If you could ask for one thing, what would it be?
A little more money?
A little less hardship?
The certain re-election of Pres. Obama?
The certain defeat of Pres. Obama?
How about the acceptance of gay marriage?
I’m struck this day by what we want. So often we’ve heard, “If I only had this” or “could only do this” or “if I only had this one thing taken away.” What is it exactly that we want?
My sense around the globe is people believe if they just had that one more thing then they would finally be happy…
“If I only had this, then…”
Part of the challenge in contemporary culture is that everyone wants something. Free college. Free health insurance. Free.
Now granted, there are legitimate need-based situations where we as a society must find the best way to assist; we need to always be aware and care for the truly “least of these.”
Yet there is also a growing sense of entitlement that impedes the idea of going without… “You have a right to that one more thing”… “The government should provide it for you…” “The world would be better off…” A thing. A policy. A perceived right.
And thus, you see the election of the Socialist candidate in France. I don’t know the heart of Francois Hollande, but his proposed policy makes me shudder. In a time of economic frailty, his solution is to spend and borrow and tax massively more. Tell me: what household or business entity are you aware of that has ever survived believing they can sustain unbalanced spending for an extended period of time? Let me say this logically: those households and businesses at some point cease to exist. No entity can survive on promising what it doesn’t have.
Yet such is how the President-Elect of France garnered a majority of votes. With a budget that hasn’t balanced since 1974, Hollande promised hiring 60,000 new teachers, creating 150,000 government-funded posts, lowering the retirement age back to 60 for some workers, and temporarily freezing escalating gasoline prices — much with borrowed resources. Granted, he also plans to tax the wealthy at extremely high rates up to 75% (wonder what keeps those persons living in France), but Hollande has only a questionably measurable plan to pay for what he’s promised. And yet, the people voted him in. They want their “one more thing.” No one likes austerity. We don’t like to live with less.
I’m struck by the historical story of the wise man who was told by the divine to ask for whatever he wanted. “Whatever you want, I’ll give it to you.”
He could have asked for that one more thing.
More money, more stuff, suffering taken away…
Increased power, opportunity, or debt-free living…
But he didn’t. He didn’t even ask to be happy, believing that some one thing would be it — that it would finally make him happy.
Instead the leader humbly requested, “Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead people properly.”
I wonder… if more of us around the globe — our leaders especially — in France, America, you-name-it — asked for wisdom to lead properly instead of promising to grant that one more thing… I wonder what would happen to this planet.
Would we then, be happy?