Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

We Ought To Remember

Posted: July 23, 2014 in Politics

Mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is a bronze plaque. On this bronze plaque are engraved the words of a poem by Emma Lazarus. The poem is titled “The New Colossus.” It reads as follows:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The character of a nation is both formed and revealed by what it remembers. Some whit renamed the 4th of July “Blow stuff up but not your fingers Day.” Is that all Independence Day has become. Just an excuse to blow stuff up? On the morning of the 4th my oldest child asked me what I felt when I looked upon our nations flag. After a moment’s thought I answered, “Sadness.”

It seems that we, citizens of the United States of America, have lost our past. The last stanza of Emma Lazarus’ poem are very poignant to me. Unless you are full blooded Native American, you are here thanks to the sentiment expressed in The New Colossus. My ancestors left “ancient lands” for a variety of reasons. They all came to the U.S. for one reason: Freedom. The freedom to make for oneself and ones family a better life. Freedom to live up to one’s full potential. What happened to the attitude of inviting the “tired…poor…huddled masses…[t]he wretched refuse…the homeless” which is expressed in these lines? Instead we now say, “Keep your problems. We might take your wealthy and self-sufficient, your well-educated and skillful, if they can prove their worthiness to set foot on our soil.”

I don’t imagine our past as some glorious utopia. The ancestors of my African American friends came as unwilling immigrants, not into a land of opportunity as my ancestors did, but into a land of bondage and servitude. And though freedom from ownership was technically won in the 19th Century, recent events have proven that equality and freedom from oppression has still not been realized. Our nation’s policy toward Asian immigration has always been broken despite the clear benefits such immigrants have provided the U.S. The treatment of the native population by European settlers and particularly the U.S. government has been, on the whole, negative.

These things too we ought to remember. We ought to remember our own past and the lives our ancestors sought or fought for in this land. In every arena there have been those who truly believed, as our Declaration of Independence states, that “all men were created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We ought to remember that most of us are the decedents of tired, poor immigrants who benefited by an open door policy. And we ought to declare boldly and clearly to all peoples and nations:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

That’s News To Me

Posted: May 16, 2013 in Education, Life, Politics

What is news? What news is really news? It’s rather embarrassing to watch any late night show where they ask random people on the street about history and current events. Americans don’t know jack! And the stuff we do know about is usually not worth knowing. It’s scary what the average American uses their gray cells on.

Sometimes Hate is Good

Posted: August 24, 2012 in Faith, History, Life, Politics

Recently I saw a picture on Facebook which stated, “Don’t hate that which you don’t understand”.  My first thought was, “Don’t assume someone doesn’t understand that which they hate”.  Sometimes hate is justified and the more we know of a thing the more we ought to hate it.  Let me give you two examples, one from history, and one current.

Personally I believe that Nazism in general and the Nazi regime in particular are deserving of our hatred.  Both the philosophy and manifestation of that philosophy either directly committed or caused to be committed unspeakable atrocities, not only against the Jewish people but minorities of all kinds, devout Christians, mentally and physically handicapped, anyone who spoke out, etc.  Hate is an appropriate emotional response and the more one learns about the Nazi regime and the policies they enacted and atrocities committed, the more one’s hatred ought to grow.  This hatred helps to safeguard against such a thing happening again.

Currently in our time we are dealing with a global epidemic (would that then be a pandemic) in Human Trafficking.  Again I would argue that hatred is an appropriate response.  This hatred ought to spur us on to activity.  This is not simply an academic history lesson, but a current concern.  This is something we can and must do something about now.  My sister’s church is actively involved in the fight against human trafficking.  Not simply taking up special offerings and mouthing words of support, they are active in their work to help stop it.  Looking from the outside, I would say that their fight against this evil is second only to their concern for the lost – and the two passions tie together very well.  Not hating this evil leads to complacency and traps people in a living hell.

I absolutely hate that children all over the world are starving to death.  In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. One third of these deaths were due in some way to hunger and malnutrition.  My hatred for this situation causes me to petition and write letters to various government officials, encouraging them to work to end this.  My hatred for this situation causes me to devote financial resources to supporting children through Compassion International (Word Vision is another great child sponsorship organization).  My hatred for this situation causes me to volunteer time to help pack food with Feed My Starving Children.  My hatred for this situation causes me to try to convince other people to join me on this crusade.

Support is not clicking a “like” button or forwarding an email.  Support means to bear all or a part of the weight of something, to give assistance to something or someone, etc.  It means putting your money, time, energy and other resources where you’re mouth is.

It is good to hate evil.  Do not assume I do not understand that which I hate.  Ignorance is not the only cause of hatred.  Sometimes a healthy dollop of knowledge produces a healthy measure of hatred.

Following media criticism, TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie apologizes for speaking at a Focus on the Family event.

I won’t rehash the article.  Read it yourself via the link above.  You can also read a more liberal version here.  After reading both articles it seems to me that Mr. Mycoskie is lacking a little backbone.  It also seems he’s a bit ignorant as to what percentage of charitable giving actually comes from evangelical and conservative Christians.

We all know that Christians don’t give near as much as we ought (and confessedly I keep more of God’s resources than I have a right to).  Despite our shortcomings, Christians consistently give more than non-Christians to various charitable causes (not just church offerings and mission support).  (Here’s a link to an older article which mentions giving percentages.)

Should Christians continue to purchase TOMS Shoes?  I can’t answer that.  More a matter of conscience for the individual.  I can think of several other charitable organizations which I’d rather support with my money & time.  Here are just a few:

 

 

 

This is obviously not an exhaustive list.  Feel free to list your favorite charity in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Rich?

Posted: January 24, 2011 in Faith, Life, Politics

Rich
adjective
1 having a great deal of money or assets; wealthy
2 plentiful; abundant : having (a particular thing) in large amounts

Wealthy
adjective ( wealthier , wealthiest )
having a great deal of money, resources, or assets; rich

Are you wealthy?  Against what do you compare wealth?  What measure do you use?

Let’s think in human terms for a minute.  Money.  How much do you make?  Where do you rank among all the world’s population?

Find out: www.globalrichlist.com

One Congressman Calls TSA on the Carpet

Posted: December 24, 2010 in Politics

Congressman to TSA: Stop harassing pilot, fix the problem

Nico Melendez, a spokesman based in Los Angeles, said “The TSA is confident in the tools the airport has implemented and reminds passengers there are security measures in place that are both seen and unseen.”

Translation: “We don’t have to answer to you.  We’re the Federal Government.  Just shut up, believe whatever we tell you, and do as you’re told.”

I have to wonder if we the people will ever collectively wake up enough to do something about a government which has jumped the tracks and is chugging off the constitutional course.

Green Power’s High Cost Scuttles Projects – NYTimes.com

The great philosopher Billy Joel sang, “Advice is cheap, you can take it from me. It’s yours to keep ’cause opinions are free.”  And so it is with this post.

Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that a large majority of people agree that the U.S. needs to reduce it’s dependance on fossil fuels (particularly on foreign oil).  Yet the debate rages over the best methods of doing so. Renewable energy tends to cost more especially at the outset with setup seen as a long term investment.  The big problem here (and this is again pure opinion based on the anecdotal evidence of conversation, reading of newspaper, magazine and journal articles) is that most people just don’t think in the long term.  Americans are an instant gratification people and the idea of dropping (taken on the micro level) $30,000 on a home solar system (a very conservative estimate) that won’t pay for itself for twenty years or so is repugnant to most.  Taken on a macro scale, the cost of building renewal energy installations and bringing them online is enormous.

West Virginia regulators killed a renewable energy deal because it would have increased residents energy rates by 0.2% stating,  “The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high.”  The average increase would have been 0.2% (not 2%, but 0.2%).  [Begin sarcasm] Hmmm… let me do the math really quickly… if my electrical bill is $100/mo, then this renewable energy deal would have increased it to… $100.20.  Oh yea, that’s a completely unreasonable rate increase.  I’d never make it. [End sarcasm]

As one wind farm company owner observed, this is a very short sighted view.  “They have to look for the ratepayers’ long-term interest,” he said, “not just the bills this year.”

In some cases using renewable energy would drastically increase energy costs.  I realize this.  It is a fine tightrope to walk, balancing renewable energy and responsible economics.  I applaud those, be they individuals, companies or government entities and officials, who are sincerely attempting to perform that circus act.