A Little Ray of Sunshine

Friday, March 31, 2006

Not so very different

We went to hear a speach last night by the gal who wrote Nickeled and Dimed: Barbara Ehrenreich. She is unabashedly a socialist. She's also got quite a good sense of comedic timing, well worth hearing just for her skill at speaking. And she has some very valid points to make.
Her solutions? Well, we disagree.
One thing that I think many of us, I know I do, frequently forget in political discourse, is that almost everyone agrees on the problems. Everyone agrees that violent crime is a problem. The disagreement is on the solution. Everyone agrees that poverty is a problem. Lack of health care is a problem. We disagree on how best to solve these problems. We tend to demonize our opponents, forgetting that we're all trying to solve the same issues. Some solutions are more likely to work than others, some have been tried in the past and failed.
So when you're struggling to explain to people who just doesn't get why government-run universal health care is a bad idea, or a good idea, or whatever your particular view is, remember, they don't think people ought to be left without health care. They just think a different solution is better than yours. They agree on the problem.
You can apply this to any issue. Pro-gun people are just as concerned about violence as anti-gun. Anti-welfare people are just as concerned about poverty as pro-welfare people. The folks who operate a shelter in the church basement are just as concerned about homelessness as the folks who advocate public housing projects. Conservative hunters are just as concerned about the environment as anti-hunting environmental activists.
The only folks who really don't care about an issue are the ones profiting by it. I'm talking about the folks who get re-elected over and over, claiming they are for this or against that, but never actually doing anything about it. The folks who stand on tv saying "Send donations to stop this travesty now," then hop in their limos with their drivers and bodyguards to go back to their multi-million doller mansions, paid for by your donations.
It's not even that they don't care about it, it's that they're on the other side from all the rest of us. Where would the folks who get elected on welfare reform be if welfare were actually reformed? Where would the anti-racisim activists be if people ceased to believe in racisim? Out of a job, that's where. The anti-gun groups would end if guns became illegal, if gun restrictions ended, the pro-gun groups would vanish. All these people have a vested interest in the status quo: if a solution that works is found, they're done for.
Those are the folks you have to watch out for, those whose jobs and income depend on the issue continuing. That's one of the problems with these political groups, these activist groups. Money eventually trumps values. If you've got money to donate to this cause or that, my advice is to stick to true charity and even more, to physical giving. A few cases of food or diapers for the homeless shelter, that sort of thing. Or pick the recipient of your charity yourself: there are, after all, poor folk all around. The last thing any of us should want is for our desire to help others to end up funding those who have a vested interest in continuing the problems we want to solve.


  • At 7:25 PM, April 02, 2006, Blogger Arielle said…

    Really good points! I wouldn't have thought of it in those terms myself.

  • At 7:28 PM, April 02, 2006, Blogger Arielle said…

    By the way - I finally remembered to link you! Which should make my visits less sporadic. =)

  • At 10:21 PM, April 03, 2006, Blogger CrazyJo said…

    Same goes for a lot of the big pro-lifers. Do they really want abortion to cease? After all, they'll be out of a job if it does, same as those doctors.
    Makes you think.

  • At 3:55 PM, April 04, 2006, Blogger BoysMom said…

    I should warn you that my mom says I'm cynical, I suppose.
    Joelle, I don't think they do. If they did, after all these years of nominally pro-life Senate, House, and Presidency, would we still have abortion in this country? Especially with two new justices on the Court? At the very least, we should be having a huge court battle going on over the issue right now. Instead, it got left to South Dakota?

  • At 8:21 PM, April 04, 2006, Blogger prettylady said…

    Very insightful indeed; thank you for posting. It reminds me of the spiritual principle that we attract what we defend against.

  • At 10:45 PM, April 13, 2006, Blogger Retired Geezer said…

    The last thing any of us should want is for our desire to help others to end up funding those who have a vested interest in continuing the problems we want to solve.

    That's the best advice in a nutshell.


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