What are we fighting for?

Editor’s Note:  I wrote this back about 3 months or so, ago.  I was going to add a paragraph or two about my Dad, which I might do as an extended piece, but I thought I would get it posted now, as it has spent far too much time on my “To Do” list.

 

 

As the debate about health care continues, with President Trump and many of his supporters leading the way to repeal the ACA despite the lack of a real plan of action to replace or repair what is left, I find myself considering what it is we hope to accomplish with our country, our government.  What do we consider important at the national level, as a nation?  To what use do we put that blunt instrument that is our federal government?  That our government has grown large and unwieldy, straining under its own massive weight is no surprise to us.  We know it is fat, and growing larger.  We know that is too large, too heavy to support.  The Fed has grown in size and weight, but accomplishes less and less despite its increase in size and resources.  Both corporations and private citizens have attached themselves to that bloated mass, feeding off its excess like a tick to a mangy dog.  And those very fat, very happy ticks, they don’t want anything to change with their host.  No, even if the overall health and state of the union should falter, do not change anything lest their meal ticket become endangered.

This piece isn’t an analysis of the government, however.  It isn’t here to discuss the wasted resources and corporate whore mongering that goes on in our nation’s capital.  This essay is here to ask a basic question of ourselves.  What is it do we want our government to do for us?  What freedom and pursuit of happiness are we defending with our military?  What justice do we purport to provide to those of our nation that are too broke to pursue our self-evident truths?  In a nation as rich as ours, in a land as large as ours, truly our government should be responsible for very few things at the Federal level.  It is rarely the best tool for the job.  Help keep the common law consistent.  Help keep our perspective on infrastructure.  Facilitate communication among the States and their people as a whole, these things a Federal Government can do.  I would suggest to you that central to all of these things is the People.  Whatsoever our government does, it should be in the most benefit to her people, to the support of the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness.  But what good is life, if we cannot enjoy it?  What good is liberty, if we cannot live it.  How can we have happiness if we are not healthy enough to pursue it?  People are the life’s blood of this country, the means be which everything is accomplished.  If our People are not healthy, how can our nation succeed?  We can educate ourselves, feed ourselves, defend ourselves- but only if we are healthy enough to do so.  In the past, collectively we have agreed that things like education, warfare, defense and trade are things we should spend our wealth on.  They are things that we considered integral to our nation, enough so to put into the Federal Government’s hands.  Why then, do we not consider our health such an asset, one worthy of our collective effort?  What else is worth fighting for if we don’t have our health?

 

And your new Democratic candidate is… Not a Democrat

Dear God, help us!

Heh.  Still between that article, and another one I read but cannot find, the Montana Democrats are in need of a few good candidates.  Perhaps I should throw my hat into the ring as the kind of candidate they need.  You see, I’m not a Democrat.  I’m not a Republican any more, either.  The Democrats have a tough go of it here in Montana – their social platform actually benefits a lot of the state, but they have no concept on how to market it.  On the economic side, well, Democrats suck.  We might identify, economically, as a state/nation of have nots, but even though the idea of sticking it to the man is appealing to many, even more of us want to be well off.  Sure those guys oppressing us are rich, but we wanna be rich too.  Taxing the rich isn’t something a lot of Montanan’s get behind, I think because many people identify wealth with hard work.  And while that isn’t as accurate as it used to be, we’re not really ready to throw that association out, not around here.  And truthfully, we shouldn’t.  Whether Democrats like it or not, the wealthy already foot the bill for the majority of our expenses- taxing them more just because we feel they can afford it is not a policy we should ever agree to.

So that’s where I come in.  Let’s get back to the basics of streamlining our government.  Less at the Federal level, more at the State.  Let’s invest in our infrastructure – our people, and we’ll sell it as good for business, good for the environment and good for the profits of everyone.  Well, almost everyone.  🙂  Let’s move from the extremes of both parties and find some ground that actually lets us accomplish some work in our country.

Confusion is from Satan

Confusion is from Satan, go away.

This was said to me today in an online discussion. A friend of my wife’s,  a nice lady with some strong religious convictions, had posted a link purporting that school children in California were being indoctrinated into Islam. The link in question was about a mother who found a homework assignment on world religion offensive.  Apparently knowing a few things about a religion that 1/7 of the world believes in is a Bad Thing.  Before I go further, it is only fair that I say that I have disagreed with her posts in the past, too, so we do have a bit of a history of disagreement, and her frustration with me stems, in part, from that history.

The lady was posting the link so that others would be edified in what schools are teaching their children, that they might stand up for the Truth.  She posted two supporting links, here and here, but I don’t think she read them.  Being who I am, my first response to her post was that I had similar lessons when I was in school.  I thought it was a good thing.  She didn’t care for that response. Her reply to me where those two links as well as a reference to 2nd Peter regarding false prophets.

I could not rebut the 2nd Peter reference, as the moment you unilaterally declare something to be the work of the Devil based on your interpretation of Scripture, the discussion on that point is done.  I did note regarding her two links that the students were not made to “pray”, as the act of reciting a written verse is not prayer without the element of faith.  More so, I learned those same things in world studies.  It isn’t indoctrination to learn the basic tenets of a population’s belief system.  The nice lady said these kids were being forced to learn religion(I suspect she meant Islamic religion), which shouldn’t be allowed and was certainly not allowed when we went to school.  I kindly pointed out that I was required to sing songs of praise and worship from Kindergarten through 12th grade, attendance mandatory.  I even got to play a religious figure or two in school plays.  I was one of the three wise men in first or second grade.

The end result of this discussion was that she admonished me for not standing up for the Truth and then basically said I was the Devil.  Her only intent, she said, was that she share this news so that parents know what is being taught in the classroom and can then stand up for the Truth.  Yes, she capitalized Truth.

I was frustrated, but I dropped the argument at that point.  My intent wasn’t to antagonize her, merely to stand up for the truth, as it were.  My take on the situation was that the children were not being indoctrinated.  Nor were they being lead by a false prophet.  Knowledge and understanding are good things, especially from a Biblical perspective. What frustrated me about her posts, the issue that I have, is in her well meaning attempt to showcase another apparent attack on Christianity in America, she perpetrated a series of lies.  That these lies might strengthen some people’s convictions in Christ are beside the point, as I firmly believe that one cannot defend any truth by lying about it.  By perpetuating these false outrages, we make Christians of all denominations look like fools.  If we are commanded to go forth and make disciples of all peoples, how can we expect to do that if we continually build walls of lies between us and the rest of the world?  Faith in God does not require a lie in order to prove that you believe in Him, we shouldn’t need a lie to defend our faith in Him, either.

Big Mouth Strikes Again | Peggster

Source: Big Mouth Strikes Again | Peggster

 

I was just thinking about how different childhood is in the last 100 years and lo, this shows up in my feed.  For those who dwell on the ages old chicken and egg conundrum, I submit to you an alternative to consider… That of the of riddle and the blog post.

Moving along now, I come back to where I was. I do not think the vast majority of children living in 1st world countries have an analog for what their lives would have been like prior to the 1900’s.  I am certain their parents do not, judging by all the comments regarding childhood and where this or that doomed generation is heading.  I am no historian, but I do think that the way our lives are now, is basically unprecedented.  I don’t know of another point in history when our fight for basic survival has ever been less.  That got me to thinking what impact that has on our children.  In a word, they are allowed to be children, and for a much longer period of time than ever before.  Children aren’t learning a trade as they begin their double digits, they aren’t helping on the farms like they did before.  They are allowed to pursue extra-curricular activities, alternative educations, experience society at a more leisurely pace.  Not to say that there aren’t downsides.  The rise of the ultra competitive parent has children as young as two in preparatory schools, being exposed to additional languages, maths, etc in an effort to give them an edge when it comes to getting into college.  The effects of that approach are relatively unknown in the West, but if you look to Japan you can get a good idea of how that turns out…

Where this is going, I do not know, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Lickable Sense and Modern Forestry

So earlier I had put on my grumpy old man hat and ranted a little about the corruption of our educational standards by the religious right.

Here’s the problem.  You hold a position that does not require scientific proof to believe in.  Indeed, your literal belief requires that there will be some things cannot be explained by human understanding.

It is often pointed out by apologists that science cannot explain all that occurs within the Bible.  I believe that is why we have such words as “miracle” and “tastes great, zero calories”.  Why then the fear?  Why the push to do away with something that is already understood cannot explain the power of God? 

Science relies on the basic principle of observe, test and observe again.  A real scientist acknowledges how little they know, how ephemeral knowledge is.  They may be forced to rethink the most trusted of theories if new data presents itself.

So here you have the supposed collision of something that cannot be explained with the idea that our explanations may not be all there is…  What’s the problem again?

Am I being simplistic?  Oh Lord yes. ..but the absurdity if it all.