Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Defending Niki's Choice

First, I'm no advocate of class warfare. Even more important, I might add, I'm no advocate of class it concerns warfare.

I hadn't heard about the brouhaha concerning Niki Tsongas' ad about her support for veterans until Democratic activist Jack Mitchell mentioned it during lunch today in Wakefield. Apparently, some peoples' hides are chapped that the son of renowned author Doris Kearns Goodwin and presidential advisor Richard Goodwin availed himself of the generous Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to pay his way through law school.

Two of the chapped hides belong to Independents currently running for the 5th CD.

"One of Tsongas' challengers, Dale Brown, an independent from Chelmsford, said he is a strong supporter of the military, but said Tsongas should have chosen someone else for the advertisement. "I think it would be more acceptable if she would use somebody who did not have quite the resources he might have," Brown said of Goodwin.

Bob Clark of Berlin, a second independent running against Tsongas, said voters have the right to ask questions about the ad.

"We might also want to ask the taxpayers who paid for Mr. Goodwin's education if they are glad they could help," Clark said in a statement. "Many of these taxpayers are currently struggling to pay their bills or even find a job."

The bottom line here is very, very simple. Joseph Goodwin raised his right hand and signed a check that could have been cashed with his life.

Because he did that, he is eligible for the benefits. No ifs, ands, buts, or class warfare rhetoric needed here, thank you very much.


There's nothing in the legislation about who one's parents are, how much one's family takes home in royalties, or where one's ZIP code falls on the prestige scale. As there damn well shouldn't be.

Mr. Goodwin is 32 years old. Who am I, or anyone else, to presume that he receives any form of "Economic Outpatient Care" from his family?

I know I don't. My parents were successful enough to buy a large home in a leafy suburb, send me to great public schools, and pay the lion's share of five years' worth of higher ed. I am deeply grateful for that.

But guess what?

I haven't benefited from any other such transfers in my adult life -- not for a car, house down payment, wedding, or any other milestone. I have never inherited a single dime and I don't stand to ever do so. That might really surprise you, but if you'd like to take me up on the offer, I've got a stack of 1099s and 1040s sitting in a shoebox somewhere.

And guess what else?

I'm applying to full-time MBA programs this fall. I'm on my own financially, so you better believe I'm extremely grateful for everything that the post-9/11 GI Bill stands to offer me.

For the record, I'm also quite grateful for the top-notch health care that I get courtesy of Uncle Sam. I certainly hope Dale Brown and Bob Clark don't think that veterans like Goodwin or myself should be footing the full bill for their medical care, either.

As would a world without the Post-9/11 GI Bill, that wouldn't leave me with too many options!

No comments: