth nearly burned down on Friday), but that first night was a fascinating series of conversations with people delighted to see how some simple, basic local history was being preserved.
Mind you, this is what the Millersport Lions do in their spare time when they aren’t maintaining the grounds, their clubhouse, and planning the next Sweet Corn Festival. But for every cheering fan of “Confederate Railroad”, there was a quietly appreciative visitor to the Slater Gas Station or Holliday Covered Bridge.
Congratulations to all the community groups and youth organizations who made a big part of their budget last week, thanks to many volunteers, many more patrons, and the support of the Millersport Lions, without whom none of this would happen.
And remember to give thanks for great weather, which helped set some records for 2004!

Some of you may have seen Sen. John Kerry on his campaign appearance in Newark. In fact, I did too. After meeting with someone in the Tim Horton’s on N. 21st St., I got stuck in the parking lot by a flotilla of police cruisers from, I kid you not, every police department in the county. They sealed off the roadway, and so it was that I got to see candidate Kerry.
20 yards away, at 45 mph, facing away from me, through the tinted glass of a campaign bus. Ah well.
From what I caught on ONN, Kerry was very well oriented to local issues and seamlessly worked them into his stump speech, referencing Longaberger, Owens, Dow, and a variety of challenges felt here in Licking County. His “front porch meeting” sounded like a good move in terms of retail politics, but the wholesale electoral package has yet to look that saleable, as poll numbers continue to indicate.
It was the appearance by Howard Dean that engaged both heart and brain, and reminded me why Kerry is likely to be back checking off items on Teresa’s honeydew list this winter.
Denison can be very proud of student Eric Spengler, who did the introductory task in front of what I estimated as 3000 people in the acoustically challenged Mitchell Center. He summed up the Dean candidacy, the reasons for his continued relevance after the end of his role in the primary campaign, and introduced the former Vermont governor with aplomb and gravitas.
All of which was a fascinating and appropriate contrast to Dean’s fire and intensity.
A brief note is in order here: your columnist is a Bull Moose Republican, waiting for the next Teddy Roosevelt to earn his vote. I’m for free enterprise and property rights, but not when they compromise groundwater. And as Dean pointed out sharply, a balanced budget is required to support any social safety net -- he’s the Dem, for those of you keeping score at home. Capitalism requires a civil society to function efficiently, and that means good public schools controlled locally, basic health care available to all but especially children, and family life affirmed as the basic unit of our common life.
This scribbler heard more on those subjects from Gov. Dean than from Pres. Bush or Sen. Kerry have said put together, and the Lovely Wife can tell you I’ve been looking.
Yet Dean, Kerry, and most of the Democratic apparatus are apparently convinced that the global war on terror is mostly an overreaction (the nicest word they use) to random flailings of discontented dispossessed groups frustrated by the world wide reach of McD’s and Disney. If you believe that, I can see why you might vote for Kerry.
If, on the other hand, you see a dispersed but co-ordinated assault on free societies and liberty by forces of monolithic barbarism and terror – and I do – it is hard to avoid the sense that voting to re-elect Pres. Bush is necessary and important.
Meanwhile, Dems and Bull Moose R’s can work domestically to turn back “No Test Left Behind” (or “No School Board Left Standing,” Dean’s phrase), maintain environmental standards, and find a better national health care policy than making ER’s the federally mandated primary care centers for the poor (which is the national health care policy we currently have -- remember, the question isn’t having a national plan or not; we’ve got one already AND IT DOESN’T WORK for employers or retirees, let alone the general public).
But when we focus on protecting the Olympics and our conventions in the US, we see suicide bombers from an Islamofascist group allied with Al-Qaida bring down two jetliners, blow up a subway station, and kill over 400 in a school in a “first day” takeover attempt, all in Russia. They, like France, thought they’d bought a free pass from the terror mob by taking a more accommodating approach. Both countries now have reason to reassess their choices.
I wish I thought it was safe enough in the world to reassess mine, but I will be casting a rueful vote for George Bush this November.
Cheerful stuff next week, I promise. Plus more on Medicare cards and our program Sept. 22. Just wanted to be honest with y’all, even though I know Licking County and the Hebron area are very likely to vote Kerry, which (contrary to many of my liberal friends fears of Bush’s re-election) won’t be the end of the world.
I just want us to get back to work on making a better world!

No comments:

Post a Comment