Original Publication Date: October 7th, 2004; 9:58 PM
For some reason whenever I get around people I’ve just met I tend to go to far and say too much. Like last night at dinner with a group of business associates, we started talking about politics.
One associate said we need a comprehensive national health care system and some other “socialized” programs to help people out. Before this political season got into full gear, I would have passed on really commenting on his statements. But I fired back and said, “How much would you give out of your own pocket to fund these new programs.” He easily responded “half.” Now usually what I would be thinking versus what I would say are two different thoughts, but this time I said “I don’t believe you are being intellectually honest.” And to my surprise we continued to discuss his feelings and I really believe that he would give up more of his income to help the less fortunate – although I still don’t believe the half number. But my best response was the most simplest. It is great that people want to help others, but that is their choice. It should be my choice as to the charity I choose to give or not give. And on top of that, our government has not been able to demonstrate the ability to really administer huge, complex programs and to maintain physical responsibility in doing so.
The second spout of opinion to flow forth from my mouth was in response to an associate saying “I don’t vote or pay taxes because the government isn’t responsible.” I said “the government”? “This is our government, your’s and mine. If the government isn’t doing responsible things, then it is up to you and me to make them change.” Needless to say this fell on deft ears. But that’s life – sometimes people listen to what you say and sometimes they do not. Right now the only thing I have time to do is make statements every now and then to people and try to let them know that each person can make a difference. And additionally, it is important for us to stand up and be heard.
You can choose to slide by and not be heard or speak up and at least know you tried to make a difference.