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Sherry File marches on Washington against big government

Published 8:32am Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dowagiac school board member Sherry File took part in the Sept. 12 demonstration in Washington to protest her concern about big government. (The Daily News/Provided)
Dowagiac school board member Sherry File took part in the Sept. 12 demonstration in Washington to protest her concern about big government. (The Daily News/Provided)

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

When tens of thousands of conservative protesters massed outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Sept. 12, Sherry File of Dowagiac was among them.

“I don’t like big government,” File said in an interview Tuesday afternoon at the Daily News. “The federal government is here to protect us from international threats to our border, and also to protect us from big business taking advantage of the individual person. Over the last several decades they’ve started getting more and more involved in individual freedom. The less government we have, the more freedom we have. It was an event I won’t forget and hope will make a difference as the federal government works to reach deeper and deeper into our pockets. We have these bailouts and no tax dollars to pay for them. The government has now become big business.

“Our legislators are supposed to be representing the people, but they’re really representing special interest groups because that’s what keeps them in their offices. They no longer are interested so much in what the individual has to say as long as they can keep their office. Unfortunately, in today’s world, you have to have a lot of money to win an office seat at the state and federal level,” said File, who serves on the Dowagiac Board of Education. Her husband, Paul, is a Southwestern Michigan College trustee.

Though a conservative, she acknowledges, “At the last national election, the people were frustrated with Republicans because they had an opportunity to make changes that would have been positive but they didn’t take it. That’s why there was so much frustration. When (President George W.) Bush had his second term of office, at the halfway point (Congress) became Democratic. More Democrats were voted in with (President Barack) Obama because people are tired of not being represented properly. That’s why I got involved.”

Marching on Washington was a first for her, “I’ve never done anything like that,” she said. “It was probably the bailout that did it as much as anything.”

The crowd, described as loud, animated and sprawling, gathered at the west front of the Capitol after a march along Pennsylvania Avenue NW from Freedom Plaza.

An array of speakers drew loud cheers that echoed across the Mall.

On a windy, overcast afternoon, hundreds of yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags flapped in the breeze.

File’s shirt that she bought at the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party Labor Day event in Mishawaka, Ind., says, “A government big enough to give you everything is strong enough to take everything away.”

“When the government gets involved in the intimate parts of our lives,” she said, “that becomes a big concern for me. It becomes something different than democracy, which is a big concern of mine. I don’t think anybody has designs on making something like that happen, that is just what happens when you have big government, greed and power hunger. It’s human nature for people to be that way.

“Intentions may be good at first, but then somebody dangles a carrot to entice you, you go farther than you maybe intended to go and all of a sudden – and I think this happens in Washington a lot – the people lose their initial reason for being there, then it becomes about keeping their jobs.”

File, who works with cancer patients, said of the health care debate, “Death panels do happen with socialized medicine. Insurance companies do that now – deciding what they will pay for, what won’t they pay for. Not that that’s even a bad thing. I see a lot of money spent that is not using your resources well. Some doctors have a hard time being honest with their patients. We’re all going to die and we don’t control how necessarily. Those kinds of hard decisions are made every day with X amount of dollars. When it becomes the government doing it, that becomes a scarier. That should be between the doctor and the patient.”

Health care “needs to be reformed,” File said. “The problem is there’s no give and take because they have these special interest groups that control decisions: ‘If you do that, we’re not going to support you anymore,’ so then they don’t do it. It’s crazy. They can do it a little bit at a time.

“For instance, Obama talks about getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. You don’t need a bill to do that, you just do it. Another big concern of mine is that Medicare and Medicaid are going broke. My dad was a railroader. The government took over railroading for a period of something like 10 years. They went broke. The post office is going broke. How do we think they can manage health care? Capitalism says, ‘Let them fail,’ ” rather than taxpayers riding to the rescue with bailouts.

President Obama used the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse Monday to lecture Wall Street on its home turf. Obama warned financial leaders not to use the recovering economy as a springboard back into “reckless behavior” that could unleash another meltdown. The president said a weary public will not cushion their fall a second time.

“People get frustrated, and it is easy to not watch it,” File said. “I can only do it in small doses. That’s why I want to participate. The Constitution is not being carried out the way it was written when the government is usurping people’s lives and freedom.”

“I wrote (U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph) about not having any townhall meetings” with constituents during the August congressional recess.

Will the TEA parties and Sept. 12 movement give rise to a new party?

“I don’t know,” File said. “I don’t necessarily consider myself a Republican or a Democrat. I consider myself an independent because I vote on the person, not on the party they come from. It sure would be nice to have a fresh slate of people to choose from” who aren’t entrenched career politicians.

“They showed on Fox how Bush was heckled during one of his speeches,” File said. “The media don’t always cover everything if it’s not in their line of thinking. Making up facts happens in newspapers, too. We’re in a time of subjective truth, where what I say is true for me. It may not be true for you. Your reality could be completely different than my reality. Is it real reality? No, but people think it is.

“That’s special interests, too, because (conglomerates) getting all kinds of stimulus money from the government that own papers are inclined to want to report positively for the administration. That’s part of the problem, but it’s always happened in politics, where people gain from a certain stand that politicians reward. Money flows from big business, and the 24-hour news cycle makes us more aware of what’s going on. I do watch Fox the most and some of the others to see how they’re reporting. I like to compare how one network covers something as compared to another one.”

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