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Until He Gets a Bone......

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

“If a person is not a liberal when he is twenty, he has no heart; if he is not a conservative when he is forty, he has no head." John Adams

This quote from John Adams seems to imply, at first blush, that somewhere between 20 and 40 a person gains wisdom and maturity; but I think we need to unpack what really happens to cause this abdication of heart.

What actually triggers this metamorphosis, more often than not, is the accumulation of wealth. Sad, but true.

Consider man's amiable and loving best friend, Fido. A creature whose only care is giving and receiving love, and that his basic needs are being met......until he gets a bone. Suddenly he is aggressively protective of that which is his. He will even behave aggressively towards his benefactor.

Aesop took this one step further in his story of the Dog and His Refection. A dog, having found a big juicy bone, was walking home with it when he saw his reflection in the river. Thinking he was looking at a dog with a bigger bone, he growled aggressively in hopes of getting both bones for himself. Instead, the bone fell from his mouth into the river and was lost.

We have become a country obsessed with the accumulation of wealth. So much so that the average CEO now makes 360 times what the average worker makes. If the average worker makes $50,000, then the average CEO makes $180,000,000. The bottom half of Americans hold 2% of the wealth and the top 1% have one third of the wealth.

President Reagan set us on this path in 1981 when he introduced his "trickle down economics" and hoodwinked Americans into thinking that wealth from above would trickle down to the average among us. As a result, the wealthy have gotten wealthier and working people work harder just to meet their basic needs.

We have become greedy and suspicious of our neighbors, even aggressive in our attempts to protect that which we deem ours. We have given over completely to instinct and left compassion for our fellow human as the folly of the heart.

This human struggle to rise above instinct is what sets us apart from other species. Animals fall into one of two groups: predator or prey. The survival of the individual depends on instinct.The survival of the species, however, depends on heart, usually the heart of the female.

The battle between head and heart is constant, and like most dilemmas needs to be resolved by achieving a balance of both. We need compassion for our fellow humans if we are to survive as a species. We need to understand that our neighbor's well-being is essential to that survival. Fear and jealousy are crippling us as a society. Rural Democrats invite you to love your neighbor again. Our survival as a species depends on it.


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