Sunday, August 30, 2009

Power Corrupts!

It is almost the end of August and I realized that I hadn't posted all month yet I have had many, many thoughts about freedom during the month. My title comes from a small incident a few weeks ago that once again emphasized that power does indeed corrupt us (some of us anyway). I was meeting with 3 other adults at the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble in Antioch, CA. There were two tiny tables about a foot apart from one another each having a chair one side across from the other chair. All the booths were full. So we pushed the two tables together so we could chat and get to know one another. This was a meeting of the local Paperback Swap group/club...whatever it's called.
Like I said, there were four adults sitting there. About 15 minutes into the meeting/get-together, an employee of Barnes & Noble (not Starbucks) walked up and told us that pushing the tables together was "not allowed" because of all the students who came in during the week who would push all the tables together and get rowdy. She told us to sit in a booth. At that point there was a booth available and I told the employee that when we arrived, there were no booths available. She never smiled and she used that expression that I hate which is "you have to..." She didn't say please either. Mind you, it was around noon on a Saturday and if I remember right, there were no students (at least obviously there wasn't) so who would know we had done such a horrible thing to set the wrong example? I didn't respond to her lest I be unkind and un-Christ-like to her. We just gathered up our belongings and moved to the booth.
I thought about this incident a lot over the last few weeks and it is an excellent example of why democracy, fascism, socialism and communism don't work well. Let's start with the U.S. The founding fathers were all Christian men who had a vision of creating a nation where each person would govern themselves so that there was little need for state or federal governments to tell them what to do or how to behave. They trusted the premise that if man (or woman!) led their lives in a moral, upright manner, there would be little need for governments to rule or interfere into our lives. The Constitution was written with very strict, limited federal duties leaving state governments to take care of the day-to-day ways of business. Yes, there had to be certain guidelines so that things were standardized just to keep things from getting confused, if nothing else! The problems started almost right away. Although our founding fathers could behave at least publicly in a way that treated their friends, family and neighbors the way they wished to be treated, slowly other men came into power (there is that word!) and businesses created whereby greed and corruption became the way of life not the exemption.
An example is the industrial revolution brought into power powerful men who could only see the ability to make untold riches. They hired women and children, paid them pennies for their work, made them work long hours with no breaks, etc. That was wrong. That is also not how these business owners would have liked to be treated (or their families!) but greed got in the way and God was forgotten. Oh, they went to church, I am sure most did anyway. But that was for Sunday...not the rest of the week. Men elected wanted to make sure their wealthy friends weren't bothered either and let their friends do what they wanted.
Then unions began forming to stand up for the rights of labor. It was desperately needed and as a result, many laws were enacted that protected children and gave all workers decent hours, breaks and lunch breaks, etc. They demanded that their workers get paid a decent wage too. There was nothing wrong in what they did initially. But, once again, power and greed rose their ugly heads and only the big "union bosses" really benefited from the union. They essentially made more and more demands to the point where the rules were so complicated and silly that no one was really sure what was right or wrong. More importantly, the unions voted the way union management wanted, not necessarily what the members wanted. Again, power and greed were the order of the day.
The list goes on and on but the same thing has happened with every other form of government. Each form sounds great on paper but when men (and women!) forget Godly principles, forget to treat others as they wish to be treated and love money more than God or their fellow neighbor, the system falls woefully short and the "little guy" (that is you and me) is none the better.
America, we must repent for selfishness! We must get on our knees and ask God's forgiveness for forgetting His Word and His commands and living under "relative morality". We can give all the excuses in the book for what we do, but black is black and white is white (no racial stuff, okay?). In other words, sin is sin no matter how we dress it up with sociological, psychological reasons. I can be late for work and have a really good excuse for running a red light but I am still guilty of breaking the law. That is the part we don't get any more! If we want this nation that God helped our founding fathers to create, then we must get back to and LIVE Godly lives. No more excuses for sin! Just so you know, for the record, I am just as guilty of sin as the next person but I am clear about one thing - to save America, we must as individuals get right with God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It is the ONLY way to save our nation.