Been thinking about how our country is going, where it’s been, and what might happen in the future.  A little depressing.  Then I read this article in the USA Today.  Granted, it’s a left-leaning publication.  I was still astounded.  It’s about broadband in rural areas of the country, but that’s interchangeable with any number of other things – health care, a cheap mortgage, dining out, etc.

“Just because we live in rural America doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have broadband,” says Roper, a third-generation peanut farmer. “We’re all Americans. We shouldn’t be treated less than anyone else.”

I’m sorry, Mr. Roper.  I hadn’t realized that I was depriving you of anything.  And now that I think of it, you have the right to buy broadband from anybody who’s selling it.  You have the right to start your own broadband business if you want.  You have the right to spend your money on pizza instead of peanuts.  And so do I.

It’s called capitalism.  And I miss it.

In the parable of the laborers, where the owner hires workers at various times of the day yet pays them all the same (as agreed), there’s this little section of a verse, from Matthew 20:15a:

Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?

Well, these days, it’s hard to say.  We’re being saddled with a lot of debt without being able to vote on it.  I heard that in 2008 the US had the biggest budget deficit in our history.  And in 2009 it’s going to quadruple (see here for a great headline, or here for a more reasoned discussion and the same info at the start of the 4th paragraph).

But I digress.  There’s people in rural America who have to be heard.  From the USA Today story again:

“As a country, we’re basically punishing people for living where they want to live,” says Vince Jordan, CEO of Ridgeview Telephone, a small Colorado-based carrier that caters to rural customers.

I’m being “punished” for living in Ohio by not being able to see the Rockies, get a Maine lobster from Bayley’s Lobster Pound, get a piece of New York cheesecake from Leo Lindy’s, and not being able to cruise up the California coast to Santa Barbara any time I want.  Basically.

Personal choice, personal responsibility.  There are trade-offs.  It’s part of what you learn as you become an adult and start interacting with the world.

Or not.  One last quote from USA Today’s article:

“We are one country. We feed you; you take care of us.”

As opposed to taking the chickens and potatoes for free?  Sure, I’m into that.  I’ll be certain to pay cash money the next time I buy something, whether from a farmers’ market, a grocery store, or a restaurant.  But it doesn’t include health care or broadband – it’s a cash transaction.  Value given for value received.  Capitalism, not socialism.

I still have to work hard, sometimes, to obey this verse (from Heb. 13: 17a):

Obey your leaders and submit to them

And then I remember Proverbs 21:1

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

It is well with my soul.