November 12, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Election2004: Legislation: Speaking Out: Barnstable Patriot: Ghana RPCV Matthew C. Patrick on the purpose of government

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ghana: Peace Corps Ghana : The Peace Corps in Ghana: November 12, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Election2004: Legislation: Speaking Out: Barnstable Patriot: Ghana RPCV Matthew C. Patrick on the purpose of government

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Ghana RPCV Matthew C. Patrick on the purpose of government

Ghana RPCV Matthew C. Patrick on the purpose of government

Ghana RPCV Matthew C. Patrick on the purpose of government

Life on the Hill- The purpose of government

By Rep. Matthew C. Patrick

That was quite a campaign. I’m glad it’s over. It’s time to mend fences and remind everyone that we are all in this together, so it is time to work together.

My thanks goes out to all of you who voted because you believe that government can do good things, be constructive and help those of us who are not yet middle class reach middle class. The role of government, in my mind, is to level the playing field so that all of us can realize our full potential through education and a hand up, if need be.

One of the most interesting bits of information I picked up during the campaign came in an op-ed piece, “Walking the walk on family values,” that appeared in the Globe Oct. 31 by William V. D’Antonio, a professor emeritus of the University of Connecticut and visiting research professor at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He comments on the way Republicans painted the citizens of Massachusetts as wastrels with high taxes, low moral standards and little understanding of family values. This was done in an effort to damage the campaign of Senator Kerry. However, according to his analysis of the facts, nothing could be further from the truth.

Professor D’Antonio looked at census data and found that Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation at 2.4 per 1,000 residents. Texas has a divorce rate of 4.1 per 1,000. The states in the Northeast all had lower divorce rates in a national ranking. The Southern or bible belt states all had higher rates of divorce, about double those of the northeast. He asked why this was so and came to some startling but obvious conclusions. Couples in the South get married at an earlier age than we do in the Northeast. Their average household incomes are lower and there are fewer Roman Catholics in the South. The most telling statistic was found in how we value education. Massachusetts has the highest rate of education in the nation with 85 percent completing high school while only 76 percent completed high school in Texas. More than one third of us have a college degree in Massachusetts compared with only 23 percent in Texas. The other northeastern states are right behind Massachusetts.

People who stay in school longer get married at a later age when they are more mature and have greater economic security. Massachusetts leads in per capita family income and has a low number of births by teenagers at 7.4 percent as a percentage of total births. In contrast, Texas has 16.1 births by teenagers.

The professor found that there are many Catholics in the Northeast corridor and the Catholic Church is famous for teaching social justice. Jesus was big on helping the poor, the homeless and the downtrodden. Catholics have traditionally supported minimum wages, living wages in the public sector and care of the elderly and young. I related to this because as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, Africa, I soon realized that a disproportionate number of us were Catholics.

My Catholic upbringing is the main reason I ran for public office. I still find our first and only Catholic President John F. Kennedy’s words compelling: “Ask not what your Country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your Country.” How can any of us forget? He was and still is a great source of pride and inspiration for all Catholics in this nation. Professor D’Antonio sums it up by saying, “For all the Bible Belt talk about family values, it is the people from Kerry’s home state, along with their neighbors in the Northeast corridor, who live these values. Indeed, it is the “blue states, led by Massachusetts and Connecticut, that have been willing to invest more money over time to foster the reality of what it means to leave no children behind. And they have been among the nation’s leaders in promoting a living wage as their goal in public employment. The money they have invested in their future is known more popularly as taxes; these so-called liberal people see that money is their investment to help insure a compassionate, humane society.”

I’m proud to be Democrat from Massachusetts because we have used our government to help people and we have been successful. Please join with me in carrying on this tradition.

When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Volunteer Death in Morocco Volunteer Death in Morocco
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers mourn the loss of Peace Corps Volunteer Melissa Mosvick who died as a result of a public bus accident on Saturday, November 6, 2004, in Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.
Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers
The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.
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PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Barnstable Patriot

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ghana; Election2004; Legislation; Speaking Out



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