It seems to me that for us citizens of these United States to put so much effort and confidence in a political system that only requires a 51% approval rating in order to do much of anything is very foolish. The Republican party is now engaged in a series of primary elections to determine its selected candidate for the office of president whose name will be put on national ballots to allow us citizens to vote for our “favorite” candidate who will subsequently be sworn into this important world position with a required minimum approval rating of only 51% of our electors. That standard of approval doesn’t seem to be very high to me.
Is a 51% Approval Rating Enough?
Would you buy a car that was only expected to work 51% of the time? How would you feel if the organs in your body were only working in an effective coordinated fashion 51% of the time? How much confidence would you have in the quality of the food at your supermarket if only 51% of it was approved as being “safe”? Thousands of cars are taken off of the market when it is discovered that they have some defect in a part that makes them “dangerous” to operate, even though the danger may have only been detected in a “few” incidents. Drugs are taken off the market if their continued use is determined to be dangerous, even from evidence collected from a relatively “small” sample of users.
The action of most juries in these United States will be dismissed unless their decisions represent the unanimous consent of all of the jurors. And even if only one of them objects to the decision of the others or is not willing to support it, the jury is considered to be “hung” and they are dismissed. Yet we are willing to accept the legislative decisions of Congress and the political process for the election of our representatives and government officials and even the legal judgments of our Supreme Court on the basis of a standard of only 51% approval or agreement for what they do.
Behind the 51% Approval Rating, there’s a whole 49% with a different opinion
I think that our nation is too divided and the issues are too important for us to be satisfied with such a minimum standard of approval for what we are doing together in the operation of this country. Congress must at least achieve a level of 66% approval for any legislative decision that it makes over the veto of the President, who is just one person in the powerful process. What about the other 49% of the congressional representatives and the other groups of “minorities” that are not represented in the “majority” that received the approved action that is implemented by a “simple majority”?
What do you think of this matter? How serious are the consequences for the legislative decisions that are made with such a minimum 51% approval rating standard? How can we raise our standards for the approval of what we are seeking to do together in this country? Let’s talk about this.
After Whitney Houston’s death, her family did a very fine job trying to honor her life at the “church” service that was held in the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ on February 18, 2012. Initially it was planned to be a “private” service for her family and specially invited friends and guests, but because of public interest in her funeral and public acclaim for her musical accomplishments, the service was opened to the public through the eyes of TV cameras. And it was broadcast non-stop without commercial interruptions for almost 4 hours. That by itself is a mark of great honor.
Many of Whitney’s relatives, special associates in her musical and film career, friends, and fellow church members sincerely expressed personal words of praise and appreciation for her amazing voice and musical talent, her beauty, her friendly spirit, and her faith in God. It was especially noted by Rev. Marvin Winas, who gave the eulogy, that she “loved the Lord” and Kevin Costner indicated that she was “good enough” to star with him in the film, “Bodyguard”.
Behind Whitney Houston’s Death
But all of these words of respect and praise for Whitney’s amazing voice and accomplishments could not remove the imprint on her life that her death on February 11th at the age of 48 was an “untimely” conclusion to her life and that she had not completely been able to achieve victory over the addictions that hampered her career and her life. And the fact that these “imprints” have been attached to the lives of other pop stars like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley and others only reinforces the difficulties that there are in anyone’s efforts to “honor” another human being, because no one is “perfect”.
During the week between her death and her funeral, the media was filled with stories of her accomplishments and renditions of her great songs. But during that week thousands of other individuals died “untimely” deaths from misused prescription drugs, addictions, accidents, assaults in war zones or dangerous neighborhoods, and abortions. And each of these deaths touched other families and left “holes” in the lives of relatives and friends who struggled with the challenges of trying to “honor” them.
Whitney Houston’s Death: Does great talent cancel the curse of addictions in one’s life?
I think that our culture and society has a somewhat “cheap” regard for human life and there are really very few individuals who are being recognized with lasting “honor” for the qualities of their character as well as their accomplishments. What do you think of this matter? How should families and friends bring “honor” to their dead members and associates? Does great talent cancel the curse of addictions in one’s life? Does Whitney Houston’s death follow the classic untimely celebrities & drug abuse pattern? Let’s talk about this.
It is really too bad that so much of the “stuff” that we have seems to be in need of repairs.
This includes repairs to the “American dream” …
… which is the objective of our approaching presidential national election in November. But in the meantime our government is engaged in projects to repair sections of old roads and bridges in selected spots throughout the country, and ongoing efforts to repair our health care systems, the housing business, our job markets, banking, our military services, our schools, and other related and basic enterprises of our “aging” American system of living.
One very important factor in getting repairs made to our various systems is the cost of such repairs. I’m sure that most of you recognize this problem from having to pay for “repairs” to your body or that of a “loved” one, or repairs to your “old” home or the “old” cars that you are forced to continue to drive because you can’t afford a “new” one. Some insurance policies can be purchased to help to cover some of the costs of necessary repairs to our broken “stuff” and even to our bodies, but these policies are themselves costly and they are not always completely perfect in their payments. I’m very thankful for several insurance policies that I and my wife have that have enabled us to recover some of the expenses of extensive medical treatments and repairs to our home, but we Americans don’t seem to have all of the appropriate financial plans in place that will enable us to fund the “repairs” that we now see as being necessary to save our country from possibly collapsing in economic and civic ruin. And it is not always wise to pay for some “repairs” with personal funds secured through credit cards or governmental financial systems of “bailouts” or loans.
What do you think we Americans need to do to “repair” our American “house”, to restore the “American dream” and our systems for living together to a state of practical effectiveness and vitality? There seems to be a general consensus that Washington is “broke”, but there certainly isn’t much agreement among Americans regarding the specific things that need to be done to make the necessary “repairs”. Let’s talk about this.
In eleven months our country is going to engage in another national election to select our president and congressional managers. Right now the republican party is engaged in a series of primary elections to determine who will be its nomination for the office of president. And the president and the democratic party are engaged in a lot of maneuvers and discussions in efforts to deal with the problems that we are facing in our country. And we citizens are becoming more and more frustrated and dissatisfied by the ways Congress seeks to do our business and the president’s struggles to increase and to maintain his position as our “popular” leader. Is it possible to have Political Hope anymore?
How much hope do you have in our political processes that they can really correct our problems? I think that if our government was really viewed as a business by us citizens, we would have fired the CEO, the treasurer, and many department managers a long time ago for all the wasteful spending, lost of revenue, unused workers, increased debt, seriously questioned decisions that they made, and loss of confidence among our friends and even our “stock holders” that we have the ability to conduct our “business” in an intelligent and responsible way.
I know that some critics of the government have indicated verbally that this is what we should do. And some critics have formed a “Tea Party” to begin to move in the direction of making some major changes in how we do our “business” in Washington. But I don’t think that this organization or the discussions that seem to address some desirable changes that need to be made in this matter are really serious enough or basic enough in their proposed effects to make much of a difference in how we do our “business” in Washington.
Political Hope: Economy
Everyone seems to agree that our “economic” problem is the number “one” issue in our country, but there is no common consensus regarding how to fix it. A lot of workers are still not being used while the Republican candidates for the office of president argue about whether or not one of them was able to save jobs or did he lose jobs in his former position as a CEO in a business. And there is a lot of talk about the necessity to bring “exported” jobs back to America, but little real practical consensus on how to do that while many of our cities lay off teachers and firemen and police officers because they don’t have enough funds in their accounts to pay them.
I could go on describing the various specific problems that frustrate us in how we do our “business” together in Washington, but these are all pretty well known and currently being widely discussed. What political hope do you have that our political procedures will be able to “save” our joint “business” of government from a practical collapse? What specific steps do we as the “stock holders” in this business need to take this year in order to make some real differences in this matter? What can we do when so many of the “executives” and “managers” in our “business” of government seem to be more concerned about saving their jobs and benefits than they are in saving the “business”? Let’s talk about political hope!
In any civilized society where they are clear significant differences between individuals in regard to their ethnic nature, race, religious affiliations, political philosophy, economic level, and education it is good to have a system of laws in place that encourages individuals to recognize and to tolerate the value of such differences. So a reasonable degree of toleration of individual differences allows different individuals to live together and to cooperate with each other for their common benefit with mutual respect and peace in their joint endeavors.
Where to draw the line in toleration?
Of course, the principle of toleration for individual differences does not mean that law abiding citizens must put up with the behavior of individuals who choose to disobey the established laws of the community or nation. And the principle of toleration does not mean that mature adult parents of young children have to tolerate the immature selfish behavior that is sometimes demonstrated by their children. Patience is a virtue in raising children and in regarding to the practice of accepting some different behavior and attitudes, but it is nonsense to tolerate individual differences in behaviors and attitudes that are ultimately threats to the common good of individuals in any society. Such a degree of toleration is foolishness. There comes a time in any society when its citizens must “grow up” and refuse to tolerate anything that may ultimately be dangerous to the well being of everyone or is obviously foolishness.
I think that we have reached a level of legal toleration for some individual differences in our society that is really dangerous and rather foolish
For example, I think that our toleration of the homosexual life style of personal relationships between consenting adults is a severe threat to the wisdom of traditional laws for marriage, the stability of families, and the education of children in our society.
I think that it is foolish to expect that our toleration for the legal right of a woman or young lady to have an abortion whenever she chooses to do so will not ultimately threaten our legal standards for the protection of all human life. The discussion of this matter has already started.
The issues of homosexuality and abortion rights are only two examples where this matter of civic levels of toleration for individual differences is significantly important for our common welfare. There are others, which include these: the availability and cost of health care for those who are “poor” or unemployed or not citizens, immigration and the status and procedures for citizenship in this country, the curriculum for the education of children in our public schools, home ownership and the rules for mortgages by banks and other lending businesses, fair tax codes for everyone regardless of their personal financial resources, how our elected officials are to conduct themselves in their efforts to do the “business” of our citizens, what are appropriate sources for jobs in this country, and the reliability of “politically correct” statements in contrast to those that are more objective in their factual completeness and perspective; and there are other such matters where the principle of toleration for individual differences has some serious effects upon the ultimate decisions and behaviors that are approved and accepted in our society.
Where should mature citizens in a society such as ours, which includes individuals who are very different from each other, draw a line between between what they will tolerate and what they won’t tolerate any longer? What personal behavior and attitudes should no longer be tolerated in public and in our joint efforts to live and work together? Let’s talk about this.
I probably shouldn’t even be expressing this wish for anyone at this season of the year, because it is not “politically correct”. But “happy holidays” or merry christmas doesn’t make much sense to me, because there isn’t much of a case for celebrating any holiday at this time of the year if it doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus Christ. And of course Jesus was not born in December, and the anniversary of his birth was not celebrated or otherwise observed by Christians in the early church. And most of the traditions and stories that are now associated with this seasonal celebration are secular in their sources. (See my statement regarding Christmas and its significance on my website for a complete review of these traditions.) And the entire celebration has been turned into a cause for materialist consumption and spending.
Buy buy buy: Merry Christmas
I don’t need any more “stuff” in my house to have a “merry” time at this time of the year. It would really be nice if my wife could regain her strength and ability to walk after suffering a broken hip earlier this year, but there is nothing that I can buy that will enable her to do that. Our families are somewhat “broken” and scattered, so some of the resources of “merry” family gatherings are not easily arranged or available to us. Some of you may be in similar circumstances at this season of the year. And you may be faced with the added pressures to try to celebrate this holiday by buying, buying, and buying a lot more “stuff” that ultimately won’t last very long or satisfy the basic human needs for joy and peace.
The best message of good will that I can offer to you at this time of year is to find your joy and peace in sharing the love of God in Jesus with your relatives and friends. And it won’t be done by sharing gifts of “stuff”, but by sharing gifts of loving support and encouragement and practical resources to meet the challenges of daily life on this “battlefield” of world events.
My Merry Christmas message
May God bless you with his joy and peace at this time of the year as you receive his gift of grace in Jesus Christ and share with others. This may not be a “popular” message of good will for this holiday season, but it is my message. I would be glad to welcome your comments regarding this matter, so let’s talk about the appropriateness of this message Merry Christmas and any of its alternatives.
Pornography is not a display of people making love, because love is not made through the physical stimulation of one’s genitals. Love is a shared experience between people whose spirits are bound together by ongoing commitments for caring, support, encouragement, kindness, selfless sacrifices and sharing of resources that extent beyond momentary moods of pleasure and needs.
The fascination with pornography that is evident in our society is great evidence of the seductive power of this form of communication. So thousands of adult men and women and youth and even children as they pass into the stage of their lives when they become aware of their sexuality are deceived into thinking that love is “made” by physical sexual relations.
And this deception has caused many individuals to ruin their lives with the ongoing pursuit of sexual pleasures, broken and unsatisfying relationships, and even some physical diseases and suffering. What a tragedy! And our society is even promoting this deception in the content of many courses in sex education that are offered in various schools and classes for the teaching of humanistic doctrines. And some of these courses and classes are being given to very young children.
Yet we seem to be very concerned about the sexual abuse of children and the rape of young girls and women, and cases of such behavior by adults are severely pursued and criminally prosecuted while our society continues to fill our channels of communication with “soft porn”, easy access to “hard porn” on the Internet, and deceptive courses in sexuality in our schools. These practices make no sense, and the sexual crimes that are being committed against children and men and women will only become more numerous and severe because of the widespread availability of pornography in our society.
Censorship of publications is not a “popular” solution to this problem, because of the importance of a right to “free” speech in our society. So only a few “filters” or rules are put into place to protect individuals from displays of pictures or the expressions of terms that are sexually too specific for release to the general public. But even some of these “rules” are not consistently enforced everywhere.
Expressions of sincere committed love can be shared in acts of physical sexual intercourse between a married man and his wife, but the value of such sharing may be more clearly displayed by their sharing of tender hugs and gentle caresses when the physical activity of sexual intercourse is no longer possible for them.
What we should do about pornography
I think that we need a very specific effort to counteract this deceptive display of pornography in our society by more courses and training in the morality of human sexuality and the enforcement of reasonable laws against the spread of this “poison” among our people, adults and youth and children. What do you think? What should be done about this problem in our society? Let’s talk about this.