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The power of hope

Christians celebrated Easter last week. This defines our faith. Jesus Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead. The message to us is one of hope. Hope not only that there is life after death but also hope of a better world, a better life for our families. It also speaks to the issue of change. No matter what is in our past, we can change our lives. We have the power to change ourselves. This is the center our faith. Most religions have hope as a central issue.

Frank Ruff Jr.

In today’s “politically correct” world in which some are working to push religion from our daily lives, allowing it only hidden behind the walls of our churches, it was heartwarming to see an elderly nun as the symbol of hope for a final four basketball team. However, hope is not owned by religion. We all are born with hope. It is either nurtured by our upbringing, or not. Without hope, it is easy to throw up our hands and question why make an extra effort to set goals and work toward successful accomplishment. When one’s upbringing has not nurtured hope, young people see no reason to be successful in school or learn a skill to make a better life for the future.

Government has done much to move people away from the idea that success is something that one should work toward. Once communities provided for those truly needing assistance for physical or mental reason. As the government took over that role and rules have come from Washington, more and more individuals are allowed to get a “free ride.” That free ride drives out a vision of hope for a better life and replaces it with one focused on receiving all one can get.

When is free a right?

The old saying — nothing is free, means nothing to many. For those that subside on longtime government assistance, they rarely view that help as a cost to anyone, thus focusing on how they can get more. They simply view it as a right. Others, seeing this, are drawn into that mentality, much as a bad apple in a bushel. However, most understand that the costs of these programs are passed on to either the taxpayers or to the children and grandchildren. When the federal government offers housing assistance, what they really mean is that those who pay taxes provide the funds needed to provide the rent promised to the apartment or house owner. Likewise, with the food stamp and other programs.

This thinking has become so prevalent that such programs are defined as a right. The chief executive officer of a Richmond hospital wrote an editorial letter to the Richmond Times-Dispatch referring to the “right” to health care. She clearly has a financial stake in such a position, but many others think likewise with no consideration of the cost to the next generations. However, nowhere in our state or federal constitutions does any such “right” exist where someone else is required to pay for another’s “right.” Sometimes there are times that legislators believe that it is a positive to provide services. We do so in the case of health care for children, likewise we do that for the most infirm among us. This, however, is not a “right,” it is a policy. We must never allow it to be considered a right.

Frank Ruff Jr. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.