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Whining is for Losers - Two Views

By Kirsten Andersen, with Amy Krause


Kirsten's View:

On a recent chilly morning in D.C., I was emerging from the Metro when I heard the notes of a familiar song drift through the terminal.  It took me a minute to catch on, but being the patriotic schmuck that I am, I broke into a wide grin when I realized it was the strains of the National Anthem, being played on a portable keyboard.

As a regular commuter, I am used to seeing beggars of myriad sorts at the entrances to the subway system.  Usually, like most Washingtonians, I pass them by with an embarrassed smile.  That morning was different.  As I turned the corner out of the Metro station, I saw an ill-kept man playing the keyboard that must have been his only valuable possession.  What struck me was the passion with which he played; eyes closed almost prayerfully as he tenderly played a beautiful rendition of the anthem.  The sight and sound were so moving that I emptied my wallet into the jar sitting by the keyboard. 

It was not the man's poverty that moved me.  Most beggars on the streets of D.C. look so poor and ragged that you would almost think they try to make their situations look worse than they are.  By contrast, this man looked like he had cleaned up and dressed up as best he could for his performance.  He was still obviously poor and needy, but he was showing respect for himself and others by trying to make the best of things.

In that same vein, the other reason I dropped all my cash in his jar was that he was playing the National Anthem.  It is not what you think-I may be a sucker for my country, but the sound of the Star Spangled Banner doesn't usually demand that I sacrifice lunch and my morning bagel to give my money to someone else.  What moved me so was that that man, in his position, was playing our anthem with such feeling and sincerity.  Not only was he taking action to improve his situation by using his God-given talent, he wasn't whining about it or the country.  He was one of very few truly poor people in the J. Crew-clad, Palm V-toting crowd in the subway station that morning, but instead of whining about how unfair that was, he honored the nation and everyone in the Metro station with beautiful, patriotic music.

Amy's View:

On the other hand, I have a family member on welfare.  Almost everyone has one somewhere in their family, that one member who prefers the generosity of the government to getting a job, or even to playing music in a subway station for dollar bills.  That family member almost always has three or four (or eight) young children, most of whom have constantly runny noses and bad oral hygiene.

With no thought of the message she is sending to her children, this family member collects a nicely sized check from Uncle Sam each month and spends the proceeds on pizza and cheap beer.  Occasionally she plays the lottery, thinking that if she could just win once, she could pay back all the money she owes her family, and maybe get a nice new car.  Her children dine like college students on hot dogs and EasyMac.  Her husband (if she has one) is unemployed as well, or doing under-the-table odd jobs so they don't lose the government check.

The rest of the family pressures this relative to think about the kids and the lessons that they are learning.  Unfortunately, rather than seeing their problem, they are usually offended and end up doing nothing to solve it.

I do not have all the answers.  However, there are many groups out there that actually care about people, unlike the impersonal government.  There are plenty of ways for them to get back on their feet without using the government, including churches and other other faith based organizations (to help care for the children) along with programs like the Salvation Army and Dress for Success (to give people tools for success).  These programs along with sizable tax cuts should be enough to help those who are willing to help themselves.

At this point, you are probably thinking, "What does any of this have to do with the election results in Florida?"  We realize that it's hard to believe there could be anything more important than dimpled chads, but we just wanted to remind everyone that while the world watches Florida, life does go on.

HOWEVER: For those of you who absolutely, positively cannot handle an opinion article without an election opinion, here's ours:

If you wanted to talk about WHINING IN AMERICA, Al Gore would be the poster child.  Not only has he fought for his irrational plan of counting and recounting until someone says he wins, but he encourages other people to whine as well (Remember the West Palm Beachers?  Now there's a whiny crowd if we ever saw one.).  Even Gore's policy supports whining.

How would President-Elect Bush and lame duck Vice President Gore (we had to put that in) differ in their opinions of how to solve the problems of the man in the subway station and Amy's relative?  First of all, Bush wouldn't stand for any whining.  Bush knows that there are plenty of avenues open to those who are serious about helping themselves.  Bush supports faith based and other private organizations stepping in to help the underprivileged get back on their feet.  Compassionate conservatism is all about helping people help themselves.

Gore is not a compassionate conservative.  Gore is an extreme liberal who would have run as a socialist if he thought he could get one more re-count out of it.  Gore loves the situation that Amy's family member is in.  Total government dependence is what Gore believes people thrive on.  Why should a woman on welfare give up monthly checks and go to work when the free (to her) checks are bigger than paychecks from the local bank, grocery, etc.  If she did get a job, then Al Gore would tax her earnings so highly (to pay for the people who stayed on welfare) that she would be worse off than when she started.

In the end, America really doesn't like whiners.  There may be quite a few of them inhabiting our land right now (and attempting to lead it), but if there is anything Florida has shown us, it's that whining is ultimately the last act of a loser.  And maybe that's a good way to finish up the series on WHINING IN AMERICA…."Whining is for losers."

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© Kirsten Andersen, 2024


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View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.

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