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No Government Republicans?

Whatever happened to “limited government” Republicans in the time between Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush? While I don’t call myself a Republican (nor a Democrat), I relish the “hands off” government that was espoused by Ronald Reagan. And, while I recognized that Bush has, in the past six years, limited Americans’ freedoms, I haven’t been slapped in the face with this issue until I had to purchase a box of Advil Cold and Flu medicine the other day.

This is not an historical article, as I haven’t had the time this week to research the changes between that occurred within the two-party system in the U.S. over the past two centuries. But I want to log this event, as I was shocked and angered at what I had to endure to purchase this cold medicine. And, while I’m distressed over the purchase procedures, I’m intrigued about living during a time where the two-party system seems to be – once again – changing roles.

I haven’t purchased cold or flu medicine in over a year, but my roommate begged me to go out for this particular brand as he suffered mightily with a nasty cold. So, I braved the rain and ventured out to the closest pharmacy. I headed to the cold and flu medicine aisle, but several minutes passed before I found the Advil. The regular stock of boxes was missing. In their place were little cards that I could take to the pharmacy counter to purchase the medicine.

While I knew in the back of my mind that the reason behind the lack of boxes had something to do with Sudafed and crystal methamphetamine, I had no idea that I was about to be judged based on the actions of illegal drug manufacturers and dealers.

First, I had to hand over the card that detailed the specific drug. Then I had to hand over my driver’s license. As the pharmacist, a young woman, typed my information into her computer about five feet away, I realized that I was under scrutiny for something that others had done in the past. In other words, I was an unwilling victim.

The pharmacist was brutal. She spent a full seven minutes on that computer, and she had my driver’s license in her hand. During that seven minutes I flashed back to my three speeding tickets and to the time when my employers paid for me to leave Alabama because I tested Gulf waters for Dupont waste (I can’t talk about the employers as they’re still in business). While all these memories seem silly when compared to illegal drug trafficking, I still sweated over what that pharmacist viewed on her computer screen.

But, before the pharmacist walked away from her computer, anger overcame me. I felt violated, cheapened, and betrayed. I was scrutinized simply because I wanted to purchase some cold and flu medicine, and I wondered just when that pharmacist had turned into a soldier for an omnipresent government.

She finally walked away from the computer, and she seemed disappointment. I was innocent. She filled the prescription as she picked a box from a shelf, and she walked to the register and asked me to sign a form that resembled a political petition. This signing was a ruse to collect my signature for future use, similar to a fingerprint. I’m sure of this, as the following events that unfolded didn’t bring peace to this humble mind.

I asked her, “So, is my driver’s license now on a database?�

“Yes,� she responded.

I replied, “I may have to vote Democrat this year.� She asked why. I told her that I thought government had overstepped its boundaries with this procedure. She said, “You can thank the meth addicts for that.�

As I counted out the seven dollars to pay for the medicine, I stated calmly, “I’m not going to blame the addicts. I’m going to blame the government. They’ve failed so miserably with the drug issue that innocent citizens are being persecuted to solve the problem.�

I might be wrong. Maybe this is the best way to control the crystal meth problem. But I’m not very happy about my unwilling entry into a national database that holds information about my birth date, my driver’s license number, and my photo id when I fell victim to the huge Veteran’s data theft that occurred earlier this year when a laptop was stolen. That event took a toll on me, and the Advil event eroded my trust in my current government even further.

But, it seems that I’m not alone. Many folks are disillusioned with this current government. No – many folks are disappointed with both political parties. I think the reason behind this disillusionment is that both parties are experiencing flux. Republicans have turned a corner. They no longer represent the “hands off� Reagan administration. Instead, they have penetrated every corner of our lives with over-governing at an inept level.

The Democrats, on the other hand, still lack a direction. They haven’t penetrated anything since Monica. But, if I base this point on a historical basis, perhaps some answer will reveal itself. A third party, perhaps, is the solution? Or can Americans come to an agreement that America – once considered the most powerful country in the world – has become a low-rated joke on issues about education, ecology, and at-home poverty? Can Americans come to a consensus on what we all believe to be righteous?

Oh, but everyone has an opinion on what is righteous. I just know that I’m not going to be subjected to this type of scrutiny again. Ever. I’m innocent.

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