The struggles of a catholic progressive


I’m discouraged today. We seem to have lost the ability to reflect in a sober and responsible manner as a society. Everyone has their sacred cows, and they will stand for them to the death of all of us rather than look for ways that everyone’s interests can be accommodated. It doesn’t matter what subject we talk about, everyone seems to take the most extreme position possible and then stand pat and hold their hands over their ears. It reminds me of a bunch of children who were raised without parents. The issues on the table right now in the political realm are concrete; mass maniacal murders are taking place in our society because of the easy availability of repeating weaponry which are capable of taking out large numbers in a very brief period. Whether you have to pull the trigger each time or if the weapons do it all automatically, no one can ever explain any need for such weapons to be available to ordinary citizens for any purpose. Yet, a segment of our society will fight to the death to keep any kind of responsible regulation on them that might save a classroom full of kids or a theater full of kids and adults. Our politicians are fighting about who is going to pay for government. A reasonable person would agree that those who benefit the most from the amenities of a developed society would contribute the most to supporting that society. The super-rich en masse have gone to Washington and begged the politicians to tax them more and the middle class less for the good of all of us. But for some reason, those who have the most contribute the least in our society. At a time when both parents have to work, sometimes two jobs, to make ends meet in the middle class, their are those in positions of leadership that they are not contributing enough, and that the very richest corporations and the super-rich are contributing too much when they often contribute a very tiny fraction already, or not at all. There are those who would go after the social safety net, claiming that it is too generous, when, in fact, we have entire families living in their cars in the dead of winter in the richest country in the world. We have millions of children in our society who go to bed hungry most nights, while corporations and the super-rich experience earnings from their investments that break all records. There are those who would try to gouge those who have contributed to the Social Security Trust Fund by limiting their ability to access those promised benefits when needed when they have contributed all their working lives on the promise of having something at the end of their lives. This, despite the fact that we already know that the government has been “borrowing” the surplus in the fund for decades. Now they want to rob the entire thing. We have had a jobless recovery in this society, where those who have the most have made record returns while highly qualified and educated people are unable to find employment, or are dramatically under-employed, and are labeled unemployable by the very corporations who have trained and worked them thousands of uncompensated hours on the thin promise that better days were ahead when things got better, and then were rewarded with layoffs – staff-reductions – down-sizing, and exportation of their jobs to the other side of the world. Those who played the game as it was defined, getting educated and working night and day for decades are now dependent on often non-existent unemployment and training programs, and end up settling for jobs which pay a third of what they were making, if those are even available. It seems as though somewhere in here, would be an opportunity for some of these smart politicians to step forward and do something good for the people of this country. But we don’t see any of that. Instead we see the peoples representatives who are bought and paid for by special interests. I go to my church seeking some solace, and I hear right wing political speech from my priest, instead of words of spiritual comfort and perspective. I turn on the news, and I find that all there is is propaganda, a channel for each sub-group of political elite. The late night comedians make jokes about the end of the world, and the failings of mighty generals who have been taken down by their own lack of character, senators destroying careers devoted to public service for frivolous political gain. But hey – Happy Holidays! Right?

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