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Priorities

March 20, 2013

Recently, I was asked to rank a number of issues facing our nation, in order of their importance to me. The final result surprised and disturbed me. Coincidentally, our elected representatives are in process of an identical analysis, as they wrestle with one another to arrive at a budget. What surprises they may have in store for the rest of us, we will have to wait and see.

Poverty

I would have expected poverty and ethics to top my list, as these are issues about which I feel deeply. More importantly, they are vital concerns in God’s eyes. “He is…a God of truth, and without injustice…” (Deut. 32: 4). “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes…” (1 Sam. 2: 8).

Poverty and ethics did make my list. But poverty has multiple components. So a place on the list had to be found not only for public assistance in its various forms, but jobs, tax equity, and education. I ranked these topics jointly as 4th, 5th, and 6th though I do not believe government should be the employer of last resort, absent dire straits.

Social Justice

Healthcare – another major issue – was ranked 3rd because it so heavily impacts the quality (not to mention the length) of life, raising social justice questions. How do we as a nation care for those unable to care for themselves? Can we agree that this is a governmental responsibility, at least in a regulatory sense? If not, what are the viable alternatives? Or do we plan to abandon the weak by the wayside? Is it not written, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Is. 40: 29)?

Stewardship

Energy and environmental concerns took 7th place, on the assumption that at least some of the scientific data about mankind’s negative impact on the planet is correct. When we are called to give an account of our stewardship, may we not be found wanting (Luke 16: 1-2).

That pushed ethics to 8th. Why so far down on the list? Call me a cynic, but I have come to believe that ethical behavior cannot be taught, not to adults at any rate. Oh, we can be taught the guidelines to follow. But some among us will always be tempted to find a way around those. Witness the financial crisis of 2008. Rigorous monitoring, strict enforcement, and harsh punishment might act as deterrents. But these are not likely to be forthcoming from the very agencies and institutions in need of regulation.

Homeland Security and Military Spending

Immigration ranked 9th (related to healthcare at 3rd, and homeland security at 10th). Homeland security and military spending (which I ranked 11th) are not unimportant. The US military is the best in the world. But there are already large sums devoted to America’s internal and external defense.

Survival of Our Republic

That left voting rights and campaign finance, ranked 1st and 2nd, respectively[i]. No matter how often I reviewed the list, no matter how urgent other issues, I came to the same conclusion over and over. No progress can be made toward eliminating poverty, no ethics rules established and enforced, no environmental or healthcare regulations crafted or refined, and no solution devised to our immigration problems, if this republic of ours does not survive.

Make no mistake. The beliefs on which this nation was founded, for which the Civil War was fought, for which our military stand ready to give their lives, are under attack. The concept of one man/one vote has already sustained severe damage.

This attack on us comes not by way of bombs and bullets. Rather, it is the byproduct of an idea directly contrary to the Judeo-Christian belief system and way of life, the idea that some lives are of value and others not.

To God, every life is priceless. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is proof of that. Jesus did not die to save an elite few. He died to restore the relationship between God and all mankind.

The value of life is not measured by wealth, power or fame. It is not measured by physical or intellectual achievement. The value of life is not limited by zip code or the cost of square footage, by parentage or title, by inheritance or schooling, by talent or connections. Nor is it limited by IQ, age or skin color.

Outgrowths of elitism, greed and self-interest have corrupted our government to such an extent that restoration will be difficult.

As yet, we retain the appearance of democracy. But we are rapidly losing the substance. The Citizens United ruling that corporations have a First Amendment right to contribute unlimited amounts to influence elections will go down in history on a par with the Dred Scott decision as contrary to the nation’s interests. Voter rights are under organized assault.

And time is of the essence.


[i] The issue of abortion is not addressed here.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  http://www.avoicereclaimed

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