We Are The United States Of America
Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America…..We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
These words were spoken by Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic convention. Then he was a little known candidate for the United States Senate from Illinois. These stirring words as well as the rest of that speech helped propel him to the Presidency four years later. Here is a link to the entire speech: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics-july-dec04-obama-keynote-dnc/ .
It has been 240 years since the Second Continental Congress voted to break away from England and declare the thirteen colonies as independent states. Our nation fought a war to secure that independence. Following that victory, we had to form a new government. A loose confederacy of independent states had proven to be a failure. So a convention was called in 1787 to build a framework for a workable form of government for the thirteen states.
What emerged was unique in the history of the world. The United States had invented a new form of government based on a constitution and composed of thirteen states all united in one republic with specific powers as well as one leader and all representatives in that government would be elected by the people.
But just what is the United States of America besides fifty states, more than 320 million people and a government? Here are some basic facts:
We are a nation of immigrants. From the day the first settlers arrived in Jamestown Virginia to establish a colony, this country has attracted immigrants from all over the world. Our industrial strength is due in part to the masses of immigrant labor who made the steel, built the cars and other products that made our lives easier and our country strong. Our culture and language reflect this rich immigrant heritage.
We are tolerant. Ever since the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts in 1620, people have come to the United States to escape persecution. Whether it is because of religious or political persecution, people have come to the United States for freedom from persecution. In fact religious freedom and tolerance is written into our constitution. As a result, perhaps the United States is the most tolerant nation in the world.
We are diverse. Ever since the first settlers arrived on the shores of this continent, we encountered native Americans who had been living here for centuries. Since then people from all lands and races have come to this country seeking freedom and the opportunity for a better life for themselves and their family. Currently there are more languages spoken in the United States than any other nation on earth. We have grown into a nation of more than 320 million people that includes just about every ethnic, racial and religious group in the world.
We are generous. Perhaps more than any other nation, Americans give more to charity and do more to help those in need whether in our own country or overseas. Two political rivals and former Presidents, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton led an international effort to raise funds for relief of those hit by the tsunami in December 2004.
Yet despite our diversity and differences, we all salute and pledge allegiance to the same flag. We stand when we hear the Star Spangled Banner played. And, if necessary and able, we would take up arms to defend and protect this nation.
Rather than paint a vision of a better future for our country and proposing real solutions to the problems affecting the nation; some politicians are trying to gain power by dividing the nation rather than uniting the nation. In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran for President saying that “government is the problem”. But here it is thirty six years later and some politicians are still saying that government is the problem. However many of those saying that are the government.
After the election is over, let us forget about campaigning and making political points and get down to the serious work of actually governing. The President and the Congress must work together for the good of the nation, not the good of their respective political parties. Those who we send to our state and national capital to run our government have a duty to represent ALL the people in their state or district, not just those who voted for them.
It is time to realize that dividing us into groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, wealth (or lack of) and religion; makes the United States weaker instead of stronger. Our national motto is E Pluribus Unum, or translated from the Latin, From Many, One.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches this month, we all should be thankful that we are living in the greatest country in history with a stable government that has worked for more than 229 years. In addition, this year we should also be thankful that the election campaign season is over.
Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.