To Shutdown or Not to Shutdown?

I’ve mostly checked out of politics. I still vote, and I’ll still make a case for how I think something should be, but I’ve concluded that without God the world is going to make bad choices so don’t hold your breath for it to get the choices right.

But the other day I was drawn into one. This government shutdown is a big deal to some people. And I get why that is, I never said it would be painless. And I’m not saying it’s the best option. In fact, I even got into the discussion by saying, I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad.

How can I be so heartless, when I know it will cause so much suffering? Because all the resources to provide everything the government does, already exists. The government does not create the food bought with food stamps. It does not drive the trucks that get it there. It does not invent the medicine for the sick. It doesn’t administer the medicine to the sick. All it does is pay for it in case you can’t afford it.

What stops us from giving directly? Can’t the grocery store give the same food away? Sure, but it will be at a loss if no one pays them back. Well, the government is paying for it at your loss, so what’s the difference? And why can’t the grocer tell the distributer, “With the government shut down, I gave away X amount to wic recipients.” The distributor could then say ok and tell the farmer, the story. The farmer could then tell his neighbors or suppliers, “I gave away X. Can you give me Y so I can keep living too, and not take a loss?”

Yeah, that’s an ideal situation, a dream, but it could work. The point is the government doesn’t actually need to do it. We can. Sure they have money, but it was your money anyway and what is money, but a form of credit?

Why can’t we make that work? Because we don’t trust each other to give. Someone might cheat us . . . unlike the government.

And that was my point, and why I’m not sure the shutdown is a bad thing.

If we can’t trust each other to give to each other in a time of need, then how is it was can trust each other to put good, fair leaders in office? They come out of us. And in the case of a highly divided society, the elected leader will be viewed with distrust by a near half of his constituents, and likewise if we distrust, don’t you suppose he also distrusts and looks down on the constituents that didn’t agree with him? Listen to how the national leaders talk about the Tea Party or the Progressives, depending on which side you’re on. Can we say that the two sides respect each other? Truly? If they do, then they certainly don’t respect the voters enough to be honest.

All government represents its people’s character. Suppose you had an absolute dictator, how does he maintain power? He can’t go around and threaten everyone with guns. He has to have other people who will do it for him. And they will have to be in turn supported by others. All government is the same, it requires the people’s consent (at some level) to exist. That means that a certain amount of the people must agree with the government.

It can be top heavy in some circumstance, but it can’t get top heavy without initial consent. That means that a people who are selfish and distrustful and uncompassionate and disrespectful will eventually and inevitably become a government that is selfish and distrustful and uncompassionate and disrespectful.

If you don’t think so, then you must not buy into the idea that evil corporations and special interests have compromised members of the republican party. You must believe their behavior is a fluke and completely random. Strangely, everyone did the right thing and somehow we have two parties holding the country hostage. And I say two, because both sides could “easily” capitulate to end the shutdown.

If we say that government cannot become selfish, then what is our problem with what’s going on in DC?

But when I look at a growing populace who doesn’t care if the other side has to give up their earnings or the conscientious objection to this or that provision, or doesn’t care that someone may be going broke because of unrestrained capitalism, or doesn’t care about their own child in the womb, or their father or mother dying surrounded by strangers in a nursing home . . . it doesn’t surprise me that we now have a government that doesn’t care about the hardship it causes by shutting down the government.

So that’s why I think the shutdown could be good. While the government continues operating “normally”, things don’t look that bad. But when it brakes down we see that behind the veneer of civilization is a country filling with greed and hatred (on both sides, in the parties and out). It reveals that government only hides the real problem, and that we need a better solution. A God solution. What we do in a time of crisis reveals who we really are.

Eventually a society that is cruel on the inside will become one on the outside. I mean look at the way political activists talk about each other? Calling each other every name they can think of, wishing they’d have a heart attack and go to hell. Do you think people can keep talking like that without actually thinking it? I mean until recently, patients in Great Britain could be killed without consent or knowledge, do you think that just happened one day or did it start with a thought and then a word? Did Hitler immediately launch into concentration camps for the Jews or did he start by demonizing them?

The point is the shut down like many other opportunities gives us a chance to see what our country is underneath. And it ain’t pretty. The love of many grows cold. It lets us know where we’re headed before we get there.

A society that can’t continue to do right without government, will have a government that won’t do right either.

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One Response to To Shutdown or Not to Shutdown?

  1. jsclark says:

    One other thought was that, while this is only a possible outcome, people may face this (like they are at the moment) and never consider a larger meaning. What then? Should people be allowed to suffer anyway, when one party or the other could relieve it?

    That’s a tough one, and I don’t think we need to get hung up on it, because either compromise will just be another path of suffering if done apart from God. The key is that we are not choosing between no shutdown = good and shutdown = evil and suffering. Both without God will be suffering. And the suffering that will be brought either way will be by God’s will for his purposes. Suffering isn’t so great by itself, but it does teach us our weakness, and that teaches us to seek something certain. And that can only be God.

    And when you put that in perspective, if a person believes their ruin or salvation is apart from God, then they are living without God. What greater suffering is there than that? I would rather wish the world of evil upon a person, if it would turn them to God, then a small check from a government agency and a life of adequacy that would leave them thinking they can get through life without him.