The Right Persuasion

The Right Persuasion

I like green. I understand the importance of “going green.” There are numerous items placed on God’s green earth that make life more enjoyable for us. Trees — I’m a huge fan of trees. Grass is another green biological aspect of nature I really appreciate. And I’m a big fan of Kermit the Frog. Protecting our planet is obviously a value we all must share to maintain our way of life, but excuse me if my top concerns in the world aren’t global warming and the South American ted-lined turtle’s extinction. While I respect those who travel the earth protecting rare animals and helping maintain the survival of the planet, that’s just not my thing. I would rather save a person than save a whale.

Earth Day is coming up on April 22, and there are plenty of events on the horizon in celebration of the anti-carbon-themed day. The City of Ventura will be putting on the Earth Day Every Day festival with the help of the Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education on April 18. There will be music and activities for the whole family, according to the information I read online. But what happens after that? When all the biodegradable plates are put away and the veggie snack trays are empty, will there still be an excitement to save the earth? Or will these families just go back to their gas guzzling SUVs, drive back to their homes, turn on every light and television in every room and watch the energy waste away? I suppose my issue with Earth Day is that the spark to inspire doesn’t last long. One-day awareness will not save our planet. The truth is, we might be too late.

If I sound depressing, I’m sorry. There are too many cars, buildings, people and toxins to really stop the pollution machine created over the past 100 years by both man and the evolution of earth’s lifespan. We might never save all the animals and plants, but we can try to save each other. While thousands try to save the planet from the evils of oil and carbon-based substances, we should encourage each other to put our energy into those who need our help today. Most people will get together and paint peace symbols on their faces for Earth Day, but where are those families on December 21 for National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day? I suppose painting little hobo bags and box cars on the sides of children’s faces isn’t as much fun or as colorful, but the welfare of the least of us should be society’s top priority. Having a healthy planet but a weak people seems like a contradiction that cannot continue.

The arguments against me are already rolling through my brain. I understand the thought of “what’s the point of people if they don’t have a planet?” Believe me, I love animals and want to see them flourish. And no, I’m not a wacko who believes global warming is a hoax. I believe man-made global warming is a wobbly thesis, whereas a naturally occurring climate change across the planet is perfectly scientific. My basic belief is that we have dug our planet too deep, it has been here too long, and there are too many necessities that we are not giving up. The battle is over, and it looks like the Industrial Revolution won. Ford Motors won. Disneyland won. Las Vegas won. The Christmas light industry won. Townhomes and beach houses won. Nature lost.

So instead of planting a tree this upcoming April 22, I am going to help a homeless person, because he or she can still be saved. Go green this year, but go green with your wallets. Sponsor a child in Africa. Give to your church. Help down at the YMCA. And if you really want to work with nature, plant a rose garden, because our dying planet can at least look pretty on her way out.    

The Right Persuasion

In the late 1940s British author George Orwell wrote a novel called 1984 that predicted that the government would employ the usage of Newspeak (words deliberately constructed for political purposes) to help control the information given to the citizens of the western world. Today in 2009, President Barack Obama has decided to use language in ways that would make Orwell almost fear his own predictions.

First there were the famous “hope” and “change” words that populated the campaign field. Change what exactly? Hope from where? Who cares! They were great words. Political words that go down easy into the belly of the voting public. Obama understood that, and upon the success of the Hope and Change Express, he has decided to use his Obamaspeak to try to get America behind outrageous tax plans and ending the War on Terror.

Recently, Obama called upon 81-year-old Paul Volcker to “rebalance” the tax system to allow for a fairer system. If by rebalance he means tax the rich to give to the poor, then yes, our modern-day Robin Hood has used a wonderful word to sell to the American public the idea that he will make everything better again.

But there is a problem — when have we ever had a tax system in which there was actually balance to begin with?  How can we “re” what never actually “balanced” from the start? 

According to the Bloomberg Press, “Obama has previously proposed raising additional revenue by taxing profit shares earned by private equity executives as ordinary income rather than at lower capital gains rates,” thereby creating a greater war on the rich. 

How dare those pesky rich guys have desires to make a profit in a free-market, capitalistic system! But in case his rebalancing act doesn’t create the revenue he wants, Obama has another tax plan on the horizon: tax the charitable givers. The Washington Post reported on March 26 that Obama wants “to cut the tax deductions that wealthy Americans can claim for their charitable donations” even through “two independent analyses concluded that the proposal could result in a drop of as much as $3.87 billion for the already reeling nonprofit sector.” Good for you, Obama; stop the growth of charities so that the same government that can’t afford to keep teachers can try to fix even more problems nonprofit organizations have done well solving.

The Obamaspeak continued this past week as the “War on Terror” slogan was changed to the much more ambiguous “Overseas Contingency Operation.”  I suppose that title means we could be fighting terrorists or we could just be wondering if we are going to fight terrorists. And since this is an “overseas” operation, maybe we are fighting Muslim extremists or German artists. 

By changing the language, our president has created so many creative ways to fight those who do and even those who don’t wish to harm us. Either way, Obamaspeak is in full effect with the “contingency” injection into our battle based terminology. Yet his linguistic changes in this present war time era seems to come from a desire to save money in new ways. 

On March 10, 2009, CNN reported “that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.”  Luckily for those of us who believe that a fair trade-off is giving soldiers insurance for their service, Obama was encouraged to retract his radical agenda quickly. ABC news reported on March 18 that Obama backed off the proposal after military personnel and members of Congress found it hard to back the idea. Hopefully, Obama realizes now that you can’t win friends in Washington by reducing military support.  

President Obama hasn’t been in office for even 100 days yet, and he has created the single greatest spending bill in American history, made it his mission to eliminate capitalistic profit, and devalued our soldiers by underplaying the war they are fighting in to snatch their insurance benefits away.  Interestingly enough, he’s doing this through the power of language. Almost makes you wish you paid more attention to that boring English teacher who taught Orwell’s classic novel.








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