Saturday, October 23, 2004

Gimmie a minute...

Well, I'll be 23 in just days. And franky, I don't know what we're going to be doing.
I recall when I was a child impatiently waiting planning and waiting, but I'm finding as I mature more I find myself wanting surprise. Searching my family's house for where my mother had hidden our Christmas presents is quite a stark contrast to my now, eagerly but patiently waiting to see what my family and close friends have planned for my enjoyment. Guess it comes with the territory.

Anyway, back to the poo. Yet another lottery vote on this year's ballot in Oklahoma. In fact, there arre several state questions in reference to gambling. But being a technician working for the travel stop industries give me a bit of an interesitng perspective on the lottery and gambling.

The subject of the Lottery, or state question 705 (and argueably 706 as it is much related to the one before it), I can't say I'll vote for it. My reasons are as follows:
First, more work for an already busy industry. The travel stop/convience store industry is already bustling one. And a lottery add just one more legalistic and complicated part to an already demanding and stressful job. Often those buying the scratch offs will spend minutes upon minutes holding up a line of people in a hurry while they try to select their ticket. And people in a hurry get angry easily. And often are angry before they even reach that line.
Second, Throwing money at an already broken system. I recall drafting instructor in Tech-Class talking about how his wife, an elementry school teacher, had to fill out multiple forms, speak to 3 different councils, and still wait a period to get funding to administer a state-mandated test. Forms cost money when they were intially composed, when they were printed, and even when they were distributed to those who needed them. Council members are/were elected officials, getting paid a salary (small though it could have been) to sit on the approval council (again had to be approved by 3 different councils in total) to do nothing more than just that. Now granted something has to be done or spending would just run rampant, but paying people on several councils to approve funding for a state mandated test is a bit rediculious. This is, however just one example of a messed up system that wastes money liek there is no tomorrow. In the meantime, the same school district is no longer paying to issue books to the students and instead are printing the data for the children to read (teachers being forced to violating copywrite laws in the process) of trying to get reading and reference material to their students. And so you see they system is already broken to some measure. Throwing money at it will not fix these problems, but rather the more likely, just pad the pockets of those already padding their pockets off the broken system.
Third, it's a plague on the ignorant and downtrodden. Ignorance, in our society, is a choice. So I find myself a little torn here in feeling sorry for someone that buys a lottery ticket despite the fact that they cannot afford to do so. The downtrodden I can feel more sympathy for as they get more and more desperate to solve their own situation. This point works hand in hand with my next one which is...
Fourth, Rampant availability of gambling. And in a state with more than a hundred Indian Tribes that can/have setup casinos and the like, A state run lottery would put gambling everywhere. I'll not that from here in Norman, OK there are 3 nearby options far as casino's are concerned. I even have friends employeed by them. And I'm not slighting them, they have the right to open casinos, and reap the benefits of those willing to gamle the money they have. But it is sucha waste for those whom cannot afford to do so. A Casino one has to drive to, and make an outward effort to Gamble. A lottery, and one can buy 12 tickets when they stop to fill up their car's gas tank. Or when one buys groceries. It's just to easy that way. Too many whom can;t afford it will have it shoved int heir faces, making the temptation even greater... not to mention the eyesore and vexation it will eb to the rest of us.

The Moral question of gambling has never bothered me. I don't see a single place in the Bible that states it is a sin. It can be one fo the many outlets of an already sinful person. But I was rather amused by the BGCO (Baptist General Convention fo Oklahoma) using a cartoon mouse to try to convince the ignorant and willfully ignorant to vote against this. http://www.gamblingmouse.com/ in case any of you are curious, and a quick thanks to one of my old friend/mentors, Micah (http://mccarty.typepad.com/mccarty_thoughts/) for pointing this link out in his blog.
I don't know which was worse, however, the BGCO/Oklahoman's For Good Government abusing the vote of the ignorant and the willfully ignorant, or their protrayal of the pastor mouse, saying "No! No! Run! It's a Lie!". It did have me laughing for a bit, I will admit that. But, for the price fo this add, the BGCO could have made a difference int he lives of others. This is where a lot of the Churchs in Oklahoma (not all of them, but a good number of them) and I differ. I think our job as Christians is to help the down trodden. Meanwhile, many of to assemblies and have personal wealth preached to them.
Now i'm not downing your local pastor. I'm downing this as a regular practice, preaching fincial success over caring, peace, salvation, etc.. Financial Peace is Good, but far too many of the attendies have yet to even grasp the basics of Christianity. The Basics of loving others as yourself, the basics of the care and humility that was shown by Christ. The Basics of Loveing God with all that you are. And while my order of presenting them may have been a bit shuffled, one cannot refute the fact that so many that attend church today do so without making an effort to seek the presence of God. Many are just standing there.

Once you have experienced the presence of God, you cannot help but be moved.

Moved on so many different levels and to so many different things. God is everything good you've heard. Jesus Christ is salvation for the sinful world. And The Holy Spirit is paraclete to the church today.

But I digress, as I am getting off on a tangent, a good tangent for sure, but I think I've made my point with it. The lottery is a focus of the BGCO, and an attitude of Christ does not often seem to be so. This is likely the main reaon for the hatred shown them. The Anger so many have against the word "Baptist" in our society. Motivation aimed at the wrong thing. We all do this from time to time. We're short sighted. And I wish that I would remember this more.

State question 712, from reading it, seems to be a better alternative. It means to gain some funding from the already rampant Tribal Gaming in place in the state. Tribes have to sign into it, butvat least it is something. And it will offer some regulation to the rampant practice... again, so long as the tribes sign into it... and some have. But voting it down just seems idiotic due to the fact that tribal gaming will be here either way. At least we'd be reaping some benefit from it and giving to fund education.

As for the Senate race. Carson and Coburn both have slung enough mud to build a town worth of huts out of. I'm still unsure whom I am going to vote for on this one. Especially given the Independant alternative of
Ms. Shelia Bilyeu, whom the two party candidates seem to be ignoring. And to be honest, I can't say I blame them. From her NPAT (http://www.vote-smart.org/npat.php?can_id=MOK57251) rankings she's /left/ as all heck. In Oklahoma, you're not likely to be a political force if you're that far left. But check out the alterantive for yourself. As for Carson... He's never filled an NPAT out. Coburn didn't in this election, but he has in the past (http://www.vote-smart.org/npat.php?old=true&can_id=CNIP8018&npatform_id=63), so at least we know something of his opinions.

Anyway. More to ponder. Meantime I have grave shift tonight and need to sleep before I do so.

Best and 013

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