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Dollars and census

Downtown Detroit
Downtown Detroit
photography by Jennifer Laura

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world."  Luke 2:1

There has been a good deal of publicity about the U.S. Census this year.  The barrage of commercials and billboards have seemed to do everything but simplify the purpose of this national head-count.  In short, it comes down to dollars and cents.  This, however, is not a new concept.  The verse above shows that the Roman government found it effective to count every available citizen in order to fill the reserves.  The difference, however, is Rome only counted everyone once.

In Detroit, if you did mail in your census forms, you may find that you are being asked to fill them out again.  Hired representatives are going house to house, door to door, and business to business and filling out additional surveys.  A real-estate agent confided that he receives daily phone calls on abandoned or repossessed properties.  It is another census representative seeking to have confirmation that there is no resident.  Every day, over and over again.  So, could it be that the census bureau just wants to be sure we are all counted once?  Well, a close source recently confided that when she let the census bureau know that she already filled out her survey, they pushed to have another filled out.  No amount of debate was able to dissuade the representative until finally the conversation was ended. 

And so it is that we continue the hunt in Detroit for more and more Government funding.  It is well known that our elections are plagued with thousands of votes that are illegitimate or unaccounted for.  Every internal audit in recent history seems to reveal that spending is completely out of control.  The eyes all look toward Detroit, and then Lansing, and finally Washington D.C. to bring financial relief.  The problem, however, is that we are picking our own pocket.  The high taxes in Michigan continue to force businesses to look elsewhere, and the corruption and greed of Government officials only serves to disenfranchise the entire population.  The problem is, who do you report the Government to when it goes astray?

Around 234 years ago, the answer was to break off and form a new Government.  The vision of freedom without Government interference has officially done a 180 degree turn.  We know have a population of those who believe that the Government prints its own money and can give it out at will with no problem.  This is obviously a generation that has either forgotten, never heard about or was not around for the late 1970s.  The abundant production of money in that time was followed up by increasingly high interest rates in order to help balance out a disastrous situation.  If our money has nothing of value to back it up, it becomes worthless.  So, you can have all you want and still end up with nothing. 

Friends, it eventually has to end.  The more the head-count in Detroit goes down, the less money there is.  The less money there is, the more crime seems to rise.  The more crime rises, the more people leave the city.  Where do we begin again?  First, we need to regain faith in our governing authorities.  The double-counting and corruption does less than nothing for the confidence of our citizens.  In fact, instead of leaving in fear, they will leave in disgust.  A recent article highlights how a city like Grand Rapids contrasts Detroit.  It is from the private sector that relief will come, and the powers that be have served as a wall that seems to keep them from coming in.  It is time to open the door. 

If relief is going to come, we are going to have to work for it.  There is no hand-out or incentive that can renew our city.  Decades of believing that someone else should pay the bills has left the bills unpaid, and the lights are about to be turned off.  There is always hope, but hope without movement can turn into day-dreaming.  Sometimes God calls us to be still, but sometimes he calls us to move forward.  It is, more than ever, time to move forward.

Be blessed this weekend, friends.  Please know that hope never fails, so long as we hope in that which is true.  I apologize for my over-zealous prediction last week.   It never hurts to hope, but God may have other plans!  Please tune in again next week as we continue in this great gift called life.  Until then, God bless and keep reading.


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