I realize that the Presidential primaries are still underway and we still don't have a nominee on the Democratic side. Up to this point I have pointed out the problems/corruption with the current administration but I have tried to remain neutral between the Democratic and Republican parties in my postings. I have decided that it is time to take the "gloves off" and reveal my true thoughts and experiences.
I must admit that I was a "dyed in the wool" devout Republican. I will admit to you that I voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election. I was making trips to Capital Hill back then trying to recruit political assistance with the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue. I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting any assistance from my party of choice on a subject that was so well documented and blatently obvious. I remember my frustrations from back then, it felt as though I had run into an immovable block wall.
Thankfully, the Washington Post saw fit to publish a well written story about the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident in January 2004. It was this article that alerted Congressman John Dingell and his staff to the Camp Lejeune situation and our plight in achieving justice. Shortly after reading the Washington Post article, Congressman Dingell requested a meeting with me. It was this meeting, and many of the things that transpired from it that began my transformation. Mr. Dingell asked me to tell the Camp Lejeune story at a hearing in April 2004. This hearing was being held because the Department of Defense was requesting ridiculous immunities from some environmental laws/regulations. Thankfully, these requests by DoD for environmental immunities were defeated by the efforts of Mr. Dingell and his staff. It was during this time-frame that I met the most intelligent person on environmental law that I know, Mr. Richard (Dick) Frandsen, a member of Mr. Dingell's staff. Mr. Frandsen opened my eyes to a lot of truths to which I had been previously blind. I can assure all of you that Jerry Ensminger did not vote for George W. Bush in the 2004 election!
After the successful defeat of DoD's immunity attempts in 2004, Mr. Dingell and his staff did not forget the victims of Camp Lejeune. It was through their efforts that we had the Expert Panel meeting that was held at Atlanta, Ga. in February 2005. It was from this meeting that the Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel (CAP) was born. I might point out that Mr. Dingell was only the "ranking member" of his committee at the time of these initiatives. Due to the fact that the Republicans controlled both houses of our congress at that time, Mr. Dingell and his fellow Democrats were having a difficult time achieving any initiatives to improve public health and the environment. It wasn't until the elections of 2006 when the Democrats won back the control of congress that Mr. Dingell once again became the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. For those of you who don't know, this is the committee that handles public health and environmental issues in our House of Representatives. It was because of Mr. Dingell regaining the chairmanship of the committee, that he formed the Investigative/Over-sight sub-committee, Congressman Bart Stupak, Chairman. Congressman Stupak heard my testimony in April of 2004 and to his credit, when he finally got the chance to do something about it, he did. This is how we got the June 2007 congressional hearing about Camp Lejeune!
There are a lot of people out there saying "the Democrats now have control of our congress, why aren't they achieving more?" Yes, the Democrats did win back control of both houses of congress in the November 2006 elections. What most people don't understand is the fact that the current Democratic control is of the narrowest margins. With the Republican administration still occupying the White House, the Democrats can pass bill after bill and send them to President Bush. If Bush doesn't like the bill, he vetoes it and sends it back to congress. When this happens, it takes a 2/3 majority in the House and and a 60 vote majority in the Senate to over turn a Presidential veto. Due to the fact that the Democrats don't hold strong enough majorities in either house of congress, George Bush's mis-guided loyalists that remain in congress are blocking the Democrat's initiatives! The term for this type of situation in our government is known as "grid lock." The Republican pundits on TV and radio want you to believe that the Democrats won back the control of congress and they aren't accomplishing anything because they are incompetent. No, they aren't able to accomplish anything because of political games being played by Republicans! Plain and simple, a case of sour grapes!
It doesn't take a "rocket scientist" to figure out the political mood of our country. I challenge all of you to look at the results of the primary elections for the Presidency that have taken place thus far in our nation. Forget about the names of the different candidates participating, look at the vote totals for both party's candidates, add them up. The Democratic candidates are receiving votes 3-1 over the republican field. It is my opinion and my personal hope that there is a Democratic "landslide victory" this November. We need Secretaries, Administrators, and Directors appointed to head our federal departments and agencies whose priorities are working to protect the American people and not just covering for the administration and their special interest groups! It is my opinion that if John McCain were to win the Presidential election this November, many of the people that are currently in place would remain there. This would basically mean business as usual and this is exactly what we don't need!
I can't close this posting without adding this fact. While I have pretty much blasted the Republican party, I must in all good conscience give my praise and support to the one (and only) Republican who has helped us with the Camp Lejeune situation. That Republican is Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. She stepped up to the plate and took initiatives on our behalf that I know put her at odds with many of her contemporaries and to her credit she did not wavier! Senator Dole set an example for all elected officials to follow, forget about party politics and do what is morally right by your constituents, that is exactly what she did! Jerry Ensminger