Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Actions Speak Louder

Tomorrow I take a day off from work, and load our first prepped steer into the trailer, and take him to the butcher. We will fill our freezer with meat we have raised ourselves, on our own pasture, with our own labor. Grass-fed and plump, Springer will provide beef for the whole winter.

Friday is our big Veteran's Day celebration here in town. For weeks we have been planning. I put up a prize of $10 for the best "Thank You" card made by our local students (one at each school) , and those cards now decorate the large bulletin boards at the entrance to our schools. The Vets will come in and eat a huge Thanksgiving-day type meal, put on by our students. Then we will have students whom our American Legion has sent to the State Capitol over the summer talk about what they learned in those government classes. The school band will play patriotic music, and the assembly will thank the Veterans for what they've done for us. Afterwards, I will take down the handmade cards off of the bulletin board and give them to the American Legion Ladies' Auxiliary for their holiday trip to the Veteran's Home, and those cards together with the hand-packed 'ditty bags' , baked goods, and gifts, will be disbursed to the veterans there. (Many students didn't do it for the prize - they turned in their cards after the prize deadline, after the winner had benn chosen, to show their thanks for their Veterans.)

People live their lives according to their moral code. Even serial killers and psychopaths have a moral code (even if it differs from the norm). Your behavior is dictated by your beliefs. If there are things that you will not do - like shoplift, or rape, or scam others - that is your moral code; you follow a belief system. If you are Bernie Madoff, or Manson, or Dahlmer - you are following your belief system. You cannot divorce yourself from it. Your actions state who and what you are, even if you manage to fool a lot of people into thinking that you are otherwise.

A person who stands foursquare in the public eye against government waste, and then is elected and brings home endless pork-barrel projects like Roads to Nowhere or taxpayer dollars to support businesses that fail once the government money runs out, then your actions belie your statements. You support government waste, and you prove it by your actions. If you stand in front of the microphones and talk about "the sanctity of marriage" - and 10 years ago you dumped your wife because she had gotten cancer, even though she waited for you while you were a prisoner of war in a concentration camp, and took care of your broken body afterwards - you are a hypocrite. If you "fight to stop illegal immigration", yet have a construction company that asks no questions and profits by not paying taxes or Workers' Comp payments on the illegal immigrants you hire, you are a hypocrite. Your actions cannot be divorced from your words, no matter how passionate and well-constructed your phrases are. Your actions exemplify your true beliefs, and your words are meaningless in context. You therefore cannot be expected to stand for the things that you say you believe, because the moral code in which you believe - and that dictates your actions - causes you to do the opposite.

Sadly, most people do not take these things into account. They do not look at someone's successes and failures, their previous actions and those actions' results. They simply believe what they hear in sound bytes, and make their decisions accordingly. People believe the most passionate and most attractive speaker who caters to their own self-interests, and look no further. This is why we have serial killers and child molesters who can operate for years undetected, or con artists who can schmooze millions out of eagerly unsuspecting investors, or elected officials who can get re-elected, over and over, by promising whatever the electorate says they want this year. None of them have to take responsibility for what they have done or are doing, because no one is paying attention to anything but their words.

So listen to all those fancy speeches about "what we should be doing" or what we "should" believe. I live my life according to my beliefs - that grass-fed, home-grown beef is better than store-bought, that people can actually run their own lives according to their own beliefs, that support for Veterans isn't just a pretty picture or fanciful comment posted on a Facebook page to show your "friends" your "patriotism".

I live what I believe.