Change for Change’s Sake Sometimes Is Not Good

The final number of the musical Hairspray is a rollicking number involving the entire cast titled “You Can’t Stop the Beat”. It is performed after the Corny Collins show, a teen dance show like American Bandstand, becomes integrated. The setting of this play is in Baltimore in 1962 when the civil rights movement was gaining strength. The song is about how no one can stop the movement of progress no matter how hard they try.

Perhaps the people we have sent to Washington DC and to Columbus should realize that they “can’t stop the beat” as well. No matter how hard they try, no one can stop the march of progress. Specifically I am speaking about the efforts to block efforts to combat global warming, ignoring all the scientific evidence. I am also talking about the effort to repeal and undo the Affordable Care Act that may cost many Americans their health insurance. I am also talking about efforts to defund Planned Parenthood that provides much needed health care services to mostly lower income men and women. Overturning or repealing the Roe V Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion won’t make it go away.

Nor can anyone “stop the beat” toward a global economy and the development of clean and renewable energy as well. The United States is part of the global economy and the world community whether our elected officials like it or not. The United States cannot suddenly break international agreements and treaties because of a change in administration. What foreign country would ever sign an agreement or treaty with the United States knowing that when there is a new President, that agreement could be unilaterally broken?

There was a previous Presidential election where the voters wanted and voted for “change”. That election was 96 years ago in 1920. Both candidates were from Ohio. The Democratic candidate was Ohio Governor James Cox and the Republican candidate was Ohio Senator Warren G Harding. Woodrow Wilson was the outgoing President. He had served since his election in 1912 but was disabled by a stroke suffered in September 1919.

Wilson was a Progressive and under his administration the 16th amendment was ratified giving the voters the right to directly elect U.S. Senators. Previously Senators were elected by the state legislatures. Also under Wilson’s administration the 17th amendment allowing a federal income tax, the 18th amendment making Prohibition the law of the land and the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote were all ratified. In addition to those constitutional amendments, under Woodrow Wilson the Federal Reserve was established to control the nation’s money supply and the nation fought the First World War.

Woodrow Wilson became a giant on the international stage. His “Fourteen Points” offered a framework for peace after the war and one of those points was the establishment of a League of Nations to prevent future wars like the one just fought. But there was resistance to the United States joining the League of Nations and to the United States becoming involved in global politics.

James Cox campaigned on continuing the progressive ideals of Woodrow Wilson and on the League of Nations. Warren Harding campaigned on nostalgia, saying that what the country needed was “a return to normalcy”. In the end Harding was elected President in a landslide and with the Republican party in control of congress.

What the country got was a President who was clearly in over his head and unfit for the office. Had Harding not died two and a half years into his term, he might have become the first President to resign. His administration is best remembered for the corruption in his cabinet.

As a result of this “change” election of 1920, the United States entered into a period of isolationism. Without the United States, The League of Nations proved to be a weak organization that was unable to prevent Hitler from grabbing Austria and Czechoslovakia. It was also unable to stop or prevent Japan’s grabbing of Manchuria or its attack on China.

Suddenly more than twenty years after Harding’s election, on December 7 1941, the United States was jerked out of its isolationism. Since that “day of infamy” more than 75 years ago, the United States has been in the forefront on the world stage.

Retreating back to an “America first” outlook toward globalism is wrong now, just as it was wrong in 1921 and up to 1941. Like it or not, the United States is a major part of the world community and we need the help and cooperation of other nations just as they need our help and cooperation. Global warming affects the entire planet whether or not the President believes it to be a “liberal hoax”. Free trade is a reality and the United States must adapt to it, not shrink from it.

The country cannot go back to the “good old days” because those days are gone forever, if they existed at all. Like that closing song from Hairspray, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” or prevent progress, no matter how hard you may try. 

Lee Kamps

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:22 AM, 02.01.2017