Saturday, May 17, 2008
There are a few "Wow, I'm actually building this!" moments during the construction of an RV airplane. Today was another one. The plane is now on its main gear, an end to the days of sawhorses that started a few years ago with the laying of the longerons. Back then, I remember saying, "man, this is flimsy stuff." No more.
David and Mary Maib, who are building an RV-10 across the field, walked over to lift the fuselage enough for me to get the gear rods inserted. They are terrific people and if there's anyone working harder than these two on their project, I've never heard of them.
Earlier, I stopped over to Wipaire for a couple of elbow fittings for the brakes (still no sign that Van's supplies these with the kit) and spent time talking to Linda, who runs the parts counter on weekends and then Mary stopped by for a part. We talked about Paul Story's situation, with his wife very sick and in need of treatment.
Paul has to sell his RV-7A, which is on the field and within days of being able to fly, presumably to pay for the treatment.
Meanwhile, a few miles down the road, the Minnesota Legislature and our governor -- the man who wants to be John McCain's vice president, are talking in the most abstract terms. Gov. Pawlenty keeps raiding the Health Care Access Fund, which funds our state subsidized health care program for working Minnesotans (it's not funded with general fund tax revenues and it runs a surplus, a fact which its detractors intentionally ignore). He uses the money to balance the budget so he can keep his no-new-taxes pledge in an election year.
We can argue all day and night about big government-small government and never say anything new or productive. It's a philosophical conversation, usually pointless where politics is concerned because it is devoid of reality.
Paul's and his wife's situation is repeated daily in thousands of homes around the country. It's what the ridiculous health care system in our country looks like on the ground and nobody in a country that can afford a $200 million a day war should have to tell a spouse they can't afford to treat a life-threatening illness. This state, this country can afford it; it simply chooses to spend its money on other things.
And that is an American tragedy. Shame on the politicians and to the extremists on both sides of the aisle whose allegiance is only to their political parties. Personal responsibility? Yeah, I got your personal responsibility right here. That hackneyed, catch-all phrase is used to make people feel better about their occasional lack of decency.
We're better than this.
(BTW, don't even think about trying to determine my political affiliation from the above. You'll most likely be wrong. I'm one of those strange people who agrees with the right on some things and disagrees on others. I'm one of those strange people who agrees with the left on some things and disagrees on others. That puts me, I guess, squarely in the middle... a section of the population that used to matter.)