Americans are no longer the independent people we once were. We have citizens expecting the government to bail them out when disaster strikes. But we are a nation that is broke. We have no money to spare. We can’t even pay our own bills. Over 40 cents of every dollar our government spends is borrowed money. Would that work in your own home? No, it would not.
This weekend's news of Hurricane Irene hitting the east coast showed many people being interviewed who were worried about what the government would do to help people impacted by the hurricane. Is it wrong to want to help when something like a hurricane or tornado races through a community and leaves a trail of devastation? Certainly not.
It’s a good thing to want to help others. It’s virtually an American tradition to help others in time of need. In fact, Americans give more when bad things happen than any other people. And Americans need to keep personally digging deep to help others when these kinds of things happen. But when something is that big and people are hurting that bad I do think it is good for us to use our tax dollars to have our government help them, too. However, as I stated before, our government is broke. We have no money. So what do we do as a nation?
It’s been said that charity begins at home, so it’s about time we, as a nation, turn our hearts and our tax dollars to home first. The entire world is in need and even in it’s best days America could not afford to pay for all the worlds’ problems. It’s time for national priorities to decide what we can do and in what order of priority.
We need to refocus our energies to take care of those at home first. We can save billions of dollars by stopping many of the programs to take care of the rest of the world and prioritizing others. If we cannot feed ourselves then we will not have the strength, longevity, or resources to help others. Once we take care of our needs (that’s needs, not wants) then we can consider those of others. And there are some others we should help…when we can.
If our nation is broke then the country has to give up other things to afford to help our citizens who are in need. It’s no different than we should be doing in our personal lives. We give up other things. What good person wouldn’t give up some wants in their lives to help friends and family in need? Wouldn’t you give up those things if you had someone in your life who was destitute? Wouldn’t you extend a helping hand even if you had to give up something to do so? Of course you would if you’re a decent person.
We have to make some tough decisions. We need to decide that our community and nation don’t need some of the things that our tax dollars go to and we use those same tax dollars to help when disaster strikes to help our fellow citizens. Contrary to what our culture has taught us, we can’t have our cake and eat it, too. In fact, we really can’t have our cake anymore either until we dig ourselves out of the hole we’ve put ourselves in. It’s about priorities, which we’ve long ago forgotten.
As citizens we need to choose to do without and forego things when others are in greater need. We have become a nation that not only expects to be helped by our government, we’ve become a citizenry that expects the government to give to us just because we’re in line with our hand out.
I remember a business I helped one time where the owners decided to give up some of their salaries to help the family of one of their employees. They chose to give up benefits for themselves to help someone in need. When asked about the decision one of the owners said that it meant that the owner’s kids would have to go to public school instead of private school but that wasn’t much of a sacrifice because in doing so it kept food on the table for that employee and his family who had real needs. How many of us would do that? And yet that is what we should be doing when there is a need.
America is at a crossroads. There is no easy way out of the mess we’ve created. We must make hard choices now. If we don’t then we are not only making bad choices for our future, we may be choosing not to have a future.