Friday, November 13, 2009

Thinking...


Thinking
13 November 2009
Missoula, Montana



 







Take a good listen to this.  For those of you that call yourself a Christian (good or not) or religious in any way, and appose socialized medicine, for instance, or anything that isn't for the social good, I have to question your religion, adherence to it and your moral self.   

I have no problem giving 50% of what I make if it's for the greater good of our society.  My only request is that my money is spent well.  I’m sure that’s what most people want for what they have to pay in taxes.  That's where voting often and paying attention to what those that we vote into representation are doing.  Many of those more heavily socialized countries that pay more in taxes than use--which is everyone but South Korea--get a lot more for what they pay than us.  

Those that are Christian know about tithing.  That’s 10% of what you had since most people didn’t have much money back then—barter and trade.  That’s socialism folks.  Doing your part to take care of the greater good, whether it’s the church and it’s community or a nation.  

Remember when the bible was written.  Now think of the type of civilization that existed in Iraq then—in Rome—in Greece—in Egypt.  You depended on others for survival.  That was the entire point of creating a civilization!  It’s a social obligation.  SOCIAL.  It’s not a bad word.  We’d still be hunters and gathers if we didn’t socialize.  Yes, some can do it on their own, but if you aren’t, well, you best think about how you get all the things that make you happy and give you such a good life.             

Our problem is the Capitalist side of our socialized nation.  When factoring in inflation, people of the U.S. generally made more in the 70s than today.  That's because healthcare is such a large portion of our expenditure by employers, and ultimately eating up more of what we spend after we get paid.  In the not too distant future (about NINE years!), we're looking at spending about 50% of our income on healthcare if something doesn't change  (this was reported on NPR by "This American Life" - http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=391).  We spend more than 50% more on healthcare than ANY country in the world and it sure isn't buying us any better health.  We rank 45th in infant mortality in the world--behind Cuba--and 50th in the world at life expectancy--behind Bosnia (these stats are pretty much from This American Life--which is well trusted with their research).  What happened to people in the health field wanting to take care of people as why they wanted to become doctors, surgeons, ect?  Looks like some are taking care of their second and third homes and their social status more than their patients.  

Take for instance something I read in the University of Montana’s student paper today.  Montana State University just hired a new President.  That person’s salary will be quite a bit higher than the previous President and more than UM’s President.  The board of regents is talking about raising our current President’s salary from $205,000 a year to $285,000 a year to make up for it, even though there was a freeze last year on professor salaries.  Justification is that even with the increase, it’s still below average for the position at most comparable universities.  To me, a good leader of anything would say, until the enterprise/group as a whole is taken care of, I am last on the list.  I’ve lived a pretty decent life on $15,000 a year.  I can’t see any skill worth that much over something livable for one person.  That doesn’t mean it’s not earned, but more of it is that needed.        

Too many people want to be millionaires rather than being able to provide for their family and live a decent life.  Comfortable has really lost a rational meaning.  We're not just a throw away nation, but a nation of stuff.  You don't need a two story, 3,000 square feet house for two people or four people.  I've never seen some many people that have a decent-sized house with a one or two car garage and can't keep their car(s) in there for the JUNK!  There are people that still live in mud huts on this planet!  I'm not saying we should give money to improve their lives, because you know what I think--we'd just make their lives worse.  The people I met in Africa seem a WHOLE lot more happy than your average American…

It’s not about redistributing wealth, even though that’s what some think is the way to go.  It’s about giving people basic services over anything—like healthcare and education.  Don’t give people money—give them something real.  Welfare should be food, then shelter, then healthcare and finally education.  Nothing more, noting less.  Giving people money sometimes is along the lines of giving a street beggar money—which will spend it on alcohol or drugs or something long those lines most likely.  

People are right not to trust politicians.  We’ve sent lawyers and rich business people on the average to Washington to represent us.   We need to take a stand and not just go with the flow.  We need to send people like us that know what it’s like to make minimum wage and work a job that doesn’t bring in six or more figures a year.  Now that doesn’t mean we send unintelligent, uneducated McDonalds employees (not to imply all are—Jay Leno worked at McDonalds when he was young).  We just need to send more people that are in touch with the entire country; the entire world.   

The big hurtle is our differences.  We all believe different things.  Some believe in a god in the sky has is all planned out.  Some believe in equal rights for all.  Some believe in the right to do what they wish.  Some live in a fantasy world.  We have to find common ground!  And I know for a fact there is some no matter where you go on this planet.  I’ve been to four continents and have talked with people of all six with indigenous peoples.  WE just have to think more.  We can’t ignore certain topics because they are uncomfortable for us and because they are hard.  We can’t allow a TV show or a sport or anything so trivial to dominate out time, our thoughts and our lives.

Whether you believe in evolution or not, we have changed in the last 10,000 years of recorded time.  It all comes down to choices.  I’m not say we all have to make the right ones all the time—I know I sure haven’t—we just need to be aware of what motivates us to make these choices.  I have to make the choice every day walking across campus to my next class to not jump and rape one of the many beautiful woman I pass—I really like beautiful women!  It’s not always the easiest of choices, but I choice to restrain myself for the good of everyone.  Not all that long ago that kind of situation didn’t have only one acceptable outcome.  

All this rambling I’ve done really comes down to one thing—thinking.  Do it for yourself.  Do it OFTEN.  And do it critically!  We can’t have a large portion of a population doing a vast amount of their thinking about the offense or defense of a sports team or about whether they should consider stainless steel appliances or not.  
 
Just think about it...on your own...without resorting to what you've heard on TV...or what you were told growing up...without thinking about that new 56 inch flat panel TV you want or a new car that costs what a decent house cost 20 years ago...just think about it without greed for yourself…

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