Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 3

Fool Me Twice
Last week the Chronicle's Political Blog reported that Commissioner's Court will likely award a $1.2 million contract to a company that has twice been sued by the County. The contract is for clearing land. The company has been sued for improperly disposing of materials cleared from land. I detect a pattern here. I guess the County thinks that the third time is a charm.

Our Brother's Keeper
Altruism decrees that we are our brother's keeper, that is, that we take care of our fellow man in his time of need. Of course, there is far more need than there are resources to satisfy those needs. No matter how many brothers one keeps, there will always be more waiting at the door.

Conservatives expose their hypocrisy when they rail against "illegals". "Illegals" certainly have needs, and often desperate needs at that. They have a need for work, for food, for health care, for an education for their children. Yet conservatives decry the burden that "illegals" place on our health care system, the educational system, and the fact that they "steal" jobs. But if need is truly a legitimate moral criteria, if we truly are our brother's keeper, conservatives should embrace the opportunity to help their "illegal" brethren.

Economic Equality
On Thanksgiving Day the Chronicle's Editorial lauded America's democracy. Citing Benjamin's Franklin's often quoted statement that the Founders created a republic, "if you can keep it" the editorial states:

As Franklin envisioned, history served up severe challenges to the rights of citizens that the new Constitution enshrined. Times of crisis produced periodic lapses. It took the suffragette movement to earn women the vote, while their struggle for full economic equality continues. [emphasis added]

Economic equality was the exact opposite of the Founders' intentions. They created a nation with equality in opportunity, not in results. They understood that some individuals work harder, possess more talent, and aspire to more in life. They understood that the choices and actions that individual take will create different economic results. Their goal was to protect the freedom of individuals to take action, not to insure that all enjoyed the same economic status.

What Was Good Enough Yesterday...
Poet Mark Doty (HT: Houston Strategies) has been visiting Houston for ten years to teach a creative writing class. Unlike many (if not most) East Coast intellectuals, he has grown fond of Houston. He also identifies an important characteristic about the city:

Houston is about the new, about transformation and ambition, the making and remaking of the self and the environment.

This is true of Houston, and it is true (or should be) of the individual. Life is a process of goal-directed activity. Life is about setting goals, aspiring to be better, and working to achieve our values. Life is about enjoying yesterday's success, but desiring more for tomorrow. Life, like Houston, is about moving forward.

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