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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Difference Between Grown-Ups and Children and the Proper Usage Of The Word NO

How many of you out there said something like "When I grow up, I am going to let my kids eat as much candy as they want!" when you were a kid? I did.

How many of you who can remember making such a statement as a child, actually followed through? I didn't.

Now why is that? Were we being insincere back then? Or, did we grow up and realize that eating too much candy is not healthy and it is our responsibility as parents to say "no" much of the time when our children are demanding candy. Saying "no" isn't always easy, especially when our child is throwing a major fit at the grocery store and other people are tossing us looks that are not of the friendly sort. 

It is at that point that our parenting skills are tested - do we give in, and let junior have the lolly, or do we pick junior up, screaming and kicking, abandon our shopping cart and plans for the nights dinner and walk out of the store? The former will teach junior that throwing fits in public places brings rewards, the latter that such behavior will not be tolerated and nothing good will come of it, and when mommy says no, she means no. 

I regularly go to the grocery store, and I can testify to a distinct lack of screaming and kicking children throwing fits in the candy aisle, so my guess is most parents have figured this one out. Those parents are the backbone of our society because they are willing to be the bad guy for a little while in the eyes of their children because they can see the bigger picture and understand that a society full of people kicking and screaming when they don't get what they want is not going to go anywhere but down the drain.

As a  society, we have granted parents certain perks and rights which allow them to carry out their duties as a parent. For example, when junior screams "I hate you and you are not the boss of me", parents can calmly inform junior that actually, in fact, they are. Parent's rights to be the boss of their children also come with the responsibility to act in the best interest of their children, which most of us try to do without any additional encouragement from the government anyway. For those parents who abuse their children in one way or another, society has devised a plan to intervene on behalf of the child, because we in general don't like it when kids are suffering.

When we elect a leader, we are giving that leader a certain amount of power over us and we expect those leaders to sometimes play the bad guy on our behalf. We can do this with a fair amount of confidence that we won't be abused because we have a system of rules in place that defines just what they can and cannot do (we call it a legal system). We expect them to act in our best interests and remember that their responsibility is to us, the citizens of this country, past, present and future. Hopefully the leaders we choose have enough humility to recognize that while they have been elected to a particular office, they themselves are far less important than the office itself. They are expected to return that office in as good or better condition than when they got it, and for this, we will place their picture on a wall and they will become one of many people who have been chosen to serve.

When we have elected officials who consider themselves and their new found power to be more important than the system itself, we have trouble with a capital T. If they decide that they are not bound by the rules that have been put in place to limit their authority, and think they somehow "know better" and therefore can ignore the collective wisdom of the thousands of people who have come before them, because that is what our laws represent, now hundreds of years of wisdom of thousands of elected officials guided by millions of citizens, we are witnessing what the Greeks called hubris. Hubris doesn't travel alone, nemesis, the downfall, is never far behind.

In the meantime, however, somebody afflicted with hubris can do a fair amount of damage. One of the most famous in modern history who was guilty of hubris is said to be Adolf Hitler. While he eventually perished as one can expect, the suffering he imposed on the world is not something that we need to repeat.

Today, Harry Reid of Nevada is attempting to circumvent the laws of this country for his own benefit. Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans are against rewarding illegal aliens, Mr. Reid is attempting to do just that. He is trying to attach what he calls the dream act to a national defense bill. This amendment will hurt those he has sworn to serve and protect, and will reward people who have violated our nation, and continue to do so to this day by availing themselves of the resources and benefits to which they have no right.

In doing so, he is putting in jeopardy everything he claims to want - fairness in society, help for the poor, access to higher education for lower and middle income families - every single public assistance program in the country. How? I don't have to tell you we live in a world of limited resources or that right now we are experiencing the limits of those resources rather acutely. As a steward of those resources, the responsible thing to do would be to guard them like a miser, defining in advance who is eligible and who isn't and then insisting on the strictest enforcement possible. This is the only way to ensure that those who sacrifice to make those resources available, will continue to be willing to do so.

While the political rhetoric often tries to describe those that enable us to even have a public school system or a welfare program as greedy, unwilling to "pay their fair share", the reality is that they are in fact the ones who created the wealth where there once was none, and nothing on this earth, not Harry Reid, nor Barack Obama nor any of the current "do-gooders" in power can make anybody create more. They have the ability to take it all if they so desire, but they get to do that only once. When they have consumed the fruits of their exploits, there will be nothing for anybody.

So, when I see Mr. Reid and Barbara Boxer and the rest throwing open the doors and saying come one come all - it's a free for all, I have to wonder what their actual motives are - because it looks to me like they are trying to destroy every last  shred of public welfare we have in this country. If you saw a parent allowing their child to eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner and setting no limits, would you conclude that the parent has the child's best interest at heart? Probably not. The same logic applies to the champions of social welfare - if you don't set limits and stick to them, then you are not acting in the interest of what you claim you are for. 

So that begs the question, what do you really want?


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