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  • Uebelhor

In my perfect world …


January 20, 2010
As 2009 drew to a close, I couldn't help but look ahead to what I'd like the next year to bring. And if I had been invited to sit on Santa's lap, I would have had a list a mile long, not for me, but for my fellow Americans, who deserve a lot better than they have been getting the last few years.

I'd like to see stable and reasonable gas prices once again. For years and years, we, for the most part, had that. Wouldn't it be great if every station in the country sold gas at one set, affordable price and not be held hostage by some sheik in Saudi Arabia or some oil company board of directors?

I'd like to see the country focus on, not just a cure for cancer, but what causes it and how to prevent it. We work hard at putting out the brush fires, but seldom focus much time, money or energy on finding the guy with the box of matches.

I'd like to see us work together to clean up our environment. We know how polluted the planet is — that's beyond question now; anyone with a high school chemistry set can confirm the chemicals and poisons in our water, air and food — but we need to look beyond the climate change battle and focus on having clean water, food and air for the future generations we're bringing into this world.

I'd like to see religion return to the churches and away from being used by politicians to further an agenda. I remember when I was growing up, the church was the one place you could go that was politically neutral — a place where you could actually escape politics, escape from day-to-day stress — and find comfort and refuge no matter what your political leanings may be. In the little church we attended, everyone was equal, everyone was there for the same reason, and it didn't include politics. To this day, I don't know if Pastor Sullivan was a Democrat or Republican, and I thank him for that.

I'd like to see this country put its money where its mouth is when it comes to education. We all talk about the importance of education, then bad-mouth the teachers, school systems and even bus drivers when it comes time to pay the education bills. These people have the most important jobs in this country — educating our children — and we should pay them accordingly and quit bellyaching about the cost. It's worth every cent. I was a substitute teacher for a few months and, believe me, that's the hardest job I've ever had. Teaching, bus driving and even serving on a school board is not a job for wimps.

I'd like to see us, starting this month, actually become a kinder, more considerate country. It's amazing that, just in the last 10 years or so, we have stooped so low as to promote hate and discord among ourselves for no good reason. There's an old saying (and it's actually the slogan on Kentucky state flag), "United We Stand — Divided We Fall." I think we may not be too far from "falling."

Years ago, I wasn't aware that Republicans/conservatives and Democrats were suppose to despise each other. I had lots of friends in both parties. But it's getting harder and harder to find common ground, much to the credit of talk radio and greedy, lying, cheating politicians who have learned how to cash in on the anger and fear that their bumper stickers and meanness have sowed. The focus now seems to be on, not helping things get done, but stopping every effort in its tracks. How can a country survive that policy? I believe the word is "fair." Why can't we all just be fair to each other? I wonder if even Santa Claus could deliver that.

And I'd like to see the old radios for homes and cars reinvented; you know the ones, with just two knobs. One knob for on/off/volume and another for tuning. My radio at home (believe it or not, I counted) has 17 knobs and buttons and dials complete with flashing lights, a clock that takes 20 minutes to set and a timer that I cannot figure a use for. The radio in my truck has a clock that several people (even some younger ones) have tried to set but can't. So, it's always either three or four hours and 10 minutes fast, depending on the time of year.

And most of all, I'd really like to see us get universal health care. That's one of the best presents a country could ever give to its citizens. Expensive? Sure, but so are wars, sending rockets to Mars, rebuilding two countries that we helped blow up and bailing out banks. If we can somehow find funding for those things, we should be able to afford to help our own people with much-needed health care. If it's too costly and increases the deficit, as some insist it would, then do away with something not as important — like a war or two that did this country no good or a trip to Mars or fewer aides for Washington politicians. But not meeting the basic health care needs of a rich country is surely an embarrassment when every other modern country in the world has already accomplished it years ago. There's just no excuse for the greed of health insurance companies and our elected officials' lack of caring. And no matter how you paint it, that's exactly what it is.

Well, so much for my wishes. I probably won't see any of them come to pass. But next Christmas, I'll still wish for the same things. Our environment, our health, the education and future of our children, and just being united and more fair to each other will never go out of style for me. Just like the old radios with only two knobs.

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Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
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