Monday, January 3, 2011
It's the new year and I hope everyone has had a good holiday season but now it's back to work. Did you make a new years resolution to yourself this year? It's something we always seem to do but never spend much more than a month really focusing on.
We tell ourselves things like, "I'll quit smoking" and by March we're lighting them up. Another favorite is that "I'll lose weight this year". This proves much easier to say after stuffing yourself regularly for the past month with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cutting back is easy in January but it usually doesn't pan out so well as the months go past and the new years resolution moves further and further into the back of our minds.
Well, I decided to pick something easier to stick with this year. I've decided to start going to church and bringing my daughters in with me. It had been several years since I last went to church, (my daughters baptism to be exact), and even then I pretty much never attended. I've always worked on Sundays and thus couldn't make attending church a priority, although I can't help but think that maybe it was more of a personal excuse than a real reason.
I'm not going to start getting all religiously preachy to you hear but a relevant story regarding politics came out of my attending church and it's almost amazing considering that it was the first time I'd been to church in so long.
Now, before I explain the story let me set it up by saying that it was the preacher who started it. I would also like to clarify that I'm not accusing the preacher of using the pulpit to take a bias political stand in favor of one ideology or another. I didn't take the message as such after listening to the whole point but it did worry me for a moment as this particular section of the service began. For the record, after the service, even though I'd only met the preacher at the start of the service 1 hour and 15 minutes before it ended, I took a minute to talk to him about what was said. Let me explain what happened.
This story starts with me asking you something. Have you ever heard the story of the grasshopper and the ant? I'll give you the whole story soon but most of us who know it are aware that it basically goes like this:
The ant works hard all summer storing food and preparing for the winter while the weather is nice and food is abundant. The grasshopper sings and wastes time all summer figuring he has lots of time to prepare for winter and through that procrastination he never actually does prepare for that coming winter. The grasshopper ends up pretty much begging the ant for help when winter does hit because of his lack of preparation. Moral of the story....too much play and not enough work leaves you screwed and begging those who have worked hard to prepare for help.
Simple, right? Now here's where it gets interesting and why the preacher caught my attention with the story. He didn't go into detail much about the story but he did refer to the grasshopper as what we would call more liberal and the ant as more conservative. The words liberal and conservative actually used by the preacher are what really caught my attention.
Now, at first I was worried that this was about a social justice farce, (essentially liberal propaganda being pushed by the church), as he began to talk about the how the ant should be generous and not charge the grasshopper for help since the singing of the grasshopper etc. helped make the work environment better for the ant and the grasshopper deserved the ant's help since he didn't charge the ant for those songs.
That of course is bull as the grasshopper wasn't slacking off for the benefit of the ant, he was only being lazy and putting what was fun ahead of what needed to be done. The reason I don't hold the point of view made by the preacher against him was because he continued to talk about the need to be generous with what you have and that's how he saw the ant's situation. Given the fact that this church is currently trying to help the local homeless people, (yes, even though we have that wonderful governor Deval and the man of the people Barney Frank as a congressman, there are in fact homeless people here. Shocking, I know), that message of generosity is the one the preacher was trying to convey.
The story itself is practically ancient, Wikipedia will give you more info about the history of it. Here's one version and it's worth noting that none of the versions are more than a page. The version I have comes as a preloaded classic in the kobo ereader. This is exactly what the story from that version says:
"The Ants And The Grasshopper
THE ANTS were spending a fine winter's day drying grain collected in the summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him, "Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?" He replied, "I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in singing." They then said in derision: "If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter."
That's it, directly out of Aesop's Fables. Now back to the preacher, the actual story seems to have the ants pretty much saying tough to the grasshopper. Keep in mind that the grasshopper wasn't singing for the benefit of the ants, it was only his own laziness. He wasn't singing out of generosity, he was singing out of stupidity. While I understand the preacher's twisting of the story to fit in line with the generosity of the church the message is in fact an inaccuracy of the actual story.
I mentioned to the preacher after the story that while the point he was making about generosity was good and I liked the fact that he likened the attitude of the ants to conservatives and the grasshoppers to liberals, (anyone really want to argue with that one?), in truth had both the grasshopper and ants worked together to stockpile food for the winter then perhaps both would have had time to play as well as work. Stick with me on this as I'll now tie it into modern day politics.
The problem with our current situation is that the government under the Liberals has been doing all it can to turn everyone into grasshoppers using things like stimulus money, (3 years of unemployment anyone?), when what we need are in fact more ants, (workers). Another truth to the story that's lacking from government is the fact that the ants didn't have some government praying mantis showing up to take what the ant had to give to the grasshopper, yet isn't that what the government tries to do to the workers in order to pay for the non-workers?
Would the ants keep stockpiling for winter if they knew they wouldn't be able to keep the fruits of that labor? Would you continue to work hard if you knew the government would be taking your money just to pay for it's own greedy special interest? After 3 years of unemployment and living off of the government would you really even have the desire to return to the work force? That's assuming you could even find a good job or retain all of your skills. Or would you just decide that living off of the government is easier and requires little work and effort so why stop. That is the tragedy of the government rushing in to save the day.
So tell the government to stop using stimulus money, (our money), to breed a bunch of human grasshoppers. Get out of the way and let us grow more ants so we can get down to business and save our country.
As for those reading this, speak up and join the debate, left or right it doesn't matter. The problem with blogs is that I say something, you read it and at best leave a quick comment. Join the debate and let me know what you think on Facebook.