Friday's Weekend Column
"Glaser's Minnesota Poll"

by James Glaser
March 14, 2003

I have never had a friend, relative, neighbor, acquaintance or anyone at all tell me that they had been called by some national polling organization. So I decided that I would ask a hundred random people that I came into contact with what they thought about several things.

Random people, like not all of my relatives and in fact I left the radical wing of the family off and I didn't go to any bars nor did I ask any "loadies" either. I did ask gas station checkout people, cooks, loggers, waitresses, retired people and veterans, Veteran Hospital doctors and nurses, and people in the hardware store.

Because this was my poll I got to choose the questions which were as follows:

1. Does America have the right to attack Iraq?

  • 45, no
  • 27, yes
  • 12, never thought of that
  • 16, huh?

2. Do politicians in Washington protect and defend the American Constitution?

  • 53, never thought of that
  • 33, no way
  • 14, what Constitution?

3. Will war cause more terrorism?

  • 77, yes
  • 15, no
  • 8, what terrorism?

4. What is more important, war with Iraq or our economy?

  • 62, economy
  • 30, health care
  • 6, abortion
  • 2, war
  • (I know health care and abortion were not part of the question, but people would not answer any other way.)

5. Is George Bush a good President?

  • 51, is this a trick question?
  • 46, no way
  • 2, yes
  • And my Mother said, he is a "play boy"

6. Is Minnesota a great State to live in?

  • 93, yes
  • 7, don't know

Now I don't claim that this poll was scientific at all and I did have to coax the answers out of some people and for others I had to explain the question, sometimes several times, but I did keep pretty close tabs on the answers.

I would have to say that over 40% of the people had no Idea that we have a Constitution and many gave me answers about George Bush that I can't print. Many people shook their heads and said, " I can't believe I voted for that #$&@ER.

You know what else, I think my poll is just as valid as those national polls. I think our government or our political parties pay for polls to give them the results they want. In fact I think many of them are fake.

I did ask over 175 people this week if they thought this war with Iraq was good for us and only found 13 people that thought it was. Well over 90% did not like this war and I didn't target people hoping to get that result and many of those I asked were Republicans and Christians, so that leads me to believe that national polls are bought by those that want to sell weapons, military supplies or are looking for power. Either that or People from Minnesota are the only clear thinkers in America.

This week was my appointment at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis. The night I left was a snow storm and even if the roads were solid Ice I would have gone. It took over eight months to get the appointment and if I missed it I would have had to wait for eight more. I finally got to see a cardiac Doctor and he told me exactly the opposite of what every other Doctor I have seen has told me about my heart going out of rhythm.

Other VA doctors put me on the medication Verapmil to slow my heart down and said I should take a baby aspirin every day to thin my blood. They told me that the aspirin would help stop blood clots from forming when my heart was not beating right.

Well this new guy told me that the Verapmil did nothing at all to keep my heart in rhythm and it could only help when my heart went out of rhythm and that the aspirin did nothing.

You see the Veterans Hospitals are free, but the chance that you see the same doctor for the same problem over the years are slim. This doctor this time did speak English, which was a bonus, but now I am filled with doubts and will have to see local doctors up here to find out what to do. My trust for Government doctors is real low.

Here is a true story. I was at the Minneapolis VA Hospital one time and a patient took a header off a elevated walkway in front of all of us and died. He just walked over to this railing and did a swan dive on to the blacktop about twenty feet down. No doubt he was dead, but it looked bad with lots of blood. What did the VA do then, well they closed that clinic for the day, sent us home and got councilors for their employees. No employee saw this happen, only veterans were there. Now there is a cage where that railing was so you can't jump.

While at the VA this time for some reason every one seemed to want to talk. They now have Televisions in each waiting room and every one was turned to CNN. When they were showing the Iraqi drone aircraft the place burst out in laughter. Our Model Airplane club in high school thirty years ago made nicer looking remote controlled aircraft. Colin Powell called this "toy" the "smoking gun" that told the world Saddam was just so ruthless. The whole project looked like it cost about fifteen hundred dollars. Our drones that we use are said to cost a million.

We are looking at 53 degrees above this weekend. People up here are excited and all we can say is "about time" or we deserve it. Last week it was twenty something below and this week in the fifties. If it gets any warmer, they will start to lower the price of home heating fuel.

I went to Northome today and saw that lots of people were towing their ice fishing houses. They probably want to get a jump on removing them before the March 15th deadline because if it does get to fifty above, the lake will be such a mess with wet slush, it will be miserable getting them off them. However there will be thousands that wait for the last minute.

Today we had a nice day and it got to about thirty and you know what that does, it gets all the birds excited. When it is "warm" like this the birds are so much more active. Really sometimes large groups of twenty five or so birds would come at once to the feeder. Birds would fill the branches of the trees near bye and they would take turns feeding. When it is real cold they come in singles or twos and don't sit around and socialize with neighbors.

I saw the same thing in town, people talking to each other outside, people waving to each other, with smiles on their faces. Yes, a little warmth does do wonders to how we treat each other. Sure must be cold in Washington, DC.

Just one last observation from this week, it didn't matter which clinic I went to at the VA as I had to wait in five different ones, it was a whole day of appointments and the Hospital was very busy. Maybe it was because every one knew spring is coming or maybe it was the bright sun, but everyone seemed to be in a good mood and pretty talkative.

War and thoughts of war were on everyone's lips. People at the VA have first hand experience with how Washington makes war and stands way in the back cheering on the troops. I can't tell you how many guys told me that war protesters got them home from Vietnam nor how many compared George Bush #1 and his screw up with leaving Saddam in power with Harry Truman walking away from Korea.

I found most veterans have a real hate for those in Washington. To a man they love this country, would defend it again, but now that they have seen what happens in war, just want to live and let live.

What struck me the most is that so many of these men and women said they understood how other countries and their people could learn to hate our country. These people could not understand how George Bush and Congress could even think that we were a nice or good country after what we have done to people all over this globe. This from men and women with flag pins on and caps that said "Veteran and Proud of It", "Purple Heart", or "Marine Veteran." These people have seen in person just how we treated this world when they were young and following orders. Now that they are older, have had children, and have lived a big part of their lives, they can see that their actions had more consequences than America winning or losing. Every war can make America friends, but also lots of foes.

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