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American's Need to Turn the CornerKenneth G. Ramey Salem-News.com
Why should the rich have no obligation toward their benefactors?
(PASO ROBLES, Calif.) - This May, 2011, over 500 people died as a result of a swarm of tornadoes of deadly force in the breadbasket of America; large portions of Towns were leveled. The expense to residents is more than they can bear, and the Government must get involved in their recovery. Floods too have destroyed vast areas of farmland destroying crops and income. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico took a toll on the resident fishermen along its coasts causing rugged individualism to be replaced not only by what mother used to describe as “modern inconveniences,” but also necessity.
America has turned the corner and is looking to join the nations of the world in caring for its own. It is not to be ashamed of; it is as it must now be. It would be nice if the troops were brought home from Afghanistan to help where they can do a greater good, but it is not likely to happen so long as the Administration prefers to secure America’s right to another foreign outpost. Do we really need it? Can we really afford it when our economy and deficit cry out for help? The GOP is split on the subject, but John McCain declares that anything less than expansion is “isolationism.”
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina agrees, and planted the seed of expansion a while ago when he said the U.S. should establish an enduring presence in Afghanistan where permanent military air bases should be built to protect our interest in the area. And now we learn that talks are going on between the U.S. and the Taliban in Afghanistan for the purpose of creating just such an agreement. I suspect the same result is desired in Iraq too where much of the plan is already in place. The result could allow for a sizable draw down of American troops, perhaps from both military theatres, but the expense of creating an enduring presence and building permanent air bases in Afghanistan could more than offset any gain. Is there no escape?
It is time to plan for a new America by recognizing how government must act to protect and help its citizens at home, rather than adding to the wealth of a military aristocracy of the Republican Party and its Holy See of Evangelicals whose base is subservient to its will. Better our troops should be brought home and, if necessary, be used to support nascent Arab nations showing a preference for Democracy where the American plow can be dipped into more fertile soil than Afghanistan and Iraq to help those who are trying to help themselves.
Not all wealthy people come by their riches dishonestly, but since the source of the wealth of all is derived from those whose service, even lives, and spending contributed to it, why should the rich have no obligation toward their benefactors? The best way to balance the books is by an appropriate tax code which is as fair to the lower and middle classes as it is to the upper.
Nor should we ignore the need for regulations that so effectively controlled the avarice of persons before Republican Administrations removed them and allowed the bigness of the rich to run rampant that brought our economy to the verge of today’s collapse.
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, when he left the White House, warned that the Military Industrial Complex was a serious threat to America’s future, and Geo. W. Bush pushed the envelope to the extreme as he responded to the wishes of Evangelicals whose purpose was to advance their position in the hierarchy of the Republican Party of God. The Holy See is now the power which decides who and what is acceptable within the political realm so long as it devolves to its political advantage, always with an eye to a future that includes its misguided religious concepts.
The Republican Party has moved so far to the right as to invite a response, less from the Democrats, than from the people themselves who can see where Republicans would recklessly take the country. Not only seniors, but also their progeny stand to lose if together they cannot stem the flow of Republican desire to cut Medicare and Social Security.
Since the end of WW-II, rugged individualism has been replaced by a new class of citizenry who make money less by brawn than by their brains, which makes it difficult for the less educated to keep or find jobs. We exist in an intellectual world today, but also one in which Evangelicals try to convince their followers that they are the true Christians who do not question, and that intellectuals are instruments of the devil, because they do.
The practice copies the distant Roman Catholic example intended to keep its members in ignorance of the truth, until Protestantism won the day.
Geo W. Bush, as a devout believer, did not question but believed what he was told, and was led to believe, that “with Jesus in His heaven, all’s right with the world,” until Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and proved him wrong, after which he became a changed man eager to be rid of his presidency.
It is not the kind of experience any of us should have to experience to know the truth which is readily available without the need to suffer the consequence as did President Bush. The Republican Holy See and their political followers want us to believe that Jesus is God, for those who teach, or whom we believe, have power over us. But Jesus is not God any more than is Islam’s Mohammed.
Nature is as close as we can come to really knowing God and understanding what life is all about. The Church cannot solve human problems by acting as if it is God by presuming to tell us what is right and what is wrong always in the hope of expanding its realm of influence.
The fact is the world is overpopulated, and to denounce contraception and abortion as evil adds to the problem physically and psychologically, just as do Pro-Life advocates. For women no longer have to become pregnant unless they choose to be, and by promoting contraception, abortions should be reduced. It is this sort of logic that lifts peoples above the level of others who exist in poverty and often despair.
But, back to Nature; tornadoes should suffice to teach that the best defense against them is a storm cellar; and high lands are best when flood or tsunami hit. The opposite may be true in case of fire. Each of us ought to prepare according to logic and common sense, just as it makes sense to use contraceptives to avoid pregnancy and abortion. The more one accepts these truths, the closer one comes to God. By preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, each one of us can determine our fate to an extent larger than ever before. Rev. Huckabee would do well to introduce these truths in his home state of Arkansas.
I know not everyone is so lucky they can live where they want. Neither can I accept that it is God’s will that overpopulation be reduced by unexpected natural disasters. Earthquakes will occur; Haiti is an example, which may require we refine our thinking as well as building codes that will not permit persons to build in flood plains or on bluffs above eroding shorelines. To the extent we can, common sense and industry should decide our destiny, but there is also the fact that many people do not possess the knowledge or the will to help themselves.
Hurricane season is here again, and it doesn’t seem to me as if Haiti is anywhere near prepared for it. If a people has not prepared itself to survive, the efforts of outsiders can be of limited assistance at best. I cringe when I consider what could happen in Haiti this year, but I know also that it is just one area in the world where people will suffer because they must live where they cannot escape their predicament.
Kenneth G. Ramey, Salem-News.com's Religion and Philosophy Writer, confronts the hard issues of politics and religion from a logical point of view that combines interesting insight with history into the truth, or lack thereof, that underlies the strengths and weaknesses of the Religious Right’s determination to use American politics for its own misguided, or selfish, interest. It’s rare for a writer to balance his writing between religious values and the secular guarantees of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights with the knowledge that Ken possesses, and to do it so effectively.
Ken was born in Minnesota but was raised in California since 1932. He is the youngest of four boys raised by his mother alone during the dark years of the Great Depression. He Graduated from SFSU in the 1970s when in his mid-forties, majoring in Spanish North American History, and added three years of post-graduate study, much of it in Philosophy and Religion. We live at a critical time in history and believe Ken's views represent the view of many who are tired of the commercialism and false interpretations about religion today. Watch for Ken's articles on religion, philosophy, politics and history. View articles written by Kenneth G. Ramey You can email Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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