Posted by: minnow | November 15, 2015

Bullies VS Visionaries

I am honestly concerned for America.  How has my religion–Christianity–been so thoroughly hijacked? Why can’t I recognize the Republican party I once supported? Truly, I am not suddenly an enthusiastic democrat or an anything goes religious progressive, but I cannot support the ugliness I see on the other side of the isle and that grieves my soul.

This explanation from Robert Reich sets the stage:

…Bullies prey on peoples’ vulnerabilities — using intimidation and humiliation to belittle others and thereby make themselves feel and look more powerful. Bullies scapegoat the weak. They spread fear. They use their power – physical strength, status, rank, or money, to browbeat those who don’t have these attributes.

American society today is filled with bullies. Some are economic bullies – CEOs and Wall Street moguls who use their power to pad their wallets and ride roughshod over shareholders, employees, and communities. Some are billionaires like the Koch brothers who use their money to undermine our democracy. Some are wealthy blowhards like Donald Trump who use their megaphones to belittle immigrants and women. Some are politicians who take bribes (campaign contributions) to favor the rich and hurt the poor. Some are police who use their authority and weapons to intimidate or even kill poor blacks. Some are bosses at the workplace who use their rank to spread fear among employees.

…bullies intensify their bullying if no one stands up to them. And the best way of standing up to them is to join with others who are also bullied…That’s what’s needed now. That’s what the movements we’re witnessing (‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬, ‪#‎feelthebern‬‪#‎fightfor15‬ and so on) are seeking to do.

I will vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary, and general election if he wins.  I will vote less enthusiastically for Hillary Clinton if she gets the nod.  In this election core values are more important to me than specific policy.  Character, thoughtfulness, reason, compassion, humility, decorum, and intelligence matter.  A person’s core beliefs inform their behavior.  Faith informs how individuals sees the world, what they pursues in life, the ideas which are allowed to grow in their hearts and minds, and the words to which they give voice.  Bernie Sanders may have been a broken record in Saturday’s debate (11/14).  Still, what parted his lips was worth burning our ears. The economy is rigged and Americans, not politicians and certainly not Wall Street, need to do something about it.  Money in the hands of average citizens, who’ve been given a living wage, will grow the economy, not the unfettered greed of trickledown economics.  Healthcare ought to be a right.  If we respect and are thankful for the service of our veterans and soldiers we need to start paying for it by taking care of them! And finally, higher education should not mean 10 to 20 years of debt.

Sanders has backed up his words with a life time of effort.  The mantra he has on repeat is nothing new.  He’s spent his entire career fighting the good fight, championing the underdog, trying to assure his constituents we still have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Veracity matters and Bernie Sanders, though imperfect, wears the mantle of humility and authenticity well.

I started by saying I am concerned for the United States.  The contrast between those on the GOP debate stage and those on the Democratic stage is startling.  The thought that average Americans (who tuck their children in at night, kiss their spouses good-bye as they head off to work, sit and drink coffee together, or cheer enthusiastically at their favorite sporting events) might actually support and vote for one of the Republican candidates frightens me.  When I listen to the vile names some use to describe Mexicans, Muslims, the poor, or their opponents I am appalled.  When I examine their tax proposals that favor the wealthy (those making seriously more than $250,000 a year); and see their positions on foreign policy which include throwing our military might around and increasing a military budget already four times larger that the next country in line; when I hear their attitudes toward women that suggest women don’t deserve equal pay or time with their families through family leave; and when I realize the burden they are willing to place on the working class (those making under $60, 000 a year), I have trouble believing any thinking, caring, God-fearing, reasonable person will seriously buy into the idea that any one of them is good for America.  Not a single GOP front runner is looking out for the best interest of the masses.

The masses–that’s us–you and me.  1 in 50 Americans makes less than $250,000 a year, over half make less than $60,000.  The fight over raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour squabbling over increasing the minimum wage for just 2.95 percent of the total work force in the US.  If you believe America was founded on Christian principles then please, demand that your representatives  reflect Christ’s attitudes toward the poor, the marginalized, and the heavy burdened.  We are the voices the elite think they can ignore, the shouts their intimidation tactics and fear mongering believe they can subdue.

This week  my freshmen English classes will read Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, I Have a Dream, as we continue our unit on Identity.  I would like to borrow some thoughts from Dr. King’s speech, and apply them to the growing economic divide in our country , a divide that hammers the Black community but is not limited to a single ethnic group.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note…Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us, upon demand, the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

America, these are dangerous days in which to slumber.  Dr. King’s dream is one all Americans must walk out, together.  We must march now, in the harsh light of day, before our lethargy and fears make us  casualties of other people’s greed.

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. […] someone, anyone, who holds onto Christ as a role model.  Yet here I sit, having just posted my Bullies VS Visionaries thread feeling less than hopeful, […]


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