Campaign 2012 is filled with the rhetoric of compassion, spoken in most uncompassionate language. Both sides of the conflict are aggressive. Each side belittles the other, and each accuses the other of lies. Both sides speak as if they believe that the only way there will ever be any provision for the poor is for government to provide it.
The poor need not be dependent on government. When the poor are dependent on government, they get bureaucratic nightmares, demented regulations, and discouragement of any effort to improve their own lives.
There is another way. We can see the way to help the poor by simply looking at election campaign fundraising. If care for the poor is important to all the people who want to elect one candidate or the other, all the donors need to do is to give their money to private programs to help the poor. The candidates do not really need any more money anyway. They already have plenty of money to shred each other ten times over. It is time for the donors to stop funding campaigns and start funding the poor.
Christian donors should lead the pack in this transition. Christians already know that government is not God’s chosen agency to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. That agency is the church. The church is the community of the people who have committed themselves to Christ, and Christians know that the message of the church is Christ’s message during his earthly ministry: the Kingdom of God has come near. We bring the kingdom near by doing what Christ taught, and helping the poor is important in Christ’s teaching.
We can all see that there is no dearth of money for private donations. The amount of money people are giving to the presidential campaigns is staggering. There are lots of donations to the individual candidates, and the super-PACs receive mind-boggling amounts of money. The nation has plenty of money to give to causes that are important.
We are being told that the poor suffer because government does not have enough money to help all the poor. It would appear from the record of donations to the campaign that plenty of money exists, and there are plenty of private individuals who give to the causes that are important to them.
It is time to pull the plug on campaign donations, therefore, and put all that money into programs that actually help the poor. (I mean that the donors should pull the plug. I don’t mean that we need another law or regulation about it. Absolutely not! This is a matter of conscience, not rules.) Christians should lead the way and donate to Christian programs. Let Jews and Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and all the other religions compete for the most lavish donations to the poor and then let the secular thinkers who decry the very existence of religions show all of us how to be truly generous to the poor. They are the ones who are willing for everyone to be taxed heavily in order to fund government programs for the poor. Let them donate all their money directly to private programs for the poor.
Here is a test for everyone. Chase the path of a dollar of your tax money, and see how much of it ever gets to poor people. I’m willing to bet that if a poor person receives one penny from a dollar of your taxes,that would be a lot. Then give a dollar to a poor person. That poor person has a real dollar.
Cut out the middleman. Cut out the bureaucracy. Give your big political donations to the poor. Barack Obama says he is a Christian. Let him lead the way by giving all his donations to the poor. Then Mitt Romney will surely not want to be outdone, and he will surely give all his donations to the poor.
If we stop thinking that government is the right way to help the poor, there are a lot of ways to get the job done, and a lot of poor people get better care and more help than the government will ever give them.