Are We Really Making Bad Choices?
February 14, 2018 -Steve Hays
Every day we hear more and more about what’s wrong with this country—and the world for that matter. It’s the government! It’s Congress, the president, the supremes, the
“Liberals” and the GOP—take your pick. The UN? Absolutely! If not socialism, then capitalism, for sure. Certainly it’s that top one percent.
There’s more. We all know the problems the immigrants cause. Legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter. A huge problem. The minorities, of course: the old, the poor and needy, and especially the sick.
It’s the uneducated as well as those with too much education for their (or our) own good. It’s those in the wrong religion—and no doubt the blacks, browns, yellows and greens. And, yes, certain whites too. Men? Yes. Women? More so. Kids? Especially kids.
When it comes right down it, the problem is people, isn’t it? Simply put, people make terrible choices! They also make them over and over again. They just don’t learn. They won’t. Especially in a distracted, amnesiac society.
Now if all that were true, that’s the only conclusion we could make, isn’t it? People are the problem, and “so let’s get rid of them” or ignore their problems seems to be the solution.
Some choices we think of as bad—things we blame people for—are really pretty hilarious, aren’t they?
The worst of that category I’ll get to in a minute, but here are some of the obvious ones:
Get an Education!
Isn’t it obvious that an educated person makes better choices than an uneducated one? Won’t people be better educated if they go to Harvard or Yale, compared to a community college? Yet when you study it closely you’ll discover that more people attend San Diego City College than Yale and Harvard combined.
Don’t they know that with an education from Harvard or Yale their future is assured? Almost guaranteed.
Obviously that is not really people making bad decisions, but then again, someone is when they automatically elevate people from certain universities over another. But isn’t it about the individual?
There are four-year schools everywhere and they are about preparing people to get started in the world, right? Not to be the end goal.
Maybe the mistake is accepting that idea instead of focusing on what the individual—who that person is. Maybe another mistake is thinking that it’s easy to pay for that education.
Doesn’t that shift it away from an individual choice and make it a societal benefit? One that says that, as a country, we can’t afford not to be educated. Seems like a political system that requires participation needs educated people.
It’s the Unhealthy!
Clearly it’s a bad choice not to pay the average $1000 a month for your family’s health insurance just because you get sick and lose your job or visa-versa. Why are people getting sick if they can’t afford to?
We actually hear congresspeople blame others for that, don’t we? But where is the choice? Is it bad decisions that cause people to lose their homes or ability to pay rent? People go bankrupt because of medical bills and circumstances beyond their control—they don’t choose it.
Did you know we each pay almost $5000 a year for pubic medicine such as Medicare, VA and Medicaid? Then we pay an average of $5000 a year per person for private health insurance—which is low for a lot of families.
Maybe high medical costs that we don’t set have something to do with it. Still, many believe it when told it’s more expensive to go with a single-payer system. And some believe congressmembers who say it’s people making bad decisions that starts this vicious circle.
It’s the Kids!
As mentioned earlier, some of our biggest problems are caused by kids. They can make the worst decisions.
Shouldn’t they know that Camelot is a fable? What are they reading? Fairytales? I know political incumbents say we’re in Shangri la every 2, 4 or 6 years, but that’s politics, not reality.
Kids need to stand up to their misguided parents and shout, “Hell no, we won’t go!” Really? Should we expect kids to tell their parents to look ahead and be real? This is a move that might not end up well.
Do we really expect it’s time for kids to get a grip on reality and say, “no!”? Why even come into this life if you’re not going to be able to make your own choices? I told my niece’s three-year old that it’s warmer in California than Idaho. Did he listen? Kids make bad choices.
Is it realistic to think that kids make these decisions? And if they did, isn’t it totally insane to hold them to a decision made for them? Possibly before they can even talk?
Or is the truth that there are kids all around us who make terrible and bad decisions every day? If they are kids, they probably do, yes, but where is the humanity in telling kids that the penalty for “their” bad decision is expulsion from the country?
There’s actually another level that affects individuals and our society even more that it’s time to address. It’s time to be adults on this one. It’s not about choice and Pro Life, as you might think, but similar.
Our Biggest Decision?
Be honest, look around. Look at this county and decide if you are better off being in a rich family or a poor family? Are you better off being black or white? Statistics show that half the billionaires in our country are born that way—and the majority are white. They also live a longer, healthier life. They get in the “right” schools and some don’t even really need to get an education as much as they need to make acquaintances that will serve them later.
So why be born into a poor, non-white family—and often community—with no guarantees that you will have enough money to buy your future no matter how bad your decisions? What’s wrong with those people?
Don’t we think that’s people making poor Pre Life choices?
How long do we hold up Horatio Alger’s ethic that “hard work, determination, courage and honesty” conquers all? And ignore that the family you were born into is a bigger determinant. Or maybe we need to relook at the idea that if you have money you are better and smarter than others and make better decisions.
Maybe our society is discovering that it’s also important how you make that money—and what you do with it. Maybe having it doesn’t mean you make good decisions. Hum. Seems to me those who have a lot of money are either those in Congress or supporting those in Congress—or in the President’s Cabinet.
How are they doing? The polls—the marches and protests—say not too well.
Do we continue on a path that seems to say it’s about making better Pre Life choices that will automatically take care of life’s challenges? Or do we tell our “leaders” we’re not really the ones making the bad decisions? At the worst we may be equally unable to make the best decisions, but in that in that case we just have to make the best of it. Maybe that’s not a bad place to start from.