The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

THE WELCOME MAT

The Las Vegas Valley Water District has a motto, designed to remind us that each of us has the responsibility to conserve water.  “It’s A Desert Out There.”  The casual visitor to Las Vegas, had he been here last week, might have shaken his head incredulously at that slogan as we had a three day substantial rainfall.  It reminded me of being back in Chicago.

The rain continued for long periods of time throughout the day, would pause for perhaps ten minutes and then resume.  Because of the precipitation and the ominous and gloomy clouds which brought it, I decided to skip Gracie’s normal evening sojourn to the Dog Park and walk her through the neighborhood instead.  At least we could scurry home quickly should the downpour resume.

While Gracie is one quarter Golden Retriever, apparently the gene that accompanies fondness for water is missing from her DNA.  True, she does love to hit the fountain of the lawn sprinklers for a refreshing drink, but the stuff that falls from the skies doesn’t, in her estimation, have the same appeal.  Perhaps that is because the lawn sprinklers are a regular and predictable phenomenon – and rain is such a sporadic event.

In any case, we were meandering around the block and I happened to notice that, without exception, every home had a door mat at the front door.  And interestingly, most of those doormats had the word “Welcome” on them.  Gracie and I are the exception.  Our doormat says, “Please Wipe Your Paws.”  But for some reason, looking at these doormats caused me to think about both the issue of immigration and the allegations of police oppression which have become so rampant in some sectors of the media.

The United States accepts over a million people a year who want to immigrate to the country – more people than the rest of the countries of the world combined.  The process of gaining legal status here is onerous and rather Byzantine – but apparently enough people worldwide are willing to endure both the wait and the process to ensure that a continuous stream of newcomers arrives on American shores every year.

These people have a somewhat different view of life in America than some of us who are here legally by reason of birth.  I mean, who in his right mind would want to go to the trouble and expense of moving to a country where there was a high probability that when he got there he would be “oppressed” by those in law enforcement?  Basic logic would suggest that would be a place to avoid rather than one to which a person would seek admittance.

Now just because a person has a good heart and is welcoming to friends and guests, it does not follow that his kindliness would extend to everyone who presented himself at his door.  Most of us would probably call 911 if we saw a hooded man, brandishing a gun, rather than welcoming that person in for tea.  And while most of us who are here as a result of immigration reflect on our own and our forebears’ experience in coming to America and want to extend that same courtesy to others who are similarly motivated, that does not imply that we want to do so in an indiscriminate manner and open the door to anyone who presents himself.

If we look at the historical waves of immigration that occurred in America, we need to put in perspective that while we gratefully welcomed low wage people in the first and early part of the country’s second century, that in large measure reflected that the country and its infrastructure were under construction and needed those workers to build railroads and dig ditches for sewers.  Their arrival did not displace workers who were already here.  But the infrastructure, notwithstanding its deteriorating condition, and the railroads have been built.  No such need exists today.

Our manufacturing sector has greatly diminished and Wall St. no longer waits with baited breath to hear the U. S. Steel quarterly report as it did in the 1950’s.  Rather, the financial markets are moved by whether or not Google or Apple made their number for the most recent three month period.  Of the thirty stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average , only nine are purely involved in manufacturing and of those, two manufacture drugs.  The other twenty-one companies are primarily involved in providing services.

The problem with a stagnant, albeit slightly improving economy, is that those Americans who are at the bottom of the economic barrel face increased competition from illegal aliens (or if you prefer “undocumented people”) and nowhere is this more evident than within the inner city communities predominantly occupied by blacks.  That, at least in part, explains why the rate of unemployment among blacks consistently runs twice the “official” rate of unemployment – and among young black men runs twice that, nearing twenty-five percent.

If we truly want to face the issue of why there is unrest and despondency among certain groups of our population, racism is a convenient but dishonest explanation.  Let’s face it – the automobile dealer who is selling Ferraris doesn’t really care about the race of the person who buys his vehicle – and cares even less how that person obtained the cash to close the deal.  It isn’t a matter of race – rather it’s a matter of economics.  And the economic outlook for those in our inner cities is very bleak.

Riots and lootings solve nothing but in fact create additional problems for the business owners who are directly affected and potentially can lead to the arrest and incarceration of those who participate.  In truth, some of those who participate are simply out for ill-gotten gain – and any excuse will do to set them and their malicious intentions in motion.  Others probably have a sense of their own helplessness but see no path to extricate themselves from it.  And then there are some ideologues who believe that America is the most racist, despicable country in the world.

To those in the third category, remember that once there was a Berlin Wall – designed to keep the citizens of East Berlin from making their way to freedom.  America has no such barrier in place to prevent any willing person from leaving.  And there are countries which apparently are willing to give anyone, irrespective of background, an opportunity to start over.

The recent committal of five more Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay suggests that country might provide a more nurturing venue for them to spend the remainder of their lives.  And given the generous way in which our federal government spends taxpayer dollars, there’s probably a program in place to help facilitate their change of address.  Take advantage of the opportunity – please.

Via con Dios.

SPAY AND NEUTER

With a lifelong passion for companion animals, primarily dogs although a few kitties worked their way in, I heartily support the effort to act humanely and control the animal population so that fewer of them are inhumanely treated or are euthanized.  While I personally value these critters more highly than at least a couple of the people I’ve met on my journey, I realize that the prevailing thought among most people is that we, as top of the food chain (momentarily), are far more important than the most wonderful of our four footed friends.  So let’s go with that line of thought for a moment.

I’ve previously written about an explanation I received from a Russian Orthodox bishop as to what the “unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit” was.  For those who missed it let me recap.  God’s love and forgiveness is limitless.  But unless the person who needs that forgiveness asks for it, God does not impose himself on the sinner.  The way most of us know this is by the label, “Free Will.”  But if a person is so hardened of heart that he refuses to ask for forgiveness, it is denied him.  That is not by God’s choice but is a function of the individual’s decision.

While I am not a theologian, from a lay person’s perspective I have come to the conclusion that certain specific acts or crimes are manifestations of the person who has reached a point where he or she is incapable of asking for compassion – because that person is unable to understand compassion and feels no guilt about inflicting violence and brutality against others.  The three crimes which I view as examples of this are crimes against children; crimes against the infirm or elderly; and crimes against animals.

We send our children to school to be educated in the fundamentals they will need to make it through.  We trust that when they go there they will be provided a safe environment in which to learn.  The most recent shooting spree by a jilted boy friend in Washington state is garnering only slightly more attention than the hatchet attacks against two rookie New York City policemen, probably because the shooter, a Native American, doesn’t fit the left’s agenda that virtually all violence is committed by white males and the NRA is responsible for all our ills.

But this piece is not about school shootings.  It is about something at least as tragic and even more widespread.  It is about sexually predatory teachers.  And it seems, based on recent arrests, that there is an ordinate number of women, not men, who are the guilty parties.  That doesn’t work well with the “War on Women” meme that abounds in the liberal media.

I recently read several stories in which female teachers took advantage of their position and had sexual relations with their students.  One was committed by a twenty-two year old substitute teacher on her first day teaching at a school in Washington, D. C.  The student was a seventeen year old male, on whom she performed oral sex.  Perhaps as disturbing as the story were the comments on the story, many of which referred to her attractive appearance and left remarks like, “Wow, she’s a looker.  I wish I had her teaching my class when I was in high school.”

Another story from a few days earlier detailed the fact that a thirty-four year old teacher had been arrested in California and charged with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of her students.  In this case she was married and has several small children at home.  That in itself is a scary thought.

In New York City, a gym teacher was charged with thirty counts of statutory rape for allegedly having sex with one of her male students on a regular basis over a period of many months.  In addition, she faces four charges for “criminal sexual acts”.  Apparently, predators are not restricted to any geographical area.  All they need is a classroom.

My parents had many concerns that they pondered in my rearing.  I am, however, confident that worrying about one of my teacher’s molesting me while at was at school was not on their list of worries.  If I had kids in school today I suspect I would feel differently.

Now I realize that there are those on the left who adamantly oppose the death penalty, suggesting that the argument that executing someone does not really deter others from committing similar executable crimes.  Perhaps they’re correct.  And the argument that if we made a mistake in arriving at a conviction and then execute the person, well that decision is irreversible.  That’s definitely true.  So I would like to promote a compromise punishment for people who are found guilty of sexually predatory behavior – whether teachers or otherwise.  Spay and neuter.

Should the reader think this is “cruel and unusual punishment” I would draw their attention to the children who are maligned and how they are likely to suffer a lifelong struggle to overcome their abuse.  And, unlike a lethal injection or a firing squad, having to live the rest of your life as an asexual person might indeed prove to be a deterrent for others contemplating engaging in similar activities.

As to the argument that the death penalty is final – well, I’d admit that this too would be irreversible should someone be wrongly convicted.  But I have faith that in the near future, science will have developed a way for us to clone ourselves – so for those few who were innocent, there would still be light at the end of the tunnel.  That might be a brighter light than the one that will ever shine on the victims whom these predators have abused.

DINOSAURS

It’s all their fault – the dinosaurs that is.  Well, they had a pretty good run on the stage of planet Earth as masters of the planet for 165 million years.  But then, whack – a cataclysmic event wiped them out about 65 million years ago.  And that started the whole mess – I mean the energy mess.

There’s poor Nemo, your typical male T Rex out one day looking for lunch, a meteor hits the planet and the rest, including Nemo, is history.  Little did Nemo expect when he woke up that morning that one day his transformed remains were going to end up being pumped into somebody’s Hummer so that mom could take the kids to soccer practice in a place called America.

Fortunately for the dinosaurs they had not developed the telescope so their demise was unexpected and probably nearly instantaneous for most of them.  But had they known that the meteor was hurtling on a collision course to Earth they would have had no more ability to alter its path than we are.  They were the victims of true climate change.

Before the first oil well was purposely drilled in Titusville, PA in 1859, oil and natural gas seeped naturally from the ground in various places in the country.  In many cases mining for salt opened veins into these deposits and they were considered more of a nuisance than anything useful.  Then mankind learned how to make kerosene which began to be used for lighting.  In time kerosene became the fuel of choice, replacing whale oil which was formerly used to illuminate our homes.

In 1859 in a virtually pristine America, consider the conundrum of an environmentalist with imagination who foresees the invention of the horseless carriage and how oil will become a potential threat to our planet because its use releases greenhouse gas.  On the other hand, by using it we are doing the right thing in saving the largest mammals on earth, our whales, from hunting and possible extinction.

As we know, there was no environmental agenda 165 ears ago nor was there a need for one.  But things have changed, and while I do not necessarily agree with the hyperbolic rhetoric that those who forecast our imminent doom use, it is hard to deny that our cities with their dense populations contain worse air than our heartland’s wheat fields and that mankind has an impact on the world.  But we do it one person at a time.

The other day I was engaged on this subject by a fellow dog owner at the park.  Both of us were originally from NYC yet despite that, we have diametrically different views of the world.  He introduced the statement that “Ninety-five percent of all scientists believe that mankind is responsible for climate change.”  The following day he brought me a printout that substantiated his position.  I appreciated his follow up.  To me it demonstrated his passion for the subject and his belief in his position.

Now as a rational person it is clear to me that each of us has an impact on the world or, if you prefer the term, the environment.  For example, a person who murders another person has inalterably changed the world.  The victim was about to get married and might have had several children.  Those children will never be born as a result of the murder.  What if one of those children had turned out to be a brilliant inventor who found an efficient, inexpensive way to produce universal renewable energy?  Or what if that child was left as an unborn embryo on the cutting room of an abortion clinic?

The day following our initial conversation I again engaged this chap on the subject.  I asked him whether he had walked to the park.  He replied that he had driven.  I mentioned that I also had driven there,  the three miles one way.  So I pointed out to him that we both obviously put our two dogs’ need to socialize with others of their kind above our concern for the carbon emissions we were going to cause by using our vehicles.  By extension, anyone who uses electricity to light his home or gas to heat it has made a personal decision that his personal comfort is more important than the environment.  I have yet to hear of an environmentalist who operates his laptop by utilizing candle power.

After years of “study,” the news is finally in that the Keystone XL Pipeline does not pose any grave threats to the environment.  Whether this project goes forward or not is now up to President Obama.  He is finally expected to approve it some time this summer – about five years late.

During the course of this hiatus there have been eleven incidents in which oil was being transported by freight trains that derailed.  Some of the contents of the oil cars spilled – sometimes in fiery explosions.  Mankind will never invent perfect solutions to our challenges until we ourselves become perfect.  That may be awhile.

In writing this post I realized how great mankind’s indebtedness is to our dinosaur predecessors, as unanticipated by them as it was.  I would raise a glass in a toast to them, but there’s no hooch in the house.  So I’ll just add this to my blog and in commemoration of their sacrifice turn the heat up a little.  It’s a bit chilly in the house.

HISTORY, HANSOM CABS AND HIZ HONOR

During the Holidays my parents and I would frequently take long walks through Central Park.  Sometimes, if the weather were conducive, those would take us past Wollman ice skating rink and down to the park’s southern end.  I always enjoyed those long walks – particularly because it gave me the opportunity to go up to and pet the horses that drew the hansom cabs.  My favorite was a roan named Buttercup.

My parents strongly believed that children should be raised with non-human companions and so there was always a dog in our home.  They believed that sharing childhood with other creatures was essential in teaching kids respect for life in all its forms.  There was nothing that upset them or me more than stories of animal abuse.  This was my introduction to respecting life and celebrating diversity – long before the latter became technically chic and we restricted the definition to other humans.

One night , two weeks before Christmas, dad came home from work and made an announcement at dinner.  The following evening he was going to take us to Central Park and we were going to take a carriage ride in the hansoms.  I remember my sense of excitement at this news.  I had always wanted to ride in the back of one of these vintage carriages but I knew the rides were expensive.  I hoped that we could ride in the carriage that Buttercup drew.

As it turned out, Buttercup was off duty that evening so our ride was pulled by a horse named Alfie.  It occurred to me that in the hour the carriage moved along that this was an incredibly slow way to travel.  It gave me a new appreciation for the pioneers who made their way west in Conestoga wagons.  And I must admit that the ride wasn’t all that comfortable.  Still, it was a fun thing to do and turned into what is most likely to be a once in a lifetime experience.

One of the first pronouncements of New York’s recently elected mayor, Bill de Blasio is that the hansom cab rides will be terminated because they represent an expression of animal cruelty.  Frankly, if I believed that I would be one of the first in line to support their retirement.  But the facts tell a different story.

The horses and their drivers are, like almost everything else in New York, highly regulated by the city.  They are required to get a complete veterinarian exam twice a year; the rules regulating the business requires  that they have at least an eight week annual vacation and are not permitted to work in rainy or extreme weather; and their diet must meet high standards set by the city.

While I haven’t lived in my birth city for a long while, I have a sneaky suspicion that the well-being of the hansom cab horses is not the most pressing one that New Yorkers face.  If it were, they should rename the city, Utopia.  And perhaps as the mayor matures into his responsibilities he will find, as he did several weeks after his announcement regarding the hansom cabs, that New Yorkers are more concerned about the clearance of snow from their streets – particularly in the streets in neighborhoods which did not vote for him.

It always amazes me that the liberal left in their pursuit of securing peace on earth and equity for all so often disregard the bodies they are willing to throw under the bus in the interest of achieving their goals.  In the case of the hansom cabs, those bodies are the two hundred drivers who earn their living guiding their steeds through the park.  Some of them have been at their jobs for over thirty years.

Now in fairness to the mayor, he has a plan to replace the hansom cabs with pseudo-vintage electric cars.  Thus he can both placate animal rights groups and the various environmental groups which helped fund his election campaign.  Oh, and this idea co-incidentally came from a campaign contributor, a chap by the name of Steve Nislick.

Actually, Mr. Nislick is more than just a contributor to the mayor’s successful election campaign.  Mr. Nislick happens to be the CEO of a company named Edison Properties which operates parking lots and storage units.  Interestingly, the bulk of Edison’s business interests happen to be in the vicinity of the five stables which house New York’s hansom cab horses.  Naturally, if the horses are retired those stables would most likely be sold and converted to other uses – such as parking lots or storage units.

Perhaps the casual reader will think that de Blasio’s motivation is nothing more than the typical iconoclastic destruction of anything that represents tradition.  The hansom cabs certainly fit that mold as they have been active since Central Park was opened in 1857.  But that theory comes into question if you realize that the day he was sworn in, he and his family moved into Gracie Mansion, the official residence of NY’s mayors, built in 1799 which had been eschewed by his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.  Incidentally, the former mayor had, at his own expense, completely refurbished the residence as a gift to the people of the city.

Of course suggesting that personal self-interest might be the guiding force in the mayor’s reversal of his position on the hansom cabs from the days he was a member of the City Council will undoubtedly bring the left to its feet, shouting cries of “racism.”  After all, the mayor’s wife is a black woman.  That is if they have time left over from calling black conservatives “Uncle Toms” and making fun of Justice Clarence Thomas for having married a spouse who happens to be white.

WHAT MY VET TAUGHT ME ABOUT OBAMACARE

While I have read the ACA in its entirety I wished that I were dyslexic while going through that task.  It might have made more sense.  Unless I missed it there is not  yet a provision that those of us who have companion animals are required to provide health insurance for our pets.  That might be coming.

So when Gracie developed a hematoma near her right ear, I realized that I was going to have to pay to have this treated out of pocket.  My regular vet was on vacation and would not return for two weeks.  While this was not a life-threatening condition, I could tell that it bothered her as she shook her head regularly throughout the day and I wanted to get her treated as soon as possible.  And the hematoma was enlarging on a daily basis.

I took her to another animal hospital which is close to my home and which I had used from time to time for routine things such as updating vaccinations.  This facility is only about five minutes from  the house and, unlike my regular vet, is open seven days a week.  But I always get the impression when I go there that I am going to a place that is a business more than a healing practice.  It’s hard to describe the reason for that impression other than to say that perhaps having had the company of dogs all my life, perhaps I’ve picked up on some of their intuitive perceptions.

Gracie and I met with a young female vet who was extremely sweet and very nice.  She got on the floor to examine Gracie and obviously loved animals.  So far so good.  As I lost a dog years ago while under anesthesia I asked if they could treat the hematoma using a local and simply drain it.  She went to confer with the owner of the hospital and returned to tell me that they would indeed need to use a general anesthetic and remove any mass that might have formed at the base.  She also returned with an estimate of the costs.  Reluctantly, I resigned myself to going through the general anesthesia and treating the condition as they had suggested.

As I read through the estimate I noticed that she had included a charge for a teeth cleaning.  I pointed out to her that there was no need for that as I had Gracie’s teeth cleaned five months earlier.  She said, “Well, if you don’t do the cleaning ($65) the cost of the anesthetic ($32) will be “slightly higher.  We give you a break on the anesthesia with a cleaning because we try to encourage people to follow a regular oral regimen for their pets.”  The actual charge for the mass removal was $140.  I thought to myself, that seems like a reasonable fee – $140 plus (I figured for the “slightly higher” anesthesia at $50-$60), not too bad.

So I left Gracie at the vet and asked them to call me when they had finished the procedure.  The doctor called me promptly when the operation was finished to let me know that Gracie was doing fine, the operation was a success and I could pick her up after four o’clock that afternoon.

I arrived to pick up Gracie precisely at four and asked the reception for my bill so that I could settle it while the staff brought Gracie out from the back.  When I looked at the bill I was a little startled.  The mass removal was listed at $140 per the estimate, but the anesthesia had gone from $32 to $150.  My invoice came to $53 more than it would have been had I not only had the mass removed but had her teeth cleaned unnecessarily.  Naturally, I thought this was an error so I asked to speak with the vet who owns the hospital, but he had just left for the day.

So I gave the hospital a check for the balance – less $53 and said, “I’m going to pretend that you actually did Gracie’s teeth cleaning and pay you on the basis of the estimate.  Since you didn’t actually do a cleaning, I think that’s more than fair.  But please ask Doctor K. to call me tomorrow so that we can discuss it.”  Gracie and I then left.

I didn’t hear from the owner the next day or the next so I called to speak with him.  I was connected to the office manager.  I explained my view and asked her to confirm that the bill I paid, as adjusted, was satisfactory to the hospital.  She promised to call me back within a few days.  When I didn’t hear from her I called her back.  At that point she said that she had discussed it with the owner and they were going to give me a $50 credit for the anesthesia and that my balance was $3.

I said that I would like to speak to the owner directly and would do so a few days later when I brought Gracie in to have her stitches removed.

By that time I was feeling exasperated over this three dollar invoice and had decided just to pay it.  In fact, I brought 300 pennies with me in a paper bag to settle the account.  But when I went to reception and Gracie went to the back to have the stitches removed, I was informed by reception that I owed them $53.  I explained that the office manager had indicated that the hospital was going to issue a $50 credit and that my balance was only three dollars.  So they asked the owner to come out and speak with me.

Dr. K. came out and began our conversation with the statement, “I understand you have a problem.”  Given the strident way in which he made that statement, I truly understood how John Boehner must feel in dealing with Harry Reid and President Obama.  I replied, “No, actually I have a question.  And here it is.”

“Why is it that anesthesia and a mass removal costs $290 but anesthesia, a mass removal and a dental cleaning costs $237?  This reminds me a little of Obamacare where you pay more and get less.”  (That did elicit a smile from the vet).

Well, we finally agreed that my balance was only three dollars.  So I left my bag of pennies on the desk and Gracie and I went home.  I’m most grateful that she is doing well and the scar has almost completely healed. 

I am not the sort of person who simply alters invoices because I believe that the product or service provided was worth a lesser amount.  At least, I wouldn’t do that without offering the provider the opportunity to discuss the matter.  So the reason for this post is to solicit some input from my readers.

What are your thoughts on this situation.  Should I have paid the invoice just as rendered?  Should the vet have offered to accept the amount that I tendered as payment in full?  Or should he have made a reduction in the amount he charged since one of the services wasn’t provided?

I look forward to hearing from you.

P. S.  Isn’t this a pleasant change from all the politics that I’ve posted of late?

THE CONCEITED CROW

Once upon a time there was an extremely egotistical and conceited crow.  He was, if truth be told, extremely good looking and never had difficulty finding a date.  All the female crows enjoyed being seen with him.  Of course, these dates never turned into relationships as none of these females was good enough for our friend.

Well, as will often happen with crows and others of his mindset, our conceited crow felt that the rules which applied to all other crows did not apply to him.  He was, quite frankly, too important to be bound by the laws of nature that applied to everyone else.

As it happened to be an extremely harsh winter, many of the crows had migrated south to escape Mother Nature’s bitter chill.  But not our friend who refused to admit that there was someone or something more powerful than himself.  So he stayed behind and resolved not to allow the elements get the best of him.

This went on for several weeks.  But the food which he needed became more and more scarce.  He spent far more time harvesting his meals than he had before and this, of course, meant that he had to fly longer than was his custom.  Between the extra exertion he had to put forth, coupled with the inclement weather, one day he fell from his perch in a bare birch tree and dropped to the ground.

As he lay there, he thought to himself, “What an unfair fate it is that has been handed to me.  Here am I, the handsomest and most witty of all crows, preparing to meet death, frozen stiff and laying in this barren, snow-filled landscape.  Truly, there is no justice in this world.”

As he held these thoughts, ready to pass out from hypothermia, a cow came by and saw the crow on the ground.  The cow lived in a farmer’s barn a short distance away and had plenty to eat from the store of hay that the farmer had put away for the winter.  In fact, she had just finished a particularly delicious and plentiful meal and had to relieve herself.  She did so, virtually burying the inert crow in her dung.

With the remaining moments of consciousness left to him, our hero again began musing about his fate.

“Wasn’t it bad enough that I am dying at a premature age?  How the world will go on without me I cannot even imagine.  And to add insult to injury, I am buried in a pile of cow manure.  There is no justice in this world,” he repeated silently to himself.

But after a few minutes the crow noticed something.  The heat of the cow’s dung was beginning to warm his frozen body.  He could feel the blood begin to circulate to his feet and his wings.  And it didn’t take too long before he was feeling like his old self once again.

With his energy renewed, he began clawing his way out of the dung heap.  He was feeling his old vigor return and began digging and pecking faster and faster until finally he saw the sky above him.  With one mighty thrust, he pushed aside the last clod of manure that stood between him and freedom and soared overhead, cawing loudly as he rose in the air as he started to fly to an old oak tree.

Just at that moment, several youngsters, armed with twenty-two rifles, appeared in the clearing, took aim at the crow and shot him dead.

MORAL:  If you rise to the top on bull sh*t, you’re going to get shot down.

cc:  All those elected “leaders” who pass laws for others but who exempt themselves from them.

AMERICA THE BABEL(ING)

Genesis 11:1-9 describes the familiar story of the Tower of Babel:

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel – because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

It has often been said that what differentiates people from other animals is our ability to communicate through speech.  Of course, it is not important that we can make speech but that that speech has meaning to our fellow human beings.  A Finn only fluent in Finnish can not communicate any more effectively with a Bantu who speaks only Bantu than an elephant can communicate with a wombat.

The new secular humanism that we find throughout American society today, in its efforts to establish itself as the new state religion, recognizes the importance that language plays in their efforts to divide and conquer.  It is my belief, for that reason, that in their role as pseudo-lord, they are making every effort to confuse Americans by attempting to make this nation into a polyglot country.

If we have any question that a common language serves to unify a people, we have to look no further than the example which China has set.  One of the key programs which the government of China imposed was that it recognized Mandarin as the official language of the country (guo yu).  While people could continue to speak the over one thousand different dialects that existed, they were forced to learn the official language.

In fact, the government went about the work of simplifying the characters in which Chinese had universally been written (although the spoken word was quite different from province to province) in order that more people would be able to learn to read it.

The United States has moved in exactly the opposite direction.  While we have no officially “ordained” language established by the Constitution, for over two hundred years, English was the “de facto” official language.  Immigrants who came to the country realized that they (or at least their children) had to learn it in order to have a chance of success in their new homeland.

In part, that was because signs, legal documents, election ballots, bank statements and virtually everything else that was of legal or financial importance were written in English and only in English.  There was no government pronouncement on English as our “official language”.  But neither was there any intervention on government’s part to alter the customs of the country which were well established.

That, of course, has changed dramatically.  The “progressive” agenda of the government has begun to play a serious role in how we Americans communicate with one another – or fail to do so.  The Justice Department believes that it has the right to dictate to local election districts in what language(s) they must print election materials including ballots to accommodate minority populations for whom English is not their primary language.

And businesses have, as a matter of self-interest rather than merely through government pressure (although there has been much of that as well), adopted that same technique.  We have all experienced calling a bank or utility and been told by the robotic menu to press “1” for English or “2” for Spanish.  This morning, my ATM offered me those two choices in which to continue my transaction.  (Why not Swahili)?

The man who invented Esperanto in the late 19th century, Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof realized that a common language was essential to establishing a common understanding between people who were diverse:

“The place where I was born and spent my childhood gave direction to all my future struggles. In Bialystok the inhabitants were divided into four distinct elements: Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews; each of these spoke their own language and looked on all the others as enemies. In such a town a sensitive nature feels more acutely than elsewhere the misery caused by language division and sees at every step that the diversity of languages is the first, or at least the most influential, basis for the separation of the human family into groups of enemies. I was brought up as an idealist; I was taught that all people were brothers, while outside in the street at every step I felt that there were no people, only Russians, Poles, Germans, Jews and so on. This was always a great torment to my infant mind.  Although many people may smile at such an ‘anguish for the world’ in a child, at that time I thought that ‘grown-ups’ were omnipotent.  So I often said to myself that when I grew up I would certainly destroy this evil.”

We really have to do little but sit down with a few days’ worth of news stories to understand the vision that Dr. Zamenhof had, even as a child.  The Zimmerman verdict is an obvious example.  Although in this case, those who are outraged at the outcome and those who support it mostly speak a version of English – but they are two separate and completely different languages.

Were I to sit down with those who are the most vocal and try to engage in a meaningful conversation, I know that I would have to select my words carefully.  That is not for fear of offense but in order to communicate with them.  I would have to try not to employ words that I learned past my grammar school education.

I suspect that if I had written and printed up this post in time for last week’s rallies and distributed it to those marching for “justice,” only a very small percentage would have been able to comprehend much of the vocabulary and an even smaller percentage would have understood the thrust of it.

That paragraph was not written with the intent to demean those who have been under-served by our “educational” system.  It was written to point out a harsh reality that unfortunately exists.  We have managed to “educate” several generations of an underclass that can only communicate with one another; that no intelligent business owner would hire; and that is lost in the mire of limited and garbled verbiage, unable to express their frustration other than through bursts of outrage.

“With all thy getting, get understanding.”  – Proverbs 4:7

There will never be understanding between people if we cannot comprehend what each of us is saying.  And our present policies, unfortunately, are designed to insure that we communicate by using sticks and stones rather than through a dispassionate conversation and a warm handshake.

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