Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top Ten Causes To Die For

Today is a difficult day, but not for any obvious reasons. On the contrary, a few of the things that have been hanging over our heads long enough to cause stress and its resultant paralysis, have been settled. Moving forward again is possible, and I am relieved about that. But the distraction of that wait is also over, and I again fond myself thinking about bigger things. I look around myself, see my loving wife and my very relaxed pets on the couch next to me, see all the dust collectors under glass (to slow down the collecting) and the CDs and DVDs here to entertain me, and remember the nicely filled refrigerator in the kitchen. I realize I have so much. 99% of the world has less. I am fortunate, yet I despair. I realize that there remains so much bad out there about which I can do nothing. I realize my limitations go as far as my own fear to try, my inability to finish, my ability to distract myself, my penchant for doing nothing and thinking I am endlessly busy. I know I am no Mother Theresa living among the impoverished, and I do not want to be a Barach Obama with the power to effect change on a massive scale if only he has the courage to ignore bipartisan politics. Once upon a time I was a Catholic, and I tried very hard to live a solid, loving, sharing life (I still do). When my wife and I taught Baptismal Catechesis, we took away more lessons than we imparted. Chief among them, we learned that each of us is charged with the responsibility of taking care of our own back yard. It’s just that some back yards are very small and some are as large as the planet. So where am I going? I am becoming an old man, and I want to use the time that remains to me, however much that is (I am shooting for a record here), wisely. I want to belong to a cause. But there are so many worth my energies. I just finished watching the PBS three part series on “The Abolitionists” and came away with admiration for the tremendous dedication these people had. In particular, William Lloyd Garrison devoted his entire life to this one cause: the eradication of slavery in America. His devotion was based on moral grounds and a firm belief in human equality. He lived outside the mainstream but slowly and gradually helped change his country. He very much would have appreciated the words of Woodrow Wilson: I would rather fail in a cause I know someday must succeed, than succeed in a cause I know someday must fail. This, then, is my top ten list of causes worth dying for, in no particular order:: Abolishing Slavery across the planet. 26 million people are still in slavery. Eradicating Poverty. In the US, one in six people live in poverty. Worldwide, two billion people live on two bucks a day or less. Full Equality. Gun Control Abolishing all standing armies, starting with ours. Universal Health Care Freedom of Belief, not just religious. Revising the tax code in America Preserving Social Security and Medicare Writing meaningful blogs on all of the above

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