This post will be a short one, but there's an ideological itch I just have to scratch. When I entered my current Master's program I expected a room full of liberal, Bohemian indie-types, and to be honest, my expectations were correct. I figured I'd find myself in good company with peers angered by ignorant, mean-spirited conservatives and proud of our government's efforts to care for it's poor.
What the past four weeks have taught me about my ideological views has been quite the contrary. As much as I applaud my country's government assistance programs, I've always had this nagging feeling that such programs would not be necessary if our citizens, and in particular Christians, were doing a better job of caring for our brothers and sisters. If we as individuals took up the commandments to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the widow and orphan, our economy would more than likely not be in such dire straits and the extent to which assistance programs are trying to keep our nation's poor afloat would also be unnecessary.
What is interesting to note as well is that while liberals claim to be all for helping the poor, it's been statistically proven that although liberals on average have a 3% higher income, conservatives give 30% more money to charity as well as donating more of their time and blood. Pretty astonishing.
So while I am by no means making a radical shift in my belief system, I think it's a helpful reminder that ignorance and arrogance can be found on both sides of the spectrum. While I am incredibly appreciative of the support I've received from my government and think our assistance programs are a terrific band-aid on a deep national wound, it's time we addressed the problems at stake.
The loss of a friend has recently given me a great amount of perspective on how I treat the people in my life. I pray that each of us might take a second to look at what we have and what others may not. In the words of Plato,
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."