Posts Tagged ‘Montpelier’

Excuse me for waxing constitutional, but I’m one of those wild Americans who fought for Health Insurance Reform – meaning I signed petitions,marched and asked perfect strangers on the historic downtown mall to sign petitions, and regaled anyone I knew with its necessity. Granted, we progressives didn’t get everything we wanted, but leave it to VA to bring one of the first constitutional challenges to bear on the Affordable Care Act. My in-Laws arrived just in time to hear my complaints, and they left this morning while the Supreme Court continues to hear their own arguments.

So what better place to bring Ada and Hudson than to the birthplace of the Constitution itself! This living, breathing document first began life in James Madison’s mind right here in Orange, VA at Montpelier. Our fourth President was born in the foothills of the Blue Ridge but studied at Princeton (then called The College of New Jersey). He spoke and read many languages, including Greek and Hebrew and studied the history of the first Scottish Parliament from 1297. Most have heard of his beautiful wife, Dolley, but by all accounts his intellect and capacity for the politics of persuasion simply put, forged those 13 states into a democracy. Well, maybe Dolley’s idea to throw open the doors of the White House every Wednesday night to everyone who wanted to catch the ear of the President helped!

Now the question the Justices must answer is whether Congress has the power to require “almost” all Americans to secure health insurance or pay a penalty. The penalty for those intransigent enough to not acquire insurance would be payed to the IRS, so does that automatically make it a tax? Should Congress compel its people to purchase a product? All of us, at one time or another, will need some health care. Not all of us will need to purchase broccoli. We are required to buy car insurance when we drive a car, or pay a penalty. We are all driving our bodies through this life. All of us end up paying for those who cannot afford medical care anyway…for me, it hinges on our core American values. And I believe every American deserves health care, just like the rest of the civilized world!!

Madison wrote a document that was broad enough in scope to be amended when our country outgrew things, things like slavery. “The quest for a Bill of Rights helped to merge the two traditions of the Founders, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. After the adoption of the Bill of Rights, both camps were able to give their support to the new Constitution. The Bill of Rights provided the mortar that helped cement the new relationship between the states, the people, and their new national government.” In the First Amendment we read “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” We did this 2 years ago. Now my son and daughter’s young friends can purchase health insurance. We cannot be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition. Don’t deny the American people this fundamental human right to health and wellness. Dolley would be very disappointed.

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Bob, our friend Al and I had a great time at Montpelier’s Fall Fiber Festival yesterday. Montpelier is the home of James Madison, situated northeast of us in Orange County. Hands down, this is my favorite festival of the year. http://www.fallfiberfestival.org/sheepdog-trials.htm  Why?

Bob and Al

First: They have Sheep Dog Trials. Yes, shepherds stand in the field and whistle a certain tune to make their dogs herd some sheep. It’s almost like being back in Ireland and watching this happen for real, on my cousin Mary Gilboy’s working farm. If the dog nips at a stray sheep, he’s eliminated. Just watching those crafty black and white dogs crouch down and start running three balls of wool through gates and fences made me think I’ve got to plan more exercise for Ms Bean.

Second: They have Sheep, Goats, Llamas and Alpacas! There were sheep I’d never heard of before, like Scottish Blackface Sheep from Braeburn Farm in Roseland. And oh do they have soulful eyes and the prettiest coats you ever did see! It’s nice to know these animals are living a good life, being bred for their beautiful fiber that is shorn in the Spring. Did you know that cashmere fiber is just the downy undercoat of a certain type of goat? And that it is eight times warmer than wool and one third lighter in weight?

Third: They have All Things to do with Fiber Arts! Weaving, spinning, knitting, crocheting, dyeing, hand-painting, pottery. Sue Henshaw is a potter who makes bowls that will skillfully display your yarn and keep two skeins separate next to your favorite knitting chair: http://www.suehenshawpottery.com

My friend DeeDee Greer’s husband Bill has been making small looms for hand weaving rugs and placemats with their alpaca rovings. I still think their Rivanna River Alpaca yarns are the yummiest.

Bob and Bill

Fourth: They have Kettle Corn! And speaking of munchies and fiber, and thinking of Bob and Al and his newspaper taxi, you probably heard about Cheech and Chong signing on with an ad agency to sell the health benefits of Fiber One brand brownies? No, well here it is Baby Boomers: http://www.fiberone.com/magicbrownie/   You’ve got to admit, this is comic genius.

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