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Puzzle me this…..

Rumor has it that, following the recent abdication of one Aberdeen firefighter who has failed to show up for work for several consecutive weeks, our esteemed aldermen plan to replace him through the re-instatement of former employee and convicted felon Roy Hazzle, Jr.. You may recall that Hazzle brought shame upon our city, himself and the excellent name and reputation of his father by involving himself in a nasty theft ring a few years back.

My question is simple. Why on earth, in an employers market with the employment world overflowing with wonderfully qualified candidates, would we stoop to hiring somebody who has demonstrated pure contempt for the citizenry and the law??? (It’s a rhetorical question and, of course, I have the answer.)

Some of our aldermen are morally scrambled, ethically bankrupt and, as such, are unable to do that which is required of them in situations such as this one. Oddly, the aldermen who have the most difficulty with decisions such as this one are those who profess to be ministers and/or most Godly men.

It’s only natural for good men to want to take the high road in matters where forgiveness comes to the fore. Of course, on a spiritual level, we Christians all want to leave matters concerning the judgment of our brethren to the Almighty Himself. This is a good and righteous aspiration. Unfortunately, as public servants, it is incumbent upon our elected leaders to also be faithful stewards of the public trust. They must insist upon lawful behavior in all things pertaining to the public. Fortunately, we have policies formulated to protect the interests of our fellow citizens, be they taxpayers or no, and those policies ought to be followed.

To me, it’s not at all difficult to see the clear line of demarcation between spiritual matters and public trust. It is vital for our leaders to separate these two planes of morality. As Christians, we are compelled to have pity upon those who fail our tests. We each perform spectacular spiritual pratfalls – probably daily. We must, therefore, avoid the temptation to bring judgment down upon the eternal souls of those around us. On the other hand, as citizens of the earth, we are also compelled to insist upon law-abiding behavior in our society. To do otherwise invites chaos. Our leaders, if they are to be effective, must carefully cultivate their own ability to hate the sin and to love the sinner and they must exercise this ability perpetually. A right-headed public servant must be able to do both of these things in the same breath in order that he might remain blameless as a righteous man and a good leader.

And, so I’m left in total confusion. I’ve wrestled with it and, sadly, have been beaten into complete bewilderment over the inability (or unwillingness) of some to understand how critical to our survival rules and regulations are. Lately, though, I’ve seen a small glow of enlightenment. Pardon me while I explore how skin color seems to become a factor in matters of lawful behaviors.

First of all, we recognize that the bad hiring judgments made by our local board of aldermen are generally decided – and this is simply fact, reader friends, not an opinion – by the three black aldermen who compose the majority. The bad hires, as it works out, are also black. In a community where people of African descent are so prevalent, this is not altogether unusual. One must wonder, though, if there are not well qualified NON-FELONS of any color among the applicants. Our black aldermen have a history of hiring and keeping black felons, black alcoholics and black drug addicts on the city payroll.

After facing that particular fact, we must then ask ourselves what motivates our aldermen to behave in a manner so very inconsistent with their duty. Is it because, and they would like us to believe this; they are following their mandate to “forgive?”  Do these felon applicants really deserve a second chance to betray the public?? Is it our job, as taxpayers to provide them this unearned opportunity? Do we hire them because there are no other qualified applicants?  Perhaps is it because these men, having demonstrated their willingness to live outside the law, become particularly important weapons in the arsenal of men of wicked purpose?

Those of you who are native to Southern society will probably chuckle at my theory on this subject. I *think* some black people believe they have a license to behave badly and a permanent “get out of jail without stigma” card. I know. This was quite an epiphany for me. Furthermore, I *think* that we white folks are so very frightened of being branded “racists” that we have become sullenly silent on the matter. Phooey! That’s no way to run a railroad!

At my very core, I am convinced that every member of any society must follow the rules. It is equally mandated that we demand – not simply “wish for” or “hope to achieve” – that our brothers and sisters also live by the rules. It has been this way in every society, every nation, and every religious group for all time. Even “gangs” – the dregs of societal groupings – demand adherence to a set of rules from their members. Therefore, it is a shameful failing of ours if we allow members of our social order to skate away Scott-free when they fail to meet the terms of their inclusion. To allow such is the equivalent of moral murder. 

Sadly, we Americans have followed the lead of Lyndon Johnson and other liberal lame-brains to a place where our application of misplaced “pity” upon the poor and uneducated among us has effectively crippled several generations. If you doubt this, take a ride around the south side of Aberdeen. See the young men lounging jobless on the streets? Do you see the big-bellied young women who have been taught that popping out illegitimate children is perfectly acceptable behavior? These are the products of Johnson’s “Great Society” aka The Nanny State. What right have we to steal the promises of productiveness from these young people? None. How dare we condemn them (and their offspring) to fruitless lives by severing the ties that bind them to our society and the bountiful harvest which only hard work and dedication can bring to fulfillment? This is, I fear, our culture’s most egregious failure.

Once again, I remind you, I’m not making moral or racial judgments. I’m simply pointing to the facts.

Now, some folks, including the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, espouse something referred to as “Black Liberation Theology.” This tenet teaches that the white man has subjugated and enslaved black folks. (I’m not sure if this subjugation goes back to the days when African tribesmen were selling their neighbors to white slave ships, or if it is a more recent development.) I believe, like Mr. Obama, that some black folks have, indeed, been relegated to the Gub’mint Plantation without possibility of parole. The issue then becomes, how do we liberate them?

My Bible answers that question succinctly. Teach them to fish. It can’t get much simpler than that. (I believe Paul also said something about “if you want to eat, you’ve got to work.” Of course, I paraphrase.)

Conversely, to continue to give them fish (which gifts include things like jobs bestowed upon felons and other societal rogues) we become complicit in their ultimate enslavement. Translate that – if we as a society continue reward lawbreakers with the best jobs and benefits in the city, we might as well volunteer to be in charge of shackling all subsequent generations.

The message we’re sending is loud and clear. There is no reason to attempt to excel or to rise above the crowd! Here in Aberdeen, we incentivize sloth and thievery.

After you think about that for a minute or two, consider the people we continually elect to office.

Pitiful, ain’t it?

Viki Mason

May 16, 2011

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