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COMMUNITY VOICE

Is it time to panic yet? What we need now is some perspective

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 12:01 am

A few mornings ago when I turned on my computer and began to browse, there was a rather worrisome headline: “The sun has gone quiet.”

Now I am not an alarmist much of the time or I wouldn’t be a White Sox fan. We tend to have medium expectations, such as whether we can we beat Cleveland or Kansas City, not exaggerated hopes and fears. But I must admit, if the sun is really beginning to fade, perhaps President Obama needs to issue an executive order to stop it without Congress slowing him down.

It seems like the fears of our pending destruction are accelerating lately. Perhaps it is just because I am getting older, but I think not.

Throughout American history, conservatives never have suggested convening a constitutional convention. Now some otherwise reasonable people are in such a dither over the budget deficits (i.e., unable to prevail in elections) that they are willing to risk the legal foundation of our nation.

The deficits are bad and looming worse. Some panic is in order, but the end is not near.

And then there are the record numbers of unaccompanied children crossing our southern border. It is a mess.

Border control that begins at the Rio Grande or any designated line is already hopeless. During my time in Congress, we went from a fence of a few hundred yards to over 700 miles, with double and even triple fencing at some points (still not enough).

When the Republicans took over Congress we boosted the number of Border Patrol agents from 4,000 to 10,000, and under Bush, to 20,000. We worked on electronics and drones. Border control has improved, but obviously there is still much to be done. Solutions also cost money.

But problems are complex and not solved easily. There are differences of opinions about how to solve them. In a democratic republic we elect people to resolve those differences. Problems slow in developing, rooted in regional and ideological differences, don’t get solved by one’s small clique of friends. You have to actually persuade those who obviously aren’t agreeing with your solution.

I still get upset some mornings, often at lunch, frequently in the afternoon and usually at night. It is easy to get discouraged. It is tempting to wish we were God, who, given our complaints, apparently doesn’t know best how to run this world or made people wrong. For Christians, it is easy to see all sorts of false harbingers, beasts from east and west and the imminent final war in the Middle East.

As we grouse around — connected on the Internet, flying and driving to places of our choice, eating dried pomegranates or whatever we please, trying to decide what shoes go with what we are wearing and other such luxuries of our lives – God must look down on us and think: “And I thought the Israelites wandering in the desert were ungrateful.”

We need action, but America’s biggest need right now is some perspective.

Mark Souder is a former 3rd District representative.