A Note on Humility

I got into a discussion on Facebook yesterday about immigration and why I am not okay with illegal immigrants benefitting from government programs. The response to that comment really surprised me, because one of the commenters was a green card holder and he found no problem at all with the idea that people who were not paying into the system were taking advantage of it, because the system was broken.

That thought outraged me. Two wrongs do not make a right, but I wasn’t sure how to respond because this argument feeds into the core of my political beliefs. I am a centrist, not a conservative. I believe in saving our planet. I recycle. I drive a car that gets 30 MPG. I conserve energy and reduce and reuse items where I can. I believe in social programs that give those in need a hand up, not a hand out.

I do not feel that our current welfare system helps those that are truly in need, but rather, it props up a class of people who are unwilling to help themselves. If you are genuinely down on your luck, I have no problem with you asking the taxpayers around you to help shoulder your burden for a little while. But it’s help. Not a meal ticket. You should be your own meal ticket.

When I think of all of these things and the general attitude of the blame game, and how it’s okay to blame one person for a war that he didn’t choose, that was brought to our doorstep and broadcast on national television, but it’s NOT okay to blame congress for making poor budget decisions and instead, we should discredit the agencies which are taking our lawmakers to task for their shoddy representation of us, I get sick to my stomach.

Unlike these self serving people, I remember where we came from. I remember the devastation. I remember the terror in my own heart and how I needed our president to respond by hunting those sons of bitches down and bringing them to justice and that is precisely what he did.

I disagree with many decisions that President Bush made, but on this one thing, I will never disagree. Hunting down terrorists and taking the fight to where they lived was the right thing to do for the American people. He prioritized OUR needs. He made me feel like we were in control of our destiny.

President Obama makes me feel afraid and uncertain, unconfident and unsure. There is no course to stay, because the course is erratic and involves spending more money than our country can ever make. President Obama inspires me to want to live somewhere else, because the America I see right now is an America that is not taking care of itself on the most basic levels. I feel like this nation is drowning in a sea of debt that it will never be able to dig itself back out of, because we simply do not make as much money as we’re spending.

That’s how I was feeling, until I saw images of Onagawa, Japan. It has been five months since the Tohoku Kanto Earthquake, and subsequent tsunami, devastated the Kanto region. Some areas will never recover and will never be rebuilt. In the grand scheme of things, politics and posturing do not matter. I don’t care what side of the aisle you are on, tragedy affects us all the same.

After seeing an entire city laid to waste, weather that city is in Japan, or in New York, how can you not find enough compassion in your heart to set aside differences and work toward the best interests of your nation? Why must we punish those who succeed for the sake of those who refuse to try? And why can we not help those people who genuinely need assistance when they need it? More worrisome to me, is why we find it acceptable for other people to take advantage of us, simply because it’s easy to do.

Just because it’s easy, doesn’t make it right.

Many of us remember September 11th and the feeling of unity that swept this nation afterward. It took some terrorists flying planes into skyscrapers in New York City to get us to put those differences aside long enough to agree on anything. The division between the political parties now is worse than I have ever seen it.

What will it take this time? How many people have to die before we get our heads out of our asses and see that what we are doing is not working? What will it take for us to see that the politicians we hired to do a job for us are failing *us*.

I pray that it will not take a tragedy of this magnitude for us to wake up.

My prayers and my heart go out to the people of Onagawa, who have lost their livelihood, their home and their lives as they knew them to a single force of nature and I pray that America will wise up and choose to no longer be a force for its own destruction.

Danny Choo’s Images of Onagawa, Japan after the Tohoku Kanto Earthquake.

Thanks go to Chuck Gaffney for posting this link on Twitter this morning.