By Kirsten Ellis
I was listening NPR’s “On Being” podcast this week, with host Krista Tippett, in which she said that her 10-year-old son, who is very resistant to external expectation, responded better to her saying “Do the right thing. You know what the right thing is.”
This idea of “doing the right thing,” even if it is easier to accept government handouts, even if it’s easier to be comfortable at home instead of standing up for what you believe in, came up several times as a concern in our country as I sat in a dentist’s office waiting for a teeth cleaning. I found a group of individuals frustrated with what they call the lack of morality in our country. These folks say they are people who work for their paycheck, and they want to see others work for theirs.
Tyler Muheim, a 20-year-old mechanic is concerned about the use of his tax dollars. After the recent flood, Muheim said he worked 18 hours of overtime fixing flooded machinery and saw only $100 of it after taxes.
“Why should I work to put money into taxes that don’t affect me?” Muheim asked.
He claimed to know people who get money from the government who have nicer homes and go out to eat in sit-down restaurants more than his family does, who take advantage of the system.
“There should be a mandatory drug test every month and an interview process for anyone receiving government aid,” Muheim said. Florida and other states have implemented laws just like the one Muheim wants.
Later that night a friend invited me to a Bible study gathering. In all honesty I would have politely declined, but I thought the opportunity to talk to new people might arise, and I was surprised at some of the responses.
Pastor Steve Hamilton, 38, fully supports our right to bear arms. The Second Amendment keeps the power with the people, not the government, Hamilton said, and citizens should be able to have exactly what the government has. Taking away freedoms was the start of every current communist country, he said.
“Don’t let the camel put its head in the tent or next you’ll find yourself outside,” Hamilton said referencing gun control laws.
Jessica Beans, 24, who works for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, said Obamacare is the forefront of her mind. Dale Bridger, 30, an outdoorsy physical therapist, said the new policy will make him either pay additional for health coverage or pay a fine. They are both concerned that there has been a shift in America where government handouts have made life better to just not have a job.
These conversations were surprising to me, a very conservative view after having recently moved from liberal California. The root of these conservative concerns resonated with me.
How can we share knowledge and pick each other up without coddling? How can we individually and as a country take responsibility for our actions, even if it’s not the easy road?