Last month I moved from a ‘blue’ town to the ‘red’ town directly across the freeway. They are symbiotic cities that cooperate-yet-clash like many other city pairings in which I’ve lived (Anchorage vs Wasilla, Eureka vs Arcata, Globe vs Miami).
My move, plus the antagonistic U.S. political climate, has me thinking about economic class in my neighborhood. My friends tend to be from one class (professional/managerial elite), my coworkers are a mix, my new community is another class (working class), and I’m a mix of elite family and education with a working class background and income.
I care about all of us, regardless of class, and I see prejudice as problematic. Class prejudice is around me and it’s in me. And I consciously try to eschew partisan politics — I know the neurology of fear and its escalating negative social outcomes.
So I try to step back and see class prejudice from outside any political frame — class prejudice is bigger than that narrow war zone we call politics. I’d like to approach ‘class’ like we approach other forms of discrimination such as race and gender.
I hope to see our prejudice with compassion, to learn about it and talk about it, to alleviate pressure points and spread understanding. Everyone is valuable, everyone needs to be safe, and we co-exist (regardless of class) so we need to study unity and learn how to function.
Today I’m reflecting on a letter from the Universal House of Justice, published three months ago, that talks about these things…
The welfare of any segment of humanity is inextricably bound up with the welfare of the whole. Humanity’s collective life suffers when any one group thinks of its own well-being in isolation from that of its neighbours or pursues economic gain without regard for how the natural environment, which provides sustenance for all, is affected. A stubborn obstruction, then, stands in the way of meaningful social progress: time and again, avarice and self-interest prevail at the expense of the common good. Unconscionable quantities of wealth are being amassed, and the instability this creates is made worse by how income and opportunity are spread so unevenly both between nations and within nations. But it need not be so. However much such conditions are the outcome of history, they do not have to define the future, and even if current approaches to economic life satisfied humanity’s stage of adolescence, they are certainly inadequate for its dawning age of maturity. There is no justification for continuing to perpetuate structures, rules, and systems that manifestly fail to serve the interests of all peoples. The teachings of the Faith leave no room for doubt: there is an inherent moral dimension to the generation, distribution, and utilization of wealth and resources.
— Universal House of Justice, March 1, 2017
There’s a lot to consider. The rest of the letter is here.
How can our collective prosperity be advanced through justice, generosity, collaboration, and mutual assistance?