Politics — not good for anyone’s health
I am an adult person, by any standards, in any part of the globe. I have witnessed politics in different regions of the globe and have the same emotion: not particularly good for one’s health.
There are reasons for my emotion regarding politics. Primary is my conclusion that most politicians abandon their empirical traditional and religious beliefs in order to acquire “power.”
In those countries with a plurality of ethnic and religious communities, there might be a little understanding when politicians of a certain ethnical or religious bent behave as stated. But in a country whose common, uniting characteristic is that all its people aspire to that singular and unique “American Dream,” my disillusionment is infinite.
A few days ago [National Rifle Association President Wayne] LaPierre insisted that the only way to prevent mass killings in our schools is for various school districts to provide armed guards at each school. After his NBC interview his supporters insisted that there are groups willing to train and provide these armed guards.
I do not know if this arrangement includes the salaries and benefits due these trained guards. But why these excitations and rigmaroles? My simple opinion is that the NRA refuses to listen to other points of view, especially if these come from anyone in the other political party.
Where is the Christian exhortation to love your neighbor? Where is the Christian call to sacrifice for the good of all God’s children? At this time of the year we are all in a festive mood commemorating the birth of One whose teachings most of us (aspire to) live by and whose sacrifice on the cross we claim has earned each Christian (including Mr. LaPierre) salvation. (At the time I write this, I learn from MSNBC that two firefighters in New York state were shot dead while responding to a fire in Webster, N.Y. Now the NRA will have to provide armed guards in even the least anticipated places.)
Please do not misunderstand me. I like guns and would not hesitate to own one, but I will never support the easy access to, or availability of, assault weapons. It becomes mundane and, more seriously, misleading for an individual to preface an argument with the phrase “The American people ...”.
Mr. LaPierre has used this to support his refusal to accept a discussion on gun control. The speaker of the House of Representatives prefaces his own positions with same phrase. I do belong to the group referred to by both men and their cohorts but I do not subscribe to their arguments. It would be good to leave me and a few others out of their hyperboles.
There is the continuing mention of the need for a national database of the mentally ill. This is required so that the NRA and the gun-lobby can keep their assault rifles and continue raking in millions of dollars from their billionaire backers. At this point, it is no longer a constitutional necessity to keep private a citizen’s medical records.
Does listing of the mentally ill in a national database actually prevent the patient from owning or using a gun? Does listing in a national database of the mentally ill automatically lead to an improvement in the condition or an outright cure?
Adam Lanza did not own a gun but he murdered 20 6- and 7-year-olds in their classrooms, in a grade school far from the “crime-infested,” hustling and bustling inner cities in Connecticut.
When politicians discuss issues I find that there is usually almost zero agreement. I watched two economists discuss how to improve economic growth in the United States a few months before the last general elections. The Nobel laureate argued for massive government intervention (buy up some auto and insurance companies, shove money into the economy) while the other, a conservative economic historian, argued for letting market factors move the economy.
Ultimately there was government intervention which, I think, prevented a total collapse of the U.S. economy. The unemployment numbers began moving down and the populace became a little more economically optimistic. The various numbers are moving in the positive direction and I have not heard the likes of Mr. Welch question the trend. Maybe we could have had a better economic outcome if both sides objectively considered what the other was presenting.
Additionally, the politicians who wagered and lost in the last general elections (including Mr. McCain, Mr. Graham, Mr. LaPierre, Mr. McConnell, etc.) are still in an election mode. What these men have not realized is that the POTUS, Mr. Obama, is just one out of the more than 200 million citizens of this country. The president defeated these guys twice and is no longer electable as POTUS. But his administration has initiated some good policies which have worked in favor of the citizens of this country.
Discussions on workers’ benefits must be transparent, completely devoid of any political (Democrat or Republican) ideology or preferential treatments for any group(s). A citizen who worked for most of his/her adult life, paid into a “retirement fund” (whatever it is called), deserves the fruit of those working years and the benefit of any fund to which contributions were made. If adjustments are made to the benefits of worker Andrew, same applies to Congressperson Jack.
I do not encourage slothfulness or financial recklessness. But if anyone in my community deserves help, Christianity requires that I offer what help I can. It is almost insignificant to me what the recipient does with the help proffered.
It befuddles my imagination as to why politicians will not accept that any political office is not hereditary but “changes hands” in a few election cycles. This constant informs all to be open to ideas that lead to current resolution of issues while genuine efforts are made at resolving evolving issues or problems.
Today’s solution may need some tweaking (based on experiences) in order to be solutions for tomorrow’s issues. Today’s proponents may become tomorrow’s opponents in an issue.
Whatever side the politician is on, discussions must be objective, informed and geared towards the total good of all 100 percent of the citizenry.
Christ’s love for us is the “total giving of Himself for the ultimate good of our lives.” My appeal to our elected representatives, hopefully sensitized once again by Advent, is to begin thinking, primarily, of the ultimate good of the country before themselves. Have a grace-filled Advent season.
Peter Awachie, Ph.D.