The Golden Calf

I recently watched “The Ten Commandments” (Charlton Heston was hugely influential to my 8-year-old self) and was reminded of the scene when Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai with the stone tablets. The former slaves, impatient, had fashioned and worshiped a golden calf. God says to Moses, “Your people have corrupted themselves!”

It seems to me that the same could be said of us today because of our preoccupation with the accumulation and hoarding of money. There are now more than 2,500 billionaires in the world (most of them live in the U.S.).

Not surprisingly, many super-rich people support political candidates whose major interest is to avoid paying taxes, but I’m sad that so many Americans have been taken in by advertisements and campaigns that allow economic disparity to continue.

I am grateful to people who, for noble reasons, choose to serve our communities by running for public office, especially now, when so much anger has been aroused. I admire the courage of those who care enough about the future of our republic to take the risks involved.

One of the responsibilities of citizens is to examine the voting records of incumbents and the platforms of candidates. Some candidates appeal to our selfishness, and others appeal to our better angels. The Copper Country League of Women Voters gives all candidates the opportunity to express their hopes and dreams. We should be wary of candidates, and there are many, who do not share their ideas with us through the Voters’ Guide, published by the Daily Mining Gazette.

In the late 1700s, Ben Franklin believed that free people would choose to work together for the common good, supporting the post office, public schools, libraries, etc. In contrast, Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards warned that too much freedom would lead to what we see in our country today: greed, a win-lose view of life, foul language and violence. His fiery sermons challenged Americans to do what was right in the long term, not simply what was expedient.

I offer encouragement from Dag Hammarskjold, who, as Secretary General of the United Nations, died in a plane crash en route to the Congo in 1961 to resolve a conflict. In his wonderful collection of personal reflections, “Markings,” he wrote: “You have not done enough, you have never done enough, so long as it is still possible that you have something of value to contribute.”

Carolyn C. Peterson



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