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Posts Tagged ‘judgmental’

When you’ve traveled down some wrong roads, and lived with the consequences of those bad decisions, warning someone else who’s headed in that direction does not make you judgmental, or a hypocrite. In fact, saying nothing may make you something far worse.

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I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly average guy.  I was a pretty average student in school, (at my best) an average athlete on the field, a somewhat average looking guy, whose built a rather typical middle class life.  Or so I thought.  I guess that all this averageness caused me to assume that my beliefs and values were to some degree typical of the average American.  But with each passing year, it becomes clearer to me that, somewhere along the line, my worldview has slipped to the fringe of our culture, and that my value system has become so out of step with the norm that it could now be viewed as radical.

 

I was raised to be a “God fearing” man, which didn’t mean that God was going to reach out of heaven and squash me like a grape if I screwed up.  But it was with the understanding that God’s ways are higher than my ways, and that just because I don’t understand doesn’t mean that He’s not doing what’s best in the long run.  Though the Bible wasn’t thumped in my house, no one would dare consider disregarding the parts we didn’t like.  So when we were collectively described as a “God fearing nation” I just assumed that this is what other people believed as well.  But from what I’ve seen and read in the last few decades, it appears that most people in our culture feel as though they get to dictate to God what they’re willing to accept and not accept.  Though the vast majority still believe in some sort of higher power, and consider themselves to be “spiritual”, few would claim to “serve” God, or to know Him in any sort of specific way.  He has largely become a nameless, faceless entity, who has little or no say in the daily affairs of men.  My radical position is that God is a person, He has a name, and that I am here to serve His purposes (while He’s under no obligation to serve mine).  No doubt, to many I would be considered a fundamentalist.

 

I was also raised to believe in right and wrong.  Which meant that there were definite standards for behavior and consequences for not adhering to them.  While we understood that everyone didn’t believe the same things we did, there was a “common decency” and “common courtesy” that most folks abided by.  We were taught that every person was made in the image of God, and therefore worthy of respect.  But our society’s embrace of humanism and moral relativism have made that an antiquated viewpoint.  In today’s world insinuating that something is wrong gets you branded as “a hater”.  After all, who are you to judge someone else’s choices.  Ironically, I’ve found that those who vehemently preach “tolerance” end up being the least tolerant of those who disagree with them (e.g. berating and mocking them on social media).  My radical position is that there are definitive standards for right and wrong, and that the failure to recognize them brings about inevitable consequences.  No doubt, to many this would qualify me as both judgmental and intolerant.

 

Because I was raised during the Cold War, I got to see first-hand what it looked like when a government gained control of its people.  Witnessing the oppression of those living in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and hearing how their government controlled media perpetuated the illusion that the government was serving the people (as opposed to the other way around) left a lasting impression on me.  Being born at the tail end of the Baby Boom, my parents lived through the second World War.  Their generation witnessed one of the most accomplished, progressive, and democratic republics in the world fall under the spell of a mad man (i.e. Adolph Hitler), based largely on his criticism of the incumbent regime and the promise to make their country great again.  Thus, I find myself wildly out of step with both those who wish to invite the government into every aspect of their lives (e.g. give me a cellphone, pay for my groceries, give me health insurance, find me a job, pay for my college…) and those who have staked their hope in a man of questionable character, who claims that he can somehow make our country great again.  Ultimately, which ever candidate ascends to the White House will do so beholding to the Political Action Committees (PACs) and Super-PACs that funded and facilitated their victory.  This is why, despite every candidates claim to be “for the middle class”, the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer, and the middle class continues to evaporate.  My radical position on this is that neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party truly represent me, nor do they really serve the best interests of their constituency.  I suppose this makes me a skeptic, and at the very least, an Independent.

 

As someone who’s lived more than a half a century, I’ve learned that simple solutions are rarely effective in addressing complex problems.  More often than not, the person who starts the sentence with “all we have to do is…” has failed to grasp the intricacies of the issue.  Problem solving is more like working with a Rubik’s Cube; about the time you get one side red, you’ve screwed up the blue side.  An example of this would be the movement to raise the minimum wage.  Since you can’t really raise a family on a minimum wage salary, popular logic is that we need to increase that amount.  Which seems pretty simple, until you consider the implications of such a move.  What does doubling the salary of all their employees do to most small businesses, which tend to operate on the very edge of solvency.  And if all those friendly faces at your local McDonalds are getting paid $15.00 an hour, how much is that Big Mac going to cost.  Do people really believe that the cost of this won’t simply be passed on to consumers.  I would submit that the real problem is that minimum wage jobs were never meant to be a means of supporting a family.  They were designed for young people working their way through school, or as second jobs to supplement income.  The actual issue is the lack of substantive employment (e.g. factory jobs, trades…) for adult people who are trying to make a life for themselves.  This shortage of real jobs (with real benefits) has caused people to take jobs (e.g. delivering newspapers, cutting grass, delivering pizzas…) that have traditionally belonged to the kids.  Raising the minimum wage won’t fix that issue, it will simply drive up the cost of everything associated with those businesses, and once again, it is the middle class who will absorb that loss.  This is just one of many issues where our government officials continue to fail us.  Whatever the solution, it won’t be found by bi-partisan bickering and name calling.  My radical position is that until we find some representatives who are willing to address the real issues, in a constructive and meaningful way, we are doomed to continue down the path toward a third world economy.  And as long as the electorate continues to buy into the empty rhetoric that passes for political debate, we should expect nothing better than what we’ve got now.

 

I’m not sure what that makes me, but it’s definitely not an “Average Joe”.

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