With the presidential election looming in the near future, two area seniors share their views on the issues Americans are facing.
Cecil Reed, 79, of Bradford, Pa., a Tanglewood Assisted Living resident who served in the Korean War, said one of his major concerns is the proposed cuts to Medicaid.
"I know it will affect me, especially since they are trying to cut Medicaid," said Reed. "When I was young I had BlueCross/BlueShield and I paid $27.50 a month for complete coverage. But, today you don't get complete coverage and you have to pay a co-pay, which can be very expensive in the case of some medications. Also, since I live here (Tanglewood Manor), some of my rent is paid by my pension, but the rest is covered by Medicaid. Instead of cutting it, they need to keep it where it's at, or even raise it a little bit to help older people. And, what's it going to be like for younger people when they get older, they are going to have nothing."
The legalization and regulation of medical marijuana is another issue that Reed is concerned about. After receiving an injury during the Korean war that left a silver-dollar sized piece of shrapnel three inches from his heart that wasn't removed until 1996 when he had a heart attack, Reed has experienced much pain as a result, he said.
"I was in the military, and when I got hurt in Korea they gave me morphine," said Reed. "But, the Korean doctors were running out of morphine. So, instead they had medical marijuana that they made into a liquid, and gave it to us like morphine. Morphine would kill your pain for about four hours, whereas marijuana would kill it for six. They should let people grow it, and pharmaceutical companies should buy it off of them for medical use because it would be a better pain killer than morphine."
Reed would also like to see a more religious leader in office because he believes it would put an end to much corruption, he said.
"I don't like either one of the two guys right now," said Reed. "But, if they can get a man that was quite religious, I think you'd see the whole country change."
Reed also believes a religious leader may also be able to put a stop to man to man and woman to woman marriage. Because, he said, the Bible says you're only to marry a man and a woman.
In regards to foreign policy and war, Reed believes that the American military is pulling out of Afghanistan too quickly, he said.
"They should do like they did with Korea and stay there until both sides decide to give up fighting," said Reed. "They may have pulled out some of the troops, but, they still have troops in Korea, Vietnam and Japan and all over the world. We need to keep troops there to make sure they don't cross the line again. We're protecting them as a country and people by stopping the fighting."
But, the situation at home is just as important as it is abroad, according to Reed. That's why he believes companies need to stop moving jobs overseas.
"We need to keep the jobs right here in the states," said Reed. "We also need to start companies that put people to work, and take them off a unemployment and welfare. That way more people are paying taxes too."
Reed believes that if a president like Franklin D. Roosevelt was around today the situation would be much better, he said.
"All the presidents from George Washington all the way up to Kennedy were religious," said Reed. "And, we haven't had a religious president in there since."
Kathleen Somers, 90, originally hailing from England and eventually a resident of Oil City, Pa., is a Tanglewood Assisted Living resident who is very fond of reading and history. Somers isn't tremendously informed about the upcoming election, but she does feel that she is entitled to her opinions.
"I think the election campaigns are far too long," said Somers. "I don't think there are any other civilized countries that have campaigns that are this lengthy. I think it gets so boring that people don't know where they are. Where I came from candidates couldn't start campaigning until three months before the election."
Somers also feels that because she is so much so a senior at this point, that the issues discussed by the presidential candidates don't really apply to her anymore, she said.
"There really isn't going to be that much that can affect me," said Somers. "I suspect the health issues are the main ones that might. And, the economics are beyond me. But, like any other sensible person, I feel for my grandchildren that I should be concerned. I have a large family, and fortunately they are set in their careers. Thankfully they were able to have an education because they've worked hard. I don't believe that anyone should expect our country to hand feed us, but I do expect it to see that there is opportunity. And, I don't know that this country does the greatest job of preparing our school children for their future, which I think it most important."
In addition to concern for the future of her family, another reason that Somers believes it is important to vote is because she is an American citizen, she said.
"When I came to this country I could have applied for citizenship because I had married an American citizen," said Somers. "At that point in time president Roosevelt was in office, and because so many American servicemen, one of whom I married, had married overseas, there was an influx of people coming here after the war. So, he enacted that anyone who came here married to a citizen could apply within two years. But, I didn't want, or thought I needed to become an American citizen because I wanted dual citizenship, and at the time America wanted you whole, or not at all. My mother told me that the one thing she wanted more than anything in the world was to become an American citizen. But, I didn't give up my British citizenship until 25 years later because I wanted to be able to visit the country and my family. But, I definitely think that everybody, if they have any sense in their head, or any loyalty to the country, of course should vote. It's their opportunity to state their preference."
Somers also believes that sometimes America butts into other countries' situations to try to put the American form of democracy into every country in the world, she said.
"I personally don't think it's always a fit," said Somers. "It took a lot of countries hundreds of years to accept the kind of democracy that western civilizations think is the best. I think that our country wants to put it into other countries very quickly, and I don't think that's possible. Various populations don't think the same way we do. And, I think interfering with a lot of governments for certain reasons is not a good idea. But, I'm not very consistent because I think that sometimes it is good to try to sort people out. There is no black or white, never has been, probably never will be. But, with World War II, I thought we were right. We were told that we'd have to take the consequences and probably not have as many advantages ourselves in order to accommodate other people. Through that we learned to accept people for whom they were, without them being absorbed into our way. Sometimes we have to accommodate others whether we like it or not."