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Let Us Love Our Neighbors and Ourselves

December 26, 2013

This article was published in the Duncan OK Banner December 25, 2013.

My wife asked me to write an article on the different Christmas celebrations our forefathers brought to the New World. Today, thoughtfully, I find myself unable to get past the social failings and present conditions to which many Americans are subjected.
Every time I attempted to write about faith and good tidings, I was reminded of the greed and uncaring attitudes of too many of today’s people. The reminders are in our everyday lives and often shown in the actions of those we elected to represent us in government.
The United States Congress actually spent just one-third of this year in session, with little accomplished except to ignore the welfare and well being of the citizens they represent. They try to justify this lack of work ethic by declaring they “needed to spend the other two-thirds of their time away from Washington DC and at their field offices helping their constituents.” That stretches the truth considerably. They have staff in those offices – paid with congressional funds – to help us. Most bills, voted upon in the U.S. House of Representatives, were not written by either our representative or his/her staff. They were written by the writers employed by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).
First, Congress diminished funding for the program that allows many children their one meal of the day (during the school year) that is filling and balanced.
Second, the Republican Party has created every negative “gimmick” imaginable to derail the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, trying to discredit it, hoping those “gimmicks” will make it go away. Because discord is an attention mechanism, they have captured media outlets with their negative and threatening campaigns.
Third, they went home for their “Christmas” and “New Year” holidays without extending long-term unemployment benefits, leaving 1.3 million unemployed with no funds and no “Christmas.” And let’s remember the Representative from Georgia, now running for a U.S. Senate seat, who wants children getting free lunches at school to clean school building floors to “earn their meals.” Only a true and reprehensible “Grinch” would espouse the return of Child Labor Laws rather than create sustainable employment for unemployed parents!
Fourth, with all of the other funding cuts the House of Representatives passed this year, the most hurtful to our people is a version of the Farm Bill which the Senate will not approve due to the severe funding cuts the House included to the Food Stamps Program. But for the Senate’s rejection of the Food Stamps provision, (with small reductions already being implemented by Congress) that Bill would gravely impact low-income families, unemployed workers and those that are unable to work due to health reasons.
Fifth, Congress once again broke their contract with those who now serve and have served in the U.S. Military by reducing their promised retirement pay. This is not the first time Congress has acted in this manner. Each time our federal budget needs bolstering, Congress cannot agree on closing loopholes or proportionately taxing corporations and the wealthy or improve revenues by increasing fees, so it turns to those serving their country. There is always a “valid” excuse for not cutting Congress’ pay or retirement. “The Constitution will not allow it.” Don’t we don’t understand constitutional amendments? Realistically, part-time work equals part-time pay.
Sixth, the “straw that broke this camel’s back” was a recent article on the Internet about a school district which kicked a boy out of school because his parent’s home had been foreclosed upon and they were living in a tent in a nearby park on the boundary line between two districts! The superintendent performed “by the book” without an ounce of thoughtful compassion (or approval of an attendance waiver (?) Bah! Humbug!
My Holiday Wish: Let us love our neighbors as ourselves and act accordingly.
Happy Holidays to all!


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