January 22, 2019

Modern-day ‘Golden Rule’ has greedy twists

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law of the prophets.” 
–Matthew 7:12 (KJV)
     That’s the way we grew up reading the Golden Rule in the Bible. But in our Southern vernacular, we often say it this way: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Treat people as you want them to treat you. Regardless of your religious beliefs, that is a good rule for life.
     But hold on.
     A modern-day adaptation on the traditional “Golden Rule” has two greedy twists. One variation is “Do unto others before they do unto you.” You might laugh, but that’s not funny. Some people actually think that way.
     Another spinoff is “He who has the gold rules.” You won’t find those words in Matthew or anywhere else in the Bible. But where you will find that greedy twist is in politics and the sausage works of lawmaking. You see it in Atlanta and in Washington. No clearer examples are laws—made or canceled—which pertain to the environment.
     When you read about how-in-the-world-did-that-happen laws, all you have to do is follow the money. Polluters pump “gold” through their lobbyists to get laws written and passed so they can “rule” over their own destiny with a public-be-damned attitude.
     Watch what’s going on right now in Washington with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If the acting director, Andrew Wheeler, is confirmed, the EPA will become the Environmental Polluters Association. Wheeler has made it clear that deregulation is on the top of his agenda. As a former coal-industry lobbyist, he will swing the doors open to an anything-goes approach.
     Who wins in that scenario?
     Can’t you hear the “Golden Rulers” clicking their heels?
     And when Wheeler gives them their way, you will hear this public-be-damned bunch snickering, all the way to the bank, putting greed over the common good.
     Do I need to mention who loses?
     My generation has more days behind us than ahead of us. I am not worried so much about me. If I stop breathing tomorrow, I can’t complain. My life has been full, but I’d like more time with my family and friends. My major concern is for the generations behind the Baby Boomers, especially those not yet born. Don’t they deserve a chance to live in a less-polluted world? Aren’t clean air and safe water important?
     You would think so. But why would Washington put a fox, Andrew Wheeler, in EPA’s hen house?
     The answer lies in the “Golden Rule,” but not the one in the Bible.