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Friday, October 16, 2009

Why Has America "Gone Stupid"?

The things happening in America today would never have made it past the wisdom of a child at the beginning of the previous century. No one would have thought that huge bailouts would help an economy in the long term. No one would have thought that schools should suspend five year olds for bringing their favorite camping tool to school with them. No one would have  thought that gangs of young men would terrorize neighborhoods with impunity.

No one would have dreamed these things because Americans had something called "common sense." I am afraid we need to change the name of this "sense" today.

There are groups traveling the country to convince people that the answer to our stupidity will be found in politicians. They are saying that preachers have not stood up for values which need to be addressed and now need to support certain politicians who will straighten out things. Believe me, they are counting on us not having any common sense.

Let's see if we can remember any history. Most politicians become like the rest of the politicians soon after getting in office. (You can check this out if you would like. Those who were for term limits lose that conviction when getting in office. They vote for the same things as the other politicians and just make a lot of noise.) Those who are the strongest supporters of family values are the ones typically caught in affairs. Those who are said to be honest are the ones caught with their hands in the cookie jars.

I have no faith in politicians straightening out our country. If a truly honest politician is ever elected the Statue of Liberty will personally walk to Washington D.C. just to meet him! It would take a whole lot of common sense to recognize an honest politician and I don't believe America wants that person. Therefore, truly honest people will have extreme difficulty getting elected.

We want an instant solution to our problems. Instant solutions rarely come from common sense. Most solutions take as long to solve the problem as it took to get into the problem. The answer is slower but surer than anything we are doing.

At the turn of the previous century values were taught in the home. Dad and Mom exhibited and taught honesty, hard work, saving, church attendance, keeping your word and many of the values which are all but lost. They did not fill up every minute of the day with entertainment, sports or social events. They spent time together working and playing. They had values which needed to be met. 

I wonder what would happen if we started to take away some of the things which are consuming us. What if we limited ourselves to one hour of tv per night? What if we limited ourselves to thirty minutes of video games per day?

Several years ago I was convicted to stop watching tv for a time. I didn't watch any tv for about three weeks and then was released from this conviction. I thought I would watch the news as my first venture back into tv. I was offended at some of the things that came on the news! Now, for the real shocker. That was 1984!

I must admit I don't know how to get people back to their families. I don't know how to get people to slow down and teach values to their children. (They are often taught by their coaches how to cheat without getting caught. Unfortunately, dads are agreeing with the coaches.) They need to understand that you really don't win when you cheat to get the greater score. They need to understand that we are to help those who cannot help themselves not enable those who are standing in line for a handout. They need to understand that debts need to be paid by those who incurred those debts. They need to understand that there can be no meaningful social interaction without standards of honest, faithfulness and other virtues which are being lost. They need to understand that marriage should last a lifetime and children should be able to live in stable homes with two parents.

The answer is in the family. It is in faith. It is in friends who will walk with you in your good times and troubles. 

How do we get there? I admit I don't know. However, if we don't we will have a new term. We will call it "common stupidity."

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