Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bush and Obama…

Like you, I remember when George W. Bush was the president. I supported ole George, especially in the beginning. I liked the fact that he was a confessing Christian and appeared to be a no-nonsense sort of a guy. He was strong in his resolve…whatever that resolve was. I appreciated that about him at the time. On the other hand, and in retrospect, he did some things that were questionable. Giving tax breaks to the rich (when you, your family, and many of your friends are rich) seems a bit self serving. Going against the majority of the world and the United Nations and invading Iraq, capturing and deposing its leader (Saddam (who happened to have a tiff with your dad)), and then allowing him to be hung, all under the presumption that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, is questionable. I’m not a fan of Saddam, mind you, but I’m also not a fan of invading countries under false pretenses, or in error. Oops. Imagine if some other country did that to us? What would our opinion of them be? Pointing to new housing starts to prove that you know what you are doing regarding running the country and the economy, when in reality so many new housing starts were due to a lack of proper regulations and therefore, the numbers were totally inflated and the entire housing market nothing more than a house of cards on the verge of collapse…gambling with the entire world’s economy….is questionable. Either George knew what was going on and was just hoping to make it through his term before it all fell apart…or something much worse….he didn’t know what the hell was going on. About the last thing I remember George doing was handing out rebates to every American and then giving 800 billion dollars to big business in hopes that it might fend off the next great depression before he got out of office.

Then along comes Obama. People are kind of sensitive to this word…but indeed, he did INHERIT a complete nightmare from our previous republican president. Obama did some fast work. You have to give him that. This guy was busy…he was moving....trying to prevent a world wide depression while addressing many other issues. I thought he exhibited great strength and resolve. I think he did what he felt he had to do to prevent a catastrophe. Yes, we are at 10% unemployment…or maybe more…but it could be 50% or more. If any of us have a job right now, I think there should be room for thankfulness. Obama ran on a platform of ‘change you can believe in’. He was elected by the people, and I find that he is trying to make changes that will make a real and lasting difference. He is really trying to fix some of the fundamental issues that brought the country to the brink of disaster. This means changes are needed. Many people hate change….especially if it touches their wallet. We were 10 trillion dollars in debt when Obama stepped into office. How do you fix that? You have to generate more income somehow. How would you do that? Sorry to say that realistically, taxes may need to be raised. This may upset some people...but under the circumstances, it appears to be the responsible thing to do. What do you suggest? The republicans always say that smaller government is the answer. What the republicans mean by smaller government is less regulations on business. I say….get a clue. Hello?!? That is what brought the economy to its knees folks! Yeah…let’s let the rich make the rules. They have to be held accountable my friends…because you can’t trust human nature. They have to be regulated. They have to meet a certain standard.

When it comes to increasing taxes…who can afford to pay more taxes? It sure isn’t the people barely making enough money to put food on their plates. Okay…so what do you do? Hey…maybe raise taxes on those making a quarter of a million bucks a year or more? How about we raise taxes on things that really aren’t essential…but would fall into the category of unnecessary/optional? That seems kind of sensible to me. Got any better ideas? Let’s hear them then.

I’m not even going to go into the whole health care debate except to say….what ideas do you have? How do you fix the problem of 30 million Americans…mostly hard working Americans, not able to afford to go to the doctor when they are sick? Something is wrong with this country if that’s the truth. Maybe it really is time for a change? Maybe you that hate the idea just need to think it through? What is more important to you…the loss of a few bucks in income, or the well being of those who can’t afford health care through no fault of their own? Try to remember that contrary to what some conservative radio talk show hosts espouse, we are not all created equal when it comes to abilities.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Christian Interpretation of the health care debate…

I wonder what side of the health care debate Jesus would be on? Generally speaking would Jesus be more inclined to be a socialist or a capitalist? Personally, I can’t see Him as being much of a capitalist. After all, he was homeless and spent all of his time selflessly serving others for free. Apparently, his disciples did take donations to be distributed among the poor, though. So, currently America has 30 million or so people that can’t afford health care. The majority of these people work full time jobs…but the costs are so high for health insurance/care that many small businesses and individuals just can’t cover the costs. What do you think Jesus would do, or what do you think Jesus would want you to do? Do you think He would want you to harshly judge/condemn those people who are not fortunate enough to work for a business that can afford to provide health care for their employees? Do you think Jesus would want you to turn a cold shoulder to the individuals and families that don’t garner a large enough wage to afford to buy their own coverage? And what about those people with pre-existing conditions? Do you think He would want you to just ignore their needs? The second commandment….love your neighbor as you love yourself….would seem to say ‘no’….Jesus would not want you to ignore their needs, and we absolutely know that Jesus would not want you to judge anyone harshly. Right?

Acts 2:44-45…All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

Acts 4:32…All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15…Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

1 John 3:17-18…If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Deuteronomy 15:7…If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.

Proverbs 19:17 ¶ He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

Isaiah 58:5-7…Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?  "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Luke 18:22…When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Deuteronomy 15:10-11…Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The primary difference…

I still remember a brief political discussion that I had with my father when I was still a child. I have no other recollection of any other political discussions with him. Simply put, he conveyed that the republicans are on the side of business, and that democrats are on the side of the common people.

In your opinion, does this hold up?  Did it ever?