Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Conclusion

Political analyst David Gergen made an interesting observation: had we fought World War Two with the vigor with which we have confronted the BP Gulf-oil-spill, we might likely be speaking German today.

I can agree with that. El Queda could not have more effectively threatened the southern United States than has British Petroleum with this offshore drilling catastrophe. Obviously, this was not in BP’s best self-interest, but neither has the cozy relationship between the giants of the oil industry and the U.S. government been in the public’s best interest, with the high lobbying influences and the low government philosophy of many in both public and private sectors.

There is a defined role for government; Democrats suggest enough involvement to protect public interests; Republicans want to restrict involvement to a bare minimum. The mindset held by so many today, and illustrated by political interests ranging from George Bush to Rand Paul, to Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh who proclaim a social structure that effectively lacks sufficient government controls to protect public interests--in the name of smaller government.

As the Bush election moved toward reality, my internal monitor predicted repeatedly that we could anticipate depression. I watched with dismay as the lack of controls on Wall Street (and elsewhere) hastened the downsizing of our economy. Enron and a host of similar debacles illustrated the coziness corporations felt, and the freedom enjoyed, to push the envelope ethically and morally.

Now we have a real castrophe on our hands, one that could threaten a coastline from Florida westward to Mexico, not to mention Gulf island-nations like Cuba. Add a hurricane into the mix and you have a recipe for an incomprehensible event: can you image the front wall of Katrina surging into inland Mississippi with thick layers of BP oil sludge that is laced with hazardous chemicals?

Accidents cannot be prevented; Rand Paul is right about that. However, it cannot be denied that “better” regulations could prevent more deaths by coal miners, and better regulations might have prevented the BP catastrophe, even the Alaska Valdez incident. Prevented or otherwise, a political climate more intent on protecting the public and public interests could have had an action plan in place and have already been well under way with clean-up in the event of an accident.

President Obama has been far too slow to “take control” because there were too many to then point their finger at “Government takeover.”

It is time we stop allowing political extremists, libertarians, and self interest groups manipulate us with threatening words like “Government takeover,” socialism, ad infinitum. It could happen, but NOT even “liberal Americans” want any part of atheistic communism and a state-run society like China or Saudi Arabia or . . .England for that matter.

We are Americans. We have government of the people, for the people (not just the corporations, the privileged, not just whites … ) and by the people. On this Memorial Weekend it behooves each of us to ask ourselves what we are doing with what we have--especially our freedoms.

Political office has become an innerstate highway to riches today, while ordinary citizens are too involved in their own self-interests--achieving the American Dream. It is time to take back our government (through legal and political means) for ALL the people, and that includes Anthony, my black neighbor, and the Mexican that lives around the corner. Whether our children are worse off or better--than we were--LET EVERYBODY GET OFF THEIR DUFF and develop old fashioned character, personal integrity, and a new accountability for what is taking place.

Moreover, let our political interests once more reflect concern for both the common good, and personal accountability for honesty and ethical behavior, as well as a willingness to sacrifice for a worthwhile cause. Whether or not one personally accepts Christianity, the American political structure came out of a common understanding of the Judaio-Christian ethic as best understood by the Anabaptist and free-church tradition where every individual stood on equal ground without being condemned (rejected) for what he believed.

Memorial Day signals a return to America’s common roots, for which many have paid the supreme price. Meanwhile, I still advocate for the teachings of the one who taught us to love our enemies, do good to them that despitefully use you, and treat your neighbor as yourself, while rendering to God what is his.

From Warner’s World

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