As I was growing up during my preteen years, life and choices were pretty simple.
Vanilla or chocolate?
TV or a movie?
Indoors or outdoors?
Pie or cake?
Then I got older and choices became a little more difficult.
Blond, brunette or redhead?
Clarinet or drums?
Football, basketball or both?
Linda or Mary?
Ah – the sweet innocence and simplicity of my youthful years.
Then I reached the age of twelve and life went to hell! That is when my Mom’s parents decided I needed religion – and lots of it! They would pick me up on a Saturday, drive me twelve miles to their house, and then force me to attend church another five miles away. In the early 60s, those miles represented ‘importation’ of religion.
This routine was wholeheartedly endorsed by my parents.
When my grandparents could not get me for these weekly jaunts to heaven, they made sure I attended church in my hometown. This was much preferred by me, as many of my classmates attended the same church. I was able to do the local church sessions quite often during the school year, but the summers were spent avoiding hell twelve miles away. No school meant no excuses.
One of the religious lessons that I was subjected to was that once you reached the age of thirteen, the Good Book (that would be the Bible, not Playboy) said that you were an adult. Thus you became wholly responsible for your own actions. Holy crap! I was a late bloomer! Did God take that into consideration when deciding your eternal fate?
About the time I was 12 1/2 years old, I hardly got a good night’s sleep. I was consumed with thoughts of my impending responsibilities. No happy birthday that year! I was not looking forward to the red carpet walk of becoming a teenager. I was convinced I would only live about a week after that dreaded birthday, before God sent a bolt of lightning right up my ass! I survived.
The truth be known, I actually did enjoy some of my church time. There were other kids my age attending church. I did learn a smidgeon of information from the Bible. I got a pretty good handle on Christian principles. But the lesson that I really learned was the difference between ‘right and wrong.’
Looking back at my early exposure to church religion, I realize two things. Firstly, after growing up in a Midwestern state where the cold, nasty winters lasted about six months a year, maybe a warm hell would not be that bad after all! With any luck, maybe hell is located halfway between Orlando and Miami.
Secondly, my sister, who is four years younger than me, was never forced into the same religious exile experience at my grandparents’ church. Isn’t that reverse sexist discrimination? Either that, or they thought my sister as one of ‘Satan’s mistresses’ early in her life.
‘Right or wrong’ should be a pretty easy and understandable concept. Parenting, schooling and religion all form the basis for this concept.
So why don’t our federally elected representatives understand this concept? Let me provide an example.
The House of Representatives is the legislative body that is to propose our annual federal budget. Ideally, this proposed budget would go to the Senate and on to the POTUS for signing. The federal government runs on a fiscal year from October 1 to September 30. This year, even though the beginning of the next government fiscal year is less than six months away, only one person has proposed a budget – Representative Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin. You remember Ryan. He was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the last presidential election.
At first, this does not appear to be any big deal. But last week, the media reported that no US Representative was going to put forth any budget proposal this year.
One would have to believe that the House of Representatives knows what is right and what is wrong in this situation. What is right is that our government should be operating on an approved budget. (A balanced budget would be a bonus!) That is their job!
Why is this not happening?
Please refer to Rule 1 of Grandpa T’s rules of politics. Grandpa T’s rule number one is: “An elected politician’s primary objective is to get reelected.” Don’t be misled into thinking an elected politician’s primary objective is to represent his/her constituents or do what is right for America. Those concerns become secondary after experiencing the aphrodisiac of power.
This year is a mid-term election year. Not one Representative, either conservative or liberal, wants to propose a budget and be seen in the crosshairs of public opinion and media scrutiny. These people know what is right, and they know what is right for America. They are too cowardly to do what is right.
Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is already under fire. The conservatives say it is not conservative enough. Ryan’s budget proposal balances the budget by 2024. The conservatives want the budget balanced by 2019. Both Paul Ryan and the conservatives want to do it by cutting back on all government spending, specifically by neutering the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) and by retailoring the Medicare program. The conservative’s proposal would be to offer seniors a lump-sum amount to purchase their own health care program, thus taking the first steps to get the federal government out of the health care business. Amen, brother!!!
The liberals, on the other hand, are jumping for joy that some audacious conservative would offer a proposed budget. Why? So they can tear it apart! They, in conjunction with the liberal media, will try to convince voters that all kinds of bad things will happen to our country and to its population, if those mean, nasty, tight-wad, impassionate conservatives get their budget.
This budget proposal also becomes a detractor from the current administration’s failures. Benghazi is still an issue. Obamacare appears to be a tremendous failure. The government keeps tooting its horn over the number of enrollees, but how many of those enrollees have written a check? Our foreign policy is a joke in light of Putin attempting to reconstruct the old Soviet empire. Really? Putting economic sanctions on some of Putin’s close friends is going to bring Russia to its knees in the Crimea? Those Russians are laughing so hard, they are crying tears into their vodka!
I will give Ryan credit for at least having the fortitude to propose a budget. (Do you ever wonder what a Romney presidency would have been? All those smart MBAs in cabinet positions with a surefire plan to get our country out of its financial malaise? Business-experienced people reaffirming our capitalistic principles? People that would defend the Constitution rather than attempting to circumvent it? One can only wonder. Where do you think that alternative outcome would have us today?)
Here is another failure of our current administration that keeps getting swept under the carpet. Lois Lerner. You know who she is. She was the Commissioner of the IRS during the Tea Party scandal.
Ms. Lerner was on administrative leave and receiving her full pay, which in the first four years of her tenure totaled $740,000 in salary and bonuses. Yup, you heard me right. She got bonuses totally $42,000 over three years. Could she have gotten these bonuses for subverting the Tea Party movement prior to the 2012 national election? She has since retired last fall, receiving a $50,000 per year retirement. Not a bad retirement for a four year tenure!
What is a travesty is that Ms. Lerner used her position of authority and the power of her agency to trample the First Amendment rights of a large portion of our citizenry. She has appeared before two Congressional inquiries, utilizing her Fifth Amendment rights, thus offering no reason or excuses for her actions.
What is right and what is wrong concerning Ms. Lerner?
What would have been right would have been for the administration to fire her, thus stripping her of her pay and retirement.
Why hasn’t anything been done concerning this issue? Well, you have the President saying that there is no indication that anything illegal was done by the IRS during Ms. Lerner’s tenure. There was some conjecture that the Attorney General would investigate. That would be imprudent. If California represented the far left politically and Maine represented the far right politically, then Eric Holder’s political beliefs would be geographically located somewhere near Guam!
I believe that nothing has been actively done by this administration concerning Ms. Lerner, because her actions were guided by someone in the administration. You can draw your own conclusions as to whom. Personally, I believe Lois Lerner should be brought up on charges of treason. She used her agency to declare war on a segment of our citizenry and to trample on their First Amendment rights. She subverted our democratic principles in order to assist an administration in its efforts to remain in power. She ‘fixed’ an election by stifling political opposition. Any dictator would be proud!
It appears the concept of ‘right or wrong’ is much more difficult than I was raised to believe. It is obvious to me that some of the people in this administration should have been required to attend church with my grandparents. These ‘leaders’ should have been forced to learn the difference between ‘right and wrong.” But then again, the POTUS does not attend church. Hmmmm.