Friday, October 21, 2016

Would Jesus Be a Republican or a Democrat?

Ignoring the obvious silliness of such a question, I think it is high time to look at the values in each party and align them with the words of Jesus. I say this because I find it quite strange that Christians so often align with Republicans rather than with Democrats. When I think of the Republican agenda, I immediately think of the following. Granted, this is not conclusive and is just my opinion, but these are the hot ticket items I always see being fought for via memes and outcries.

1. They want to keep their guns
2. They want to end abortion
3. They want marriage to be only between a man and a woman
4. They want to stop the poor from abusing government provisions
5. They want to keep our borders tight.
6. They want to extradite illegal aliens.

When I think of Democrats, these are the issues that come to mind:

1. They want to help and support the poor and struggling
2. They want to preserve our planet and prevent our destroying it
3. They want women to be able to choose whether or not to remain pregnant
4. They want to provide support for those coming to our borders
5. They want to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants.
6. They want fair treatment of all races, genders, and lifestyles

Of these issues, there is a fairly stark contrast. The Republicans are 2/3 about "me" and 1/3 what they don't want others doing. Only one of those can even pretend to care about others and that is in ending abortion where they pretend to care about the baby. I say pretend, because they care nothing for the baby once it is born. They do not want their tax dollars supporting those who cannot afford to care for their children. But they want their guns for their own hunting and protection, they want others to have sex the way they permit, they want to stop wasting money on the lazy poor folks, and they want to keep themselves safe from a presumed threat of immigrants.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are 6/6 on issues of caring for others. Granted, the abortions is the only one that can appear not to care about babies, but I assure you it is 100% in the interest of the mother and of society at large. They care about the poor whether some abuse the system or not. They care about whether or not our planet will be usable for our children and their children. They care about helping refugees at our borders and providing a sustainable life to aliens who sought what we all get for free in America: freedom and a pursuit of happiness. They want no one to be hated and mistreated.

Now really, which one truly sounds like Jesus? Did Jesus care about weapons? They obviously did not have guns at the time, but he specifically told Peter that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword and made him stop attacking against a government official who was obviously out of line by arresting a peaceable man. If you're foolish enough to bring up the verse where Jesus told Peter to sell his cloak to get a sword, then you are clearly not paying attention. Jesus did not condone violence even at the hands of an oppressive government, so clearly he was not truly referring to getting swords or fighting with them. He had another meaning behind it. Jesus offered that one would win via love rather than violence. He did not promote fear of others, he promoted love at the expense to self.

Further, Jesus seemed quite bent on helping the poor. He did not worry about the poor being abusers of handouts--he worried about the rich being selfish and evil. He fought back against the rich by getting his own followers to live for the very purpose of helping the poor. If you look throughout the Bible, a focus on the poor was extremely important (see below). Sodom and Gomorrah, most known for being destroyed for sexual acts, was explicitly stated in Ezekiel 16:49-50 as being destroyed for their lack of concern for the poor and NOT for sexual acts. Things like homosexuality hardly even finds its way into the Bible. Even then, Paul made clear that Christians ought not worry about the acts of those who are not Christians. Rather, they should be more concerned with the behavior of those withing their own fold so that they do not make fools of themselves. So if homosexuals are not harming anyone, then let it be. Shoot, Paul said not to even consider marriage. So if homosexuals get married, who freaking cares?

The entire Republican agenda is bent on fear of gays, transgenders, pedophiles, aliens, government, etc, etc. The only thing they ought to be fearing is the direction they are heading and just how much they are not following their own religious leader.

Let's face the facts here. Christianity is not what it used to be. It has fled the teachings of Jesus and revolted against him. While I do not intend to endorse Hillary specifically, Jesus would most certainly be ashamed of his followers voting for Trump and aligning with a Republican agenda. Our government is flawed in many ways even within the Democratic party, but one ought to at the very least uphold the principles of the Democratic party even if we can't trust the party itself to pull them off. Jesus would have us find our own way to uplifting his cause of love and peace and foregoing the entire Republican agenda all together.

To understand just how far Christianity has turned from Jesus, check out the book Christians Are Revolting: An Infidel's Progress.

The Bible regarding the Poor:
Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 17:5
He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 19:17
He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

Proverbs 21:13
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 22:9
A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

Proverbs 22:16
He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

Proverbs 29:7
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.

Proverbs 31:20
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Ezekiel 16:49
" 'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

Matthew 5:3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:21
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Matthew 26:9
"This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Luke 12:33
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

Luke 14:13
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

Luke 19:8
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Acts 9:36
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor.

Acts 10:5
The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.

Acts 10:31
and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.

Acts 24:17
"After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.

Romans 15:26
For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

Galatians 2:10
All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Third Party Cannot Win - And Here Is Why

Not at all to say our 2-party system is a good one, and in fact quite the contrary, but it is unfortunately the only method of our current system to function. Perhaps we can fix that, but first let us understand the problem and why third parties currently stand no chance in hell (or in America) of winning. Parties were invented in 1790 out of necessity--to win an election, one must win over 50% of the electoral votes. So imagine that we had no parties and 10 people ran for president. Further imagine that we gave each of them an equal say in debates. Not only would this be far more catastrophically painful to watch, it would result in a mashup of votes. If we assign some votes to each of these candidates assuming that they each had their own good points that people agreed with, we would see that each one would get around 5% to 15% of the votes. No one gets more than 50%. Because of this, the House of Representatives now picks a president for us. No more popular vote. We all just wasted our time voting for no reason. That's where parties come into play.

Imagine that some of these candidates were very similar to one another. I may have voted for John, but Julie would have been good enough--certainly better than Frank or Sally whom the House just voted in. If we took John's and Julie's votes and combined them, they could have had 30% instead of 15% each. If we find a few more candidates to merge with, we could have all agreed to vote on this one person and received more than 50% of the votes to swoop in for the win. It may not be each of our first pick, but it is certainly better than having no voice at all when the House votes on our behalf! So people of like mind X pooled their resources to vote for a strong X-oriented candidate. These are the issues we collectively care most about and X will help us unite our votes.

Of course, those who care strongly for the opposing viewpoints will then do the same thing lest they become voiceless in the race. So they pool their resources to make candidate Y. If, by chance, there are other viewpoints not well shared with X or Y, they could make Z. But now, the votes are no longer going to be 49% to 51% with a clear winner, we are going to get 25%, 30%, and 45% (for example). No majority winner of 50% or more. So once again, the house gets to pick for us because we as a people could not make up our minds. The House preferred the guy who got 25% and now the least-desired of the 3 gets voted in. Well that's certainly not desired since the Zs would have much preferred X over Y and now 75% of the population is left extremely unsatisfied.

As long as it requires more than 50% of the votes to become president and we can only vote for one person, we will be forced into a 2-party system. Absolutely guaranteed. It is simply the smartest thing that smart people can do: unite their votes. Any division past 2 people will destroy any chance of the people picking their own president. Thus, if you do not like the 2-party system, we must find a new method of voting that does not permit only a single vote or which does not require a >50% majority.

With the technology we have today, it would not be hard to come up with a better system of voting. We could vote for our top five favorite candidates in order of desire and have an algorithm find the winner. I want Frank, but I'd be down with Sue if not enough people agree on Frank. Lo and behold, this form of voting has already been invented. It is called Single Transferable Voting. The basic idea is "if it can't be Frank, then transfer my vote to Sue." Everyone wins, no wasted votes, you vote your true conscious, you get someone who best represents the people. So rather than voting third party, let us combine our votes for now to prevent a catastrophe and then push the agenda for voting reform which is the only way to break the 2-party system.

Monday, October 3, 2016

What's So Wrong With Right?

I cannot stop thinking about the differences between right and left. I used to be extremely right-wing myself. I can understand how I was forced into this way of thinking, but what I cannot understand is why some people never recognize how much pain and suffering is caused by ill-conceived ideas such as assuming the worst of those on welfare. I used welfare to support myself, my wife, and my son while I went to college and it was an absolute life-saver. I am now quite established in the middle class and have likely paid enough taxes to afford all the support I ever received. I further cannot understand how it is Christians, of all people, who praise a God of mercy and love who make up the majority of the right. Well, actually, I wrote an entire book on that subject so I understand it just fine, but I still do not understand how some people refuse to critically look at their own beliefs. Willful blindness is amazing and terrifying.

Jesus taught a message of love toward the poor. The Christian right instead teaches disdain for the poor. They are lazy, as the story goes. The left sees them as just the opposite, of course-- they are filled with misfortune. I wonder how many from the right or left have actually even spent any time with the poor. This is one thing I can actually speak about through experience. I spent time with the poor. I befriended the poor. I did not merely hand out shoes, shirts, or pizza and walk away, I studied, walked with, and talked with the poor. I drove them to visit their friends and family. I loaned them my house. I bought them furniture for their apartments. I know the poor quite well--at least the poor of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I also know that I was the only one doing it. People "served" the poor, sure. They spent an hour serving up soup or hot dogs to any and all who would come, but they did not sit and dine with them as Jesus would have, and so many of these programs were done for the sole purpose of preaching and converting them to their faith rather than simply loving and caring for them.

Most of these poor people were mentally ill; they could not hold a job if they wanted to. They were not lazy, they were incapable. Of all the poor whom I found and spoke with, there were only three that stood out as abusing the system. Two of them were friends and simply found this lifestyle so much easier, though I have a hard time believing it was all that fulfilling. The third was presumably a drug addict, but I never confirmed this beyond the gossip. He seemed capable enough to me, however, so I do not suppose he ought to have been poor. Everyone else seemed to have the mental acuity of middle-schoolers or less. No sane person hanging out with these people would assume they were perfectly capable of getting jobs. The best that could be done for them would be to get them off the streets and provide something to occupy their time while they live out their days.

The right does not see any of this. They are entirely blinded to it somehow. It is the fault of the poor that we are in such a mess of a country. There are indeed those who abuse the system of welfare, sure, but somehow they miss the fact that the rich are abusing it a billion times over while the entirety of the poor comprises an overall small portion of our expenditures. Donald Trump, for example is likely paying zero dollars in taxes. Nothing. If he were paying some 30% in taxes like the rest of us, then our country would be in a much better position than it is now. And it's not just him. All the rich are avoiding taxes via loopholes in the tax code based upon their businesses. Back when our country was thriving the most, the rich had 70% taxes that they were actually paying. But the rich continue to feed the propaganda that if they get tax breaks and make more money, then they could make more jobs. And this leads me to another staggering question. How can the right be so duped by this? I simply do not understand how they can believe this.

How much money does one need to make before they finally start putting more of that into "making jobs?" Is it $10 million a year and every penny extra goes towards making new jobs? Maybe $10 billion? Heck, I would be opening my own shop with $10 million and yet the rich simply sit on it. Give it to me and more jobs will actually be created. It should be quite obvious that putting more money in the pockets of the rich simply puts more money in their pockets. Jobs are the last thing they create and only if absolutely necessary. They are already doing quite well for themselves and have no reason to create new businesses and new jobs unlike someone like me. And when things get tough, they keep their bonuses and high wages while laying off others who then become the poor that the right so despises. The fact that they're rich does not stop job loss. The economy controls jobs, not the rich, and the economy thrives by those who buy things: the middle class. The right should instead be despising the rich. How can they be so wrong about this? How can they possibly believe this tripe? It baffles my mind and I am miserably saddened by it. It hurts them and it hurts others. The country fails and flounders while they hate the poor, love the rich, watch America burn, and chant about how great of a country we are. What in the world is going on? I just don't get it and it grieves my heart.

So many people could be helped if they would simply soften their heart to the plights of others. But they've been so trained, I guess, to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps that they cannot fathom being in someone else's shoes. They cannot see what is going on in another person's life that may prevent them from holding a job or to see what drives a person to drugs or insanity. It is entirely impossible for them to love those less fortunate. Are they all bullies? Does it simply make them feel better about themselves? I just don't get it. The only thing I know is that they, too, have a problem which could use some help. I just wish I knew how to help them. I would love to help them see, but they do not hear facts despite being mostly capable-appearing individuals. They are somehow entrenched in their hate or disdain from the culture in which they grew. How in the world can this culture be changed? What can we do to open their eyes? Argumentation does not work since they are not interested in logic. So what would? What would help them see? Is their state similar to the state of the poor where nothing can truly help except to wait out their time? Is help simply outside the bounds of reality? Are they too far gone? I hate to believe so, but I just don't know.

I weep, knowing the pain and suffering caused by the right and the self-detriment of their condition. I know of no solution and it saddens me all the more. Why must they hate those in the most need? Why must they hold themselves higher than others? I have a stream of questions that may perhaps forever go unanswered. I simply hope that our culture can slowly change the next generation and the next after that while we see the right slowly die off in old stubborn age. But if their children grow within the same culture as the right, then they, too, will become the same. We mustn't allow the right to have an isolated culture apart from views of the left and experiencing the plights of the rest of humanity. Perhaps the best solution is inundating different experiences into our media. The right hates inclusiveness, of course, but perhaps this is why we do continue to progress. Our TV shows and music are perhaps the answer if our creative forces are so willing to make the difference. I have hope that they are and I see it quite often in the shows I watch. For this, I have hope for the future, but I still weep for the present, especially when so many of the left are just as blind as the right, picking their stance and ignoring what makes a person side with the right. No desire for understanding, just hate. I can understand this a little more, I suppose, but it is still ignorant and ill-founded to hate people who need help or to hate those who are beyond help. We are all in this mess together. We are all created by what goes on around us. I am simply glad that we appear to be progressing away from hatred however slowly it may seem.