Our liberties compromised

Published 10:56 am Friday, December 31, 2010

Several years ago, motoring along Scott Street, I observed a police cruiser in my rear view mirror.

Stopping at a retail outlet, the cruiser was still there. I got out of my vehicle. The officer got out of his.

“Your tag has expired, “ he said.

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Great. Here it comes. A traffic ticket. A moving violation. A violation of state law against anyone who owns and operates a motor vehicle. Comply or else. Purchase a new vehicle tag every year, or lose your driving privileges.

Smacks of big government, seems to me, tromping on civil liberties of innocent citizens. We should have the unmolested right to drive our vehicles without government interference, and ignoring directives to annually purchase car tags.

Next, the officer wanted to see my driver’s license. What!?! Another infringement upon my civil liberties. Now the government is telling me, if I want to drive on Bainbridge streets, not only do I have to have a paid-up vehicle tag, I also have to have a valid driver’s license, also up to date and paid in full.

And I better have my seatbelt snapped and proof of insurance.

To top that, each December, the county sends me a tax bill based on value of fixtures in my store. Personal property taxes. Pay up, or they’ll confiscate your personal property and sell the stuff for taxes due. And don’t forget to pay your real estate taxes or you’ll be living under a bridge.

Here we go again. Infringement upon my civil liberties. I should be able to run my business free from interference by county commissioners. Then to top it off, the City of Bainbridge violates my civil liberties again by telling me that if I don’t pay the yearly retail tax for a city license, they’ll shut my doors.

One may equate these infringements with the current health care debate. The federal government in promoting the public welfare now is telling us we have to buy health insurance.

Another infringement upon civil liberties. I should have been able to pay my own medical bill when a few years ago, a four-bypass coronary operation upon my blood vessels cost $75,000. My insurance company infringed upon my personal business by paying the entire tab. Yes. The actually did that. Paid the entire bill.

Then they did it again five years later, paying the medical bill of $50,000 when doctors inserted a stent in another vein causing a blockage.

Well, enough of this silliness. One can argue that the above examples are an infringement of personal freedoms. Now we are being mandated to purchase health insurance whether you want it or not, can afford it or not.

Yet we live with these mandates and many others every day. Nobody bothers you if you pay all the necessary dues, on time and in full.

So why are we complaining about mandatory health care. Good health is important at any age. We have millions of poor people who cannot afford health care. They should have protection. One major point of state medicare programs is to take care of the poor, the programs some states want to abolish because of costs.

The new health care bill is not perfect.

So let’s fix it.

Newly elected Republicans and Tea Party advocates want to repeal the bill.

Not a good idea. Health care 2011 should be here to stay. Most pundits predict it will be difficult to repeal.

Let’s concentrate on fixing the problems not creating more while gambling with the health of millions of Americans who need it. The election is over. Points have been made. Let the grandstanding abate, the uninformed gasbags deflate.

The business of our country has always been to promote the general welfare. What better way to begin a new decade, than to promote good health for everyone?

We can afford auto license tags and driver’s license fees. But can we afford a heart attack?

Few can.