Sunday, January 15, 2012

Politically Speaking This Is Me

Politically I guess you would say I'm a liberal some that would seem a contradiction to plural marriage. To me it makes sense.

Political conservatives (and most Republicans) are not in my humble opinion socially inclusive. Most don't believe gays should marry, or adopt, or in some cases even exist. Polygamy? Plural marriage? Alternative life styles are not their cup of tea. Which brings up the Tea Party Republicans who I don't quite understand at all.

Liberals and I venture to say most Democrats and some Libertarians are broad minded enough to be able to embrace folks who live differently than the mainstream.

And then there are the poor among us. The Bible is full of passages in both the New and Old Testament about our obligation to take care of the poor and disadvantaged. Those I would identify in that category would be the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly, young children and others who are homeless. And yet many among us particularly those who wish to be in "power" in our country, seek to eliminate "entitlements" they consider not to be of their unemployment benefits, medicare, social security, medicaid, etc. etc. Oh they seem to say, we have millions of folks without healthcare? Oh well, not my fault they are lazy.

The irony of the Evangelical Christian Right is not lost. Someone posted this quote from Stephen Colbert on my facebook page and it made me sit up...

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.”

You don't have to be a "Christian" to see the truth in that. Most religions have as a tenant to help the poor.

Yet every time a politician wants to do something to forward the poor and unfortunately now, what used to be the middle class, he or she is beaten back by a stick wielded by a political conservative. Thus, I simply cannot relate to those who identify themselves as such.

Of course I would like to see a balanced budget and lower taxes. All though I will never understand why the rich don't pay more. Of course I want our country to fight terrorism. Yes, of course I would like to see your business prosper and our citizens safe. Yes, I am conflicted about the undocumented residents harbored inside our borders, I am after all the grandchild of immigrants, but I also recognize the problems. And of course I would like to stop the flow of drugs in to our country. Being liberal doesn't equate to being stupid or un-American or even a socialist.

You may disagree with me of course, as is your privilege, and I will like you anyway, as is my way. I just wanted to open a window for you to see who I am.


Border Collie said...

This post deserves many comments. It is a mix of political affiliation and religious belief. You are a liberal democrat and a what....Mormon, christian, what? Your post seems to imply that fundamentalist christians and I guess mormons are very prejudicial towards those with whom they disagree politically, but are generous toward the poor. Christian fundamentalists I know are pretty poor themselves and likely to remain so. They give of what they do have to those who are willing to take and take and take. A waste of time. Give a man a fishing pole and teach him how to fish, don't just keep giving him fish. They accept all these people who have children without marriage, spouses in jail, miserable educational standards, and guess what, the recipients just need more help. Seems to me it is with more love that you help others to aspire to more and to build morals and resilience.

Border Collie said...

One problem with the poor is that they won't change and become productive if you don't expect anything of them. Your church will feed you when ill and pray with you but aren't in a position to put you and all your relatives up in separate paid housing, which many want. The taxpayers do. If you give a government "entitlement" the recipients feel less and less need to do a darned thing for themselves. I've seen it, too much. Sexual morals fall by the wayside, creating babies, disease, discord, gangs, what have you. Why is some other group of millions of people "entitled" to my wages and work and they don't even have to be expected to live a decent life and raise decent children. The entitlements work against anyone doing better. They do not apply logic, do not internalize learning, do not educate themselves despite living in the information age. They go to school if it is free and they are paid to do so, and can't work afterwards because the programs were not certified or the graduates are too lacking in work skills. I see it over and over. A waste of money. Teapartiers are ticked off at the federal government borrowing money from other nations to enable us to continue to do it. There is no pay off.

Older and Weiser said...

I admire you for sharing your thoughts, New#3. Politics and religion are two areas I amost never talk about, because inevitably, there will be a heated discussion. Why? Because we all are wonderful, individual creatures. Like snowflakes, no two are alike.

I don't think Border Collie meant to sound insensitive about poor people ("One problem with the poor is that they won't change and become productive if you don't expect anything of them"). I am sure with some after-thought, Border Collie may realize that there is a HUGE working poor population. One could easily take out the word "poor" and substitute the word "rich", "minorities", "puppies"...

I know that wasn't meant to be a slight on those less economically privileged. Poor does not equal uneducated, criminal, amoral, etc. Poor is a designation to identify those whose income is considered less than what one needs to survive--about 15% of the U.S. population. It is not a Democratic or Republican party issue; it is not a liberal or conservative issue; it is a human, societal issue.

There isn't a single candidate that I would vote for--seriously! Inevitably, special interest groups and PACs end up corrupting even the best candidates. Many come to the table with deep moral convictions, but all seem to sell out, because in the end, the only thing that our politicos in Washington seem to agree on is disagreeing. sigh.

The more education I receive, the more I think that I lean more toward socialistic ideals. And religions? They are all one and the same to me. Jewish; Islamic; Christian; Hindi--there is a common thread to all of these religions. Just take a comparative religion's class and you will see. We are not that very different, really. We all dream, we all bleed; some, just more than others.

Peace, shalom, and good night.

Border Collie said...

The bible's "poor among us" seem to me to be those afflicted with really dreadful disease or mental illness or vagaries of nature like natural disasters or old age or orphans. I could not find many who would not want to help those people. But the money which should go to the truly needy is drained off by the tens of millions in this country who, when welfare runs out, run to doctors to become certified disabled for SSI. They then get even more benefits and are no more disabled than I am. In fact, far less so. It is their mindset that is sick. That seems to me to be immoral. It is stealing not only from the taxpayer but from the truly needy. This is aided and abetted by all those who go to college and get degrees in areas which the student likes but for which there is no true market unless you make yourself a client base. Try and contract these programs for people who don't need them and their go the protests of the professionals who deal with them, because these programs are their paychecks.

Well, obviously I could go on. It's hard to relate politics and religion, I think, but republicans or conservatives want the truly needy to receive help, a lot more than they currently get, because of the tens of millions who siphon off the money. No nation can survive with most being having no stake in the future, and these people never will be a stakeholder. Never paid income tax, never own anything, always live welfare or ssi check to check, borrow, fail to have any idea how to handle money. The very nation is at stake here. Anyhow, that partly how I feel.

new#3 said...

I think I'll just let you two duke it out lol..yes, politics and religion are sensitive subjects. My problem generally speaking is that I can see both sides, but it infuriates me when politicians start talking about welfare and medicare and other so called entitlements...even health insurance. They don't pay in to theirs at all unlike most people. I watched a show about the amount of food that gets wasted and thrown away in our country and want to scream when I think of all the children who go hungry or who have to get what I'll loosely call breakfast at school. I agree with some of what you both say. There is corruption, there are people who take advantage of the system and I don't think either major party has all the answers....

Border Collie said...

@Older and Weiser, this old dog takes nothing back. I did not know we were speaking of the working poor versus the professional poor. The working poor are doing the first thing to success, working. They are not paying income tax and very well may be getting money back that they never paid in. That's a bonus to encourage them. They may be eligible for other services. They have the right attitude and may work their way up. If they do not, their children are likely to. That's a whole different population. As it happens most of the persistently poor that I know are white so I could not personally substitute the word minority. They have poor grammar skills, lack of logical thought and seeing consequences of their actions. Their friends always need money, and they help each other out. Nobody pays anybody back, and somebody's utilities are always off. Somebody else always has to co-sign (not me) and gets ripped off. It's a whole other lifestyle, which does not include working or planning for the future. It doesn't include the next meal until you are hungry. I know a couple of people now who are trying to get a job finally, in their 40s, little work history, bad grammar (I seen, me and mom, we was and no difference between there, their, they're, etc) so don't get called in for an interview, or lose the opportunity at that point. They are insulted if you point that out. So I shut up. These are the good folks who made bad decisions for too many years.
Others are the bad ones who did the drugs, drinking, party route. Have 6 kids by 6 men, you know the routine. Or the guys in and out of jail, tatts up the yazoo, too bad, too late now.

Older and Weiser said...

BC, I was not asking that you "take back" what you said; I only implied that not everyone who is poor should be lumped into the blanket statement, "one problem with the poor is..."

It is a very humbling experience for someone who has always been too proud to ask for any kind of help to find themselves getting food from a church pantry because they lost their savings depleted...fear of losing the roof over their heads...feeling like a total loser, because they have been on their 40th job interview, and still can't get hired to flip burgers. "I'm sorry, but you are clearly over-qualified for this position..."

I understand your frustration. There are many who abuse the system. I agree. But there are also many, many, MANY who work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. They are clipping coupons, purchasing clothes at Goodwill, never getting to go out EVER because that is a luxury, ignoring their own health because the kids come first, and mom always comes dead last...can't count on child support, because the ex is a dead-beat dad who simply walked away when the going got tough...

I agree, the system is broken. But is the solution ignoring the mom and kids who have done everything right, but are one rent payment or mortgage payment away from being homeless?

So, what is the solution? Hand the women above a rope and say, "tie a knot and hang on, honey!?!" The middle class is quickly eroding. The only classes growing in number are the rich and the impoverished. And with our median age getting older and older, most of those poor are the elderly. Most countries revere the elderly; we seem to stick them in nursing homes because we are just too dang busy and can't be bothered (I worked in a nursing home for 5 years. Absolutely heart-breaking).

Yes, it would be great if we "give a man a fishing pole and teach him to fish" (one of my favorite quotes, by the way). Unfortunately, there are not enough among us willing to teach. They just cannot be bothered. They would rather just throw money at the problem and say, "here, go buy a pole and figure out how to use it."

I used to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. The older I get, the more synical I become. I see too many people standing on soapboxes, but not many are doing anything to instill change. I myself have been on that soapbox. I am climbing off and doing something. I have decided to teach--literally. I start next week.

Thank you, Wesleyan Church Pantry, for helping this too-proud, unemployed person to humble herself and accept, gratefully, the food you provided my family. I will be donating my time as a volunteer, helping others in need on care-package Saturdays.

Sorry I was over-sensitive to your comment about "the problem with the poor is..." As one of the poor myself, being painted with your brush as 'one who won't change and become productive' a slap in the face. Not all poor people abuse the system. Just sayin'.

May you be blessed always with abundance. New #3, my apologies for shanghai-ing your post. Again, thank you for sharing--I enjoy learning more about you! :)

new#3 said...

No problem Older and Weiser, I enjoy lively debate and I'm pretty sure BC does too.

I forgot to answer the religion question BC asked. I consider myself a Christian. I was raised Roman Catholic but are what is generally called a "fallen away Catholic." i.e. I don't go to Church often and disagree with the man made policies of the Church frequently. There is a post in this blog about the religious beliefs of my plural family, which vary. I like to think of myself as someone who embraces diversity.

What I was trying to express was my disbelief that people of certain political and religious beliefs and "Christians" in particular don't seem to be able to embrace those who choose lifestyles outside what they consider the norm, polygamy being one of those lifestyles.

Border Collie said...

New3, we seem to be in the exact same religious position.

Older and Weiser, I thought I did distinguish clearly between the working poor and the professional poor. I guess not, and I won't try again. I have no abundance of anything, and I have helped others who sincerely wanted to change. It cost me a lot of time and money, but my two cases of intense help were ultimately successful. They have permanent jobs and one is even a homeowner.

Thanks for providing the blog News#3

Older and Weiser said...

I guess we three have a common thread--I, too, am a "lapsed Catholic." I was not raised Catholic, though all of my relatives on my father's side were Catholic.

I was actually afraid of the Catholic Church as a child. My grandparents attended a church that had a HUGE lifelike crucifix, blood and all. It terrified me. Not to mention that Mass was in Latin, and grandma would give the evil eye and pinch us if we so much as squirmed.

In college, I was free to explore as many churches as I desired. I attended different churches with classmates, yearning to find my place. It was at the college parish, St. John's Student Parish in East Lansing. It was a melting pot, not just of people from different countries around the world, but of ideas. We had guest speakers from the churches in the area, from the Synagogue of the Jewish faith to the Lutheran, from the Mosque of the Islamic faith to the Unitarian Universalist church leader. I had never been to such a church--one that encouraged us to embrace the differences and commonalities among us, encouraged us to seek our own spiritual path. Man I loved that Church! They were, I guess, somewhat of a rebel church. It was the first time that I had heard a religious leader say that the Bible is a spiritual tool, not something that should be taken literally as word for word fact. At last, a scholarly view rather than a theological view!

Of course, it was more of an exception to most Catholic parishes. After I moved away from East Lansing, I was hard pressed to find a parish that felt like a second skin as St. John's had. I began attending mass sporatically, and by the time I was 35, I had stopped going all together. As new#3, there were just too much of the dogma that I did not agree with and struggled to find resolution.

I keep seeing the "Catholics come home" ads they keep running on television (amazing, considering what little television I watch), and I do miss the feeling of "home" I felt at St. John's. It was the comparative religions class, and this church, that taught me that most "religion" has, at its core, the same basic tennets: love one another; do unto others as you would have them do unto you; value life as a gift; the belief in something greater than ourselves; that we are all on a journey, and each individual has their own path.

This thread alone shows us how very individualistic we are, but no matter our differences, we can always find a common thread, so to speak.

We three obviously are not afraid to speak our minds. We have strong convictions, but are able to listen to others with open minds. We have the capacity to learn and grow, even though each of us are long past our youth. There is much truth in what you have said, BC, and there is much honesty and vulnerability it what you have shared, new#3. I celebrate our differences!

BC, congratulation on your successes in helping others. I wish more people would do just that. Bud and I have both literally given away the shirts off our backs (Bud was left standing in an undershirt, and I in my bra) to help others in need. I married Bud because of his giving soul. He has emptied our pantry on many occassions to help families in need. We have both driven individuals to job interviews, and continued to drive them to work until they could afford their own car. I feel like if more people could invest a little time and money into helping those in need to get back on their feet, we wouldn't need welfare programs. But most people cannot be bothered. And then, as you pointed out BC, there are those who abuse the system, and make people leary to help others.

My, I have gone on and on, haven't I? lol Can you tell I am a passionate person? :)

Border Collie said...

Love to you O&W, and new#3, my catholic education was grade 1-12 and some of college. Most was taught by Jesuits, the most fiercely logical in the church. I loved the latin and the ritual, take that away and it wasn't special anymore. We were given propositions to think about and then support our positions with appropriate references or data. Really we were taught to think. We were never taught a literal interpretation of the bible, and the bible was not the primary teaching. Old testiment stories were thought to be told as a basis of a truth, wrapped in a story appropriate to the experience of the people at the time. Seems reasonable to me. Anyway, like and respect you both, and we do indeed have a lot in common. It's kind of a world view. Gets there, sticks and can't shake it loose, cuz it's who we are.

Anonymous said...

The government forcefully taking from some to give to others is called stealing. The rich pay most of the taxes and provide jobs, yet they are called evil by the democrats. The people getting welfare, free phones etc, pay nothing back and vote for democrats who keep the goodies coming. The result is $16 trillion in debt that will enslave future generations. All of this is considered "compassion" by the Left. That is why I am a proud Tea Party activist.

new#3 said...

Anonymous you probably are unaware that the "free phone" program was actually instituted by George W. Bush in 2008.