Today I had the honor of carrying the Marine Corps Colors in the Pentwater Memorial Day Parade. There were over thirty veterans marching in the parade, from WWII veterans, to Iraq vets like myself, and several Korean War and Vietnam vets as well.

Tim White - Memorial Day Photos

Memorial Day Parade 2010 - Pentwater, MI

The turnout was phenomenal, and it warmed my heart to see so many come out to remember our fallen. We marched through town, carrying the colors of our respective services, with Old Glory leading the way. A drummer kept time, and we marched in step to the accompaniment of cheering and whistling onlookers.

We made our way to the marina, where a few words were spoken, a moment of silence was observed, and a wreath was laid in Pentwater Lake. The rifle squad from the Pentwater VFW fired a 21 gun salute, and we made our way to the Pentwater Village Green.

At the Village Green, veterans from the crowd were asked to join those in ranks already assembled. About 15-20 men and women from several generations came out to join us as the national anthem was played. The Pentwater marching band played a rousing military melody, and my spine stiffened with pride at the notes of the Marine Hymn. A veteran gave a speech, another moment of silence was observed, and as we departed, you could hear “Thank You” and “God Bless You” being said from every direction.

Finally, we headed out to the Pentwater cemetery, where Taps was played. After all these years, those magical notes still get me a bit misty-eyed, and today was no exception. A local clergyman led us in prayer, and we laid a wreath at the war memorial in the cemetery.

Memorial Day has always had special significance to me. I began playing Taps at funerals when I was about 10 years old. My Grandfather, a Korean War Era Marine, was the chaplain for his VFW post. He used to take me along to funerals and have me play. Later in life, as a Marine, it became even more significant, as I learned the stories of the heroes who gave all to defend freedom.

But it was in 2006 that Memorial Day really became personal. I lost several good friends in the fall of 2006 and early 2007. They were fellow Marines, Brothers, who are greatly missed. Men like Troy Nealy, Minhee Kim, Luis Castillo, and several others. While each of their lost lives hurt, one was particularly personal for me.

On Feb 19, 2007, Brett Witteveen died in Iraq, on patrol in Fallujah, with Alpha Co. 1/24 Marines. Brett was a great friend, and like a little brother to me. I remember when Brett used to come by my house, put on my pack, and talk about joining the Marines someday. I was so proud of him when he eventually did.  He was just 20 years old when he passed. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, and miss him terribly.

Memorial to Brett Witteveen in Grand Rapids, MI

I hope everyone took at least a few minutes today to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many veterans. Without those that have come and gone before us, we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today. In closing, I wish to pay tribute to my grandfather, SGT Robert P. White, USMC. I miss you, Pop.

It seems that folks are a little obsessed with “Making History” when it comes to political decisions these days. But I ask you, is it more important to make history, or to prepare for the future?

During the Presidential Elections of 2008, I endured wave after wave of news reports and public sentiment that voting for Obama and electing the first black President would make history. The Democratic Party held him up to be the candidate that would bring hope and change, and would be the consummate sign that America had changed.

Now, I have steadfastly acknowledged that Obama’s campaign was one of the greatest election campaigns ever run. The campaign used every available media source, grassroots effort, and marketing strategy known to man, and they were highly effective in getting the message out.

A large number of voters voted for Obama to make history, by electing America’s first black President. Another large segment of voters voted for Obama because they were just so sick of the past administration that they wanted something, ANYTHING, but what we had. OK, fine. So be it. They made their voices heard, and President Obama won the election. History was made.

Now we have a healthcare bill signed into law using a process that makes the manufacturing of sausage look like a Renaissance Masterpiece. But hey, we made history! Again!

A significant portion of the country didn’t want it because they didn’t understand what it contained. Evidently, no one else did either, since today the government realized it missed some of the targeted protections for children. I also noticed several changes to the bill when I went back to the online Library of Congress file. As it goes to the Senate for reconciliation, more changes are expected.

We now have Healthcare Reform that cannot sustain itself, will stress Medicaid to the breaking point, and adds to our already ridiculously large deficit. How’s that for making history?

In any event, they did it, and are currently enjoying their victory. Will it be a victory for the nation, however? Eventually, someone is going to come to collect the debts America owes. What will happen at that point? Will we be bought out, go bankrupt, and join the ranks of failed governments in the history books? God, I hope not.

Will healthcare reform be the ruin of America?

Greek Ruins

We need a government that can work together. We need leaders that can focus on the issues, and rise above petty name calling. We need BOTH PARTIES to grow up, and act like the distinguished leaders we thought we were electing. We need respectable leadership that will dignify the offices they represent. We need Congressman and Senators who truly represent the will of their constituents, not party or personal goals.

The Obama campaign promised change. This administration is no better than the last, it’s just a different party, with a different agenda. Partisanship continues to run rampant, and new ways are found to circumvent the protections set up by the Constitution. These circumventions are waved off by key figures, who justify their actions by saying, “Well, the other party did it when they had power!”

That’s not making history, it’s repeating the mistakes of the past.

We don’t need to continue making history, we need to avoid becoming history.

The Healthcare issue isn’t even at the top of most Americans’ priorities list. Americans are primarily concerned with the economy, and even more importantly, unemployment. Let’s encourage our leadership to wipe the slate clean, put some band-aids on their sore egos, and focus on these two issues.

I think everyone will be a lot more willing to discuss healthcare reform once we get Americans working and get a plan in place to balance the budget. It will take more than one party, and it will require that the average American get off the couch and get involved to elect leaders that can bring it about. I’m in. Are you?

Call your Congressman!Across the nation today, people are blowing the phones off the hook, reaching out to their Congressional Representatives and urging them to vote “NO” on the proposed Healthcare Bill. Fortunately for me, here in West Michigan, I already know where my Congressman stands.

Democrats are launching a major push to pull in the votes they need to push this thing through. According to an article in the Telegraph, President Obama has even gone so far as to threaten to withdraw support for Democrats who don’t vote yes on the bill. A one-night presidential appearance can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds for a campaign. By threatening to not do tis for Democratic candidates who oppose him, Obama has drawn a line in the sand, essentially saying, “You’re either with me, or against me.”

This may seem a bit heavy-handed to some, but it’s been a trademark of this issue since it started over a year ago. No one can agree on all the aspects of this convoluted and all-encompassing bill. Many government representatives have suggested starting the process over, removing the controversial pieces, and trying to pass reform in smaller bites, more palatable to the American people. President Obama refuses to budge, however. He wants it all, and he wants it now.

That’s the part that frustrates me the most. This is no longer an issue of what is good for the United States. It’s all about who is going to win. This issue has consumed this administration, to the detriment of other issues facing our nation. Compromise isn’t even in the picture anymore. The administration is so obsessed with the idea of being the “Champions of Healthcare Reform” that they are deaf to the pleas of the American people to slow down and do this right. It’s become one big contest of egos in Washington.

The craziest thing of all is that NO ONE, from either political party, actually likes this bill “as written”. Everyone knows it’s garbage, can’t pay for itself, and is full of special interest payoffs. Where the parties truly differ is that the leading Democrats are desperate to pass SOMETHING, and the Republicans (along with some Democratic hold-outs) would rather take the time to work reform through in steps. I’m again reminded of the lesson I try to teach my kids: “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

Instead, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid continue to push this bill, essentially saying to the House opposition, “Just vote yes, and we’ll fix it later.”

Our only hope is to contact our Congressional leaders to remind them that they represent the will of the people, and that we do not want this bill. West Michigan is fortunate to have a leader like Congressman Pete Hoekstra in Washington right now, working to rally support against the bill. Pete Hoekstra  has made plain his thoughts on the bill, and his continued determination to see this bill defeated. Hoekstra is conveying the message to fight against this bill every way he can, to include social media venues like Facebook and Twitter.

Congressman Bart Stupak (D) from the Upper Peninsula could really use your calls of support right now. Stupak has jumped in front of this freight train, along with a few of his Democrat colleagues in Congress. Stupak is against the bill because he believes that the bill will open the door to federal funding of abortion. A staunch Pro-Life advocate, Stupak finds the bill unconscionable, and is holding strong despite the threats being lobbed at him by the White House. Stay strong Bart!

Michigan has a total of 15 Congressional Representatives in Washington (8 Democrats and 7 Republicans). I know these two men are against the bill, but it doesn’t hurt to call and let them know we appreciate it! I urge you to call the other members of Congress and tell them how you feel about the bill, too.

For a list of Congressional Representatives and how to contact them, visit the Contacting Congress website.

It is beginning to look more and more like a federal healthcare bill is going to be rammed down the throats of the American people. Despite numerous polls indicating that the American people do not want the current healthcare bill being offered, key Democrats in Washington are turning a deaf ear to the people and attempting to ram the bill through anyway.

President Obama has painted himself into a corner with this bill, having spent the last year trying to get it approved. Healthcare has now become known as a “Signature Item” for the POTUS. Many pundits have gone so far as to say that if he doesn’t get this bill passed he will be dubbed as a failure, and have no political relevance for the rest of his term. It’s almost if they are daring him to do it.

Mr. President, the people are going to respect you a lot more if you can acknowledge that the current bill is flawed, and work to get it right. Trying to strong-arm a bill through that is flawed, imperfect, and full of special interest pay-offs is wrong on so many levels. While I can appreciate a certain “dig-in-your-heels-and-finish-what-you-start” spirit, there comes a time when you have to admit that you have misread the will of the people, and you need to realign yourself with it.

Everyone knows this bill stinks. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly states that the American people can know what’s in the bill AFTER it passes, everyone’s internal BS detector should be going off and sounding a red alert. What are Pelosi and Reid trying to hide? Why this mad push to shove something, ANYTHING through before the upcoming recess???

The answer is obvious: they know they are doing something wrong. We know they are doing something wrong. If you were buying an insurance plan, or a car, or a home, and the agent selling the product said to you, “Sign this, sign it now, and don’t read the fine print!” what would you say? You’d run away as fast as you possibly could. If she had nothing to hide, why wouldn’t she want you to read the fine print?

Yet this is exactly what is happening in Washington even now. The leading Democrats are running around to other Democrats, trying to pressure them into voting yes on the Senate Bill. Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak, of Michigan, has even stated that he is receiving threats from the party because he won’t vote yes on the bill. Other Democrats are siding with Stupak against the bill because of some questionable items in the bill that open the door to abortions being paid for with federal tax dollars.

It still remains unclear how we will pay for this bill. Estimates of how much the proposed bill will add to the deficit run into the BILLIONS. Non-partisan studies reveal that we simply cannot afford the bill as written. When questioned about this, Democrat supporters of the bill attempt to shrug the question off, claiming that the funding can be resolved through reconciliation. They believe the best thing to do is to pass the bill, and worry about funding it later! Have we learned nothing in the last few years about what happens with this type of “blank-check” mentality?

The media has made this a battle of wills, and has even stated that if the bill doesn’t pass, Democrats are going to lose political capital. At the same time, the press warns that if the Democrats vote yes, and pass this bill against the will of the people, the Dems will be destroyed at the polls during the mid-term elections is November of this year.

It’s a no-win situation for the Democrats. A true damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t scenario. It shouldn’t have come to this, but it has. I only hope that remaining holdouts against this bill in the Democratic party will do the right thing and hold true to their committment to vote against this atrocity of a bill. The time could come for healthcare reform, but this is not the kind of reform that the people want.

Why hustle through an imperfect product? It is widely held that successful healthcare reform could be the hallmark of Obama’s presidency.  Why not do it right? Remove the shadows surrounding the current bill, and remove the taint of corruption from this issue. After all, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

I urge you to call your Congressional Representatives today and stress to them the importance of  doing the right thing. Scrap this bill, and let’s get started working on meaningful legislation that can do some good for everyone. Remember what you learned in the 80’s, and “Just say NO!”

Oh, and maybe we could even focus on some other issues; like reducing the deficit and/or getting Americans back to work. Just a thought.

Last night I attended another Lincoln Day Dinner. This time our host was the Mason County Republican Party, and I attended as a guest of Pete Hoekstra’s Campaign.

Last night, the main speakers were the Congressional Candidates for Michigan’s 2nd District. Six candidates were in attendance, and took their turns giving their backgrounds and their beliefs. This is a great place to start looking for contrast among the candidates.

Two of the candidates are existing politicians from the Michigan State Government. Sen Wayne Kuipers and Rep Bill Huizenga have both represented their districts in Lansing, and have experience in the political world. I haven’t personally agreed with some of the decisions they have made while in office, but they do undoubtedly have the experience. Unfortunately for them, there is a wide current of public sentiment that is not happy with the current state of affairs, and political experience may do them more harm than good.

Next were two new candidates that I hadn’t seen prior to last night. One was a self-professed “Tea-Party Republican” from Honor, Michigan who was plainly uncomfortable speaking in public, and did little to instill any excitement in me.

The other was actually so far left in his views that I honestly can’t remember his name. His stance is one of “open-mindedness,” and he believes that we should look to foreign publications and opinions for guidance on forming our policies here in the U.S. To that I give an emphatic “HELL NO”. He, too, was low on the motivational scale.

Then there’s Bill Cooper, the successful business entrepreneur from Fruitport. Bill is undoubtedly business savvy, and I would not hesitate to hire him to run a business for me. Beyond that, Bill has had little to nothing to say on any other issues. Personally, I’m looking for a leader with a wider range of capabilities. Bill would be a great business advisor to someone in office, but I’m just not convinced where he stands on the other issues.

Finally, there’s Jay Riemersma, former NFL Player and Chair of the Family Readiness Council. Jay exudes energy and confidence. Confidence, as opposed to arrogance. Jay has true leadership qualities: the ability to consider both sides of an argument, the moral strength to stick to his principles and beliefs, and the humility to know that he is a position of service, beholden to the people. He is the only candidate as of yet to state that the reason he is running is to “Give back to the community.”

It’s Jay’s personal beliefs, principles similar to my own, that make him stand out among the crowd in my eyes. He doesn’t dance around issues. He can tackle challenges head on, and he’s not afraid of a little friction. He believes in true fiscal conservatism, and he knows that more government is not the answer to America’s troubles. Jay believes we need a strong military, and that we need to provide our troops with the support they need.

One of the Marine Corps’ (pronounced “core”, NOT “corpse” thank you very much!) key Leadership Principles is “Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement.” Jay spends a lot of time staying abreast of current events and issues. On the rare occassions I have caught him on a subject he didn’t know about, he acknowledged it and sought to learn more about the subject. This kind of humility is uncommon, and a trait essential to true leaders.

While some candidates have attempted to portray Jay as the “Dumb Jock”, the truth of the matter is that Jay has a degree from the University of Michigan, is articulate, and very capable of communicating with others.

It’s pretty obvious that I support and have publicly endorsed Jay. My intent here is to give you an idea WHY. Many of the other candidates are respectable men, and in theory are capable of filling the position. When it comes time to cast my ballot on August 3rd, however, I can only choose one, and I want the BEST choice to win. THAT’S why I choose Jay Riemersma for Congress. Jay has the strength and fortitude to lead in Washington, and we need strength and leadership now more than ever.

To find out more about Jay Riemersma, visit his website www.votejr.com.

You can also contact me for more information. I’m looking for others to help spread the word about Jay, and I could use your help. You can find my contact info at my website www.timwhitehomes.com. Comments here are great way to reach me, as well.

In the spirit of March Madness, I have prepared my own Final Four, as it pertains to our political choices this August. Remember, the election this year is one of the most important elections of our lives. Get out and vote!

Michigan State Representative – 100th District

Jon Bumstead for 100th District Michigan State Representative

Tim's Pick: Jon Bumstead

Currently held by:  Goeff Hansen (R)

District Covers: Oceana, Lake, and Newaygo Counties

Who’s Running:

  • Jon Bumstead (R) – Newaygo
  • Jane Drake (R) – Fremont
  • Marc Libants (R) – Newaygo
  • Scott Tillman (R) – Fremont

Michigan State Senate – 34th District

Tim White supports Goeff Hansen

Tim's Pick: Goeff Hansen

Currently held by:  Gerald Van Woerkom (R)

District Covers: Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, and Newaygo Counties

Who’s Running:

  • Goeff Hansen (R) – Hart
  • David Farhat (R) – Muskegon
  • Mary Valentine (D) – Muskegon

U.S. Congress – 2nd District of Michigan

Tim White picks Jay Riemersma

Tim's Pick: Jay Riemersma

Currently held by: Peter Hoekstra (R)

District Covers: Consists of the counties of Benzie, Manistee, Wexford, Mason, Lake, Oceana, Newaygo, Muskegon, Ottawa, and the northern portion of Allegan County and the northwest portion of Kent County.

Who’s Running:

  • Jay Riemersma – (R) – Holland
  • Bill Cooper – (R) – Muskegon
  • Wayne Kuipers – (R) – Holland
  • Bill Huizenga – (R) – Holland
  • Fred Johnson – (D) – Holland

Governor of Michigan

Hoekstra for Governor

Tim's Pick: Pete Hoekstra

Currently held by: Jennifer Granholm (D)

Who’s running:

  • Peter Hoekstra – (R) – (US Congress)
  • Mike Cox – (R) – (Michigan Attorney General)
  • Mike Bouchard – (R) – (Oakland County Sheriff)
  • Tom George – (R) – (Michigan State Senator)
  • Rick Snyder – (R) – (Venture Capitalist)
  • Alma Smith – (D) – (US Representative)
  • Andy Dillon – (D) – (State House Speaker)
  • Virg Bernero – (D) – (Lansing Mayor)
  • George Perles – (D) – (MSU Trustee)

The list of candidates is still changing as we lead up to the primary on August 3rd. For an unofficial list of candidates visit http://miboecfr.nictusa.com/election/candlist/10PRI/10PRI_CL.HTM

To learn more about my picks, subscribe to my blog! You can also visit their respective websites by clicking on their highlighted names.

Congressional Candidate Jay Riemersma will be in Hart, MI visiting with Oceana County residents tonight from 5pm-7pm.

It’s an informal event, and all are welcome to attend. This is a free event, and families are welcome. Jay will be on hand to answer questions, and wants to meet and hear from as many Oceana County residents as he can. This is  a great opportunity to get to know the man that we want to see representing Michigan in Washington. Refreshments will be served starting at 5pm.

Jay Riemersma is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat for Michigan. The 2nd District includes 11 counties in West Michigan, from Holland to Benzie. Oceana, Mason, Muskegon, Manistee, and Lake Counties are all a part of the district, and I hope to get people motivated to get out and vote this year.

The seat has been held by Congressman Pete Hoekstra for the last eighteen years. Pete is currently running for Governor of Michigan (GO PETE!). We need to make sure that we replace Pete with someone of similar Conservative values, and Jay is the guy for the job.

I will be hosting the event at the Starting Block, the local small business incubator that I have blogged about before. The Starting Block is a great venue for Jay, as Jay plans to address the challenges that small businesses face today. Jay is all about getting government out of the way of business, and the Starting Block is all about helping small businesses get started. When small businesses can flourish again, our economy in West Michigan will heal.

So please, come on out and see us tonight, be it for ten minutes or two hours.

Tim White hosts Jay Riemersma Meet & Greet

The Starting Block is located just off of Polk Road in Hart, about a mile east of US31. Take the Polk Road exit off of US31, head east toward downtown Hart, and just look for the signs! If you see the Oceana County Fairgrounds, you went too far.

www.JayRiemersma.com