Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Life is Pain, Highness..."

I love that movie! There's something for everyone- there are sword fights and kissing, political intrigue and secret plots, best friends and selfish users, "science" and Miracle Max!

There's even applicable-to-real-life philosophy:
“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

These days, with the presidential election coming in November, each candidate has his sales pitch.

"I will help the poor and fix the welfare system!"
"I will cut taxes and revitalize the economy."
"I will balance the budget and get our nation out of debt."
"I will create jobs and help the working class."
"I will blah, blah, blah."

In an ideal world, we would hardly need government at all. In an ideal world, I think the Libertarian ideology is wonderful, but that only works when everyone is on the same page in regards to the roles of government vs self-government- "The government and all legislation should be as limited as possible, allowing as much freedom of choice as possible. I will govern my own choices and I'm fully willing to take accountability for ALL my choices. I will never presume to push my ideals on anyone else."

The problem is, we don't live in an ideal world. Some people make choices that have costly consequences that they're not always willing or able to shoulder. Others have illnesses, disabilities, or other issues that don't allow them to support themselves. And while some things are pretty clear (murder, rape, theft), very few people agree fully on the finer points of the definitions of right/wrong (civil rights, personal lifestyle choices, etc).

I have a friend who has ADD pretty badly- he can't multitask to save his life. If I ask, "Whatcha thinking?" he looses his train of thought! He doesn't want to be on state assistance, so he enrolled in a local college to study, and eventually work, in computer engineering.

I have another friend who has a number of health issues that pretty much eliminate her options for any kind of steady employment. Her husband also has things going on that make it very difficult for him to find/keep employment. She has been writing since high school, and watches her nieces/nephews for her sister. He volunteers at the local animal shelter to compensate for vet care for their pets.

Welfare has its place, and I understand that.
The thing is, I know there are options.

I heard recently of a woman who was on welfare and disabled. She lived in DeRidder, Louisiana in 2001.  She sold sandwiches to the kids coming home from school in little after-school lunches. She also scraped together her welfare checks and literally bought one tool at a time and was outside scraping paint on a home with her can of paint. She owned the house and the one next door and was going to own the entire street.  She was buying wrecks of bombed-out shells and, one board at a time, was rebuilding them and then getting ready to sell them. She was on welfare and disability and had time... and decided to better her life.

She didn't want to be on welfare but was going to use welfare to build something better.

The native Americans were a great people... until someone in DC got a guilt trip and decided the white man owed them. Now, when a NA reaches his majority, he gets a big lump sum of money (because he couldn't receive it while he was a minor). He'll go out and buy a car, a boatload of booze and he and  his buddies will drive around drinking ‘til someone gets killed/they run out of money to buy booze... and then he will spend the rest of his life sitting on his fanny whining that the white man took his way of life. There was one very wise young man in the Sho-Ban tribe (just north of Pocatello ID) who chose instead to take his lump sum and go to college. He made something of himself.. and then called the rest of the tribe on the carpet for their indolence... and he got booted from the tribe. According to them, he's no longer a member of their tribe.

The government quite literally created a nation of people "unable" to work... and who bristle at anything else.

There was a boy in my neighborhood when I was a kid. He came from a horrible place. For some reason, they'd chosen to starve him and carry him everywhere. Thankfully he'd been adopted by a wonderful family who fed him.. and taught him to walk. When I knew him, he was 7 or 8, unable to talk, but he walked, albeit with an unusual gait. His birth family's choice to carry him, was an odd one. While this may have saved him from falling and hurting himself (as all toddlers do), it ultimately crippled him and affected his entire life.

Little Colin Cravin in the story, The Secret Garden, was much the same. He had been coddled from birth and was unable to walk at age 10... but ONLY because he'd been coddled. In reality he was completely able-bodied.. or at least had the ability to be such... and proved it!

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying this nation will last until the citizens figure out they can vote themselves a raise. With this last election, I think we have. We as a nation voted for the guy who promised the most benefits- health care, increased minimum wage, increased welfare benefits, etc.

Socialism is soul-destroying. It takes away the initiative to work, to better oneself, to improve one's circumstances. It fosters the idea that the world owes something to the individual. In reality, the only thing the world owes anyone is the opportunity.

Back in the day, people didn't immigrate to the US for the benefits. They came here for the opportunity. This is "the land of opportunity".. not the land of benefits.. or is it?

This life is about work. We all have so many opportunities. There may be a million and one reasons that it won't work... but all you need is one good reason that it will. Don't let the salesmen in this coming election con you into believing that they have the magic pill to take away the pain.

Because life is pain. It's work- hard work. It's pain, and work, and frustration, and heartache, and sweat, and fear.

But it's also joy, and accomplishment, and relief, and love.

Yes, Highness, life is all these things. And that's how it's supposed to be.

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