cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The “Are you better off?” question promises to be front and center this week and in the weeks to come as Romney battles to unseat President Obama. It is a simple question but fraught with complex answers because the real answer is one some cannot tolerate.
Many of us, most I hope, expect that such a direct question will result in a fairly straight-forward response; either you believe you are better off or that you are not better off. So it would not, from my perspective be unusual to hear a simple “Yes” or a simple “No”.
The question would, for those of us of an older generation, remind one of the presidency of Jimmy Carter that ended with a dull whimper. Many of us knew at the end of that four year period that we were definitely not better off having lived under the Carter presidency for four years. We had selected the wrong candidate. It wasn’t his fault; it was our fault.
As with all presidents there are headwinds encountered; there are hold-over issues from the former presidency to be cleared; there are tough issues exposed that might not’ve been thought of until after the swearing-in ceremony. Some re-election campaigns are designed to ride the back of the issues inherited, or thought to have been inherited.
The previews of the “Are you better off?” question have caused some apoplexy amongst the Democrats since it is President Obama about whom this question swirls. There have been numerous excursions into the “How many words can be used to avoid saying ‘no’?” approach to spinning opinion. There will be many more such excursions. There will be many false flags used to obscure the answers to that dreaded question. The false issues have a nice ring to them…who doesn’t want women to be healthy; who doesn’t want those who are ill to be cared for and cared about; who doesn’t want children educated?
This question, spoken or simply thought, will likely define the election results. Will there be more people who answer “Yes” or will there be more people who answer “No”? Will there be more “takers” at the polling places across America or will there be more ‘’givers”? This isn’t necessarily a nice way to put the question, but it is an accurate way to frame the issue.
I am taught to be mindful of the people who need my help. I am taught to respond with love in my heart as I try to do for them whatever they need done. I am also taught that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish if he is able to fish but doesn’t know how best to approach the task. If he isn’t able, and if he cannot be made able, I will help as we now help.
This all gets to the point that we have created more problems than we have solved by the policies now in place. This paints the void between those who think the answer to the question ought to be “Yes” just because the current Administration cares enough about those in need. Those on the other side with the response of “No” recognize that there are many in need but frankly and honestly believe there is a better way to help those in need.
Since the FDR era, we have, as a nation, created more social programs designed to ‘help’ that have actually served to cause the recipient harm. We have too often not simply provided the hand to help people; we have instead helped people to understand they appear to be better off without learning skills to be able to provide for self and others. Those, who provide, have been maligned because others think they still provide too little and that they need to step up and provide their ‘fair share’. Those who have been too successful are maligned for their success, but only if they are members of the wrong political belief system. Government is supposed to be the source of everything in the minds of some.
There has to be a better way to help those who need help than the ways in which we go about that too often today. We, the people, have created generations of good people who have not developed the skills to take care of personal needs, and to have developed skills sufficient to enable them to help others to learn how to best satisfy their needs.
This isn’t the fault of those who we have made dependent on us; this is the fault of us who have mistakenly thought we were helping.
Maybe the very necessary question to determine how this race ought to be decided is this question:
Should we give a man a fish, or should we teach a man to fish?
If teaching him to fish is better, then we need to elect a President and a Vice President who understand that and who will begin the journey in a changed direction. We only need to look at Europe to see the economic destinations at which we’re are now pointed. Once the tipping point has been reached, the balance can no longer be changed. What was done will remain done; there won’t be enough votes or enough money to make the change back to what we once were.