Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Happened to my GOP

"Compassionate Conservative." "Fiscal Conservative." "Social Conservative." "The Grand Old Party / The GOP." Growing up I heard those terms all too much and I search today for their value. My Dad was a GOP guy and so very proud of it. My Dad also died of ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease and that was 20 years ago. Nothing has changed with ALS, there still is no cure and the deaths are on the rise. As my Dad reads the news today I'm sure he is disappointed with his "Grand Old Party." I'm sure he would say, "why the lies, why the debt, why the mess, why all the suffering."
In 2004 my Dad witnessed another disappointment. That was the year, at age 54, I was diagnosed with ALS. That was the year I found there was no help for me as well. I was shocked to learn that there were ALS groups to help my wife and I adjust. That was the kind of help my Mom and our family didn't have. Different than the year my Dad died, we found support groups, care specialist, better therapies, but still no cure.
In 2004, I learned of the ALS Association that was advocating a new bill in congress that would start to collect data on the occurrences of ALS. They called it the ALS Registry Act to help researchers and even though my Dad could not be counted, I could. I took up the cause with great passion and in just three years something good for ALS was about to happen. ALS patients, some 30,000 at last, would have a little hope in breaking down the barrier of an ALS cure.
In December 2007 our hopes were halted by a GOP guy, a "Compassionate Conservative Doctor," by the name of Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Sen. Coburn had put S.1382 on "Hold" and no one but he could ever release it. Coping with ALS is the worst of all diseases but being part of a campaign to punish the U.S. for spending is not the compassion my Dad once believed in. I am positive my Dad is very disappointed at the spending the GOP has been part of and the selfish action of this one mans barricade against hope. I am also positive my Dad holds himself responsible for my ALS. Now my children live each day in fear of Familial ALS.
One last chance, on July 28, 2008, the Senate voted to bring up a vote on a package of 34 of the 90 bills being held by Sen. Coburn. Yes, S. 3297, Advancing Americas Priorities was a cloture vote that was 8 Ayes short and failed with 52 Ayes to 40 GOP Nays. One senator said these bills could wait. He obviously has not spent a day in a wheelchair or has a loved one dying from ALS. To us, time is our enemy and has a whole different meaning when you have under five years to live.
I'm sure my Dad is disappointed and wonders what has happened to his GOP.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like you, I wonder what happened to the GOP. They turned into out of control big spenders.

I think you are too hard on Sen Coburn. This is why I hate politics. They can't simply up or down vote on each issue, they have to bundle up good and bad together and so nobody every really wins.

Good Senators like Dr Coburn are criticized for holding up good legislation, when he also held up a bunch of junk spending.

It's a sick system...