Doing things differently since 1984
So, at long last, Election 2012 is nearly over. As mentioned here, I count this as much a cause for celebration as Thanksgiving.
While feeling quite content about this upcoming relief, I heard a really short little mention on the radio that stopped me in my tracks. This campaign so far has absorbed 6 billion dollars.
Wait a minute and let that sink in. Maybe you’re the sort that likes it spelled out with 0’s. People have donated $6,000,000,000 to this campaign.
That would be 10 times the yearly budget for Atlanta Public Schools, or 100 times what Bill Gates’ foundation gave to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa, or 1400 times the yearly budget for Habitat for Humanity, or 260,000 times the annual income of a family of four living on the federal poverty line (statistics gleaned from the official websites/reports for the above).
All of that money…. forever absorbed into one grossly overfunded election. The more I thought about it, the more angry and nauseous I got. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we in a recession? Since when does it make sense to give away $6 billion to a cause that doesn’t really benefit anyone, in order to get someone elected to fix all of our money-lacking woes?? Could you imagine what problems, regardless of who was elected, could have been fixed with all of that money if people just screwed their heads on a little tighter??
Then a wise little saying popped into my head:
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
This line is from the Jesus in the Bible (Matthew 6:21), but both of these mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so you can sort out the wisdom of this remark for yourself. A $6 billion dollar campaign isn’t just about personal economics… it’s about passion. People spend their hard-earned money on things they’re passionate about – and as many chronic tv-muters and facebook-defrienders can attest, many people are truly passionate about this campaign.
Passion is a very meaningful word to me. It’s like the fuel that keeps us moving and striving, the thing that gives us a reason to get out of bed every morning, and the quality we search for in all of our heroes. History is replete with fiery, passionate people who have literally changed the world.
If our money follows our passions, then what does this campaign say about us? Are our passions being rightly aimed, toward men we think will change the world on our behalf, or perhaps against men we think will change the world on others’ behalf in ways we don’t want? What happens next? An evil socialist dictator or a heartless capitalist croney brings you and your ideals to ruin? I doubt it. Lies are often easier to spread than the truth.
This is not to say we shouldn’t be involved in politics, or care about who is running our country. I think we should. I proudly voted on Friday. But our passions? What if instead of trying to outlaw one another, we tried to help one another? What if instead of spending billions on finger-pointing, we spent them on actually fixing things? Passion is one of the most potent forces of the human spirit, and misspent passion should be considered nothing short of an environmental disaster.
I don’t know if you donated to a campaign or not. My intention is not to condemn those who have. What I do encourage is some pause for consideration… where are your passions? What would you like to have some part in accomplishing in your lifetime? Because I can guarantee that, regardless of how much money you give – if any – if you actually strive for your passion, you will be able to make some incredible things happen.