Some General Observations

  1. On this bulletin board, I have been in a number of different, interesting debates about a wide range of topics, that included conservative versus liberal viewpoints, the effectiveness of our current president, the value of the war on terror, and others. To say I have had my thoughts challenged, and been forced to think about my answers would be an understatement. But, I enjoy debate, and I think debate on these issues is vital. As I and others have said before, to hold a position without thinking that position through is ill advised. So, the first thing I want to say is thanks to those who opposed my viewpoints. You've made me think, you've made me justify my opinions logically. You have done the same in return, and while I don't agree with many of you, I respect your convictions.

    I'm pretty conservative in my thinking. I know, Maureeno, you must be shocked at that admission. Being a conservative probably makes me in a minority here on the bulletin board, and among nurses in general. But, I base my conservativism on what I have done, where I have been, what I have seen. I've worked in anti-terrorism. I've watched the thread on what terrorists will do next with some interest. I think the posters who say they will probably resort to suicide bombings are right, but to assume (as some posters do) that terrorists are not sophisticated is dangerous. The level of sophistication required to pull off the coordinated 9/11 attacks is astounding. Not in actual execution, but in logistics and preparation. Don't discount future acts that are even more sophisticated.

    So, based on my experience, let me just say this. If I thought, for even one minute, we could make friends of the rest of the world by laying down our arms, and generously sharing our wealth with others, I'd be in immediate favor of doing so. But, to hope for that is pollyanna at best. We already supply more foreign aid worldwide than just about everyone else, combined. No, our foreign aid does not come without strings attached, but thats simply being prudent. "We'll give you aid, we'll help out, but you can't continue to torture your people." Or "you can't continue to support terrorists who want to kill our citizens." Why is that unfair?

    There are those who don't live in the US, including some on this bulletin board, who think they should dictate to us who we should elect, whether or not our adherance to the second amendment is correct, and other issues that are strictly of US interest. At one time, the Japanese even started a petition DEMANDING that all handguns be confiscated from US citizens. Not asking, demanding. Excuse me as an American if I tell them "piss off. It's none of your business." Its our debate, and I'll say the same thing to them they have often said to us (with hand extended for more foreign aid): Keep your nose out of our business.

    Some see that our government gives special breaks to Corporate America, and decries this as unethical, even as illegal. Beg pardon, but who do you think drives the US, and even the world economy? I don't remember where I read it, but its true. When the US economy sneezes, the world economy catches the flu. The same people want us to stop giving these breaks to corporations, want us to increase our aid to the poor. A noble sentiment, but the truth is that giving breaks to employers is probably the best aid there is for the poor, because it keeps major employers in the US, and keeps joblessness at lower rates.

    So, with our foreign aid, with our stong economy, with all that, why do we continue to be attacked? A couple of reasons. Bin Laden recently told us in a communique that what he really wants is to bring the "peace and blessings of Allah" on America. He wants to force his religion on us. How do liberals, who want to give the whole world a bear hug, feel about that? He wants to FORCE you to follow his religion. But is that the real reason? No. He wants a bigger piece of our pie. The quickest way he can achieve that is to force us to follow his version of Islam.

    Jealousy drives much of the world outcry against the US. I've seen it, time and again, in more foreign countries than I can mention. And, yes, I've been there. We have the highest standard of living in the world. Those of you who cry out for justice for those living in poverty in the US, go to Korea, and see how the poorest of that society live. They would die for the chance to live in what we call poverty. Go to Somolia, and see how the poor there live. There are places where the average citizen (not the poorest) would kill to live in what we call poverty.

    OK, conservative rant over. I base my comments on what I have seen with my own eyes, not what I have read in the New York Times, not what the Associated Press or United Press International tells me. Some of you will agree with me, some will not. That's OK. That's even a good thing. It shows our society is still free, in spite of what GWB's detractors tell us.

    Kevin McHugh
  2. Visit kmchugh profile page

    About kmchugh

    Joined: Mar '02; Posts: 2,000; Likes: 66


  3. by   fergus51
    Kevin, your posts are always interesting and well thought out. I would hardly think that conservatives are in the minority on the bb, and I am sure even most of us liberals agree with a fair amount of what you say.

    I don't think things are ever as black and white as liberal and conservative. I personally don't believe a big hug will solve everything. I also don't think a big bomb would necessarily do it either. I just think the real answer is going to be somewhere in the middle and involve both vengeance and compassion if it ever has any hopes of lasting (and despite our charity work there is room for more compassion and justice in our actions as there will always be). Unfortunately that doesn't ever seem to be discussed by either political party.
  4. by   canoehead
    Kevin, I like reading your posts. I gotta get this off my chest though.

    Everyone gets an opinion, and if the Japanese want to express theirs, why get in a knot about it? They haven't forced their weapons inspectors into your country.

    Sure Bin Laden wants to force his religion on the rest of the world, to further his power.The USA spreads their views on consumerism, body image, etc to gain more monetary power. Difference being the USA hasn't bombed anyone (yet). But although I don't think the two are equal, there are similarities. Both approaches have changed my way of life in a way I dislike, and have no power over.

    The USA isn't a horrible menacing giant, but neither is it a supportive friend to the world. Don't think that the highest standard of living is what everyone wants, if it comes along with the highest violent crime rate. Maybe there is some value to a foreign policy that says, "we'll back off and let other cultures work out their own issues." Instead of jumping in to keep cheap oil, and switching sides every time the wind changes.
  5. by   l.rae
    Kevin, thanks for your thoughtful post. I particularly agree with the portion of your post that aludes th the sophistication of the terrorists. I don't have the first hand knowlege that you have experienced, but follow the news closely.Today l heard that the weapons inspector now in Iraq (Hans Blik(sp)) is feared by the US to be an ineffective team leader in disarmament. This is related to the late 1980's early 90's when he led a disarmament movement and failed to detect some nuclear weapons..Supposedly, the UN has provided better provisions this time, ie: Hans can remove any Iraqi informants and their families from Iraq to question them.....and then l heard Hans says this won't be necessary...what's that about?...The news reports say that the White House states the Saddam "clearly" has weapons of mass destruction.....they know this and we go thru the motions of looking for them?
    Also, l believe that some of the W naysayers who alledge that Bush is trying to keep everyone frightened for political purpose would not be of this mind set if they had up close and personal losses on 9/11/01....nor if they had any true first hand observations/knowlege...not the propaganda spewing from the liberal press.......LR
  6. by   maureeno
    people need more than their own experience to have factual basis for opinion.
    over and over I repeat in posts the liberal/conservative dicotomy is false. over and over in my posts I offer views from outside thinkers, I quote no liberals ; I am interested in a new paradigm. over and over my ideas, and those of others, are dismissed as 'liberal' , using that word as a smear. that is not arguement, that is not debate.
    the most important thing we do as nurses is assess. every goal, every plan, every outcome is dependent on accurate assessment.
  7. by   semstr
    And Kevin, I am not jealous!
    Still, Take care, Renee

    I edited, this post, cause I don't like differences in pre-christmas-mood! LOL
    Last edit by semstr on Dec 2, '02
  8. by   kmchugh

    Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and the Japanese are no different. What irks me is this went way beyond an opinion. This was an actual petition, signed by thousands of Japanese, DEMANDING we take handguns away from all households. The event that sparked this was a tradedy, to be sure, but let's put the shoe on the other foot. Suppose we circulated a petition DEMANDING the Japanese teach a more accurate history of WW II to their school children (currently, they soft pedal the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army, and portray the US as the bad guys in the war). This would be chalked up as just one more case of the US trying to interfere with the running of a foreign country. Why is it OK for the whole world to try to tell us how to run our internal affairs? Why is it not undue interference in our running of our affairs? If the Japanese don't like what we do in our country, then stop coming here as tourists.


    "people need more than their own experience to have factual basis for opinion."

    Sorry, but I see that as laughable, if not arrogant. What you are saying is that my experience counts for naught in the formation of valid opinions. Nonsense. It is experience, coupled with study (which I have done) that gives experts expertise. I do agree with you about the labels "Liberal" and "Conservative." People on both sides of the issues use these labels as smear tactics to paint the other side, when the truth is much more complex. But, for convienence sake, I used the labels in my initial post. In truth, I don't really think of you as a "liberal," but even you must admit that many of your positions on issues are identified with the "liberal" cause.

    I don't see things in black or white. I think people on both sides, ultra liberal and ultra conservative, may have points worth considering. Unfortunately, what I see is the media presenting only the ultra liberal viewpoints in a good light. That leads most people, who find reflection too much work, to believe what they are told. And we will be attacked again and again.

    Kevin McHugh

    Edited to add: Semstr: I never said you personally were jealous. I know better. What I said was that the majority of the world was jealous of the standard of living Americans have worked so hard to provide for themselves.
    Last edit by kmchugh on Dec 3, '02
  9. by   sjoe
    This is one of the more thoughtful and useful threads so far on the BB. Well-reasoned and flame-retardant. Refreshing.
  10. by   fergus51
    As for the press thing, I think the whole war talk has been most favourable to republicans and conservatives, don't you? I mean, if the press were talking about ANY of the other issues Americans need to be concerned about, like the economy, the state of health care, etc. then whoever is sitting in the white house would be in trouble. Keeping the focus on war alone has a big benefit for republicans who can say that liberals are to soft.
  11. by   Ted
    Originally posted by fergus51
    As for the press thing, I think the whole war talk has been most favourable to republicans and conservatives, don't you? I mean, if the press were talking about ANY of the other issues Americans need to be concerned about, like the economy, the state of health care, etc. then whoever is sitting in the white house would be in trouble. Keeping the focus on war alone has a big benefit for republicans who can say that liberals are to soft.
    Actually, I second that observation. I was (am) tempted to start a thread in a similar subject, except that I wasn't going to go too much into the Republican verses Democrat thing. The problems facing our country . . . outside of terrorism and Iraq. . . concerns all Americans, not just any one party. The question is, "Which party has the most balls to address these problems?" So far, neither party is stepping up to the plate. But with regards to the news media (in particular to the 24/7 news channels) there seems to be a whole bunch of topics neatly forgotten in the name of the "Terrorism and the Impending War with Iraq". (But that really is another topic for another thread for another time. . . .)

    As for the main topics of this thread. Good discussion here. My personal opinion is that the words "conservative" and "liberal" have been bastardized by both parties. I see intellectual strength in both words if you go by the dictionary's defination of "concervative" and "liberal". . . and even "middle of the road".

    The questions are:

    Just how much of our wealth do we share to the world? I've seen out and out poverty in countries that provide us - The United State - food and clothes. Just take a walk on some of the back roads of many of the Carribean countries that cruise ships take the American tourists to. During my cruise ship days I made a few friends who are from these poor countries. These "behind the scene" cruise ship employees make more money . . . $50.00 per MONTH working 16 hours a day. . . on the cruise ship than their families living on some of these very economically poor neighboring countries (Hundorus, Haiti, Dominican Republic, etc. . .) Without a doubt, my cruiseship friends envied our country's wealth. . . and they most certainly want a piece of the pie. But their opinion of us is not very flattering. They're poor. They want to eat! And yet the food that they're family works so hard, at near slave-labor wages, to grow and harvest. . . goes to US. . . the United States. And who owns these huge farms on these poor Caribbean countries??? Certainly not the citizens of that country.

    Do we REALLY share the wealth??? I think not. Although we may give a few million dollars here and there in aid, there are still people near starving as they work hard to produce food for us to eat. Next time you eat oranges, or grapefruit, or advacodos or tomatoes, or sugar cane. . . lots of sugar cane. . . ask where they might have been harvest. Maybe in the United States. Most likely in one of our neighboring countries where the stanard of living is less than substansive.

    Please don't get me wrong. I don't want to come across as someone who disses my country. I'm proud to be an American. I'm grateful for our freedoms. I'm grateful for our "wealth". I can eat healthy and tasty food, I have leasure time to write music and play on internet bulletin boards, I can travel and be a "tourist", I can go to college and learn (I have over 9 years and three college degrees as proof). I'm very grateful. And. . . I don't want to give it up!!! But I'm willing to share. I want to share. I do share through government taxes, through church tithes, through various charity organizations (usually associated with my church). It's the least I can do. And I know I can do more if I wanted. I also know that I am not alone with my "sharing". I am amongst great and generous company as I write this thread!

    I don't have a problem with the average United State citizen, actually. I do have a problem with "Big Business"!!! "Big Business" does not make the world go around!!! I can name three local communites off hand where "Corporate Tax Breaks" were given. . . and the pay off was SHYT!!! These communites are: Schenectady, New York; Utica, New York; and Pittsfield, MA. The Corporation? General Electric. Basically, GE left these communites in search of lower-costing labor. Of course one can argue that the laborer's pay in these cities were well "above average". Still, "incentives" were given. And GE won. The recieved lower tax rates for as long as they stayed in the city. And WHEN the corporation left. . . they received the benefits of a work force willing to receive lower wages. GE won, big time!!! Three cities lost. Of course one can argue that these cities (Schenectady, Utica, and Pittsfield) should not have based their economies on one large factory. Their "One Factory" left, and they. . . . lost. . . . big time!!!! But that is not my point.

    My point is this. . . . you can hand anything you want to corporations and they going to take it. Maybe they'll provide more jobs. Or maybe they'll just up and leave. I don't think that playing "craps" with "Corporate America" is a safe bet. I mean, really. The bottom line for "Corporate America" is profit. Profit at all costs! And whole cities have felt the sting of a "gamble and loss" by throwing tax advantages towards corporations.

    I am NOT saying that we should tax the holy shyt out of the corporations. What I'm saying is that corporations do not run this country. People do. Don't ever forget that!!! The main goal of corporations is to make money. The main goal of a government is to protect its citizens. Right now, there is an administration that is pro-"Corporate America". In my eye, it's pollyanna to think that by providing tax breaks to the corporations. . . I mean really BIG corporations (heck anyone can have a corporation. . . I OWN and RUN ONE!!!). . . is going to provide "trickle down" money to the U.S. Citizenery and to the world. Please. A corporation may spend a few meesly million bucks as a token jesture of charity. But it's not dependable. It is NOT RELIABLE!!!

    Is our current administration ensuring that its citizenry (sp?) is safe, healthy, well educated, and afforded every opportunity to prosper??? And what I mean by "prosper" isn't necessarily monetary wealth. I mean "prosper" by growing to one's fullest potential. . . become the best musician; become the best nurse; become the best electrician; become the best nurse; become the best teacher; heck, even become the best (and hopefully truly compassionate) CEO of a company!!!

    I guess our government is ensuring that the "Bin Ladens" of the world won't hurt us. In my eyes, there has ALWAYS been "Bin Ladens". . . however, we were made very sensitive to this since 9/11. . . and that is the difference - we're NOW sensitized to potential threats against our country. Right now, I have no objection to beefing up our defenses. Seems like we're doing just swell in this department. Maybe too swell??? Time and history will only tell.

    But there are more than just the "Bin Ladens" of the world that require our government's protection for our safety! Long term survivability is what I have in mind. Long term servivability of our species. . . Long term survivabiity of our planet! As long as we live in an imperfect world full of greed; full of potential for pollution and potential for abuse and misues of our natural resources . . . our government should be safe-guarding our precious, vulnerable and exceedingly limited resources. Our government should be a catalist in promoting research in alternate forms of energy; alternate forms of heating; alternate forms of waste management, etc. All of this in mind for its citizenry(Sp?). Pollution kills. Ultimately lack of energy isn't going to help us either.

    Government for the people, by the people. Not government for the corporation by the corporation. PERIOD.

    Who is shoving religion down who's throat? With regards to religion being shoved downed people's throats: To be honest, I would be pissed if Bin Laden was to force his religion (what ever it may be. . . most certainly not the Islam that most faithful Muslems adhere to!) down my throat!!! What's ironic is that there seems to be this growing fear that this is going to happen. That Bin Laden is going to force his religion down our throat. But it's not going to happen. You know why? Because we're already having religion being forced down our throat! It's called the "Religious Right" the "Religious Conservatives" the "Moral Majority" the "Pat Robertsons" the "Jerry Farwells". THESE CATS HAVE THE EAR OF OUR CURRENT ADMINISTRATION!!!! To think so otherwise is shear denial. We'll never allow Bin Laden to force his brand of religious "Whatever" because we're already full of religious dog-poop! They're telling us what to think. And if we don't think the way they do, we're amoral or we're unamerican or we're not truly christians, or we're homosexual perverts or we're sinners of god because we have sex out of weblock, blah, blah, blah. . . . We don't have room for the real "Bin Laden" because we have our own "Bin Ladens" here on our own country. . . the only difference is that our "Bin Ladens" don't shoot guns. It's a big difference, granted, but it is THE only difference in my eyes.

    In the name of religion, laws are being passed that is slowly eating away at our freedoms. The worst lost of freedom is the lost of the ability to prosper. I'm talking about the laws being passed forbidding same sex marriages. Committed couples of the same sex are denied opportunities to prosper because they are denied such basic rights as healthcare coverage; denied life insurance coverage, denied the ability to rent, denied the ability to fight for one's country, denied the ability to even get a job in some places. All in the name of some warped "moral" belief that committed couples can only exist between members of the opposite sex. This one point, as well as a few others, is why seperation of church and state is sooooooo important!!!!! I am not anti-religion. To the contrary. . . I'm very pro-religion. We should all have the freedom to pray as we wish. . . as long as it doesn't physically and/or emotionally hurt other people!!! But I am against erosion of the seperation of church and state. And it's being eroded as we speak. . . . It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court handles a certain "sodomy" case where sodomy laws apparently has been used to jail two men in Texas for having intercourse. My money goes to Texas. Hope I'm wrong.

    And. . . finally . . .are we really freer under President Bush and his "Homeland Security" gang?!?!? I don't know. I've read many articles and opinions that state certain rights have been curtailed in the name of "self -defence". I don't want to get in a debate over this one, though. I'll let someone else carry this particular point of debate on. . . .

    There's a lot to be concerned about with regards to the issues that our country faces. There's a thread in the "Off Topic Conversation" forum that focuses on President's Bushes ability to lead this country. There's a lot of good debate in that thread. There is great debate in this thread. My respect to you, Kevin, for starting this debate. We should debate. At the very least, our debates gives example to the care we have towards the issues that face our nation and the world. And in my eyes, the worst possible thing to do is not care. . . to be apathetic (sp?). And I do fear that our country is apathetic to many of the issues raised in this thread as well as issues raised in other thread. Heck. . . more than 50% of eligable voters of this country DID NOT VOTE! It's almost embarrassing. . . that a majority of our citizens just doesn't give a shyt in the elections. And in my eyes we're supposed to be a nationed governed by the people for the people. No wonder "Corporate America" has such a choke hold on "our" (and I use quotation marks around the word "OUR") government.

    And let the debates continue. . . . .

    With much respect to you, Kevin, the originator of this thread, and all other debators of ""


    P. S. Well. . . I guess I got "THAT" out of my system, huh! It's long, it's boring. . . but what the heck, what's a few more words in this thread?????????
    Last edit by Ted on Dec 3, '02
  12. by   maureeno
    sorry kevin, You know I didn't say your experience counts for nothing; nor in any way is my statement: "people need more than their own experience to have a factual basis for opinion" laughable or arrogant.
    that many of my ideas are liberal, that is true. no shame there for me.
    as for our country, it surprises me, often saddens me and I am working for change.
    Last edit by maureeno on Dec 3, '02
  13. by   LasVegasRN
    GREAT debate.

    Where's RNcountry, Stargazer, and Susy? C'mon on out!
  14. by   Q.
    I'm reflecting.

    Besides, Kevin says it all for me.