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Decisions, Decisions
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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Laramie Boyd
ecrboyd@aol.com
        Young people have a lot of decisions to make. These sometimes include whether to eat lots of sweets or not, to study hard or not, to date or not, whether to join a gang, to smoke, to bully other kids, maybe to get or try to get someone else pregnant. Or how about college, or whether to work to get a car, maybe even get involved in drugs, or robbery, or gang violence. All of these choices, and which ones are made, will surely affect how the lives of young people turn out. And sometimes, if the right choices are not made, devastating outcomes follow the bad decision makers for the rest of their lives. These could be low-paying jobs, substandard, unhealthy living quarters in high crime areas, low-life acquaintances, run-ins with the police, maybe even jail time. And if these people are illegal immigrants, the situation is even worse.
        I wonder what would be the difference in how a Liberal might view people who seem to have no way to go in their lives but down, and how a conservative sees them. And how would these viewpoints contrast with those of a young person who made good decisions, worked hard in school, maybe even worked part time, stayed in school to get a degree, kept in the company of others who had their sights on a better future, and stayed out of trouble. At first, one might assume the liberal would be very sympathetic, and say all right, the down-and-outer made some bad decisions, but no matter, we've got to help them. Let's use some of the tax money from the successful person and share it with the person who really needs it. Let's see to it that everyone has decent living quarters, healthy food, a clean environment, adequate transportation, health care, educational opportunity, employment opportunities and, in short, let's bring everyone up to the standard of living of the person who made the right choices or was in many ways just plain lucky.
        Would the conservative, then, be seen as probably seeing things quite differently? Would he feel that the person who worked hard for his success, who sacrificed many things, shouldn't have to give up his rewards, for the right choices he made, to the person who took the "road less traveled", the one who made the bad choices, or even the ones who are needy through no fault of their own? And how do you distinguish between the two? Is that what working hard, getting an education, and being gainfully employed is all about, he might ask, giving it away to someone who may have made little or no effort to improve his station in life? Would he ask who will be chosen among the millions of down and out people to get a share of the rewards others earned? And is it fair to give to some, but not to others who are in the same predicament, as some will surely be left out? How can you justify picking out just certain ones of the have-nots and sharing with them, rather than every single one of them, equally? Across the board welfare hasn't happened, isn't happening, and won't ever happen. A denial of that only exposes the true problem with welfare of any sort. How do you explain to someone who desperately needs help and may or may not be getting it that others who don't really need it are taking advantage of the system?
        So how do you compromise on these two views that are clearly 180 degrees apart? And do these views really represent the feelings of the Conservatives and Liberals, deep down in their hearts? Is there no middle ground that can be found that will help solve the bitter, divisive, often hateful back and forth incrimination being aired during the current election year, and even during the Congressional deliberations all year long? It is that stalemate, I believe, that is one of the most fundamental issues that is causing the bitterness towards the government that exists today in America. And until that is corrected, the downward spiraling, partisan whirlpool we are caught up in will only drag us down deeper and deeper until there is no way to bring the United States of America back to its once proud position in the eyes of its citizens and of the world.