A Wholesale Rethinking; A Loving Community
A society and systems that creates millions of homeless people, has need of homeless shelters & food banks, must be revised,disrupted and rebuilt differently! We cannot in good conscience allow it to persist!
We cannot just close our eyes, watch TV, numb ourselves out with food drink and drugs and say Well that’s just how life is and nothing we do is going to ever change that! WE cannot say I don’t like or I don’t follow “politics” it’s too upsetting or boring, I just want to take care of myself and my family. Not anymore! That’s like saying I don’t care about breathing or I think breathing is boring.
Politics is how we live or die based on the choices we make as a society and not to choose is still a choice! It is choosing to let others decide your and our fate like how much you can earn, if you will earn the same or less for the same work because of your skin color or gender, if who you love or your gender identity is cause for you to be abused and rejected by society and if your children get sent off to die in trumped up wars or surviving those wars come up broken in mind body and spirit!
We cannot say I don’t do politics because that is choosing to let people make decisions for us about how much pollution we and our children breathe, how many suffer unnecessarily with Asthma, how polluted the water is we bathe our kids in or cook their food with! It is saying I don’t care about the rising Oceans threatening coastal habitation, the dying coral reefs and subsequently the dying food chain we count on to sustain all life on this planet Earth.
To say I don’t care about politics one might as well say I don’t care about traffic lights, they are boring and I am more interested in other things, if I get hit by a truck well I’ll learn about traffic lights then I guess.
I understand politics is aggravating the way people argue and fight and say mean things to one another. I understand politics doesn’t seem as important as taking the kids to school, studying for Midterms, putting in another shift at work and planning the family activities. And it seems so out of our control or ability to impact anyway, I know! But it impacts all of those things we do and care about even though it may seem invisible to us, kind of like the air we breathe. And just like the air we breathe it is vitally important!
I think it is helpful and indeed crucially important to take a deep long breath of higher consciousness as citizens living in our nation and our world.
Today hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. accept the idea that having two million of us be homeless, having thirty three thousand each year dying of gun violence (22k by gun suicides!), over forty seven million in serious poverty nearly half the nation near the poverty line, half a million of us dying yearly from cancers many of which related to tobacco, sixteen million children going to bed “food insecure” each night, our prisons filled with poor people mostly people of color, and almost all the economic gains of workers sucked up to people who already have more money than they could spend in one lifetime… is “just the way it is” is a very very bad idea!
People know that we don’t just need better policies, we need a wholesale rethinking of how our economy and our politics work, and for whom they work.~Senator Jeff Merkley, Oregon
No policy change, or legislative decree, has ever created justice in our communities. Not without a change in public consciousness and conscience that drives people to embrace a more compassionate reality. That desire to live better, to do better for others & our posterity, is what built this Nation.
A house is not built from the roof down, it requires a good foundation. A plant is not grown starting with the fruits, it requires nourishing healthy roots. We The People of this land our those roots! We must be the foundation of a just and compassionate American community. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to it as a “Loving Community”.
We have enough to feed every person, house all the homeless, heal and comfort the afflicted, but some worry we might afflict the comfortable in the process. “A rising tide lifts all boats” President Kennedy exclaimed borrowing from a slogan of the New England Council.
We can choose anew, to look at our challenges anew. Instead of seeking to build more “ladders to success”, let us build bigger tables to share, discuss, trade & connect with others and in doing this expand circles of success.
A ladder is a hierarchy with some at the top others below. It creates winners and losers with the winners holding the power to create the rules of how others may or may not ascend the ladder.
Nature however does not create straight lines, it creates curves. Space itself is curved! We ourselves are all made of circles. Circles are (small d) democratic. One can’t choose a side in a circle.
They say we get what we measure. Millions of us have been raised to measure our worth by our net worth, by our income and level of “success” in society. I have found however that it is not what we take from the world that is the measure of success, but what we make in it and what we make of it. The connections we create with people and nature around us creates a far greater dividend yield than any Bond or investment. So let us create more healthy connections, expand our circles of engagement and of compassion.
Senator Sanders often says that “nobody who works a full time job should live in poverty in America” and I agree. My friends, my brothers and sisters, the reality is that nobody should ever live in poverty! This is the richest country in history. We are suffering through a period of wealth redistribution from the poor and working middle classes to the top wealthiest few who use that wealthy to supplant our priorities with their own in our government.
We don’t need to and should not accept this! We must decide to create something new that respects human dignity and decency! Futurist Buckminster Fuller understood that fighting against an existing reality is not at all as effective as creating a new one “that makes the existing model obsolete”. That is what we must do! Create a new model of economics and governing and community building that puts the health of people, community and planet above creation of profits or “growth”.
Instead of growing richer as a path to “success”, let us cooperate together to grow better, to grow healthier, and become happier. We can do this by “building more Tables” ie creating successful communities! The more we meet together in our neighborhoods to cooperate and collaborate, to educate ourselves and others, to uplift the fallen, comfort the afflicted, and celebrate our creative natures the more actual wealth we create.
Every town or city should create if it does not yet have one a “town square” or community center! Let us come together to share ideas, artistic expression, economic cooperation, and civic cooperation. Let us see clear measurements of our own towns challenges from homelessness to graduation rates, to employment participation rates. It should be clearly displayed like we display the daily sports scores! Put it up on a big board for all to see. For example it might show; One hundred ten people are hungry in our area today, four thousand two hundred people are in need of jobs, two hundred children dropped out of high school this year, so that we know the score of what really matters in our communities.
Then let us come together to make things better. Let us innovate, create, work hard and cooperate to improve our communities from the grassroots on up.
Let us begin by accepting a new idea for our nation, that everyone deserves human dignity! Everyone! Regardless of race, creed, status or how poor or rich a family one is born into, regardless of how hard they work or healthy they are. Safe housing, good healthcare, quality education, clean water, safe nutritious food, these things are human rights and as such our natural birthrights!
Being rich is no virtue and being poor is no vice. This has far more to do with a genetic lottery of where you are born into which family and ethnicity than with your good or poor character.
It is time to recommit ourselves to that vision of a country that measures our nation’s success not at the boardroom table, but at kitchen tables across America.~Senator Jeff Merkley, Oregon
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