USA’s Debt Ceiling

downloadThis is not a post about Democrats VS Republicans, about the lunacy of the Tea Party, or Obama’s presidency.

I’m not going to pretend that I fully understand the debt crisis. I’ve read copious articles on the subject and watched the news and I’m still a little perplexed on the whole subject.

However, what I do know is debt. I know that I have a credit card (or three!) and they have limits. When I start to get close to my spending limits, I can’t just call up the card issuer and ask them to raise the limit for me. No, I need to start curbing my spending, going without. Sacrificing some of the luxuries to ensure I can pay the bills.  I need to be paying down on the debt so that I may be debt free, not just living with a constant revolving line of credit. Of course I CAN do this (and the credit card companies would be thrilled at the interest they’ll be making off me) but it’s not a responsible nor peaceful way to live ones life. Personally I’m an anti-debt kind of girl. I don’t owe on my car, I have very little credit card debt. The only debt I consider OK is for housing, but that’s just me.

Isn’t this US clusterfuck kind of the same thing? I understand that the US owes money to China, Japan, even the Caribbean. That’s a lot of the ‘bills’ that will soon be coming due – things like Medicaid, veterans payments etc. Things that arguably should go on the priority list of ‘things we really must pay.’

It seems to me rather than arguing about getting  the debt ceiling lifted, someone needs to be asking the question about why we have such a huge debt to begin with and what can be done about making some changes to get this country back where it should be as the world’s superpower. 

The last time the US was in a surplus was 6 years into a democratic power.  In 1993 the Dem’s won the election. 6 years later, they managed to get the country running at a surplus. They maintained that surplus for a further 2 years and then lost the election to the Republicans. Those republicans kept the surplus for a further 1 year before running it into a deficit and continuing the increase in debt for a further 7 years. In 2009 a democratic president was again elected and it has remained in a deficit since. Source: DaveManuel.com 

Again, I don’t know a lot about politics or debt, but if I was running the show Id find out who was working the budget in the 1993 era and call them out of retirement and put them to work.

What will become of this never-seen-before situation? Of course we have no idea, it’s unprecedented, but it seems that there’s a good chance we’re about to find out.

 

 

 

 

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

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My 9-year-old son unexpectedly presented to me his sorrowful perception of Christians today.

We are not church-going people, but we are bible-believing people. I was born and raised an Evangelical Christian, in fact I was 3rd generation evangelical, I’m not sure you can get much more ingrained than that!  My husbands parents were divorced when he was young but he was born Jewish and raised with Judaism until his mother converted to Christianity. He identifies more with Judaism today, and I as a Christian. (You can imagine how much fun the holidays are at our house.)

We have raised our son primarily with Christian roots, but with a healthy education and respect for Judaism and an open mind…we believe all people have a right to their beliefs no matter what their race, creed or religion, and our only job is to show love as the commandments taught us; the greatest of these is love. (We figure you can’t go too wrong with that philosophy.)

I digress.

He was playing Minecraft with friends as per usual. To save you all a rather arduous lesson in Minecraft, let’s just say one does have to kill and gather possessions of others when they die to move further on in the game, but usually when one has a collection of friends they stay loyal to one another and come together to build and create, only killing others not on their team and never betraying or hurting one another in the cyber-world.

For what seemed like the hundredth time, one of his real life friends (who happens to be a bible-believing, church-going Christian) betrayed him; killed him, stole all his hard-earned swords, armour etc, killed his much-loved dogs and destroyed the whole house he had built.

He was devastated.

“Why” he said as he turned away from the computer in distress, tears running down his face, “does it always seem it’s my Christian friends, the ones who go to church on Sundays and say they are born-again, who are the ones who betray me and kill me on this game?”

I looked at him silently with no plausible explanation other than the one he had given himself.

Why does it seem so often, that the Christians are the most brutal in this world? The harshest critics, the quickest to sacrifice others to get forward in life, to preach hellfire and damnation… and too often the slowest to show kindness, acceptance or compassion?

Please understand I am not on the ‘I hate Christians’ bandwagon. I am one myself. The religion of Christianity has so many wonderful, giving, selfless, kind people as a part of its community.

Yet it has so many people who present such a callous and hurtful image that are at the forefront of the religion. These representatives of Christ who fail miserably at even the basics like loyalty and friendship, and yet continue destroying the perceptions around them of Christ and what the Christian religion was supposed to stand for.

Obviously my sons experience is with a handful of kids, and kids will be kids, regardless of their religion. Personally I think much of the behaviour they exhibit says more about who their parents are, and what they are being taught in the home than it does about their personal religious beliefs.

That being said… Why is it that even a small child is  able to articulate what so many of us observe but are afraid to say, all from within the alternate world of his Minecraft game?

Why do we see this so often? Why is it a reoccurring theme in the church today, and will it ever change?

Sadly, my 9-year-old was not able to provide the answer, we grownups are on our own with this one…

Dare I Say It? The “P” Word… Politics.

Voting - Australian Style!

Voting – Australian Style!

It election day here in Australia.

I’m not a fan of talking politics on Social Media, unless of course your page is a political page. So why have I used the ‘P’ word straight up?

Someone wrote on my personal Facebook wall today that those voting ‘Liberal’ would be voting for the human trafficking of women and children. Of course this spawned a plethora of responses both for and against, but the crux of the matter is that such emotive statements are rarely as black and white as portrayed and it’s an insult to the intelligence of hard-working Australian’s to present an election in this way.

So I’m in a quandary. I’ve never been a one political party voter. I delve quite deeply into the candidates promises, their history and experience and vote for the candidate or party based on its merits in each individual election. This election is a tough one. Like all, there is no one party or candidate I feel 100% support for.

Labour offers tougher laws on air quality, better support for the poor and social and medical services. They offer greater school funding and much more stringent animal cruelty laws. Liberal presents what I believe is a much more effective asylum seeker policy, their tax plan is better for the country (though this does not translate into less taxes for me personally), they have a history of better financial management of the country.

And today it all goes down. Who will I vote for? I still don’t know. I continue to read the most up-to-date news and promises, knowing that so many of them will be empty and broken.

Australia is a great country, in fact it’s one of the few countries in the world with a 3 star credit rating. We have a reasonably effective socialized medicine system (though it is surely not perfect), we have low unemployment and a large percentage of the country is middle class. Yet, we have so many more things that are crippled and desperately need repair…

I would hope that for those of us who choose to post emotive and line-drawing comments in the social media realm, realise that most of us who go out to vote do not take the job lightly, and do want what’s best for this great country and not just our personal gain.

Vote with your head and your hearts Australia, not just your pocketbooks!

Grace #2

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I joined an introvert Facebook page the other day. I never thought of myself as an introvert, but the more I read all the memes and comments, the more I have self-diagnosed that I am.  One of the glaringly obvious signs (apparently) is the inability to endure small talk.

I say inability, but what we’re really talking about is an inherent desire not to have to engage in talk about things that hold no interest for us. I hate small talk  (passionately), yet in my disdain I realise as I type this, it also becomes a little narcissistic.

A lot about not offering grace and kindness and less about my newly-labeled personality trait.

My friends husband finds the inner workings of a washing machine party-worthy conversation, does this make him the ‘most mind- numbingly boring person in the world’ (my words to hubby)? Or does it make him simply different to me? Someone whose thoughts, feelings and personality contribute to the workings of this world just as much mine do?

That’s obviously not what my gut feeling is when I critique him. At my core it is clear I don’t believe he’s as smart, interesting or valuable to the makeup of this world as I am. Harsh reality, right? I mean I wouldn’t have said that if someone asked me, but by my actions and reactions that’s what I am portraying.

Am I an introvert, or am I a narcissist who has little time or concern for those whose personality and interests differ from my own?

Sure it’s nice to have a label. It’s nice to be able to deflect any responsibility for looking deep within ourselves to inspire change, but it’s not real and it allows us to continue in our pathway of a lack of grace. Shame on us. In this me world we are living in, it seems that we label everything. Everything has a name, a cause, a pill to help you deal with your problem, to excuse your poor behaviour.

Perhaps it should be a little less about me and a little more about we.  We being the bigger picture of not caring so much about our feelings in the moment, but contributing to the greater good of kindness, love and grace in this self-indulgent world.

Grace

Grace inspired me to begin this site.

I find people who use the word ‘blog’ when they actually mean a blog post extremely irritating.

My personal feelings are that if one cannot take the time to learn the etiquette of the medium in which they have entered, they they should best take their leave or at least watch silently until they have a better grasp as to what’s going on.

Here’s the thing.

Grace is not prevalent in the online world, certainly not from me. But couldn’t we all do with a little more grace in our lives? A little more kindness and compassion? I am certainly no shining example but I am a person who sees unfulfilled grace throughout the real and cyber worlds in which we live, and I have no idea what to do with that insight other than to write about it.

What does a site titled ‘Philosophical Diva’ have to do with Grace? I have absolutely no idea.

I guess we’ll all just have to hang around to find out.