Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Wisconsin?

I’ve been following the fracas up north in Wisconsin (my home state).  It’s a gutsy fight with some huge issues on the table.  Unions are up in arms, the Tea Party is calling for fiscal integrity at any cost, Democratic legislators are hiding out, the remaining Republican legislators are starting to find loopholes to advance their cause, and half the state is deciding to hang out in the capitol for as long as it takes.  And now legislators are being sent death threats.

I don’t know how to solve any of this actually.  My take is that unions have a right to exist and government employees need to be able to organize to gain leverage.  And a good union will know that at this particular time in history everybody is going to have to  come back to the table to rethink all those things we take for granted.  But they need to be at the table because like it or not they still serve as a necessary check and balance to both the excess and the indifference of government.

The Tea Party is learning that not everything they advocate for is really the ‘people’s choice’ no matter what the last election led them to believe.  But I’m actually glad they’re around and keeping everyone alert.

I do wish the Democrats hiding out in Illinois would go back home because they’re just going to develop some really bad habits hanging around our politicians.  Kind of wish they’d go back to the table.  Sure, they don’t have the votes but that’s part of the political process. And the Republicans aren’t winning the battle by finding loopholes either.  It’s got be frustrating to be without a quorum but those who live by the loophole usually get strangled by it in the end.  Gotta hope the governor in Badgerland will choose to rethink his strategy.  He might get what he wants in the short term but the issues are bigger than the here and now.  I'm kind of thinking that a bi-partisan approach would garner the biggest wins but I'm not sure we're capable of doing that anywhere these days in these polarizing times.

I’m glad to see people taking it ‘to the streets’ again.  It’s reminiscent of the Madison of my college days. After all it’s still by the people and for the people... right?

 And I do hope that all the fools sending death threats will be found and justice will be done.

There’s lots of anger up in Wisconsin.  I can understand it.  We work hard, plan our lives, start living into some dreams and then all of a sudden our goals are blocked. Then we either fall apart or go crazy with our anger.

It’s starting to happen all around the country.  We’re starting to settle into the stunning realization that what was ...isn’t anymore.  It’s all changing before our eyes.  Everything. And we’re not sure what to do except demand that everything go back to the way it was. Aint going to happen.

Sometimes my idealism kicks in and I wonder if we’re not on the edge of a stunning discovery.  I kind of dream that we’ll all wake up and realize that God can be trusted and that there’s a whole way of living and being that is staggeringly good.  What if we cared more, gave more, loved more, served more, worshipped more, conversed more, did more with less, became more generous, and looked, with habitual compassion, on the ‘least of these’ Jesus talks about?  What if we once again lived in communities where everyone, indeed, did know our name?  What if my need could be met by your excess?  What if we learned to carpool, recycle, read again and worked hard at becoming really interesting people?  What if we chose to only elect people who sought for common good and refused to endorse anyone who is obviously out for themselves?  What if we turned our back on excess and worked hard to insure that everyone lived in suitable housing and had a decent meal on their table?  What if we asked publicly held companies to really act with a sense of justice even if it impacted our own return on money invested?  What if we made it a practice to think win/win whenever we were at odds with other good people? What if we all decided to be good people at all times? What if?

I think God is doing a ‘new thing’.  It’s pretty obvious he’s allowing the whole world to enter into a huge time of transition including us here in the west.  I think the Lord might want us call a time out on advocating for our preferences and opinions and instead use our time to seek Him out and ask some hard questions about how he wants us to live our lives especially in light of the overwhelming needs and cultural issues before us.

I hope my friends in Wisconsin figure it all out.  But the mess we’re in all over the country won’t be swept away easily.  The solutions of the past might not be enough for the future we’re about to step into.  I really believe that the answers we need will ask us to do the very things we don’t want to do.  Perhaps then God will have us right where he wants us.

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