The IRS–Audits or Bonuses?

            Somewhere along the bureaucratic  trail, the IRS forgot that it was created to serve the people. It has become instead, a fearful engine of control in our lives.

              From the time of our Founders to the present, there has been a fundamental premise that certain values produce certain results. We believe that hard work, ethical behavior, integrity, and service are rewarded. Somewhere along the trail the IRS turned that idea up-side-down. It gives bonuses to some employees who have been disciplined, but what is more astounding is that it gives bonuses to some employees who have not paid their taxes. I am at a loss for words when I think that the institution has become so corrupt and so flauntingly bold that such behavior doesn’t immediately lead to mass dismissals. It must be very difficult for all the thousands of employees who are moral and ethical people. Please do not look the other way. We need you to help drain the swamp. I have a question for you.

           What would happen  if I wouldn’t pay my income taxes? The letter to me from the IRS would be direct and punitive. They would have total power to “enforce” the law. Law should be enforced or repealed if it does not serve the people. But the law is law for all people. How do employees within the IRS not only keep their jobs when they don’t pay their income tax, but also becomel eligible for bonuses?

            I am stunned at the power, duplicity, and misbehavior of some within the IRS. These might be some of the same people who would come to my house to enforce the law. Or they might be some of the people writing the punitive, threatening letters that emanate from that institution. Wow. When did we come to this?

            What happened to the idea of our Founders that the people should be able to keep what they earned and that the federal government should levy taxes for very limited purposes?

            America, wake up. The federal government has run amuck and is gradually extinguishing the flames of our freedoms. When employees in the IRS can be the recipients of disciplinary action and choose not to pay their income taxes and still receive bonuses, have we not gone too far? Has our government not become too big and bold? In which direction are the scales of justice slipping?

            I will soon be 93, but my grandchildren are 29, 26, 17, and 13. I want enough freedom left for them that they may speak and be heard. I will use my voice as long as it lives. We are such a young nation, a nation created with Divine Guidance. That is our true history. Will our downfall happen because we ignore our founding that created the “shining city on a hill”? 

 

Veteran’s Day–Just Another Long Weekend Holiday?

            Last night at our School Board meeting, we voted not to take Veteran’s Day as a holiday, but make the vacation day into a weekend holiday, thereby creating a long weekend. Just another day off to play with to create a long weekend!!! We have done that with major dates in our history. We no longer have Washington’s or Lincoln’s birthday on their birthdays; we have created a long President’s Day Holiday weekend. I am  a veteran and I consider myself a patriot. I really object to these practices, but I was alone in the discussion.

            As the years pass, our children will be in school on Veteran’s Day; they won’t be available to play in the bands or march in the parades. I can’t imagine that veteran’s will have their celebrations on the weekend just to accommodate the schools. Our important historical dates are mirroring the Doppler Effect–they become less distinct as they fade away.  I can’t imagine parades or flag salutes at the backyard barbecue; nor do I think that the schools will take a field trip to attend the parade. But it would be a good idea.

            This important step was taken by us  in the name of calendar and negotiations. It was just routine business. Like so much of what is happening in our schools. It’s the routine business or the items placed on the consent agenda that set the policies, directions, and practices in our schools. And I would like to suggest that it all becomes routine business for so many school boards because of the structure and nature of so many school district boards.

            In my experience of 18 years as a board member, superintendents of districts have far more opportunity and culture to control school districts than do boards. There is a culture, called governance alignment, in our district and I believe quite generally, that creates an isolated board when it comes to the agenda of the meetings where the action occurs. They have the superintendent’s rendition of what needs to be known about the subject. But that’s a subject  for another blog

            For now, don’t let your school board create a three-day weekend just because Veteran’s Day was handy. Continue to teach your children and insist that the schools do likewise, that it is a day that should be fully celebrated and explained. lt does have meaning, and it’s not there just as a convenient holiday to move around on the calendar.

           

 

I Almost Forgot to Be Grateful

 

             What a beautiful morning! The California sky was filled with wispy white clouds that accented the dome of blue. The yellow iris along the driveway called attention to their presence. Other flowers formed an important background to the majesty of the large yellow blossoms. The sounds of various species of birds filled the air with their own symphonic brand. The palms added their usual interest and beauty to the landscape. What a beautiful landscape to remind me of the importance of an attitude of gratitude.  

            As I sat at the end of the driveway, I realized that I had been consumed the last too many days with issues that come from a crisis of confidence, confidence in people who do things that just don’t fit the character I ascribed to these folks. I kept saying to myself that all of this would never happen if people lived by the Golden Rule, if they just would do what was right. As the breeze came in gentle gusts, it was like someone brushing my face to get my attention, or giving me a nudge to change a direction.

            I realized that I needed to pick up my trust bag again. I could not allow myself to be consumed by the nastiness of a few, the lies, the lack of integrity clothed in pious clothes. I needed to open my bag of trust, let the air of honesty, compassion, forgiveness, trust and faith clear the foul air around me. I needed to remember that so many family members and friends were still there, being who and what they have always been. I will let them reign in my life; I will put the evil genies in their clouded bottles and make the lids so secure that I will not be enticed to let them out of their habitat to inhabit my space again.

            While I was worrying about how stinky some people can be, I almost forgot to be grateful for all the great people who every  day prove my faith in justice, integrity, and love. This morning the natural wonders of my driveway where I take my grateful walk every day, provided the evidence that all the things that I see every day and am thankful for could be taken away if I chose not to see them.

            A lesson learned again. I will not let evil consume the good in my life. I will work to be the best that I can be where ever I am fortunate enough to serve. Yes, I will fight the bad stuff I encounter, but I will not lose my effectiveness for fighting it; I will lay the conflict down at the end of the day, rest and restore my energy for the next struggle or joy. Yes, I will save energy for both lest I become unable to be grateful.