Idiom: a condition of being unequal of different, in disagreement, opposed. The idiom uses ‘odds’ to express the condition of ‘being unequal or different’ and transfers it to a difference of opinion or quarrel. [Late 1500’s]1
We are a nation at odds. What does this mean, to be at odds as a nation? It could mean any number of things, I am going to tell you what I believe it means from my personal perspective. Given this is my personal opinion, although backed by a certain amount of boring statistical notations and research and facts, it remains my interpretation. There a couple of caveats I should make before continuing, I am a Boomer, I apparently do not follow my generation on many social trends, voting trends or overall political thinking. My guess is I am different from the majority of my cohort because of my life experiences, which are also vastly different from most of the Boomer generation (1946 – 1964).
How are we at odds?
First, there is the issue of being a ‘Christian’ nation that refuses to care for its weakest members, its aged, its children and those who cannot care for themselves. I find this to be fully ‘at odds’ with the philosophy born of the man who was Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ and all of the religious houses that lay claim to his teachings. One of my favorite examples of how American Right Wing zealots have fallen away from the teachings they pretend too is Matthew 31-46 The Son of Man Shall Judge the Nations, here is just a small piece of it if you are interested read the rest for yourself:
41“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’44“Then they also will answered Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45“Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’46“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
How does this translate into how we behave as a nation? If as so many wrongly insist, we are a Christian Nation, why is it so easy to watch children go hungry, entire generations incarcerated, poverty grow and illiteracy expand. Why, if we are a Christian Nation, as so many wrongly insist is the culture of violence the only culture we worship with any fidelity?
The Farm Bill is mired in partisan bickering, with the R’s praying to the idol of greed and Ayn Rand to cut billions of dollars from SNAP (Food Stamps) thus ensuring children, disabled veterans, women, other disabled and the aged must learn to subsist on even less than $133 per month for food currently allotted (sometimes less). I don’t know about you, I am fairly certain I could not survive on approximately $4.36 per day. If these cuts go through, for those who do not lose their benefit altogether the new benefit will be approximately $90 per month that is $2.95 per day. How, tell me just how does this translate back into the whole Christian Nation thing? Just curious mind you.
Not to be pedantic about this whole issue, however why does GOP wander down this path, revisiting entire swaths of the 2012 presidential election, trying hard to forget THEY LOST. Why are we bombarded with foul rhetoric, 42 votes to defund ACA at a cost to the American public of $84,000,000. This number is calculated based on a daily rate of $2,000,000 per day for each time Congress meets to vote on something they know does not have a snowballs chance of getting to the desk of the President. Why do they continue this folly, at a time when the acolytes of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of absolute selfishness (not Christianity) are trying hard to forget there are consequences to elections and ignoring their own stump of deficit reduction and fiscal conservatism. I guess their principals only count when it isn’t them who might be hungry, without work, buried in student debt, losing your home or facing life without health insurance for your child or yourself.
We are a nation at odds, we truly are. I speak to so many people both on-line and face-to-face throughout the week who cannot seem to reconcile their ‘Christianity’ with their gut level responses to the current ideological rhetoric coming from talking heads, written word, elected officials and even their pastors. It is damned near pathological and it is frightening. When faced with reasoned argument they have no response, but to name call and fall back on age-old arguments.
- “Are you saying you think children should go to bed hungry?”
- “That isn’t what I am saying. Their parents should get a job.”
- “What if there are no jobs? Are you saying those children should go to bed hungry, go to school hungry?”
- No, I don’t want children to be hungry. I am not heartless. Their parents shouldn’t have had them if they can’t take care of them.”
- “But they are here now; their mother didn’t have access to birth control and couldn’t have an abortion because in this state it isn’t available. Are you saying her children should go to bed hungry and go to school hungry?
- “That isn’t what I am saying dammit. She should get a job. She should get off Welfare. Maybe she should give her children to the State.”
The above is a conversation I had recently with someone in a store, her comments are in blue. The person I had it with is someone I know fairly well, we talk often about these issues; obviously, we are on different sides of the chasm.
My question to everyone, how do we fix this? The 113th Congress is the most ineffective Congress in history. They have done nothing since their swearing in. They waste money and time, they continue down this path of attempting redefine the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election, THEY LOST. Whether or not you like the outcome, it is frankly not relevant. What is relevant?
- Poverty is growing in this nation.
- Incarceration is growing and becoming a for-profit industry.
- Unemployment is not going down perceptively in this nation.
- The infrastructure of this nation is crumbling.
- The middle class of this nation is nearly dead.
- Violence is growing
- Global competitiveness is shrinking
The list goes on and yet we sit back and do not one damned thing but stroke ourselves for what? American Exceptionalism? Really?