Can we even compare ethics and politics?



Bird Droppings May 23, 2022
Can we even compare ethics and politics?

I picked up a copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning about five years ago. The front page had various articles, but one caught my attention. Having been a student in psychology at Mercer University in Macon and required to go on a field trip to Central State Hospital. Central State Hospital, in 1973 was the most prominent residential mental facility in the nation. I was doing a six-month internship at the same facility a few months later. Today I have several direct links through patients now served by Georgia Mental Health. As I read the paper, the article hit me hard. It was focused on an appointment to the Georgia State Mental Health directorship. Our governor-appointed person was not a psychologist or mental health employee of any sort but the former calendar keeper of the previous governor. Another tie is that she is the girlfriend of the current governor’s spokesperson. The new head of mental health even made twenty-five thousand more than the previous director. Interesting too in that Georgia is under investigation by federal authorities for the state of its mental health. Is ethics even a consideration of politics? She did not last long.

I recall a half-page local newspaper ad stating one of the politicians running for Congress in the state election was removing his opponent’s signs, and here is the video link. There is a video of campaign folks in t-shirts for their candidate removing the other man’s signs and replacing them with theirs. All I could do was laugh since I would not, if paid, vote for either. It made my day when a thought crossed my mind from a line a dear friend uses in his conferences. I attended a training seminar in Macon, Georgia, on Conduct Disorders. Dr. James Sutton from Texas was leading the conference. He started asking who was from elementary schools, middles school, and finally high schools. He apologized to the one or two high school teachers, myself included in the crowd saying if kids have gotten to high school with conduct disorders and little has been done, there is a ninety-nine percent chance they will end up in jail, used car salesman, evangelists and or dead. I was driving by a used car lot run by a former pastor when the thought hit me about the ad since one of the politicians is a pastor. I am not saying these particular politicians are sociopaths. Just a statement in a conference from fourteen years ago hit me.

In today’s reality in Georgia, our Congressmen can vote for a raise. Democrats are trying to tie the minimum wage to their raises, which is nice. Many workers on minimum wage are below the poverty level and often, for whatever reason, limited or hindered in the types of jobs they can get. Fast food is not the only industry based on minimum wage. In a right-to-work state, any business is a minimum wage business.

“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

I find it funny why we should worry about money and success. Who needs it when gas has gone up, and we all are looking for bargains and stretching each dollar. Many folks do not 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 yearly raises proposed for members of Congress per year would be more than the full-time minimum wage paycheck for a year of a lesser worker. That is like saying I am more than your equal, so I deserve this money a slap in the face to so many. Sadly, they have no one to answer to but themselves. On a recent graph of productivity and income, income stagnated while productivity increased significantly. When comparing the cost of living again, income has decreased in comparison. 

“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. I find it hard to fathom what some people do with billions of dollars.

“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 he has imagined, he will meet with an unexpected success in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

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

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

The ideas of self-esteem, self-understanding, and knowing thyself, as the ancient Greek philosopher said many years ago, are crucial. We need to know who we are and why. I started arguing about the selfishness of many people, including our leaders in Washington, who I am sure will justify their raises in some fashion. I am sure through lobbyists, and they will justify not granting a raise to minimum wage. It is incredible what a few fast-food lobbyists and other wealthy business owners can do. Maybe that is how you justify a raise for yourself with the savings from not raising the minimum wage. A long day today discussing and reading, so please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and 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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