Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I am a capitalist at heart, and any drift towards socialistic ideas or tendencies makes me nervous. For that reason, I am relieved that my state's Nancy Pelosi is no longer Speaker of the House, and that a measure of balance has been restored to our government.
I do understand the concerns of my liberal friends with good intentions who want to make sure that the less fortunate of our citizens are not left behind in this great country. I am concerned about these citizens as well, but I am also convinced that the old maxim is true: a hand up really does work much better than a hand-out. (I believe this applies both in my role as a parent and in my role as a citizen.) Enabling is enabling, and doing it is not a good idea for our children or our nation, either within or outside of our borders. Rather than building people, it weakens and disrespects them, assuming and subtly convincing them that they are not capable, thereby creating an unhealthy dependence that does not encourage growth or the self esteem and ambition that accompany it.
Here's the sticking point in acting out my philosophy, though, and you and I are the only ones who can do something about it. We need to remember that "not enabling" is entirely different from ignoring altogether. Citizens of a country that prefers to avoid socialistic solutions to very real problems must be vigilant, as individual citizens and groups of citizens, in providing appropriate support to those who need it. When people are down and out, and we have plenty of them all around us, we need to reach out and help them...without government mandate or interference. We need to give of ourselves as individuals, church members, and community volunteers to ensure that all of us are well served by living in this country.
If redistribution of wealth is wrong, and I believe it is, then redistribution of priorities is right. Those of us who are able (and grateful!) will need to redistribute our priorities to include those outside of our normal sphere of influence. Personally, I am not always good at this; too often, I get caught up in my immediate circle and fail to look beyond it for opportunities to serve. I have a blog friend, though, whose example...one I am trying to follow...inspires me. If everyone were as socially conscious and compassionate as Valsy, much of the usually unproductive government spending to "help" people could fall by the wayside. After all, choosing to be generous precludes being forced, doesn't it?...And those who value the freedom inherent in not being forced would do better by giving freely and joyfully.
In the United States of America, November is all about gratitude. If I am truly grateful for everything I have, I will share it more mindfully with others. But I will share it in a way that undermines neither dignity nor self respect, neither self esteem nor the impetus to move forward. The people I help don't need to believe in me or my government; they need to believe in themselves.
The Time is Now
©2003 Susan Noyes Anderson
How does the child whose gift is hope,
whose eager hands and shining eyes
embrace the possibilities
and seek the prize
Become the child whose gift is lost
between the shadows and the years,
whose empty heart is framed in eyes
devoid of tears?
And who will hold the hands that reach?
And who will lift the heads that bow?
The answer lies within us all.
The time is now.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees (Hebrews 12:12).
Even the animal kingdom knows and fills the need: