Congratulations are in order for our senior U.S. Senator, Harry Reid. He managed a difficult political coup by holding the 60 votes in the Senate to allow the health care bill to be debated. If anyone doubted Sen. Reid's political prowess and his ability to hold the coalition together for the good of the people, they can be assured that his political skill is serving both our nation and our state well.
The Senate will have to get the same or a slightly different configuration of the 60 votes to pass a health care bill and send it to a subcommittee for reconciliation. The Congressional conservatives are digging in to kill that vote. They don't appear to care about health care for the millions who don't have it; they are unconcerned about those who are going to lose their health insurance because they won't be able to afford it; they appear to have a mindless predisposition to ignore those who are struggling to survive. These obstructionist politicians seem only concerned about themselves.
A friend of mine dislikes Harry Reid because the senator came from a poor family. According to the senator, his childhood home did not have running water, and the senator's mother had to take in the neighbors' laundry to make ends meet. My friend thought Sen. Reid was lying. He reasoned that if you don't have running water how can you do your own laundry much less someone else's? Unfortunately there are a number of people like my friend who listen to talk radio and are swayed by this convoluted logic.
What happened to our treasured reputation for preserving human rights and dignity among those who function at the fringes of our society (or even those in the middle)? We are the richest nation in the world, and yet we appear to be more concerned about self-interest than human care. Apparently there are some in the Congress who don't believe in these values, while Sen. Reid is trying to preserve them.
It's not only the Congressional conservatives who are unraveling our democratic values; there are those in our local community who engage in fear-mongering and anti-government rhetoric. Recently there was an effort among a small group of neo-cons to recall Sen. Raggio!
Sen. Bill Raggio is a thoughtful, decent and productive legislator, a conservative Republican who continues to make difficult political decisions to help Nevada become economically viable. His skills are desperately needed. Those calling for his recall don't have a clue.
We all need to take a deep breath and think rationally. Those who are working hard to help us survive need our help. Let's support them.
• Dr. Eugene T. Paslov, former Nevada superintendent of schools, is a board member for Silver State Charter High School in Carson City.