Bitter

 

“But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not so to be.  Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” James 3: 8-11

 

Paul had a lot to say to the early church.  He was helping them understand what it meant to be a good Christian.  These early church members came from entirely different traditions.  The Jews held the Samaritans and Gentiles in very low esteem and generally didn’t associate with them  The Greeks felt the Jews were country bumpkins.  The Romans looked down on everyone.  Yet here was this new teaching that asked everyone to give up their bias and love everyone else as a child of God.

 

We are still struggling with this concept 2000 years later.

 

One of the key elements in the current Democratic race is the question of how Senator Obama is going to react when attacked by the Republican party if he wins the Democratic nomination.  In an effort to demonstrate that she is better prepared to defend herself, Senator Clinton appears to be taking it on herself to demonstrate that Senator Obama isn’t up to the challenge.

 

What seems to be lost in all of this is the larger question.  Why do we, as those whom these candidates are seeking to serve, tolerate this sort of behavior?

 

Do we really want to continue this sort of scorched-earth power politics where victory is a function of counting coup?

 

In my opinion, this policy has failed the people for the past sixteen years. 

 

The only group it IS working for is the politicians.  That’s because it allows them to raise money and deal with the simple issues of good and evil rather than the complicated issues of doing the business of the people.  Politicians have been able to choose a side, dig in, and fire away.  We cheer on the sidelines after every volley because it is good entertainment.  We fail to recognize that they are spending our money entertaining us rather than providing good government. 

 

In the last eight years the gap between the rich and the poor has increased dramatically.  It is now the widest that it has been since the depression.  Those those who were already rich and had an opportunity to influence the process, are getting richer.  Everyone else is getting poorer.  Us poor folk haven’t complained because we were told that the cause of our condition was deterioration of social values (abortion, gay marriage, legislating judiciary, and past liberal sins), and not unethical government.  We were told that if we only returned to some idealized vision of the past, we would all have a shot at the same brass ring that the rich had managed to grasp.  Unfortunately enough of us believed it that we kept voting for these folks.  Well it isn’t true.  It’s not happening.  Worse, it’s not going to happen.

 

Things need to change.

 

We need to elect representatives who are going to tell us the truth including the fact that they are human, frail, and imperfect. 

 

The truth is that all of those high paying manufacturing jobs are gone and are not coming back.  The truth is that future employment is going to be a function of skills and education.  As a result, if we want our people working in good jobs, we have to offer them meaningful training and education.  The truth is that rather than investing in our education and training, we have been raping the treasury to invade other countries and give financial advantage to those who already have the means at the expense of those who need it most.

 

If the poor and working poor aren’t bitter, they should be.  They are being taken advantage of by those who should know better and don’t need the money. 

 

As a country we are also being taken advantage of by the suggestion that politics should be a blood sport and those willing to conduct it on that level should be the ones that we elect.    

 

We don’t need a gladiator or a cowboy idealog. 

 

That wasn’t how Jesus or Paul described being a Christian, why should we endorse any other behavior today? 

 

In my opinion, Paul wrote a pretty good description of the sort of leader we need.  Think about this as you consider who to vote for.

  

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”  James 3: 14-18

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