Saturday, November 8, 2008


When I was a senior in high school, my Honor’s English teacher, Ms. Ford, told us a story about a priest in Seattle who took it upon himself to wake up early every morning to make sandwiches. Each day he would take his sandwiches to the city and would give them to the homeless and hungry. Word of his goodness and generosity soon spread, and people so moved by his actions began to send him letters with checks to aid him in his ministry. But he returned every check to its sender with the following response:

“Make your own damn sandwiches.”

This story is analogous to the current push for redistribution of wealth and bigger government, and here’s why. First, if a heart beats red in your chest, then you sympathize with those who struggle in life. However, a significant divergence arises in discussions centered around the alleviation of struggle and suffering. The current prevailing ideology is symbolized in this story by the people who sent checks to the sandwich-making priest. But my worry is that too many today seem more eager to write checks from the books of the wealthy and prosperous than to either write their own checks or to make and distribute their own proverbial sandwiches.

With our own checks and with many more from the rich, we have created many and varied government programs designed to aid the lowly and down trodden. And now we are mandating that the rich pay more into these same programs. If their 36% taxed income hasn’t already done the trick to “save” the middle class, to give the lower class a “fighting chance,” then it is foolhardy to suggest that a further 3% or even more is going to do the trick.

The real change this country needs, the real change we can believe in will never be realized this way, by a government directive or program. It doesn’t happen when we reach into the pockets of the rich to further fund existing social programs or to create new ones. It never happens when you and I stand idly by and let others do the kind of work that lifts the hands that hang down. The change we need and can believe doesn’t come from Barack Obama, and it certainly wasn’t going to come from John McCain.

Perennial change is created by you, and it’s created by me. When we pull over to assist those with broken down cars and broken down spirits, we engender lasting change. When we feed the hungry and clothe the naked in our own neighborhoods and cities, we further the change we need. When those with more cease to oppress those with less, they both change. When those who have little in the world stop hating those who have much, and when they stop begrudging them the right to reap the harvest of their own sowing, they change.

When I place an indefinite moratorium on my own mediocrity and stop making excuses for my own failings, I change. When the privileged white man appreciates the struggles of those who weren’t born into a world of innate privilege, he changes. When the black man forgives those responsible for slavery, those responsible for social inequity, he enhances his own freedom, and he changes. It no longer is news worthy when he accomplishes greatness because he will no longer associate such greatness with his skin color but rather with the content of his own character. His victory won’t be one for black people; it will be one for us all.

The priest had it right. His ability to enact change and good in the world may have been small, but it was he and he alone who took full responsibility for it and did the most with it. Therefore, when we no longer seek to change those around us, when we stoke the fires of change that would burn in our own hearts, then we bate our addiction to government fabricated hope and change, and we freely create our own.


Tenise said...

I love this. Thank you for posting it!

Val said...

Have you thought of making a career change? Mush for President! I find myself not even able to watch the news anymore because of all the nauseating liberal idealogies. I like the philosophy of the Church in that if you are really in need of help, you seek your family first, then the church, and government as only a last resort. I wonder what the world would be like if we would all do that!

Ingunn said...

I love reading your blog entries and I do agree with you on change, and the easy way out and just writing a check!! Why are people so afraid and lazy of giving of themselves? Og being there for others? Of extending an helping hand? Lending an ear? So many things need to be done, and we need to do them with our hearts. Social politics where governments aided programs take over isn't the solution. Instead of buying people food in the stores, help them and teach them how to grow their own food, fish their own dinner. I know these are small things, but I really do believe in people helping people! Government is down on the list.People take more pride in themselves as they are taught skills on how to become more self reliant. We can all make sandwiches, all it takes is a change of attitude. We need an increase in an attitude of gratitude. sorry for rambling, I just love your writings on the wall. Wish I had the right English words to express myself better! One day!! ☺

cassie said...

mush, it's scott, i'm glad to see that you haven't fallen to the great marketing that Obama put together!! you write, i'll read.

Parker and Carly said...

Here here! Excellent expression of the difference between welfare and charity.

Markus said...

Good to hear from you buddy! I hope everything is going well.