Friday, March 26, 2010

Thank You, Mr. President

Thank you, Mr. President.

I am a graduate student. I have no money. I live from hand to mouth, and I depend on my Stafford loans to pay my tuition costs (which, by the way, are not low). I have stacks of books to read each week. Every waking minute is spent worrying about what to write in my next paper - and there is always another paper to write. I write at least two small papers each week, all the while working on at least one or two ongoing large papers. I have presentations stacking up on top of each other like Duplo blocks. I practically ingest coffee through an IV.

My stress is very high, Mr. President. I am in debt up to my eyeballs, and I am trying to get through school as fast as possible to keep from adding too much more to it. I have little chance of getting a job in the USA once I graduate. The one thing that I haven't had to worry about, Mr. President, are my loans. They were cut and dried. The money is in my student account, and I've been confidently eying it, knowing there was just enough.

And then, because you couldn't do it in the open like an honest person, you snuck a clause into your massive pork-barrel health bill about overhauling student loans. Is my money still there? Do I have to reapply for aid? Do I have to sign another promissory note? Who do I pay back now, the government or my lender? Who is my lender now? Do I owe part to my old lender and part to the government now? Do I still have my money on the same terms? Are you going to change my interest rates or the date when I have to start paying it all back?

I chose a bank I had dealt with in the past to be my lender. They gave me agreeable terms. They treated me well. I was happy. Now, because you are determined that government should take over as much as possible of the private sector, I have to waste time that I could use for studying trying to figure out what is going on with my loans. I'm confused and I am frustrated. I have no idea what the new terms of my loan will be. I have no idea what changes you will decide to make for me. And now, when I should be writing my thirty-page research paper, I can't. Instead, I have to call every office and their brother office trying to figure out what is happening with my loan.

What do student loans have to do with healthcare? Nothing, aside from the fact that you're trying to convince everyone that 62 million dollars supposedly saved from loans (which, like your other claims, you have yet to back up with evidence) will pay for your 938 BILLION dollar scheme. You have no idea how to pay for it, but you shoved it through anyway. And of course, since you took all that campaign money from special interest groups, they got to have a say in what went into the bill. The people of the United States didn't get a say, but your pals did.

You have no right to tell me who I can and cannot borrow money from. You have no constitutional right to interfere in this matter (let alone the matter of health care) at all. None. Zilch. Nada. You have the constitutional right to protect my rights and to protect me from harm. I don't care what intentions you claim to have in all this, the point stands - YOU HAVE NO RIGHT. You have violated the United States Constitution. (Have you ever read it? I have. It's a great read.) You have no right to force me or anyone else to buy health insurance in 2014 - and threaten us with fines if we don't. You have no right to make me or anyone else pay for someone else's abortion. I wonder if your supporters are aware of the fact that many premiums will go up by as much as 30% under your "brilliant plan." Taxes have to increase to help pay for your plan. In the middle of a depression, companies will lose millions of dollars because of your plan. Do you think that won't mean more lost jobs?!

I am mad as hell. I want to storm down to Washington, grab hold of your padded shoulders, and shake that self-congratulatory, I-just-saved-the-world look off of your face. I want to sit you down and make you read the Constitution (probably for the first time). Then I'd like to make you read it again, just to drill it in. I'd like to make you study history, government, and economics so that maybe, just maybe, you'll finally come up with an idea that isn't downright stupid. And maybe after all that you'll also realize why giving the queen of England an iPod with videos of your speeches was in poor taste, and why reassuring terrorist groups that you're going to cut the number of US troops in their playground by a certain date is lousy strategy (and stupid).

I am going to campaign for whatever candidate runs against you in the next election until I drop from exhaustion. I don't care if I have to quit whatever job I have by then in order to have time to do it; I will campaign until I'm blue in the face to keep you from being reelected. I will sell my blood to buy signs if I have to. And believe me, plenty of others feel the same way. We've had it. We've been humiliated internationally by all of your many faux pas, we watched in horror as you collected a Nobel Prize that you had no right to (for heaven's sake, you hadn't done a blasted thing to earn it, and you had the nerve to accept it), and now we've lost even more of the liberty that far better men than you DIED for. We will campaign against you and have tea parties until we puke just to get you out. YES, WE CAN!

Thank you, Mr. President. Now please go help North Korea and Iran the way you've helped the USA.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"