By Bob Lowerre
The 2013 Virginia election is behind us. As a guy who likes to pontificate about politics, I thought I'd take a sabbatical. But failure to respond to recent commentaries by Karen Kwiatkowski and Leroy Donald makes me uncomfortable. So I'll try to increase my comfort.
Kwiatkowski a clever writer. My smiles in reading her piece soon, however, turned to frowns at some of her statements. She has adopted some of the slashing language that is stock-in-trade for our new ultra-conservative local "leaders." She denounces the taxes that support the compromise that leaders of both parties reached in addressing the urgent highway needs of the state that have festered for decades. These folks apparently think that roads rise automatically out of the ground of their own accord, like dandelions in the spring.
It's a bit much to read her treatment of Lt. Gov.-elect Dr. Ralph Northam. Wisely she is silent about the bizarre reactionary her branch of her party saw fit to nominate as a candidate for that office who was overwhelmingly rejected in November. Some care should be taken in evaluating her views. In an earlier piece published in this newspaper, she urged her troops to get out and vote on Nov. 4 - a non-election day that was a Monday.
Maybe I'd have adopted her attitude if the voters of Virginia had elected those I opposed to the offices of president, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and U.S. senator (twice).
Then we have the work of Leroy Donald. I must admit that, with him, I'm concerned about some of the statements the president made about the Affordable Care Act. The same may be said about the glitches in implementing the act. But his criticism is part of the fevered Republican stance on the law due in part to their hatred of Barack Obama. It may be due, too, to the specter hovering over them that ultimately the program may work.
The Grand Old Party has no new plan of its own. It prefers the insurance industry-run health care system where those with pre-existing conditions and those who have exhausted their benefit limits are blacklisted, and millions of our people are left with no health care coverage at all.
It's interesting that most Americans are said to oppose Obamacare, but support the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps that's because those who can pay may have good health care in the U.S., but those who can't may well go without care.
It might surprise Donald that I, too, oppose the Affordable Care Act in its present form. I strongly support an approach that the president's original proposal contained -- a single payer plan -- a national health care system. It was initially adopted in Europe by those old creeping socialists Emperor Franz Joseph and Kaiser Wilhelm before the first World War because of their decision that their people deserve access to health care. Most industrialized countries have since followed suit. Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron, in his most recent election campaign, warmly praised his nation's health care system. A recent Canadian visitor reported that any politician there who proposed repealing his country's health care system would immediately be discarded by the electorate.
Donald strays from the health subject. He says, "The president's only focus seems to be on ramping up federal control, and mandating how people must live to meet his standards of right and wrong." The party meeting that standard is the GOP, which would have the government rule over our most intimate personal decisions and would criminalize those who would defy such edicts. Whether it is the various aspects of the lives of gays or a host of other matters, we know who it is that would deny people their basic rights because their lives don't fit the party's views of right and wrong.
Donald's view is that the Republican Party is the stalwart of freedom. That may be so. It is quite content for the less fortunate among us to have the freedom to go without health care, an adequate diet and decent housing.
I hope Kwiatkowski and Donald - and others - will continue to write. I think the Daily's readers will benefit from commentaries from the full range of the political spectrum. Hopefully, it will help them make informed decisions.
Bob Lowerre is a retired lawyer living in Woodstock.