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Government Spending

                                                         It’s the Spending Stupid 

I received a inquiry from the RNC.  It was a survey on what registered Republicans regarded as the most important issues.  To me, spending is close to the only issue.  One question asked if the Republican Party should continue to discuss religious issues.  ( I do not have the exact phrasing, but the question was that blunt.)  Cynics have characterized some Republican campaigns as God, Guns, and Gays.  

Happily, I have not seen too much of “gays”  used as an talking point in the current political cycle.  In forty three years of practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, I worked with gay and lesbian physicians and nurses on a daily basis.  I have no views on gays and lesbians except the nation needs more strong hot young lesbian characters in the movies.  It is all about positive role models.  The law should treat all persons equally without regard to sexual preference of ethnicity.  To me gay marriage is a boring topic unless it involves young hot lesbians.  But I digress.  I do not believe that state sanctioned gay marriage will affect the behavior of straight persons.     

                                                                  Guns

With 200 million hand guns in circulation, criminals have no difficulty securing a gun.  It is appropriate for law abiding citizens to carry in at least some locales.  The nation is a dangerous place.  The anti – gun people seem to be losing steam.  Score one for the Republicans.   

                                                      God and Sally Hingston 

On 14 May, Sally Hingston sounded the alarm in the Philly Post.  A Mormon Temple is to be built at 17th and Vine.  Ms. Hingston was alarmed.  It was to be “right in the middle of Western Civilization” and she appraised the increased risk level of another goofy religion.  She noted with apparent glee the decline in the Catholic schools and the number of Catholic clergy. 

Ms. Hingston is the “liberal” equivalent of some “conservative” politicians who infuse their speeches with professions of support for God as if that will pay the bills.       

This is the first article I have read by Ms. Hingston.  An Internet check of her background, I learned that besides being a journalist, she was a novelist and written a series about raising her children.  This is important.  Fairly or not, I tend to pay more attention to persons with children. Society is a biological process.  It progresses by the accomplishments of its people.  Writers and even the law which spread and/or enforce ideas are trumped by babies. 

                                                             Full Disclosure  

I reside in Orange County and there are lots of Mormons.  I have frequently been in the same room with a number of Mormons.  I have been non-religious much longer than Ms. Hingston.  My view is, to paraphrase Mark Twain – he was talking about Wagner’s music - religious Americans are better than they sound.  The believers mollify their personal belief system and frequently move on to some other religion or non-religion.  Scores of times, I have heard persons – usually physicians – report that they “were raised Catholic, but” —–.  I thought I had heard all possible “buts” until I was a patient in a Catholic hospital.  The x-ray technician was a 60 ish woman who related she was raised Catholic “but, now I’m a pagan” as she displayed a pagan icon.  The Catholic Church in its current form is not the aggressive organization of my youth.  Pope John Paul II devoted a lot of time apologizing for the horrors inflicted by the Church.  According to Jewish historians, he missed Queen Isabella of Spain, but no one is perfect.  Joke intended.    

Opposition to first term abortion and the morning after pill costs pro-life Republicans votes in most parts of the nation.  A number of physicians who have had personal contact with women patients have opined that it is a stealth issue.  It does not fully show up in polling.  The strident anti – abortion view which has so much support in America is unusual in the world.  When I was stationed in Greece over forty years ago, I became aware that abortion was a form of birth control.  A Greek woman who was a laboratory technician in our dispensary told me that “all women have eight or nine abortions in their lifetime”.  It occurred to methat there were better methods of birth control.

                                              Contrary Positions – A Look at “Babyland”

Social conservatives move from support of fiscal conservatism to an anti – abortion stand in the same breathe.  The issues are more than different, they are opposed. 

“Babyland” was an ABC TV show in Aug. 2008.  In was about low birth weight babies in the African American community in Memphis, Tenn.  Many of the babies died.  Others required extensive neonatal care.  As usual, there was no long term follow up on the babies.  There is an increased incidence of central nervous system defects and chronic lung disease.  No fathers were mentioned save one eighteen year old father who was shot to death a few days after his baby was born.  The mothers were age twelve to a few years older.

Besides a few very young pregnant women the program featured an African American woman physician who provided care for the mothers, a neonatal specialist of South Asian ancestry, a white woman volunteer and some politicians.  The fault lay with the community which failed to provide visiting nurses for the pregnant women.  There was a deficiency in funding for visiting nurses.  There was at least the suggestion that proper funding would obviate the whole problem.

The March of Dimes web site lists causes as mother’s under age 17, smoking, the use of a number of illegal drugs, and trauma.  It is not clear where visiting nurse fits in.  Despite the admitted liberal tilt of ABC, there was no mention of birth control or abortion.  A google search revealed the presence of Planned Parenthood  in Memphis which offered a variety of birth control methods and termination of pregnancy.                

The sincerity of politicians who oppose legalized abortion is not questioned.  Some oppose government funded abortion – again for religious reasons.  Those who take those positions should admit that banning abortions or not providing government funds will increase government costs over time.

Mormons oppose abortion except in the case of incest and rape.  They have a high birth rate.  The homicide rate in Utah is lower than almost any other state.  They are not heavy users of government services.  The tax payers in Philadelphia are clicking their heels.  If the government paid for obstetric care for law abiding folks both Mormon and non – Mormon, would that be a liberal or a conservative policy?

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