Friday, March 16, 2012
What would Jesus say?
Now that we have had months of politicking for the presidency, only eight more months of it remain. Is anybody having fun yet?
As I recall, all the candidates have made a point to label themselves as "Christians." Since I will comment on that, those not considering themselves as such may just as well go on to read something else.
The campaigning has been pretty well filled with meanness. The media fact-checking has shown up a lot of exaggerating, misleading answers, half-truths, fabrications and outright lies. Candidates promise what they cannot deliver and their arrogance foreshadows that they will not be able to get the cooperation of others who will have to go along to get anything done. Such is not the stuff of Jesus and makes me wonder why they call themselves "Christian."
So, I urge the rest of us to consider how a follower of Jesus will speak of opponents and himself?
And, how a follower of Jesus will view the poor and the rich among us? The "Golden Rule" comes to mind. And also Jesus' words, "Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do." (Matthew 7:12 and 21)
Maybe American politics just won't fit under Jesus' leadership. If not, I wish our politicians would quit claiming to be Christians and our citizens would stop referring to the United States as "a Christian nation." As it is, we demean Jesus and kid ourselves.
A recent contributor to your guest letter column had a negative bias toward Nestlé's plan to bottle water here in Cascade Locks ("Stop Nestlé in Gorge," March 3).
First let's talk about her contention that it would hurt salmon: The trade for hatchery water has already occurred on a test basis; it didn't hurt the salmon according to the hatchery reports. As to exploiting a precious natural resource: We have water galore here in the Gorge; there's water for irrigation to produce crops, water for distillation of alcohol, water for brewing beer and ale, and for other commercial uses.
The writer was concerned about highway crowding: Highways were designed to move people and for commerce; should we tell Hood River companies not to use our highways, that they are busier than we'd like; should we deny the use of our highways to move wind mills?
Nestlé has proved to be a good citizen here in Cascade Locks even before it's made a decision to settle here; it has contributed money to our food bank and made other contributions as well.
Nestlé is one of the few companies who care enough about its employees to make sure its employee retirement funds are fully funded; something you'll not find in any state's public retirement fund, and in almost no company or agency in the country. Look at PERS and the Portland Police and Fire Fund for examples of poor trusteeship.
Some of the Nestlé products that many of us use are: Carnation, Buitoni (pasta), Nescafé coffee, Butterfinger and KitKat candy bars, Dreyer's and Haagen-Dazs ice creams and Beneful and Alpo dog foods. There are many others you can find on their website.
Nestlé is a worldwide company; I recently had the pleasure of drinking its water in the Jordanian desert where it was most welcome.
Please welcome this worldwide, world-class company to the City of Cascade Locks.
Need to fix
What's a patriot? My dictionary says, "One who loves his country and zealously supports its authority and interests." So, from where does the authority come?
According to the Constitution and Abraham Lincoln, it comes from the people. And, who are the people? We are - all of us - the very rich, the very poor, and everyone in between; every shade of black, white and brown; fat, skinny and buff; Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic and atheist; men, women, girls and boys; blue collar and white collar; gay and straight; progressive and conservative.
Then it must be the interests of all of us that are so important to support: "…..our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
One has to ask, "Who are the patriots in our country?" They must be the people whom we elect to represent us in our government. Maybe not. They clearly are focused on the needs of the very wealthy who keep them in office.
Well, then, maybe it's actually the rich whose wealth trickles down to create jobs that benefit us all. I guess not. All the wealth seems to be moving in their direction.
Maybe we can find them in the Supreme Court where justice for all of us is assured. Not so much. The justices seem to be more interested in protecting the interests of big corporations than us "natural" persons.
Ah, clearly it's the men and women who serve in the armed forces. They clearly are willing to take enormous risks to protect us. They do deserve our thanks and respect, but surely there are others who strive to support our interests. If not, why not?
Maybe it's because birds of a feather flock together and seek to protect their narrow interests by forming their own organizations, like the NRA, American Farm Bureau, NEA, AFL/CIO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Republican and Democratic Parties and many, many others.
Lacking a national government with the capacity to protect our collective interests, we have splintered into an "Us" and "Them" society to get what we can for ourselves at the expense of "them." Unfortunately, "them" with the most money get most of the attention from all three branches of our government, leaving the majority of us with a serious case of attention disorder.
I can think of only one solution: Eliminate money as an element in our electoral and legislative processes by demanding ratification of constitutional amendments requiring public financing of elections and clarifying that the word "persons" in the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was never intended to mean "corporations."
Let's be grownups
I don't have any particular insight on the matter of elementary school education in Cascade Locks. However, it appears that the adult education there is lacking when one of the so-called "leaders" publicly doubts that the Hood River County School Board "even care(s)" about kids' education.
Think about it: Disagreement over solutions means at least two people care! And all children deserve the example of a mature discussion.
Spay and neuter
It's cat hanky-panky season: Spay and neuter! Now is the time when females go into heat and tomcats roam, so please do all you can to get your own cat or that neighborhood stray fixed!
Check with your local vet or cat rescue group and maybe they are offering specials or discount certificates? They are there to help, and spay/neuter is a proven method of saving the lives of many animals.
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Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest 2016
Kiteboarders in action during the pro competition Friday at the 16th Annual Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest in Stevenson. All photos by Ben Mitchell. Enlarge