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Build Back Better

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February 2022

There are probably statistics that tell the story. What shows do Americans most like to watch? The shows starring zombies and other weird creatures that feed on blood and can’t get enough? How about the crime shows with all those evil people doing all those evil things. There are kids programming, animal programming, and sports programing, all popular. Let’s not forget the “reality” shows, you know, the ones about 90-day fiancés, cheapskates, island survivors, pawnbrokers, hoarders, and the like.

Then there’s a pretty large category of how-to shows: how to cook, dress, repair a car, garden, how to whatever. Within that category, the most likely watched is how to fix up a house. In a way, it makes lots of sense. Our houses are our greatest financial investments. And because nothing lasts forever, over time they’ll suffer the wear and tear that comes with life. They need constant maintenance if we hope to get a return on that investment. And sometimes we just want a more modern and stylish look. So we watch those shows to get ideas—or at least to dream about what could be.

What’s true for our houses is also true for countries. Our country’s bones include a vast infrastructure of streets, highways, bridges, sanitary systems, electrical grids, rail lines, airports waterways, harbors, and canals—things we need to make our lives easier. As our population has grown those systems have been taxed to the max, far beyond what they were designed to handle. They are often in bad need of repair and even replacement. We all know that something must be done. But getting it done is quite another story.

President Biden wants to accomplish it through his so-called “build back better” program. His plan carries an almost $2 trillion price tag. About a trillion covers traditional infrastructure repair, things like highways, bridges, etc. That portion has already passed Congress and been signed into law.

But the President also proposes highly controversial, non-traditional measures. They are projected to greatly increase the national debt, slow economic growth, give unnecessary tax breaks to the rich, and impose huge corporate tax increases, among other things. And among those other things, he wants taxpayers to fund abortions. Whether Congress passes those portions of the Biden plan is questionable. Yet whatever happens, we have more important needs.

Of greater concern is our culture’s moral infrastructure, the foundation for living together in peace. Can we honestly examine our culture and conclude that it is not crumbling? All the markers of a moral collapse are there. Religion has taken a horrendous beating. God is shunned in the public square. Churches are full of empty, an emptiness not just caused by COVID—if caused by COVID at all. For young adults, “none” is usually the answer to questions about religious belief or affiliation. God has an ever shrinking place in our lives. It leads to a loss of purpose, perspective, and conscience.

Our families are suffering. The family is intended to be the nucleus of civilization, a place where people learn to socialize. There they learn about love, community, and giving. But today, family life is disappearing. Marriages start too late and end too soon. Children often become the pawns in a battle between separating parents. Way too often, children are not even wanted. Many couples have more pets than kids. Fertility rates have fallen below replacement. A real threat to our culture is underpopulation, not overpopulation.

Self-gratification has taken the place of serving others. We believe pleasure is our right: right here and right now. And so we bounce from one thing to the next, searching for a satisfaction we never seem to find. Volunteerism is down. Fewer and fewer people are willing to make time to serve others. We are too busy serving ourselves. Eventually, it leads us down paths where trouble lurks.

When we’re all about ourselves, we become our own gods. When our selfish wants becomes too important, we’ll stop at nothing to get them. We have lost our moral compass, the very thing that keeps us in right relationship with God and others. We’ll kill if need be, and regularly do, even killing our own children—63 million and counting.

How do we rebuild what is so badly broken? We start with the foundation, and with reestablishing the most basic of all truths: God is God, and we are not. It sounds so obvious, but we so quickly forget. He is the source and center of life, and He made life good. We must follow in His way. If we do, we will prosper. Those before us understood. We don’t.

We did nothing to deserve life, yet God gave it to us. Perhaps it’s because God has a plan for us: to build back better. To give the generations to come a culture far better than the one we have fouled. To glorify God by serving His creation. To give more to others than we take for ourselves. It will only happen when we treat life, even in its most difficult moments, as the gift it is. A gift to be shared. A gift to be given to those whom God wants to follow us.

We have much work to do. The good news is that it won’t take trillions. Just a lot of love.

Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics.  He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.
© Paul V. Esposito 2022.  Culture of Life.  Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted.  Visit us at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/ and on Facebook.

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