Wisconsin and Libya

We are on the cusp of change.  The world that was is changing into the world that will be.  As much as we don’t like change, particularly if we are enjoying life, it is before us.  I sometimes think the first decade of the 21st century is like getting onto a roller coaster and we are slowly being pulled up the first hill before the real excitement is about to start.

We see change happening internationally in North Africa and domestically in Wisconsin.  And the pundits are writing about both events galore – with the same old 20th century spectacles that they’ve always reported on them.  And some are posting with a “Republican” or “Democrat” outlook that would be none too different than if someone was faced with the same events ten or fifteen years ago.  I laugh when I read Newsweek headlining “How Obama blew it with Egypt” (the article basically maintained we should have seen it coming and didn’t back the right side soon enough).  But I guess Obama “blew it” along with the rest of the world.  It wasn’t like China, Japan, and Russia saw the change coming either.  Some events in human history happen as technology, passion, and pent up aggression finally come to the surface.  I am sure Reagan, Bush, Clinton or any of the rest wouldn’t have seen it coming either.

But our country has changed.  And it is a part of the world changing.  The U.S. is no longer “the superpower” to whom everyone defers.  And our resources are not endless.  The “pie” stopped growing in the 1980s and started shrinking.  We are beginning to feel it – really feel it now.  In Wisconsin, I applaud the Republican governor, I applaud any political leader, who takes debt seriously.  We can’t keep passing on debt to our children.  What kind of inheritance is that as a society?  Is that the best we have to leave our kids?

At the same time, we need to consider our priorities.  Who is it that is important in our world?  Are people using the need to balance the budget to advance their own agendas and interests?  Who is being selfless and who is being selfish out there?  Who will be hurt by budget balancing proposals?  Who will be immediately helped?  If people are being asked to sacrifice, is it just and across the board?  We have few leaders who propose asking us all to sacrifice for the common good.

The parallel between Libya and Wisconsin is that people see change on the horizon that can either help or hurt them.  Blessedly, in Wisconsin, this doesn’t mean putting their lives on the line as it does in Libya.  But regardless, we should keep asking “Who is the change going to affect?” And “what should I do in response?”

These are questions I believe we are going to be asking ourselves at an increasing pace as we advance further into the 21st century.  And God will be there as we travel up, and down, the path together.

Until next time,

Tom

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