For a Better Country We Need More Givers, Fewer Takers
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Seven Lakes Kiwanis Club.
As soon as the president opened the meeting, we all stood up and faced the American flag as we recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we all sang "God Bless America." A member then offered an invocation - an eloquent prayer that spoke for us all. It has been some time since I shared all of this, and I found it most moving. I was also pleasantly surprised that I remembered all the words.
These pre-meeting ceremonies are not uncommon for organizations like Kiwanis; they are the foundation of what it means to be an American. Of course Kiwanis is international, but this chapter is purely American and is proud of it. These people are givers - volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.
They are not alone in this altruism; many other organizations share this dedication to giving. Lions, Rotarians, Elks, Moose, Shriners - the list goes on and on. They are worldwide but at the local levels are the backbone and heart of America.
We start our involvement in these ventures at an early age with Cub Scouts and Brownies, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, 4H and youth church groups. Each is dedicated to helping others and building strong, healthy characters. It is all done without interference or control of the government. And most participants gain moral attributes that live within them all of their lives. They are givers.
I still have fond memories of being a Boy Scout, even though I never came close to Eagle. For a time, I was also a Sea Scout, learning to take a lifeboat out through the breakers. But I have never belonged to any of the adult volunteer organizations, and I feel I may be the loser for that.
Part of the reason is not being too much of a joiner and working in a career that called for many moves and many strange hours. However, I have always had a strong respect for these groups and hope they continue to grow, teach and give.
Americans are a giving society. Extending helping hands comes naturally for most. Nonetheless, we are also experiencing a growth in the takers - those people who look upon America as a land of free entitlements offered by a government that currently wants to take what the givers have earned and pass it on to the takers who have not earned it. Why would a government want to do that? Takers vote.
There is another group of givers, which is quite new. They call themselves tea partiers, and they are growing in number. Why do I call them givers instead of protesters? Because, contrary to what an ultraliberal media would have you believe, they are better educated and higher paid than the takers, so when they descend on Washington, they are giving of themselves with no expectation of entitlements.
The ultraleft is beginning to take note of the tea parties and is pulling out all stops to try to combat them. Then there is President Obama, who with a smug smirk said he was "amused" by them and they should thank him for lowering their taxes.
I, for one, found that insult sickening. It seems that the biggest weapon in their arsenal is the smug smirk. Honest disagreement is very American and should be encouraged. However, sleazy Chicago politics should be rooted out, and those who adhere to it thrown out.
Let's be fair. Not every non-giver is a taker. Some are deservers who need to be singled out and helped. Let us do so. And let us cheer the volunteers who are the engines of this republic. Let us pledge our allegiance with hand over heart and head held high. Let us thank the givers and scorn the takers and know the difference.
Allan Jefferys, a former New York theater critic and newsman, lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at email@example.com.
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