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A weird parallel was drawn Monday night

Posted 10/29/09

Monday night at the informational and planning session for those opposing the Gitmo to Standish Max transfer, it was announced that for an upcoming protest, outside groups were contacted about coming along.

These included people who were protesting at “tea parties” and protesting healthcare reform in August.

I wanted to know what the parallel was here. I also wanted to know what these issues, as well as those presented by a young lady who said she would be attending a D.C. second amendment rally and a tax day rally next April, had to do with Guantanamo Bay and Standish. This young lady did answer my question, and to my understanding was joined by 9/12 protestors from the tri-city area, many of whom have vocally protested healthcare.

I couldn’t see the similarities. I said that and I was basically told “so what.”

And near the young lady announcing her rallies, another woman stood up showing a handout with the names of Gitmo detainees who helped plan the Sept. 11 attacks listed on it. She said the 3,000 Americans killed that dark day, the saddest day in American history, was reason enough to protest the detainees coming to Standish.

That’s fine. That’s understandable.

After hearing her say that, I wondered, “Is she here with the healthcare/tea party protestors who are in attendance.”

Does she feel the same way as them?

A study recently showed that 44,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have health insurance. Just the other day I read about two toddlers being turned away by doctors – one was too skinny, the other considered obese, albeit they were only toddlers.

That 44,000, in my estimate, is probably greatly exaggerated. So lets say it’s only really a quarter of those people who die every year. And let’s round down, and say 10,000 people die yearly because they don’t have health insurance.

Now, it appears to me, the people protesting Gitmo closing due to the deaths on 9/11, are also the people protesting healthcare reform, even though, using my number, 10,000 Americans die every year since they don’t have health insurance.

That’s a weird parallel to me. What do these two issues have in common?


Oh wait. One party is opposed to both. Although 9/11, the greatest tragedy ever in our country, claimed 3,000 lives in a matter of hours, and people not being insured kills (again, I’ll use my number) 10,000 every year, the deaths aren’t the same, apparently. I guess only one kind is worthy.

The people speaking Monday said they don’t want to be called fear-mongers, hate-mongers or ignorant by people in the community who feel differently than they do.

And they shouldn’t. Really what they want is for people to understand them. Understand that they don’t think this should happen with the scarce and minimal amount of information that has been released. They want people to understand what they feel and why.

Yet people they are inviting to their rally, the so-called “healthcare people,” call those in favor of healthcare reform Socialists, Communists and Nazis.

People died on 9/11. People still die because they don’t have health insurance.

Neither thing is good in my eyes.

Again, there’s one parallel.

Partisanship. It’s killing our notion of “United we Stand.” All the issues are painted with one large partisan brush.

It’s the reason peaceful prostestors at Kent State were grouped in with the Weathermen Underground and eventually shot. It’s the reason Vietnam veterans returning from a war they had no say in declaring, many of whom were shipped out not knowing the whole story, were spat upon in the United States upon return.

I’m sick of the all or nothing strategies in politics. It’s gotten so bad that a person can’t be pro-life and be an environmentalist. You can’t be pro-business and pro-civil rights.

If you’re against Gitmo detainees coming to Standish, you’re for 10,000 deaths due to people not having health insurance.

Would that be a fair statement? I hope not, but that’s the nature of the game today. And I’m not telling people to feel a certain way. But if you want to be understood, and don’t want to be called names, don’t invite people to your event who refuse to understand and call people names.

County Commissioner Ray Daniels mentioned Monday that people who lost loved ones in Oklahoma City probably felt just as miserable as those who lost someone on 9/11.

And I’m willing to bet someone who loses a loved one after a doctor says “I’m sorry, your insurance doesn’t cover this” feels pretty miserable too.

But anymore, people don’t listen to one another. We pick a party, listen to our favorite talking head spewing that party’s rhetoric or read our blogger of choice, then we say the same stuff.

Actually, not we. Because I like to think I’m not in that group. And I hope more people can start to feel the same way.


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Health insurance a person can do something about, like get a job, take some responsibility for yourself and quit expecting my kids to pay for your problems.

You can't decide not to get a plane flown into your building.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Report this

Thank you, Mr. Barnum, for this column. Sometimes I believe you are the only voice of reason in Arenac County.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Report this

Tim, could you also please do some questioning and let us know why these meetings are being held at a church? I'm a fairly new member of that church, but I refuse to attend as long as they are providing a voice to those I feel spread distrust, lies, partisanship, racism, and selfishness under the guise of "patriotism".

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Report this


It's not that easy to get a job and get health insurance. Obviously you must be one of those fortunate people who can. But what about the 44 million that can't? That is the number. They do not have access to ANY health insurance. It's not just a made up thing. I can't get health insurance on the private market. I have ashtma and I was told I would have to wait a whole year before I could even be considered for coverage, because they would have to monitor my health. Your statement is the exact reason we're in this mess, short-sighted thinking and just generally being stuck up.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Report this

That 44 million is a questionable #, however, this #which includes illegal aliens, means 85% of our people ARE covered, thats pretty dang good. I have been unemployed, I made due until I was, and yes, I have kids, a bunch of them. I din't think that I should go with my hand out to my neihbor and ask them to make due with less so that I could have insurance!

We have the best system in the world now, why screw it up? Name me 1 govt dept that is run efficiently and effectively. Just look at how good they got out the pig flue vaccine, glad I wasn't waiting for a life saving procedure!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Report this

All of your points are good especially, what do "Tea Party, Health Care, Tax Party and Gitmo have in common. We are very frustrated with GOVERNMENT as it is practised in Washington and Standish. When they don't listen to us we ban together to DEMONSTRATE and they can't stop us yet.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Report this

Hey Brock, If you don't understand Danger, Community involvement and Patriotism, Maybe you should ask some of the parishioners that were there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Report this


I would like to see how you figure the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. According to the World Health Organization the U.S. ranks 37th globally health care (right between Costa Rica and Slovenia).

But, than again all international organizations are anit-U.S. right?

Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Report this

We also have a human rights abuse issue according to the UN, oh yeah, H.E. Mr. Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) is one of the Vice Presidents, where as I remember you get caned for spitting on the sidewalk! Yeah I love the international bodies.

If you were anywhere in the world and you had some funky weird infection or disese, what country would you want to go to for treatment? I dont see many people heading to Canada or Britian when they get cancer!!

Friday, October 30, 2009 | Report this

Yep, all those countries with national health care must receive sub par treatment, but the FACTS don't back that up either...

According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States ranks 50th in the world in life expectancy, 14 places behind the UK and 42 places behind Canada (You ever think that these countries do not need specialists everywhere because their compulsory preventative services catch diseases early and eliminate the need?)

Moreover, when it comes to cancer, the United States is 9th in the world in cancer deaths (321.9 per 100,000), while the UK has 80 less deaths per 100,000.

The United States doesn't gain the best doctors by having higher treatment prices, it gains the greediest doctors.

Friday, October 30, 2009 | Report this

Lets see here, we're FAT, because most people eat poorly and don't hardly work, people smoke, etc etc. If you want to mandate how we all have to eat, and quit our bad behaiviors you could improve those statistics.

Friday, October 30, 2009 | Report this


I don't recall stating anything about not understanding Danger, Community Involvement and Patriotrism. Perhaps you need to re-read my comment. What I asked is why are meetings with a distinct political leaning being held at a religious institution, as opposed to a public venue? Whether or not I support a plan that involves Gitmo detainees coming to Standish has nothing to do with the Catholic faith (or my patriotism, sense of safety, and community involvement, as it turns out).

Friday, October 30, 2009 | Report this


The meetings weren't of any 'political' leaning, but more of a civic discussion simply to inform!The question that should be raised is why hasn't any other local group or church been willing to assist in this cause?

As a Standish resident, my political and religious views will be my own, how ever I applaud the efforts of those who where at least willing to stand up, host and attend events that affect our areas.

I am amazed that people will split hairs in matters such as these, and find something to complain about to distract from the true purpose of such events. The goal was to save the prison, to save local jobs...the fight might have been lost, however the attempt was valiant!

Monday, November 2, 2009 | Report this

Eleazar and DMSchmidt,

Well you did a terrible job saving the prison. It's gone, closed, 100-percent unemployed. Now what did those rallies do beside for possibly prevent an opportunity to bring in new prisoners? We're in financial ruin as a state. How are they going to keep a prison open when our corrections budget is so far over reasonable. They aren't going to. There are probably going to be at least 3 more prisons closed within the year. We have no revenue. Republicans refuse to raise taxes or come up with new taxes, or even address the failing tax appropriations system we have now. Thus, the only option is to cut everything down to size, which is extremely short-sighted thinking. We should be pushing for ways to get people to come to Michigan — aka the film incentive, green jobs incentive, etc. — instead of accepting our transition to Montana-like population, but Republicans reject those ideas as well.

And for the record. Every single meeting held in that church was political. It was far right-leaning. Whether or not you think so, they were. For God's sake, they were called ANTI-Gitmo... that sounds like a pretty political stance to me.

In the past 6 months, the anti-gitmo coalition has hurt our chances at saving the city's population and water usage, thus entitling ME to a 3x increase on my bill. And Kevin King has ruined the city's chance for a deal with the tribe. Now there is NO HOTEL or strip mall. A 50,000 sq. ft. store doesn't go far for the city of Standish, as they'll be using well water.

Thank you to all of these stuck-up people who pretty much ruined the reason I came to this city. I'll be looking for other property soon. Who wants to pay ridiculous water/sewer rates in a ghost city?

Monday, November 2, 2009 | Report this

I didn't oppose Gitmo, nor did I attend 1 of those meetings, if the Feds wanted to, it wouldn't matter what us peons would have to say. As far as republicans making unessasary budget cuts, this points out the priorities of the left, if it were me, the prison would be open, public safety would be priority 1! Everything else is secondary, parks, healthcare, welfare, social services etc etc. If crime is rampant and murderers and rapists are running the show, who cares how nice a park or how "free" your healthcare is?

Monday, November 2, 2009 | Report this

You'll care how free your healthcare is if you're not alive because you didn't have health care. And I'm much more likely to die from some disease than getting murdered. And it doesn't matter how many prisons we have open if there aren't nearly enough police officers to catch the murderers and rapists. Maybe those for the prison should change direction and first try to save, replace lost officers' jobs. Violent crimes have only dropped 2-percent in 10 years, while apprehension of criminals has plummeted 22-percent. We have a wild corrections budget heavily eaten up by prisons, mostly for alcohol and drug-related crimes, not to mention a 200:1 parolee/probationer to probation officer rate. How can you be effective at migrating people back into the population? You can't. So while this prison is important to us, it's not nearly as important to the state's well-being.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | Report this

You just made my point, public safety should be priority #1, (that means cops, fire and prisons).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | Report this

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