Politics, Car Insurance and the Military

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge supporter of our (US) armed services.  I’ve had Great Uncles, Uncles, my father, In-laws, colleagues and friends who all served, both in peacetime and in armed conflicts.  If the stories can be believed we even had cousins fighting for the aggressors of the Union and homeland defenders of the Confederacy (but that happened to lots of families who lived along the Mason-Dixon line).

However, last week Governor Rick Perry announced his bid for the Presidency, and during his speech he noted that having military service was one of the requirements he thought a candidate should have.  I disagree.  Twelve presidents have not served, true many of them I do not align with politically, but several served the office with distinctions: Both Adams, Jefferson, FDR, Wilson and Hoover come to mind, whether for the common good or bad.

Here’s my point.  Many of the military folks I know are not free thinkers, they tend to be good at following orders and protocol; they generally are not creative problem solvers.  The thinkers in the armed services are very high-up in the command structure – Generals and Admirals.  So the fact that less than 1% of the folks in the Military ever make it into the upper command-level, what difference does military service make for the highest political office in the land?

Then come the USSA advertisements.  They drive me bonkers.  They build car insurance rates based on knowing someone who served.  Good, but don’t put me down because I didn’t serve!  When you look at the fine print, it’s a bit of a scheme.  Let’s say you “earn” the right to enroll because your father served, but you didn’t.  Years go by and the old man passes away.  If you drop coverage, you and everyone else down the line are now ineligible to be covered.  Not to mention they have slightly lower rates, much like Giego, because they don’t have any “brick and mortar” offices.  You can only contact them via the web or by phone.  I like being able to walk into my agents office and sit across from a person – you usually get better and faster service, than if you have to deal with a faceless customer service rep.  In all the years I have had car and home insurance, I have always been able to build a good working rapport with my agent, because the service is usually the agent plus one or two workers, as apposed to thousands manning a phone bank.  I’ve looked into the “savings” they offer, as my wife will not give the up.  If I could bring her over to my major national insurance carrier, it would only cost us $32 more a year, but we would all be under one umbrella policy.  One agent to call.  One local office to do business with.  One set of rules.  I also know that the price difference to a non multi-car policy was so much higher for my mother, that she stayed with her “old fashion” insurance.  add to the fact that she doesn’t have the internet and hates all things web-based, she would have a hard time with the long waits on the phone; whereas her agenda (much like mine) will pick-up on the second or third ring.  And after hours we still have the national office which we can call.  Service trumps cost, especially when that cost difference is negligible.

Yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day, but you wouldn’t have know it with all the hoopla around a stupid horse race.  Like I stated before, I keep members of the military in the highest regard, and the lead in stories of the day should have been June 6th, 1944, not the Belmont Stakes!

Lastly, there is a Walmart commercial on TV right now that is celebrating their increase in minimum pay to all of their associates.  Think this is how “minimum” pay should work; not by a central government fiat, but by companies figuring out how much workers are willing accept to stay employed.  My point about this commercial, however, is not minimum wage, it is one small remark made very early in the ad.  The line goes something like this: There are no medals for showing up to work.  I love it.  I am a father, a husband, a provider, an Engineer, a cyclist and many other roles through out my life, I never earned medal for any of them; and believe me each and every on of them is just as important and those who serve and get medals pinned to their chests.  To the to the everyday man, I salute you for a job well done.

Don’t let the politics of the day overwhelm you.

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