Monday, March 2, 2009


I’m not usually one to rock the boat when it comes to expressing a different opinion, but I have to at least vent here. I’m so tired of reading about how stupid Americans are for our country being in the state it’s in. Yes, a lot of Americans made a lot of stupid financial decisions and I’ve made my share of them, too. But to lump us all together into one class of “idiots” is like saying all Muslims have terrorist leanings. Incorrect and totally unfair – on both counts.

The bailout will not help us. We don't have a Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac loan on our house. What we do have is a fixed-rate loan at one of the institutions that has been in trouble. They've received money in the bailout but I don't expect they'll be in any hurry to reduce our interest rate to a lower percentage. Why would they, when we're in the class of people they believe will do everything we can to make our house payments. We will; we've got too much invested here to just walk away. Until the economy levels out it will still be an effort for us to keep our heads above water. Ron's illness this past year has really cost us - financially and emotionally. Even though I'm very grateful for His grace, I'm still very weary and fatigued, inside and out.

Our pastor gave a very good message yesterday and I just had to write down some of the facts he quoted. Many of them do, indeed, make Americans look foolish and very unprepared for what the future may hold. In the 1970s, Americans were saving, on average, 8% of their income. Today, that figure is closer to 1%. Many Americans are two paychecks away from bankruptcy, meaning if they miss two paychecks they don’t have enough resources to keep afloat. Many Americans have less than $1,000 net worth; if they sold everything they owned they’d have less than $1,000 to “start over” with. Paying rent on a different place, setting up utilities, putting down a deposit, and the cost of moving would more than eat up that $1,000.

Yes, we are a nation of foolish, reckless spenders who were brought up with the “buy today; pay tomorrow” mentality. We were fooled into believing that we could afford things earlier than we really could. We believed big business when they told us that everything would be OK. Yes, that makes a lot of us truly foolish and wasteful. I guess that gives other nations the right to stand back and make fun of the “stupid Americans” who made such stupid decisions.

Maybe this country, as a whole, wouldn’t be in such financial straits if we, as a country, hadn’t made some of the decisions that we’ve made in the past. Maybe if we’d not sent so much in aid to drought-stricken, starving countries we’d have more resources to take care of our own down-trodden, homeless, and starving residents. Maybe if we’d not rushed to send aid to so many nations who called out for our help, we’d have the resources to send aid to areas of the US stricken by hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. What country is the first to respond when there’s a disaster ANYWHERE in the world? Nine times out of 10, it’s the US. What country is the first to be ridiculed for it’s actions? The good ole USA, of course.

I just hate reading other writings that do nothing but point fingers at how we made so many mistakes. So did a lot of the other countries who are now pointing their collective fingers at us. Where would these countries be if we hadn’t been willing to step in and pick up the slack when they needed it most? At best, they’d be speaking a different language (probably German or Russian); at worst, they’d be starving and dying in record numbers because of the lack of humanitarian aid.

Many of the poor choices people make are made out of their need for something. Sometimes they’re still searching for what they “think” they want and continue to make the same poor choices, time and time again. I know that some of the mistakes of my past are a direct result of a need. What if my “aha moment” had come one day later? What if that one day had caused me to give up and not pick myself up one more time? I am what I am because of the grace of God. Without His grace, a lot could be different in my life – and I am not talking about a “good” different, either.

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