Archive for March, 2009

30
Mar
09

All That Comes With It

Fargo is my home. This admission has always invited jokes about the accent, the snow, the wind, height, Olle and Lina. Now this admission is a badge of honor. We’re all watching these floodwaters rising and we’re wondering how long they have. I’m sure many of us have questioned the stamina of sand bags. Miraculously, while the sandbags hold, so does the spirit of these people. There are no complaints, no cries of “unfair,” no calls for government entitlements. Everyone has come together to head this off. What we are not seeing on the news is that these people have worked tirelessly in freezing weather that those who live south of the Canadian border cannot relate to. They are wet, tired, and aching – young and old, but still they smile at their neighbors. When they finish their length of the levy, they move on to the next. In this situation, finished is not a word they recognize.

Life is difficult up north. The largely rural area is often looked down upon, but it is even more often underestimated. Heritage runs deep up there and there is such determination. When I posted the video earlier, I was shocked to watch it. I remember these places that are washing away. The best homes line the Red River. There was the bridge we used to cross to get to my grandmother’s house. It’s still standing strong, but it is so nearly submerged. Then Lindenwood Park. That was my favorite place in the whole world until I was about 15 and discovered skiing. Lindenwood park is where I learned to be a child and now it may all be gone.

Watching the video and looking at pictures of this devastation is like having visual proof that my childhood bliss has been taken, washed away in the floodwaters of adult responsibilities and obligations. As I have suspected, there is no going back. All that remains are the lessons learned and the heritage that taught them.

These people who sing while they stack sandbags are my heritage. The spirit that lies within them, pushing them to reinvent rugged individualism as everything changes around them, is in me, too, and of that I am fiercely proud. I have always known their strength. I have seen the farms and the work it takes to keep them running in sub SUB zero temperatures. I know my great-grandmother who got a college education in the early part of the century so she could make a good life for her and her son. I know of my great-great aunt who lived alone in one room so that she could finish high school to move away from the difficult life on those farms.

Childhood may be long, long gone, but what is left is determination and immeasurable strength. It was a gift given me by these people. Now, as the entire nation watches, it is a gift for everyone. A glimpse of what it takes to truly survive.

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28
Mar
09

All That Goes With It

Watching the home to so many happy childhood memories wash away despite the desperate efforts of so many every day heroes in poignant at best, heartbreaking in truth. Please pray for these people in our Heartland, and watch for the opportunities we will have to help.

26
Mar
09

Road Rage is not Biblical

wyoming-plate2A Wyoming driver cut me off today.  In a big, dangerous way.  Now, far be it from me to stereotype, but I get many many closeups of the Cowboy State plates and I have some preconceived ideas.  So I loaded my verbal cannon and prepared to fire.

Then I remembered that I have a Jesus fish on my car.  I have made a choice to follow Him and turn my life (and tongue) over to him.  I ran my diatribe against the scriptures I happen to know and guess what?  Road rage is not Biblical.  I tried.  Momentarily, I wondered if Jesus would have been so perfect had he been in 5:00 traffic. 

Yes.  Yes he would. 

I stifled my anger and continued along my way.  As I drove, I realized that I have always given Jesus the obvious thanks.  He saved me from all kinds of horrors – single motherhood, drugs, alcoholism, a shopping addiction, bankruptcy, pregnant teenagers, probably even life on the streets.  Who knows what kind of damage I could have done on my own.  Really, though, I think my walk with Jesus has truly saved my life.  I have a poison tongue and I always loved to use it.  In fact, that was the hardest thing for me to let go of when I became a Christian.  Obviously, if I am loading verbal cannons in the safety of my Nissan, I still love it.  But out of obedience to the Lord, I stifle it. 

Odds are that if I had rolled down my window to fire away at Mr. Wyoming, he would not have shown me his 9mm, but if I were to fire my tongue every time inspiration strikes, I may not have made it very far.  It is amazing to me how God’s grace saves us.  I have always been greatful that my faith kept me from the world’s temptations, but now I reflect on my own self destruction.  Thank God for saving me from me.

20
Mar
09

Beware the Rabid Bunny Government

Good advice is rare and precious.  I have received one such nugget that I truly strive to live by; it was given to me by my boss at my first job.  I was complaining about feeling backed into a corner by a situation and he responded swiftly, possibly before he even realized it, saying “then why’d you let them?  Why did you get yourself into a situation that put you into a corner?”

I am unsure that wiser words have EVER been said.  After chewing on it for a few days, my young self grabbed onto those words as a way of life.  What he said made me stop and look at my role in every situation and changed me in a profound way.  It is not difficult to live away from the corners, but it does take courage.  To stay out of the corners means always being up front and carefully considering the implications of decisions.  Most importantly, it means doing the right thing, regardless of where that may leave me.  In the end, I can live without excuses and without regrets.

So this is where we come to AIG and Congress.  Talk about being cornered.  For simplicity’s sake, we will look at this in the context of AIG.  Please do not mistake this simplicity for naivety.  The problem is much more far-reaching than this, I know.  BUT CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TODAY?????  The latest bill passed by the House is a perfect example of what happens when we put comfort above results.  It’s somewhat ironic that in looking out for one’s own interest, he turns over control of the situation.  The situation itself takes control and the results are unsavory.

It all started when the government got backed into a corner.  It reacted like an animal frightened for its life, looking for the easy way out.  I’m sure there was a collective sigh of relief when the imminent collapse of the financial industry was staved off by a mere $160 or $200 billion (whatEVER, who’s counting).    AIG took the money, ill-advised as it may have been.  But now that the panic has subsided, the cornered-bunny-government has had an opportunity to consider what it gave up – not just money, but trust, reputation, and most likely, employment.  Back to the corner.

This time the bunny has rabies.  It is mad and it is not afraid.  Another panic-stricken vote has been taken and the government is expecting to be freed again, but I don’t expect it will be so simple.  If this latest bill passes the House, which it certainly will, our rabid bunny-government is going to fully punish the working people for the misdeeds of their employers and the poor decisions made to “help” them. 

I do not relish paying $165 million in bonuses to the motley fools who ran a company into the ground, but there is a contract in place.  Right now, the rabid bunny-government should not be allowed to tax these employees at a rate of 90%.  Yes, if you have not seen the news, the tax rate in this bill is 90%.  The American taxpayers now own 80% of AIG.  We should be able to make a decision regarding these bonuses.  I don’t remember electing officials who intended to tax at a rate of 90%, who say “we’ll let the states and cities take care of the rest.” 

Of course we, the owners of AIG, have no opportunity to make any decisions because the bunny-government leapt into this AIG purchase with nothing but survival in mind.  Instead of reacting like rabid bunnies, our congress should have treated the stock purchase in AIG like that in any business.  Contracts should have been reviewed and negotiated.  That would have been the time to review such exorbitant compensation, not now that the deal has been made and hands have shaken.  It is quite unpalatable to see a government backtracking to save face and passing discretionary tax laws that are incredibly unfair.  I believe that the text of the bill specifies bonuses paid in 2009, but what if there is a loophole.  What if bonus pay becomes fair game at a 90% taxation rate? 

We citizens should be very concerned.  We should be working together to eradicate such behavior from our government.  Class warfare may be peaking right now as the upper class is blamed for all of society’s ills, but we cannot detest the rich at the cost of liberty.  That is simply too expensive.  The bitterness that pervades the American public is sure to be our undoing.  We should not stand idly by, thumbing our noses at the rich who are about to be undone.  If we do, next time it will be us in the corner.




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