Janus and the Unceasing Pile of Appeals on your Desk






What’s in your pile?

I’m sure you have the stack sitting on your desk top, same as me.

Our church needs about $100,000 a month to meet its operating expenses, the Salvation Army  asks for a contribution, the Scouts need my support, Prison Fellowship Ministries desperately pleads for help and my friends hit me up for an ad in their kids’ upcoming high school soccer program.

My Alma Mater ( funny word, the original Latin sense was the mother by whom one was nourished ) desperately tries to make me feel ‘connected‘ and would like a check and


…horn-headed snails are dying at an unprecedented rate due to global warming so snail shelters are urgently needed, send a check immediately!

Those are just the charitable appeals.

The house needs painting, the furnace is failing, the van needs tires, my grandchildren all want iPods and my student loan is past due.

I am a proud member of the class of richest American’s who fails to pay his fair share in taxes…greedy self-centered rodent that I am.

It is overwhelming, is it not?

The stack.

The pile.

The appeals.

Begging, pleading, imploring…and other words that capture the aura of pressure that lurks.

The lives of too many Americans is a pecuniary nightmare.

fiscal cliff

The clock is ticking on our fiscal cliff…in Washington and on Elm Street.

We (not all of us) are terrible managers of our coins.

Buried within the fabric of our national crisis is the shame of the non-performing mortgages lent with blind faith (it used to be good faith) that most Americans aren’t even focused on.


no drop ever considers itself responsible for the flood

Chinese Proverb                                     |


Budget cuts loom and we react with despair.  Leadership within the ranks of our elected officials is conspicuously non-existentLeadership has the (guts, courage, stature = ) ability to select the difficult (often painful) corrections to our irresponsible and foolish choices of the past.

Well, shame on them.

And, shame on us.

Needs will always exceed resources. (…stack bigger than my checking account balance)  The month will always last longer than your last paycheck.  Some citizens (neighbors and friends) will always have more than you.  The answer is not to reapportion or appropriate their cucumbers into the public treasury of produce.

The answer is collective and personal restraint.

The answer is to discipline oneself on all levels – from consumption to managing our own jealousy and envy…(coveting our neighbor’s stuffIndulgence has a nasty tab to be paid at the end of the party.

Our calendar originates from the Romans and although the names of the months all have a particular meaning, we seldom appreciate the genius behind the titles.


Janus is a Latin word, the name for the Roman god of beginnings.  Each new beginning divides the past from the futureJanus has two faces, one that looks back and one that looks forward, thus January is the beginning, a time to consider both the past and the future.

This is good precedent.

I wonder if we have made Janus into an exclusively forward looking face, evidence of a subconscious refusal to acknowledge our misteaks and miscalculations?  Who wants to look back, especially when choices and actions of the past evoke pain, sorrow and embarrassment?

There will never be such a thing as the bonum publicum as long as recipients exceed contributors.

There will never be such a thing as the bonum publicum as long as takers out-number givers.

There will never be a bonum publicum when future generations are crushed under the debt of an indulgent past.

There will never be a bonum publicum when leadership consists of expedient opportunists blinded by their own desperate political megalomania.

Both collectively and individually – if we refuse the cure because we’d rather not experience the discomfort of it, we shall suffer a fate far worse the unfortunate side effects of the treatment.

|                                           …only those who look back can understands this

Oh that we might courageously choose the road that leads to not only a better 2013, but one that extends far beyond the next 12 months.  This – for the sake of the bonum publicum.

Happy New Year to you and yours,


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Categories: Federal Deficit, Financial Decline of America, Fiscal Responsibility, Leadership, Outrage, Politics, Politics as Usual, Taxes

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1 reply

  1. Yeah, can’t argue. Was true back when Cicero and some of his predecessors expresses similar ideas. Nobody listened then, either. And if I recall, the Bible reports similar go-rounds from even earlier days. Likely something to do with our DNA, perhaps?

    If we want responsible leaders on top, we need to stop electing crooked politicians who promise something for nothing, right? But in the 6,000 or so years we’ve had, we seem not to have taken that seriously…

    Maybe I’m just in a bad mood…

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