Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Remembering JFK

Today is Nov. 22, and this date calls to mind Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was killed by an assassin. I vividly remember most of the events of those days, starting with the news the President had been shot, and concluding with the funeral early the following week. No matter what your politics, it was a dark day for this country. Five years later we had more assassinations: Jack’s brother Robert F. Kennedy, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More dark days, and I think the many terrible events of 1968 and following set this country on a path that led to more discontent and mistrust of authority, especially of governmental authority.

Today we are facing discontent, as we see from the Occupy movement. College campuses are erupting in demonstrations as well, and the middle class is feeling the financial crunch. Moreover, it seems the poor are getting poorer, and college kids graduate with huge debts to repay. The failure of the so-called “Super Committee” to come to an agreement regarding reducing the federal deficit brings out even more discontent and mistrust of government. Essentially what we have is a non-functioning Congress, that even as a crisis approaches can’t compromise. Haven’t they heard the saying, “Politics is the art of compromise?”

What should our politicians do?

-Close tax loopholes for individuals and corporations so there is a little more fairness while not penalizing people for being successful (as other countries often do).

-Eliminate costly weapons systems that are of questionable value in this post-Cold War era, and focus on the basic weapons needed for today’s conflicts.

-Eliminate subsidies or tax breaks for special interests, whether they be companies, the arts, or other non-essential things.

-Government at all levels should narrow its focus to what government does best or what are government’s main functions: education, police, fire, roads, infrastructure, defense, consumer protection, etc. Just as the European countries will have to reduce their “womb to tomb” social benefits, our government will have to stop subsidizing or paying for non-essential things, beneficial as they may seem.

As people of faith, we must pray for our country daily. I fear for the future of the United States given the mess we’re in and the even bigger mess coming down the pike. Discontent can lead to ugly riots, crime, and even anarchy. Just look at what’s happening overseas in such places as Egypt, Greece, etc. We, of course, must put our faith in God, not in government, but we should pray that God will direct our representatives and senators to make the tough decisions for the good of the nation.

And by the way, we should stop trying to eliminate God from our society, and remember that the holiday coming up is called “Christmas”, not “Holiday.” How do we expect God to bless this country when God isn’t even a part of our life, except as an expletive? So choose this day whom you will trust, God or government.

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