Dec. 10 is International Human Rights Day. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The declaration can be found at www.un.org/overview/rights.
In the ongoing debates surrounding the issue of immigration, sometimes statements have been made to suggest that migrants and immigrants are excluded from this declaration. This year's theme for the day, "Dignity and Justice for All of Us," reinforces that the document's core values of inherent human dignity, non-discrimination, equality, fairness, and universality, apply to everyone, everywhere and at all times.
Our immigration system is inefficient and broken. It is not unusual for some family members to have to wait sixteen years or longer to be reunited. Many have been victims of government raids and imprisoned and/or deported.
As the new Congress and new administration prepare to go to work in early 2009, hopefully there will be a chance for fair and compassionate immigration reform legislation.
A great way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights would be to contact all of our elected officials and urge them to take steps to begin to fix the U.S. immigration system by 1) Developing a work program whereby persons can come into the U.S. legally and leave legally (The border would be secure, but porous); 2) Working with the National Visa Center to provide enough visas so that those who are here in the U.S. and have applications pending can be put on the path to citizenship more quickly.
This declaration belongs to all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Read it, ponder it in light of our current immigration practices, promote it, claim it as your own, and ask others to do the same.
True charity comes from your pocket
It's a rueful moment in our history when Americans have become so accustomed to confiscatory taxation that it's defined with the innocuous phrase "spreading the wealth" instead of calling it by its true name: usurpation. To confuse this with generosity is to denigrate that great virtue. True charity is the wealth that comes voluntarily from your pocket; it has nothing to do with picking the candidate that will pool the most pilfered wealth into Washington, D.C. where it is redirected with the same discretion befitting a child with a blank check.
Contrary to the false adage, taxes are not the price we pay for a civilized society; they're the unfortunate result of sacrificing our autonomy and self-determination to the government. Those that control the wealth control the populace, and every unneeded dollar directed into the federal treasury is one more swipe that undermines the human and humane institutions of charity: family and community and all that effloresces from those. People knew this at one time. That was the point of strengthening those connections - to be, at once, both self-reliant and mutualistic.
But historical amnesia has a way of leading us astray, and now we find ourselves stuck on this two-party seesaw that goes nowhere but up and down, between varying degrees of centralized wealth and power, and the issue of taxes has become a phony moral imperative, with smug blowhards employing it to determine an individual's capacity for compassion against miserly tendencies and to castigate those with the audacity to speak truth and question such a false dichotomy.
I'm happy to share what I earn, but I prefer it to be an act of my own volition and not carried out by the loose hands of the tax man. Let the small and voluntaristic supplant the monolithic and coercive.
Republicans didn't pass on aid to Big 3
The Blade's recent editorial, "Politics menaces an industry," proves one thing. Just because George Bush is about to exit the world stage does not mean that The Blade is ready to move on from its favorite sport of the last eight years, of bashing all things having to do with Republicans.
According to the editorial, the Republicans have launched some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy to punish Ohio and Michigan residents for helping to swing the election in favor of Democrats. The punishment is supposedly the defeat of the bailout plan for the Big Three automakers and their union employees.
When the press conference was aired announcing Congress' decision to pass on approving this poorly presented plan, I don't remember seeing any Republicans at the podium. In fact, it was Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barney Frank rebuking the Big Three CEOs and UAW president for their total failure to present compelling reasons for turning over the blank check they were begging for.
The Blade does itself no favor by continuing the class warfare agenda of rich, mean-spirited Republicans versus the poor, hardworking little guy. Your readers are smarter than what you give them credit for. And The Blade can use all the subscribers and advertisers, rich or poor, that it can get.
How will we reflect on change in future?
Until recently, I didn't realize how literal the term "global economy" was. We are in this world together; we sink or swim as one.
As the adage declares: "He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it." Look to history, not to place blame, but to view her as a wise teacher with wisdom to share.
If we don't get beyond our us-versus-them mentally, civilization will continue its downward spiral. Politicians fail to acknowledge there is a spiritual reality within the body of man. Ignoring this fact does not make it go away. Our fallen nature, the anger and hatred, our self-serving interests, our greed; these things must be faced- and fought.
Illegal immigration and jobs shipped overseas have many people in a lather. Our neighbors near and far just want to feed their families, like you and I do. Desperate people do desperate things. Should I care more about the welfare of your children than I do about the welfare of theirs?
In our greed - unwilling to share the wealth. In our selfishness - unwilling to share the work. Buy American, union workers demand, then gorge themselves on sweatshop and child-labor produced trinkets without a twinge of compunction
I believe America has failed to meet her high calling; we now have a opportunity to do things differently. Love one another; no sacrifice is too demanding for love. Love for family and friends comes naturally. But love for the alien, the stranger, and even our enemies is a decision only the spiritually strong can make.
With a Barack Obama presidency on the horizon, it seems America has been given a clean slate, a second chance, a fresh page in the history book of the world ready to be written by our hand.
How will it read?
So Waterville Gas needs new building?
It was a surprise to read in the Nov. 13 edition of The Blade that Waterville Gas Co. was planning to build a new building. Its building on River Road is very nice and well kept.
When I moved into the area nine years ago, my summer bill was a little over $5. This was called a meter charge. That has gone up to $10 a month and is now called a customer charge. Also, there was no delivery charge, which there is now, based on how much gas is used. When The Blade publishes the different gas prices in the winter months, Waterville Gas is always highest, now at $10.14 per mcf.
Customers struggle to pay their gas bills in the winter months, while Waterville Gas thinks up more charges to add onto the bill so they can build a new building. With the growth in the area, it should be a very nice building.