Can we even consider in the same sentence ethics and politics?


Bird Droppings April 21, 2014
Can we even consider in the same sentence ethics and politics?

There are so many things happening in our world that are often at the whim of a politician who we voted for or against. The auto industry was being remade, wars are being fought, jobs are disappearing and health care reform is possibly still on the table. I find it is amusing that our elected officials have given themselves an unbelievable health care and retirement package along with other perks and yet only offer to restrict and or eliminate our own. Our officials have literally unlimited health care and a retirement package second to none for serving in the senate or congress through a salary for life. On one website last weekend while riding from Southern Pines NC three hundred forty six miles to my home a blogger accused the 545 sitting representatives in the house and senate of all the ills in society. His rationale they only have the power to change things and refuse too.

So here we are with jobs in slow motion maybe it is a good time to ponder about minimum wage and our officials who raise their own salary and perks just about every year. Amazing how politics works, working people and those trying to work and lift themselves up get nothing and senators and congressmen can vote a raise for themselves. In another session a few years back democrats were at one time trying to tie minimum wage to their own salary raises. Sadly even with a minimum wage many workers are below the national poverty level. Many that are working and for whatever reason extremely limited or hindered in the types of jobs they can get. Now in a world of budget cutting and austerity some politicians are even offering to reduce minimum wage and increase hours children can work almost as if we are taking steps backwards. Other legislation is calling for eliminating OSHA and EPA and yet deaths in industry under OSHA have significantly been reduced. Pollution across are nation has been reduced. It is about profitability of corporations that find many politicians offering plans to help industry improve profit not living conditions for employees.

“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Funny why should we worry about money and success, who needs it? I recall only a few years back when gas was nearly four dollars a gallon we all are looking for bargains and stretching each dollar. It is true many folks have not the need to keep up with the trends and are content with what they have. But it is how we tend to overlook selfishly those with less. The raise recently proposed for congressmen per year would be more than a fulltime minimum wage paycheck for a year for a family. It is sort of like saying I am more than your equal so I deserve this money actually a slap in the face to the working man or woman. Perhaps that is where I ask the question of ethics in politics.

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
At what point is a lot of money too much and what do you do with billions of dollars? I watch Donald Trump rant and rave and yet few are as selfish as is he in terms of his human dealings. I am not sure a speculator in land is a good choice for a presidential candidate yet for a few minutes last election there he was. It was not too long ago he was bankrupt. We idolize the rich and wealthy and as Steven Colbert pointed out in his humor last night we like rich people.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, and he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

We have to be able to dream and often that is stripped away with the attitudes and structures imposed by various sectors of society.

“What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.” Henry David Thoreau

Self-esteem, self-understanding or the knowing of thy self as the ancient Greek philosopher said so many years ago. We need to know who we are and why. I started arguing about the selfishness of so many people including our leaders in Washington who I am sure will justify their raises in some fashion and I am sure through lobbyists will justify not granting a raise to minimum wage. It is amazing what a few fast food lobbyists can do and business owners. Maybe that is how you justify a raise for yourself, be it through savings from not raising minimum wage.

I am looking forward to a day of teaching, sharing, writing and reading although I will take my garden break and visit a nearby nursery and garden. I came home last night way past my bedtime and as we pulled in a whippoorwill greeted us. My son and I unloaded the car and headed for bed. I am sitting here listening to the Allman Brothers Band playing Bluesky; so many years ago I met Sandy Bluesky at that time more famous as Dickey Betts ex-wife still a great song. Listening and pondering so much to catch up on after being away from my computer and thinking some for the weekend the last two days. As you ponder your own place in this world please keep all in harm’s way on your mind d and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

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