Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Repeat, Reuse, Recycle

I'm tired of politicians using the same line over and over again but not actually putting their words into practice.  It's on BOTH sides of the aisle, so I'm not bashing one over the other here.  It's a problem rampant throughout our political system.  

It's for the children!  We need to do something about the environment!  We have to reform social security!

Time and again the call rings out in speeches, year after year, the same rhetoric, and not one single foot steps forward on any of these issues.  THEN, if the government DOES act, it's a disaster.  Take the incandescent light bulb nonsense.  Instead of energy-sucking incandescent bulbs, I must now buy eco-friendly, kilowatt-saving bulbs.  Never mind that they are filled with deadly poisonous mercury (green, indeed!) and when I need to get rid of them I have to take them to a center set up specifically for hazardous waste disposal.  And if I break one, I practically need to call in a HazMat team.  Um, yeah, that's SO much better.  Thank you, government.

Here's an excerpt from the Weekly Standard highlighting Obama's common phrases...

"Obama 2010: "It's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs.
Obama 2012: "Colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down."
Obama 2010: "And we should continue the work by fixing our broken immigration system."
Obama 2011: "I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration."
Obama 2012: "I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration."
Obama 2010: "We face a deficit of trust."
Obama 2012: "I've talked tonight about the deficit of trust . . ."
Obama 2010: "We can't wage a perpetual campaign."
Obama 2012: "We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign."
The good news is that after a couple years these sorts of speeches begin to write themselves."
Yup, and what exactly has HE done other than repeat these tired, old lines?  At least he's recycling.  Career politicians need to be ousted.  We need term limits NOW!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Money Woes

So you know in theory I agree with what the OWS crowd stands for: a smaller and less-involved government, revoking government officials ability to profit from their own legislation, and sweeping reformation of the banking system.

I don't agree with their Sixties-style sleeping, living and defecating on public property methods, but if these are in fact their stance on the issues, I do agree with them.

Here's a tidbit I learned today.  OWS is fighting over money.  I know, ironic, huh?  

The protesters who stand for the little people and against big business and big profits found themselves on the receiving end of $700,000.  As of this week they've winnowed that boon down to $170,000 left in their coffers.  And, that's causing quite a stir in the camps.

How did this happen?

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Steven Ahmadi, a protester who has been on the scene since the beginning says, "With such an influx of donations, we've begun to rely on economic capital."  

He diagnosed the group's problem as the "nonprofit industrial complex."  Which he defines as the "trap that the mission becomes more about sustaining the organization than its message."

I think many of us could have seen this coming.  They have become that which they protest against.

We have to be very careful about this, especially as the "class warfare" fight heats up this year.  It's not only the love of money that is evil, but also the protecting of money.  When people stake their claim on a piece of the pie, the fight becomes about sustaining their very own piece and no longer about the core issues.

I think the OWS crowd is finding out that it's not so easy when they're the stewards of capital.  There's something inherent about money that makes us act in ways that divert us from our core causes and beliefs.  You see this happen time and again in churches, organizations, governments, families, etc.  When the focus goes from our endeavors to paying for our endeavors, money can hypnotize, it can entrance, it can seductively woo.  We leave friendships, partnerships, ideals, morals and even God at the door when we enter the bank vault.  We commit crimes we normally wouldn't when money is concerned.

The OWS crowd is fighting now over how the funds have been spent, and how they will continue to be spent.  Not that they've left much to work with.  These days 170K isn't much for any company or organization.  So much for the camps' "nic at nite" booths where you can roll your own tobacco for free.

The ugly truth, I believe, is that evil doesn't use money to thwart us, evil IS money.  

I know the Biblical passage: the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.  Well, I'm not so sure those hippies in the Sixties didn't get it right when they said, "Money is the root of all evil."

Money can solve problems, surely, but I've seen more done on a shoestring budget with human sweat equity than I've seen done with a large donor check.  Usually the large check is the start of an organization's problems.  How to spend it, when to spend it, who gets a say in the spending, who gets a cut of it...blah, blah, blah.  You see where this goes?

Money seems to me to be a stumbling block not a pathway to goodness.  If it can make the idealistic OWS crowd leave their core issues and bicker over their bank balance, then this looks to be a microcosm of everyone's dealings with money.  From personal finances to big business to federal government, the spending of money is an instigator for fighting.

In this year 2012, we'll be hearing more and more about "class warfare."  They don't call it "class bickering" or "class tiffing" for a reason.  It's decidedly "class WARFARE."  Money makes war and war makes money.  But it is money that trips us up like a wedding reception's open bar to alcoholic Aunt Edna.  There will blatant video footage.

Money.  Fighting.  People.  I don't have a nice, neat answer or perfect wrap up for all this either.  I'm just thinking out loud....


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mission Field: Planet Earth

One of the unintended consequences of churches "selling" their congregation on a charity is that some people get tunnel vision.  They feel that they can ONLY give to the rescue mission, the African project, the church in Indonesia, the orphanage in Haiti, etc.  They so "buy into" the cause that they forget the mission field is the planet earth.  While it's great to get church peeps on board with a cause, and focused resources can truly make a difference, this type of rallying can make people myopic.

I witnessed this firsthand when I was working for a national blood bank.  

We were having a blood drive right after the Haiti earthquake and we were pleading with people to donate blood because the need for blood was great.  What we couldn't say was that our Florida banks were shipping their blood to Haiti and we were shipping our extra blood to FL to help them out, and in turn some of that blood, too, was going to Haiti.  I could only tell people that because we were helping out Haiti we were in dire need for blood.  Period.  

I was manning a church table signing up congregants for the blood drive.  I actually had a confrontation with this man who said that I had to prove to him that his blood was going to Haiti or else he wouldn't donate.  Whaat?!  I mean, who says such a ridiculous thing?  

He only wanted his blood to go to Haiti.  Not to a dying patient in NC or FL or wherever his blood ended up?  Like the American kid with cancer doesn't deserve his blood, only a Haitian kid?  So, he keeps his blood rather than give it to someone who isn't Haitian.  Or, maybe his blood would have gone to Haiti.  You know it just might have, but since he didn't sign up and didn't donate he never gave it a chance.

I think that when churches rally their peeps around a cause (which is a very good thing, btw!!) they should perhaps couch their battle cry with also remembering WHY we help out others.  Not to hold one group above others, but because God wants us to help out our fellow man...everywhere.  

Our mission field is the planet earth.  Yes, combined, focused resources on one cause can make a great difference, but we can't say, I only give my money to Haiti, or Africa, or India.  We have to put some change in the Salvation Army bucket, too.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No ID, No Drano!

So the new law in Chicago is: buy Drano, show government issued photo ID.  

And, the national law is: buy Sudafed, show photo ID and register purchase in a national database.

But anyone can just show up and vote without ID?  

Methinks this is wrong.  Flat wrong.

If you argue with me, you may NOT use the terms "disenfranchised," "racist," or "socioeconomic."

I'm not buying the line that people will be unable to vote simply because they have to obtain a government issued ID.  If can't get my drain or my nose unplugged without a government issued ID, then we cannot be concerned about people obtaining proof of themselves to vote.  Voting is serious.  

No one on government assistance can obtain that assistance without ID.  No one can drive, travel outside the country, check out a library book, open a checking or savings account or cash a paycheck without a photo ID.

Photo IDs will lessen voter fraud and make us all feel a little more assured that the voting results (WHATEVER THEY MAY BE) are just and accurate.