A recent article in the Alban Weekly caught my attention by its title. “New Questions for a New Day?” Although it was an article on new questions churches need to ask rather than the ones they are asking, it caused me to think about questions that desperately need to be asked in our political jungle today. We are allowing the media and political pundits to ask the wrong questions of our politicians! Let me give you a few examples:
The question: “How will you vote on issues concerning abortion?” should be replaced by the question: “How will you vote on issues concerning quality of life for all human beings in our society?” Will your votes seek to protect only fetuses or will your vote be for protecting the one in five children in Kansas who are hungry and without access to enough adequate foods and considered food insecure. Will you protect these children from disease by your votes that extend badly needed medical care, or are you only interested in unborn fetuses?
The question: “How will you vote on issues concerning gay marriage“? might be replaced with the question: “what will you advocate through your votes that will protect the rights of all citizens of the U.S. regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation so that all citizens can enjoy the full range of freedom guaranteed by our Constitution.?”
The question: “Are you a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican?” might be replaced by the question: “In what way will you vote for the common good of all citizens, regardless of party preference?” I recently saw a poster on FB that showed a bird flying and said “politicians should be like birds–both the left wing and the right wing support the middle!”
The question: “How can we better hold educators accountable?” should be replaced by the question, “ How are you going to be held accountable for the education of our children in Kansas? ” How are you going to better support teachers in their difficult job? Are you going to respect the job that teachers do, often for poor pay and little appreciation? What are you going to suggest and vote for that will make sure that children we send to teachers are ready to learn by supporting early childhood education? What are you going to do that insures that half of the children coming to the Wichita Public Schools are not coming to school hungry and therefore unable to learn? or homeless and therefore insecure and having difficulties learning? As I read recently—“When Congress passes “No Child Left Unfed, No child without Health Care, and No Child left homeless, then we can talk seriously about No Child Left Behind? After that happens we can talk about accountability!
It’s time we get the message to the media and the political pundits that we wish to have politicians speak on these questions rather than the old tired ones that are now asked.. As Ghandi once said: “Be the change!” We can “be the change” by defining the real problems in our society and then demanding answers and solutions to those problems by asking the right questions. We then need to use the power of the ballot to demand accountability from those who govern us. The change can begin with your intelligent and knowledgable casting of a ballot that holds our elected officials accountable. “BE THE CHANGE”.
Posted in Education, Pastoral Concerns, Political affairs
Tagged abortion, Accountability, Change, Education Funding, Education Support, Gay Marriage, government, Homeless, human-rights, Hunger, No Child Left Behind, political parties, Political Questions
We Americans like to think of ourselves as “rugged individualists“, but in reality we are often like a “herd” that blindly follows the leader. The problem of course with blindly following a leader is that if the leader happens to be a “lemming” we will all be led over the cliff.
One of the lessons I learned as a Park Ranger about directing traffic at the San Diego Wild Animal Park was that if you got a car to go in the right direction all of those behind that lead car would follow. Sadly, the same thing was true if the car went in the wrong direction! The cars behind followed the car as it went in the wrong direction!
German philosopher Friederich Nietzsche had a name for that—“the herd mentality“. He framed his philosophy of the ubermensch (the superman) on that premise—a strong leader could lead the masses in any direction that he desired and they would blindly follow—as the lead cow leads the herd. That premise led to a further premise that “might makes right” and that those who have the power decide what is right or wrong. Adolph Hitler adopted this philosophy and proved it to be true, to the woe of the German nation that he led into World War II and disaster for their nation.
In Congress, the majority of the Republican Party exhibit a “herd mentality” as they blindly follow their leaders. They do not consider the legislation they pass or defeat on any basis other than maintaining their power by re-election as they let the Tea Party and those who contribute to their campaign funds tell them what to do. Truth, morality, the common good, all suffer from this “herd” mentality when our law makers do not think for themselves.
This is what troubles me about politicians and their followers today, and specifically about Kansans who at present are being led into fiscal disaster by a leader and legislature that are convinced they are right, regardless of the facts, and are using their power to decide what is right and good for everyone whether it is good or not for the common welfare. And we just went through an election that proved Nietzsche correct, as Kansans blindly re-elected them to another term, even though complaining that they had lied to them and that their situation financially and economically (except for the privileged businesses who received the tax breaks) was worse than when these politicians began their previous term. Many Republican voters have confessed they voted Republican because that is the way they always have voted and regret that they elected these folk now. But they are all in the same boat now—“lemmings ” following their leaders over the financial cliff for the benefit of an elimination of income taxes for around 100,000 “small businesses”, and are paying the price in reduced education funds, reduced programs for the most vulnerable of our state—the homeless, the children, the elderly. Even Kansas roads are going to be full of potholes as the governor shifts funds to pay for an “experiment” in economics that has proven to be as unproductive and disastrious as most economists initially predicted it would be.
Recently I saw a poster on Face Book that speaks to this: “Be careful when you blindly follow the masses. Sometimes the “M” is silent!
Posted in Education, Pastoral Concerns, Political affairs
Tagged "Lemmings", Common Good, economic system, Education Funding, g, GOP, herd mentality, human-rights, Leadership, political parties, politics, Taxes in Kansas, the vulnerable