Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aren't We All to Blame?

It's been several days since I posted [and several since I exercised, but that's for a different blog] but there is a very good reason.

As I have said in the past, my time with my Dad is very rare and subsequently very precious to me. So when he called from my driveway Friday night for an impromptu visit, I was elated. Hence, my absence.

Most of the time, I spend my day surrounded by like-minded individuals. I read the posts by the 9/12ers, I read and and listen to the conservative Trifecta of Glenn Beck, Rush, and Leland Conway. Usually, when I am faced with an opposing viewpoint, it is skewed so far left as to make it nearly nonsensical that I disregard it outright. But, when the opinion comes from a position of authority, well...

"Government is what got us into this healthcare crisis. It's the responsibility of the government to get us out." My scathing retort comes bubbling up almost before I can stop it. This is my dad, after all, and I remind myself that he and I are at different points in our lives when our world view is going to be completely different, so I ask him to explain.

"Well, corrupt capitalism has led to out of control health care prices and devious practices by pharmaceutical and insurance companies. The government let it go on so long, catering to special interest that now they have no choice but to step in." He goes on to relay a story to me from his job. He works for a large financial company in the mortgage division. [Needless to say, his advice has been priceless in the recent real estate debacle. It was through his knowledge that I was led to look closer at the Federal Reserve] He describes an unwritten policy by which the company keeps people behind on their mortgages from correcting the matter, grabbing capital from them, which they later regain, but in the meantime they have played with it, invested it and benefited from it. He says that he has been disciplined off the record for circumventing the policy many times.
My loose tongue is too quick for me this time. "You're risking your job."
He smiles and says simply, "You're part of the problem." His barb injures me for many reasons but most of all because I know he is right. It's a problem that started generations ago when we gravitated away from personal integrity and distanced ourselves from consequence.

Now some people will contend that it was when we stopped being afraid of God that we started to go astray and to an extent I believe that this is true. But, someone in the 9/12ers group recently spoke of sacred honor and I nearly had to laugh because he was referring to a local politician. But the phrase stuck with me "sacred honor". How many companies factor honorability into their actions? Everything has only a monetary factor now. The CEOs make millions and when budgetary issues occur, instead of everyone knuckling down and digging in there is a round of firings and dozens of families thrown into immediate chaos. Companies used to take care of their employees- now there are only bottom lines.

Moreover, people used to take care of themselves, but we have become a society of over-indulgients. Even our "poor" families are overfed and out of shape. Our politicians feel entitled to see their mistresses on Father's Day while their wives and children struggle to come to terms with their lack of family headship. Women who cherish their families while trying to serve, like Sarah Palin, are vilified, insulted and harassed. Liberals may have led the charge, but few Conservatives raised a voice in her defense. The attributes we should want to espouse are mocked and ridiculed.

We are all to blame. It is all of us who have moved away from honorability and it may mean the downfall of a republic that was once great.

Who will live with honor today?

Am I saying that Capitalism is evil? No, evil people are evil. Many modern CEOs and business heads operate without honor and have no problem testifying to it. And if corporate America has no honor, American government is completely without conscience.

Now since this blog entry makes me sound like flaming Liberal, I have this to say. Politics starts locally. We all know that. So does honorability. I will strive even more to weigh the full consequences of my own actions before I commit them, not just the consequences to myself but to all persons and apply two little seen attributes in this day and age: deep contemplation and restraint.

Congress should do the same. They should think about what their current legislation will mean to all people, not just the "uninsured" or the "super-rich" or the eco-freaks like Al Gore. With the reawakening of our patriotism comes a sobering reminder of how far all of us have drifted. While we work to get ourselves back to that place of holding ourselves with honor it is incumbent upon us to ensure that those who represent us do the same.

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