A Parable

A man went to the school to pick up his son after being informed that the son had been fighting. As they sat in the car on the way home, the boy holding an icepack on his swollen black eye, his dad asked him what happened.

“Johnny said he was going to beat me up if I didn’t give him my lunch money.”

“That’s not a good reason to get into a fight,” said his dad. “Why didn’t you just give him your lunch money?”

“That’s what I’ve been doing; every time he forgets his own money, he does this. A couple of times I talked him into letting me do his homework instead.”

“So if talking was working, why didn’t you talk to him this time?”

“Working? Talking wasn’t working! He started threatening me for my lunch money even when he didn’t forget his. Nothing was ever enough, so I decided that I wasn’t going to do it anymore. He told me yesterday to give him my lunch money or else and I told him no. I’m not giving up my lunch money any more. Well, he said he’d give me until today to think about it and I told him I wasn’t going to change my mind. He told me he would not only beat me up, but he’d beat my friends up, too and I told him I wasn’t going to give him my lunch money.”

“That was yesterday?”

“Yes, Dad. And today he walked up to me when I got to school, yelling at me to give him his money and I just ignored him. Then he said, ‘Okay, just give me half of your lunch money and I won’t beat you up.’ When I didn’t say anything, he said, ‘Okay, I won’t beat up on two of your friends.’ Then he said, ‘Okay, I won’t beat up on 3 of your friends.’

“Well, that sounds like a good deal, why didn’t you give him your lunch money then?”

“Dad! It’s my money. And it’s pizza day. And if i gave him my lunch money again today, he was just going to come back again next week or the week after and demand money again. And besides, I was winning. He kept asking for less the more I refused to give up.”

“Okay, now I’m confused. You did fight didn’t you?”

“Not really. He finally got so frustrated that he ran at me and tripped on someone’s bookbag. He accidentally hit me in the eye and broke his arm when he fell. But he didn’t get my lunch money.”

So, my lovely audience: Should the boy have given Johnny his lunch money? Who is to blame for the “fight”?


And now for something completely different

And now for something completely different

Okay, not completely different, but illuminating from a different perspective.

The Sheep and the Goats

Certain of my family have been passing this meme around and I found it quite timely and appropriate. I made some nitpicky modifications, but the original idea is signed by a Jason Leith. It’s a paraphrase of Jesus in Matthew 25:41-46

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you reduced funding for food stamps, I was thirsty and you prevented the EPA from guaranteeing me clean water, 43 I was a stranger and you vilified me and demanded that I be deported, I needed clothes and you substituted a sales tax for an income tax and slashed welfare payments, I was sick and you took away my only hope for health care, I was in prison and you tortured me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and endeavored to harm you further?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these, you did to me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

And might I add, “I was homeless and you denied me affordable housing.”

Shut Down!

My congressman is one of those who is insisting that the President and the Democrats give up a victory they’ve fought and won in both the Congress and the Supreme Court. Here’s the letter I sent him:

Leaving aside for a moment the merits of the ACA debate, this show down over a shut down is ridiculous. Your first offer was that he give up on his signature program, a victory in both Congress and the Supreme Court in exchange for what? A whole 45 days of government continuing to run? What a bad trade. Imagine someone wanted you to compromise on the 2nd amendment, would you cave for a measly 45 days? Of course you wouldn’t! Especially considering that in another 45 days they’re going to come back demanding more concessions to get the next 45 days. And every month or so after that, they’re going to ask for another concession. No one in their right mind is going to accept a crummy deal like that. And the GOP looks idiotic for expecting that he might.
What the House Republicans don’t seem to realize is that for the President and the Democrats, the fight now isn’t even really about Obamacare anymore, it’s about protecting the government from being held hostage.
If you want to take some kind of bite out of Obamacare, you’re never going to get there through the continuing resolution or the debt limit. You might be able to get away with a one-year delay in the individual mandate in exchange for a whole year budget. Maybe. But whatever you do, you’re going to have to make some kind of concession to show you’re willing to negotiate in good faith. Shutting down the government is not a show of good faith and you hurt your ability to get anything with each minute that passes.

I have plenty to say about the merits of the healthcare debate; we can talk about that later. For now, I’d just like to see the GOP quit shooting itself in the foot on a fool’s errand.

Really, I can see where representatives who have been elected by gerrymandered districts with the most radical voters being really the only voice they need to listen to, would not want to look like they are weak against the President. They are protecting their own re-election bid and I understand why they would want to do that. But protecting themselves, in this case means losing the White House next time around. And the longer these Tea Party types remain in control, the longer it will take to put together a White-House-winning coalition. Eight years ago the Republicans were talking about a permanent majority. Now they face the prospect of a permanent minority. We need to stop being a stupid party.