Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yes Virginia, There Is A Chris Redfern

Going over the Chris Redfern (Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party) interview with Fred Lefebvre yesterday on Toledo radio station 1370 WSPD; I was amused, shocked, and finally outraged. Then I realized what my problem was ... I was a cynic.  

My epiphany came when I was able to make the connection in my head to the story from the New York Sun in 1897 by Francis P Church titled "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus". It reminded me once again of a simpler time in my life, when I believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. These were the days when my only responsibility was to get good grades in school and have fun. All of the financial obligations of my life were up to my parents. My father worked hard to make sure that we had a roof over our head, food was on the table, and that our family was properly clothed. My mother worked equally hard to take care of that home, take care of her family, and instill a sense of order and discipline in the hooligans that I and my siblings were. And on Sundays when the family went to church, even we children dropped envelopes in the collection plate to help those less fortunate.  

As I grew older, I came to realize that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were in fact, my parents. Not only were they there to instill a sense of responsibility in their children, but also to reinforce the sense of magic and wonder in the world that we had in the process. They did this I am sure, out their own sense of personal responsibility and their love for us. In those days I didn't attend church quite so regularly any more, but I still found ways to help those less fortunate. (After all, we were the Woodstock Generation.)  

These days I am grown up (OK not so much, but go with me on this). In this grown up world, I have gone through the process of filling those same roles and attempting to do the same things for my children that my parents did for me. I even found time to contribute to the spoiling of my grandchildren. I do this out of the sense of responsibility that I was given, and that I like to think that I have passed on to my children. The values of my youth and upbringing stay with me, as does my desire to help those less fortunate. Even when times are tough, I continue to try and give to worthy organizations for the betterment of my fellow man.

Mr. Redfern has quite a different view of the world. In his view there is no longer such a thing as personal responsibility (at least none that can be counted on). In his world all responsibilities are and should be placed in the hands of the government. The government is supposed to become all of those things (Santa, Easter Bunny, etc.) to all people because he is concerned that I can no longer be counted on to be responsible. In his world the government will likewise dispense all required charity to those in need.  The only responsibility that I apparently have left (one enforced at the point of a gun), is to continue to work in order to pay the crushing taxes that will be required, out of which all of this largesse will be dispensed by the government. 

I could be wrong (and often am), but I believe that the definition of charity involves the "voluntary" giving of time, material, or money to those less fortunate. But charity and responsibility seem to be lacking in the vocabulary of Mr. Redfern. They have been replaced by government programs, bureaucracy, and paperwork. All of the current charity going on in the world by individuals, churches, and non-profit organizations is apparently meaningless in Mr. Redfern's world, because it is not mandated or dispensed by government. 

There is a word that defines the practices that Mr. Redfern advocates however, and it is socialism. This word, defined as "political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods" pretty accurately pins down the type of charity that Mr. Redfern understands, enthusiastically advocates, and which I should feel good about myself for participating in.

So yes Virginia, there is a Chris Redfern. He is the personification of the modern progressive government version of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and yes even parents and the random Charitable Giver. He is the symbol of the only one those less fortunate should count on. You may sleep safer tonight knowing it (and he) are there.

Oh by the way Chris, you may want to check in with your presidential candidate on some of this when you get a chance. He has been preaching personal responsibility to fathers and families a lot lately.   I'm just sayin' ...

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