It’s probably not surprising, but the interplay between The Haves and the Have Nots often weighs heavily on my mind. Classify it as bleeding heart liberal syndrome if you must, but I find it difficult to escape the responsibility that we all bear in helping those Jesus classically referred to as “the least of these.” The continual caricature of those in our society who fall along the bottom rungs of the ladder as somehow less than us or lazier than most irritates me to no end. It’s a caricature for a reason – hyperbole, generalization, prejudice.
Advent typically magnifies the discomfort within me. Advent in a recession is probably a double whammy as I think it apt to consider what Jesus meant by “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Hint: Something entirely different I suspect than the most powerful folks among us who consider themselves Christians.
What seems more likely, at least to me, is that Americans will consign our broken health system to the list of problems on which politics has no bearing. Our worldview tends toward believing that what’s wrong with our economy is not our government’s choices but China. And what’s wrong with our schools is not our policies about families and funding, but with parents’ character. And what’s wrong with health reform is not that our system relies on for-profit insurance companies, but that insurers are doing us wrong. It’s no recipe for a long-term political solution.
It’s not a recipe for a long-term solution of any kind and this focus on “individual responsibility” as if all of our ills are due to some sort of moral failing is a distraction at best and something far more sinister at worse. It’s not a narrative that has served us well in the past and I fear where it will deliver us in the months and years to come.