Musings from George

Politics, primaries, and the world
July 8, 2016, 10:45 am
Filed under: Charity, Politics, Uncategorized

It is somewhat surreal to follow our presidential election, which will offer us the choice between a very experienced and qualified candidate that many do not like and an inexperienced and spectacularly unqualified candidate that does not seem to like anyone except himself. When did experience become a liability, and when did nastiness become a qualification?

While some think it is inappropriate to talk politics with children (lest they go off to school and share your opinions), the Donald has given us some remarkable opportunities to talk about important topics. Racism, misogyny, religious discrimination, “pants on fire” lies and exaggerations … topics that ordinarily do not come up in our quiet daily lives. I joke that the Donald gives us a chance to broaden our vocabulary (see the definition of buffoon) while realizing how much hate there is out there today, and hopefully we will all recoil and reconsider when this election dust settles. Every day is another offense to the Donald, and generates another offensive from the Donald, perplexing friend and foe alike.

It is a pity that the world is on fire and we cannot give it our full attention because our focus is inward, proposing walls between friends and threatening treaties with friends rather than trying to address the emergencies that are so real in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. If Canada can accept and integrate 25,000 refugees why can’t the US do the same for 250,000? We cry about the 6,000 who have come here, and we pay other countries to turn back children fleeing war zones in Central America because we are afraid of foreigners … the very people who build America.

It is useful to have a broader perspective. Learn about the Great Potato Famine in Ireland, which reduced the population of that county by more than two million people in five years … a million of them moved to the US, which at the time had a population of only fourteen million. Those immigrants became our policemen, our firemen, our teachers and our ancestors. Newer immigrants are trying to do the same, and we would all be better off if the world’s best engineers came to the US and the world’s hardest-working people joined us here. Let’s open the door wide, and make an effort to integrate them rather than isolating them. Let’s meet them and welcome them, rather than persecuting them.

Vote. However you choose to vote, it is a cherished right that our forebears fought and died to give us. Exercise it and celebrate democracy. Even if we disagree, we should all support the democratic process — vote against someone if you have to, but vote nonetheless.

Give. One of the things that distinguishes the US from the rest of the world is personal giving, not government giving. Some countries give more per capita, but most of that is given by the state — the US government gives less, but US citizens give more (not just the real wealthy, but the average American too). Celebrate charity. Embrace a non-profit. Encourage your friends to do the same.