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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . .

22 August 2012

Midaeval Times

As I have thought about our society today, I am troubled by how easily some folks would just as soon leave the poor behind.  We have so many people who are unemployed, homeless, mentally ill, hungry, underemployed, and strangers in our land.  Yet, we keep hearing about those who continually increase their private fortunes as a result of the folks who work for them.  There are those who are calling for the end to  unions, because their benefits are too magnanimous.  We have returning service men and women who can't find a decent or any job.  We have people who have made a fortune over the collapse of our financial system.  We have people who have be evicted from their homes as a result of that same collapse.  We have people who think that elimination of all social net benefits is a good thing, because "they" (whatever that means) should just go out and get a job.  "They" are just laying around expecting a handout from the government, so these folks say.  Yup, it probably WAS said by that fairly well known author during the 19th Century, "we have the best of times, we have the worst of times."

In a country like ours, doesn't something just seem amiss with these starkly polarized conditions?  How can one of the richest nations in all of history have so many homeless?  So many without medical care? So many unemployed?  So many unattended mentally ill?  So many soldiers wondering what to do?  So many working poor?  So many underemployed for their skills?

I may be a little  progressive, OK liberal, (liberal is NOT a dirty word) when I state that I don't really believe all of these marginalized people are there because of choice.  The unfortunate events of the last few years has displaced so many people while a few padded their bank accounts.

We have been so proud of our accomplishments as a nation.  Certainly, we have done a lot since World War II.  Computers, jet planes, internet, iPhone, iPad, & iPod, robots assembling our autos, and the list is countless.  Yet among all of this splendor and wealth, we persist in hiding the scourge of these marginalized people.  I have been fortunate to visit New York City.  I noticed, not only there, but in other large cities, people who are just plain ignored, because they are dirty looking and pushing baskets.  Why are they there in the first place?  Does anyone care?

We have also been proud of our mostly Judeo-Christian values system in this country.  Now, we have many other faiths residing here too.  One thing nearly all of these faiths have in common as a guiding principle is how a society takes care of its marginalized people demonstrates the maturity of that society.  (I mean maturity in the grown up sense.)  Societies who ignore these marginalized people by sweeping them under the rug, or eliminating them (Hitler during WWII) end up wondering what ever happened to the good old days.

Perhaps we need a renewed commitment to thinking of others first.  I truly believe that if all people thought of another before themselves, we could see great strides in well-being for all people.  Just imagine how much less stressful driving would be!

So, I challenge our leaders to renounce power and privilege.  Do what you were elected to do!  Care for all of the people of the United States.  Again, my progressive side is showing through - I don't believe anyone whose sole purpose is to work toward the ending of the term of another leader has the right to continue in that position.  That approach simply has nothing to do with any faith's tenets, except perhaps those radical minorities that exhort war and conflict.

Oh, the title.  Yeah.  The society of the Middle Ages was largely composed of the very "haves" and the very "have-nots".  It kind of seems that we are on the road to returning to that wonderful time of our past.  Is that what we really want?