Dispatches

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sharing Time


Okay. This is my second posting in less than 2 weeks. Time for a heavy trip.

I have just learned something new about my blogging self: I'm not one of those girls who can do it when there are other people in the room. I prefer to compose my bloggy messes in private.


Today I have been reading things. Some days I knit, some days I play video games, some days I do nothing but work, but today I read. There's a book I've been working on for the last 2 months. It's about, well, uh...here's the thing. It's mostly about Christianity and politics in the US. It's about how the right has coopted Christianity (in some pretty un-Christian ways) and how the left is wrong to quarantine itself from any stance that seems remotely right wing-ish.

What I'm finding interesting though, is the theme that runs through the book about a "consistent ethic of life." About how the US, and really all rich countries, need to focus on an ethic of life--of respecting all human lives in the kinds of laws passed, the kinds of practices condoned and in the way wealth is distributed. I was just reading about the death penalty, for instance. The argument in the book is that the death penalty is not consistent with an ethic of life, because a disproportionate number of people on death row come from poor backgrounds and are not white, and because taking a life does not bring another life back. Basically, the death penalty punishes the poor and the oppressed.

Then I was reading another article in the Walrus magazine by Mark Kingwell. He goes on about a bunch of stuff (and here I admit that I've not made it to the end of this article) but today I read his take on the American Dream (look ,see, it's so important that even I, a lowly Canadian, have the urge to capitalize it). And on how the American Dream is collapsing, in spite of the fact that it seems to be alive and well. The numbers on the gap between the richest and the poorest (in the US and around the world) as well as the tax and other burdens that are largely levvied on the poor and not the rich (who can afford such burdens) are so wild they are almost unbelievable. It's really crazy.

Anyhow, all this is to say that both of these men are helping me to articulate (very haltingly, I grant) the idea that a fair world, societies that take care of everyone and do the best they can to promote equality between all people, is a safer world for all people. Terror and fear work best when people are insecure and have lots of things to be terribly afraid of. And more desperate, lonely people in the world mean more people doing desperate lonely things.

I dunno what this means in practical terms exactly, except that all of the things that Canada is struggling with--universal health care, education (primary, secondary and post-secondary), providing for people without work, with few prospects, proving people with EI and welfare if they need it--all of these things are good things, that make people's lives better, and that make the world better. No bottom line can fix the problems that a social safety net that works for everyone can fix.

Or maybe I'm completely out to lunch. You get to decide, o reader.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna be thankful to have everything I have and drink a toast to the person who invented the roof (to quote, Linus, or Charlie Brown, or one of those other crazy Peanuts kids).

Make Poverty History campaign (If Sarah McLaughlin thinks it's a good idea, then it must be a good idea...)

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