Saturday, April 07, 2012

Miles To Go

I'm sure I've probably told this story before, but it is pertinent, so bare with me. Not quite ten years ago, I purchased the CD Believe by the heavy metal band Disturbed. The second song on the release, "Liberate", is a marvelous call to stop waiting for something external to relieve us from all that afflicts us, lead singer David Drayton - who wrote most of the lyrics in the wake both of 9/11 and the passing of his grandfather, an Orthodox rabbi - quotes the Hebrew Scriptures in his call for all of us to live in the Law, which is love.

Needless to say, I ate this song up.

I was introducing it to Lisa, and when it was over, she asked me, "Why do they have to be so angry?"

The thought has been bouncing around my mind, in particular as we have moved through Holy Week on our way to the Easter announcement of the Eighth Day, the first day of the New Creation. With so much for which to be joyful, why is there so much rage? Not just out there, but within myself. I find myself, more and more, with barely contained anger at so much that I read and hear and see. I would be lying if I said that giving vent to this rage wasn't a marvelous flood of feelings.

All the same, there is just so much to enrage us.

John Derbyshire at The National Review:
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
(11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”
Ann Coulter.

The persistence of abject poverty and hunger not somewhere else, but right here in the United States.
The operation of the US economic system The operation of the US economic and political system has led to certain people/groups being relatively disenfranchised.

The normal operation of the economic system will create a significant amount of poverty.

First, in a free enterprise economy, there is competition for jobs, with jobs going to the most qualified. On the other hand, there is almost always a significant amount of unemployment, so that not everyone will get a job, with the major unemployment falling on the least qualified. It might be tempting to identify them as 'unemployable' but what is in fact happening is that the private enterprise system is not generating enough jobs to employ everyone.
Secondly, the top echelon of business has the power to allocate the profits of the enterprise, and certainly they have allocated these profits to themselves in recent years.
The operation of the US political system, The US political system, which should address the major problems of its citizens, is to a great extent not focused on fundamental concerns of poor people, but on other concerns.

Military and security expenditure represent half of US federal government discretionary expenditures, much larger that expenditures to assist poor people, and this budgeting is assisted by a strong web of political and financial connections which has been termed the "military-industrial complex."
Corporations and the rich, through their ability to lobby Congress and the Administration effectively by such means as spending large amounts of money on lobbying efforts and on political campaigns of elected officials have succeeded in establishing their priorities, including tax breaks and subsidies..
The Democratic party, which used to be a party of the 'working class' has now set its sights on the 'middle class' as the target base of voters it must appeal to.
The culture of inequality

People are typically segregated by income and often race.
Jobs are low paid and scarce. This can lead to crime as a way of obtaining income, and also to unemployed men not willing to marry, which can play a significant role in developing a cultural model of single parent families.
The lack of income, as described in the poverty section above create problems, including poor housing, lack of food, health problems and inability to address needs of one's children.
As a result of their situation, people living in poverty can themselves have patterns of behavior, such as alcoholism or a 'life of crime' that are destructive to them.

The Second Congo War (the dates in the link are wrong; the war continues, with all the horrors such a war drags in its train).

I could continue, but I think the point is clear enough. For all that tomorrow is a day of celebration, joy, and thanksgiving, there is far too much evil and violence in the world to rest easy. I'm angry not because politics makes solutions difficult; I'm angry because not enough people are involved, are working to set things right, to make of our world a place where the Risen Christ can be seen and whose Reign will be acknowledged.

I'm angry because we are, alas, a people who, while free from sin, are still immersed in its clutches. Ours is the time between the Times, as a young Karl Barth wrote nearly one hundred years ago. We have a long way to go before our world, in big and small ways, can be said to shine with the light of New Day whose arrival we celebrate tomorrow.

Anger is a healthy reaction to so much around us, I usually wonder why more of us aren't seething with rage. All the same, we need to set that in abeyance, in the early hours of tomorrow's sunrise, as we gather to remember that, despite the horrors around us, they do not have the last word. Ours is a Creation claimed by the crucified and risen Christ; our task is to live this out best as we can.

Virtual Tin Cup

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