Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Common Sense

When America needed a voice to push it into one camp (English rule) or the other (independence), Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet that used biblical references to convince our forefathers that independence from Britain was a good idea. We probably memorized this fact for a quiz in U.S. History in high school with absolutely no clue how profound this was. Paine put words on paper, those words provoked thought, thought translated to action, and history was changed. Amazing, don't you think? And all because people used their God-given common sense.

Today, we have the opportunity to turn on a computer, television, radio, or open a newspaper to find out what is going on at any point in time in our world. This has, unfortunately, made us quite lazy in the process. Why think for yourself when someone on television is willing to tell you what to think? And the constant barrage of information has also made it increasingly difficult to make sense of any of it anymore. In fact, while America was mourning the loss of icon Michael Jackson, the current administration was trying to get cap and trade (energy tax), health care reform, and a second stimulus package considered. And where was America? Watching the memorial service and the governor who had the mistress in Argentina...instead of researching what this legislation is meant to change. As for "hope and change"...I can only hope that my America is not completely changed...for the worse.

Because our lives fly by at a pace that defies logic, we become more and more dependent on others to sift through the information and provide us with everything in a nutshell so that we can attempt to be somewhat cognizant of what is going on out there. The big three: laziness, overwhelming data, and a vicious cycle. do we break the cycle? Well, we have to invest time figuring out what we believe...and why. And it can't stop at "because it sounds like a really good idea" without regard to how it will be funded and without regard for the Constitution.

The problem is that the rules changed dramatically because a lot of normal Americans got busy, starting thinking that their input didn't really matter, and trusted that America was too big to fail. This occurred simultaneously with an undercurrent that elevated intelligence above God. And those of us who know how frail the human mind is in comparison with an awesome God...we cannot relate to this school of thought. Naturally, those valuing intelligent and creative thought above everything believe that those with a solid belief in a higher power are too vapid to be anything but the lemmings that they think we are.

Oh, and that "too big to fail" thing? Look at the recent fate of some of the icons of the financial world and industry, and seriously ask yourself if you still want to remain in the dark or not.

Yes, we sit on the edge between appreciation of the sacrifices made to retain our right to freedom...and having bondage forced upon us. Our values are in direct conflict with each other. One side wants to be free to live life without barriers, but wants barriers put in place to protect people who are...well...NOT them. The other side wants to live life with restraints based on Judeo-Christian values but with as little government intervention as possible. One side favors choice, and the other favors life. One side favors equality, and the other favors individual responsibility. And both sides have good Americans with these opposing views that mean well.

While it would be nice to remain a "centrist" - a Switzerland, so to speak, in the midst of warring is imperative that Americans make conscious choices instead of working from a default setting of "status quo." Sadly, the lines are so clearly drawn at this point in our history that the only determining factor of what is about to occur is noting who is in power at the time. Unfortunately, by putting power in the hands of one side or the other...without the ability to override...when those who serve in government are more interested in their own a recipe for disaster...and certainly not what our Founding Fathers had in mind when the system of checks and balances was devised.

So, as we've been busy building our careers, loving our families, and caring for our neighbors...we have also collectively been asleep at the wheel. And those who have been worshipping at the altar of the mind have taken control of the primary information source...the media. And the media is used to change our thoughts because if it is on the news...well, it MUST be true, yes?

The truth? No...a thousand times no.

We should be willing to hear both sides of every issue...something that has become increasingly difficult to manage with a media that refuses to assume that the masses are intelligent enough to discern the truth should it actually be presented for consideration. And we are finding out that although we may not agree with every thing that is said...those with an opposing view from the mainstream media actually do have some mighty excellent points.

Time flies by so rapidly. We let something go because we have to manage possessions, relationships, income sources, and our own limitations. And as we try to get through the days...we fail to realize that a wolf is at the door.

Our legislators are passing laws that impact their fellow countrymen...people that they are sworn to represent...that they have not had adequate time to read. Everyone is concerned about getting something for such an extent...that there appears to be no limit to what is demanded and little regard for the consequences of actually obtaining it.

And those who had the audacity to ridicule a sitting President a year ago, do not appear to apply the same standards to the current one. Is this a lack of intelligence on their part? Or do they believe that we now have to make the shift back toward respecting the presidency because they have an intelligent President that they can respect? hypocrisy, and why I cannot bear to continue to entertain the ideas of those who change the standards to suit themselves. Who put the media in charge of setting the standards for who is worthy of our respect? Those who value intelligence, but not God?

Not only do I believe that this is un-American...since this country was founded on Christian values...but unsound. Don't underestimate those of us who believe that America is special...she is. If she weren't...would people have come here for a better life...for generations and generations? People in the media who are trying to convince me of how uninformed I am appear to be missing the fact that I am informed enough to know unsound policies when I have them shoved down my throat.

So, use the common sense that God gave you. Learn basic economic theory. Don't accept what you hear from any source without taking the time to hear all sides, and then seriously...realize that you are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Billions of dollars have been committed to a stimulus program that is said to benefit the banks...and primarily the investment banks. America's wealth and privilege is directly tied to a sound financial system and a capitalistic society. In a capitalistic economy, if you have a good idea, and people are willing to pay for it, then you can directly benefit from your idea and your work.

Granted, capitalism isn't fair. But the idea that we can have a better life for subsequent generations is what kept our ancestors striving to survive and prosper. Take that away...and you may have something that resembles "fairness" but as long as humans are on this will never be fair. And frankly, I don't want it to be. As Dave Ramsey says..."I'm better than I deserve." In America, the vast majority of us are just that.

Yes, I want the soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan. But more than that, I want my President to quit apologizing for our success to the rest of the world. Every time he says that we are no better than anyone else...I think of the sacrifices made by countless families for the privileges he apologizes for as he delivers his unimpressive speeches from his teleprompter.

No, I do not want the government involved in all aspects of my life. Do you?

Use some common sense. Read. Study. Listen to people you respect. Pray. Get involved. Think. And above all...don't give your country away because you were too busy watching a stupid reality show, it was boring, too hard to understand, or you just weren't interested enough to formulate your own opinion.

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