An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I suppose it is an indicator of my television ignorance, but I was truly surprised to find a kindred "soul" in a political-social commentator on ABC. John Stossel is a self-proclaimed libertarian and he has been doing a series entitled "A Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics" on 20/20 for the last few weeks. In my liberty-leaning head, they are truly a breath of fresh air from the fluff and mud of the campaign and so I am going to share them here. In this first introductory clip we are offered the radical suggestion that we either consciously or unconsciously ascribe far too much illusory power to our politicians. The whole libertarian point is that USUALLY if things go very well the government really had nothing to do with it and USUALLY if things go poorly the government had a great deal to do with it. We like and tend to think that government - and specifically our presidents - have everything to do with everything....sometimes even our personal happiness.
Case and point: both parties are presently selling us a bill of goods with regard to the financial crisis - by which I mean to say that they claim THEY are going to fix it (like so much else in our lives). Both parties are either blaming the other party, blaming DERUGULATION (meaning government lets go of the reigns), or blaming nameless "greedy" wall street people. Either way, the blame game has an obvious ulterior motive: retain or gain power.
There are others as well and I will share them later - including a GREAT one about the Farm Bill and subsidies.
Politics sometimes seems so profane...perhaps partly because of that sense is why I lean libertarian? I cannot say...part of it is also perhaps the perception that the world is headed in a post-Christian direction and as it does so it seems sensible to deny the government more and more access and influence over our everyday lives? The Left and Right (Religious or otherwise) are generally assumptive of government oversight in our lives and this creates this tremendous battle in making sure that oversight leans a particular cultural, social and moral values direction. But what if the government had a great deal less oversight in our lives and agreeing upon that we would then not have our passions so raised in worrying about who's in charge and what they'll bring into our living rooms? Would it give the "free market" of ideas, values, and beliefs an even greater freedom to dialog, discuss, and debate? Just a thought.
Last Sunday as we were singing the Second Antiphon, I was convicted over the extent to which I'd been putting too much of myself into the political system; investing too much concern/worry/faith in it all. Fact is, the Federal Government is neither going to usher in, nor wreck the Kingdom of God - no matter what they do or who moves into the White House next January. So, how much energy should I invest in this? There is so much for me to do in my own life and in the lives of those around me that REALLY IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT.
Praise the LORD, O my soul! While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
The LORD shall reign forever— Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
James, I was surprised to come across the Stossel piece, as well. What's sad, I think, isn't the promises that politicians make, but that we continue to believe them. Shame on us.
As I watched this, I was thinking about something the organization I lead recently did: we bought every 4th grader in a nearby rural town his/her own violin to use. The school's music teacher asked for our help a few months back, we scared up the money and helped her in the best way possible. I'm under no illusions that every kid will become a violinist down the road, but if we can get them excited about music, and they can learn some of the great skills that come from practicing and playing a musical instrument with other kids, then it will have been a success.
As I watched Stossel's program, I was thinking how this would have been different if the government had gotten involved. First, I would have needed to form a committee to study the request. And then, of course, we would have had to deal with the 3rd and 5th graders, who were being overlooked by this program. And then, don't forget the anti-violin lobby. I mean, what are we thinking forcing poor innocent 4th graders to play the violin? What if a kid wanted to play the kazzoo instead, of the bagpipes?. . . .blah, blah, blah.
Mike...I will post the rest of the series if you have not seen it already: the section on the government helping us during disasters is great - volunteers were FAR FAR more efficient and effective at rebuilding. I'd argue that this will always be the case.
I have a great story about trying to buy something for our lab through the state. DAYS...not hours...were wasted. I'll tell it next time.