It is amazing that with all the hyperbole about the crisis we are in economically, the vast majority of people are continuing to act as usual. We want everyone else to make changes, but are unwilling to do so ourselves. Latent in the American soul is a commitment to self-sacrifice for the common good, but it is very latent, in fact so latent that it is hard to find. It seems as though everyone wants to be different, but no one wants to change. As of today, both the United States Senate and the House have decided to keep on doing business as usual by each giving the American people its own style of pork. It’s not even cooked very well.
In his inaugural address President Obama said, “Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility…, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.” Later in the address he said, “But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions—that time has surely passed….Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account—to spend wisely, reform bad habits, in the light of day—because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” Well, Mr. and Ms. Congress Person, my “vital trust” isn’t being restored by your initial salvo into this time of crisis. It looks to me, and to most of the American people, like we are still living in our “collective failure to make hard choices,” and that you are using this “problem” to your own advantage.
Jesus Christ had a lot of interesting things to say, but the one that comes to mind at this moment is, “The one who seeks to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Whether you are a devotee of Him or not, this is simply true. Have you ever known someone who was seeking happiness who was happy? Or someone whose whole life was about money who ever felt like they had enough?
Now comes the real challenge. We can rail against the Congress all we want, but they are going to do whatever they are going to do. What am I willing to do to be a part of the change? It’s got to start somewhere. All true cultural change starts at the grass roots, and you and I are the roots. Have you considered altering your spending, not so that you can protect yourself, but so that you can find a way to help others? How about buying a few extra groceries for the retiree on a fixed income? Maybe “they” won’t, but you and I can start making some hard choices and prepare ourselves for a new age of investing in the common good. Who knows, we just might find that latent commitment to the common good.
Principle Based Evaluation: The principle is that anyone who advocated change must be living the transformation they seek within their own lives. In other words, all the change you want begins with you! What changes are you making for the common good?