By Dean Powers of Portland, Oregon. Dean is an editor and contributor at OpEdNews.com and a former intern at The Nation. Previously, he wrote about Measure 50 in Davey Crockett Against the Blank Check.
The Healthy Kids Plan has invariably brought out the worst in our neighbors and sadly, sometimes, even friends. The ballot initiative, known as Measure 50, is designed to tax tobacco to provide health care to children whose parents earn too much to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan, but to little to purchase a private plan.
You’ve heard opponents of Measure 50 indignantly chastise the bill because it would amend the Oregon Constitution, as if nothing else need be said. “Well I’m not going to vote for it because it amends the constitution.”
A piece of paper. A document that’s been amended hundreds of times. A ream of legal jargon that of the people lamenting its possible alteration, one percent has actually read.
The people who make the constitutional argument the center of their opposition to Measure 50 ought to be ashamed. Can you imagine this person sharing your roads, or your neighborhoods or your schools?
If this person found your bleeding, unconscious child on the sidewalk they would walk away as long as the alternative would modify some stale legal document that’s gathering dust in Salem ... (oh yeah, and cut down on the number of children who get hooked on tobacco annually).
In light of the possible consequences, you can see how important it would be to leave the child bleeding to death. Maybe these people need the constitution to remind them that they are human beings. One of them always seems to sneer and say, “Their parents ought to learn how to be parents.”
That is the mentality of a barbarian society. These people will happily let your child die because you should have worked 80 hours per week instead of 65. Should this bill fail, in ten years these people will tune out child fatality statistics as they tune into the latest mindless TV sitcom. This same person never considers that but for the grace of God they grew up with fantastic economic security; or they never needed surgeries or medicine or urgent care.
Even if this bill fails, it will teach us a valuable lesson: our neighbors, hiding behind their shuttered windows, can be monsters. It will teach us that brainwashing can convince people that a piece of paper is more important than the lives of children. It will teach us that we must do more to bring these people out of isolation with messages of selflessness and humility. But if it triumphs, it will teach us that Oregon is still small and independently-minded enough to overcome the most expensive RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris campaign ever waged against a ballot initiative in Oregon.
On Monday President Bush requested $46 billion additional dollars for Iraq. If Congress approves his request, the price tag for the war since February will be $187 billion. Bush's request comes just days after he vetoed a bill that would renew health care for the nation’s poorest children—the child health care program’s estimated cost: $7 billion additionally per year.
The stroke of his veto pen upon that bill fell with no less devastation or cruelty than the electric chair switch that Bush controlled as governor in Texas.
We’ve come to expect brutal acts from our president but not from our neighbors. Nothing less than the lives and fates of 100,000 children is riding on this bill. Voting “no” amounts to flipping the switch on Oregon kids. Opponents have created a flowery, snobby legal argument against the bill—that it amends the constitution, and thus should be opposed—but at the end of the day, these people are simply denying kids health security while also enabling more kids to get hooked to tobacco. It’s a win-win situation if your role model is Satan, himself.
Maybe the opponents of Measure 50 need the Oregon Constitution to tell them about a homework assignment, or wish them happy Mother’s or Father’s Day, or pitch a Little League game, or make breakfast for them in bed ... because right now it seems like they have their priorities way mixed up.