Show Me The Money

I caught a glimpse of the movie Jerry Maguire this weekend. I must publicly admit that I bought a reduced price copy of that flick [the VHS version] a few years back. Not sure why I did that; I think it cost the same amount to rent it as it did to buy it, so I just went for it. Beyond Cuba Gooding Junior's catch phrase, the rest of the movie was mediocre, bordering on unbearable.

In our current economic downturn, it seems that many people have assimilated the Rod Tidwell's philosophy: right now, it's all about gettin' paid. It's the motivation behind the economic stimuli. It's driving marketing campaigns. And it's re-enabling a vice that needs no help in dominating our society: greed.

You see, now that people are unemployed, racked with debts, and uncertain how future financial foundations will sit, we're allowing fear to drive us towards greed. This is why politicians and the business community have adopted a similar apologetic: "Because of the present economy, we need to [insert applicable scheme here]." This teleological ethical approach [a.k.a. "the ends justifies the means"] empowers us to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we end up on the right side of this recession.

An example of this [and, quite honestly, the motivation for this post], examine my home state of Ohio. This fall, voters will be asked to, yet again, vote for legalized gambling; more specifically, Issue 3 would permit casinos to be established in four of our state's urban centers, including Cincinnati. Four times in the past twenty years, voters have rejected similar initiatives. "But this time it's different," the masses are informed, "because we'll create over 30,000 jobs in our state." This is the primary rallying cries for the Issue. So if we were to break it down into an equation:

Economic downturn + Need for new jobs = We need casinos in Ohio.

Additionally, the argument is presented that since Ohioans are already gambling out of state, we might as well keep those funds here in state. So again:

Economic downturn + Ohioans already gambling = We need casinos in Ohio.

Or, in layman's terms, "show me the money." It's that easy, right?

But lost in the simplicity of the math are some of the overlooked variables— the actual cost of permitting gambling in our state.

I go on very few crusades, but this is one of them. As a minister, and as a resident of the state of Ohio, I object to Issue 3. And since I know that readers of my blog have varying views on the issue, I'm going to devote a series of posts outlining my position. You might not like me getting political, but I fear for my city and for my neighborhood.

Just because the money is out there for the taking doesn't mean it comes without a price.