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POINT COUNTERPOINT: Columnists John Shindlebower and Jim Michalowski take opposing views on the Affordable Care Act and the partial federal government shutdown

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America's theme today is 'force'

By John Shindlebower

 Freedom has been America’s theme since the days of the Revolution, but today the theme is force.
President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress have forced an oppressive, expensive health care mandate on the American people that admittedly, most in Congress have not read, do not understand and recognize to be full of serious problems, not the least is the fact that the American public simply does not like or want it.
Debate over that issue is largely responsible for the current spending debate that prompted a forced, partial government shutdown last week. It was estimated that some 800,000 non-essential government employees were furloughed, which raises a couple of questions. How will these employees and their families survive? Well, in the case of the past 17 government shutdowns since 1976, those employees have been paid retroactively, meaning they are currently on a post-paid vacation. The other question — what is a non-essential employee and why do we have at least 800,000 of them?
If freedom were still our theme, a partial government shutdown would have minimal impact on the public. That’s because our Founding Fathers never envisioned a federal government that was as intrusive as what lords over us now. But big government has been forced on us and the current administration seems hellbent on forcing the Americans to feel the pain of this shutdown.
World War II veterans arrived on buses to tour the open-air memorial built in their honor in Washington D.C., only to be met with hastily-placed barricades. Veterans visiting the Vietnam memorial have been threatened with arrest as the Obama administration carried out a plan to cause pain and then blame the Republicans.
Republicans in Congress have attempted to pass legislation to ease the pain of the shutdown by funding cancer treatment for children and opening national parks. Democrats refuse to pass those funding measures and Obama has promised to veto them. All the while, Obama and his minions accuse the GOP of being cold-hearted and relying on their friends in the media to spread that false witness.
Americans must wake up to what, bluntly, is the fiscal demise of our nation. Our government simply cannot continue to spend more money than it brings in. We must realize that our Founding Fathers never intended government to be the provider for the people, but merely a tool that ensured people the freedom and opportunity to provide for themselves. Dependency upon government requires surrendering individual freedom and we are clearly at a crossroads of determining what America is going to be like for our children and grandchildren.
Handing health care over to the federal government is akin to citizens signing over the power of attorney to bureaucrats. We are promised security, but it costs us our freedom. Our Founding Fathers warned us never to trade the second for the first. It is our choice to make today, and if we choose wrong, subsequent generations of Americans will long for freedom while experiencing force. It’s time to rally around freedom’s theme once again.

Contact John Shindlebower at jshindlebower@yahoo.com. 

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ACA is the 'law of the land'

By Jim Michalowski

  The Affordable Care Act was passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land. The president, who staked his reputation on the act, was subsequently reelected. It’s time for a vocal minority to suck it up, put on their “big boy or girl pants” and get on with the governing of the United States.
Sadly what we have here is a beaten minority that will go to any length to get its way. They call themselves patriots, but they must own a different dictionary than I use. I call them thugs and bullies. My dad always taught me to play to win, but lose with class. Trust me, none of these people cares one bit about the average citizen. Of course, collectively as a nation, we continue to elect the same people and expect different results. That’s the definition of insanity.
One of the key jobs of Congress is to pass a budget for the federal government, and to describe recent action as more than an “epic fail” would be sugar coating it at the least.
I was stationed in Washington, D. C. during the 1995 shut down. You know who suffered? The guy who ran the coffee shop near my train stop, that’s who. With most of the federal workforce furloughed, they sure weren’t buying coffee and muffins on their way to work. The impact was real, not some philosophical debate.
There are laws that I don’t like currently in effect. I don’t like the federal law prohibiting the growing of hemp. That doesn’t mean that I would ask my representatives to shutter the government until I got my way. What it means is that I communicate this to them and vote for people to represent me that are of like mind. I understand that some things take time.
Our enemies, and trust me we still have plenty, are, as the kids would say, ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing) at us. The sad thing is that we deserve it. We also deserve a functioning government, not the dysfunctional train wreck we currently have.
One final thought: Although I am seriously disturbed (they won’t print how I really feel) at our so-called leaders, I absolutely want no part of changing “the system” since our constitution provides the best framework for government by far. The system isn’t what’s broken, it’s the operators and we all need to remember that come Nov. 4, 2014.

Contact Jim Michalowski at n2oman@aol.com.