Whatever our personal views on this election might be, the outcome is the same for all of us. All of us, no matter what our political perspective or our hopes for our nation and our world, are in this together.
Part of the deep tradition of the Episcopal Church is to pray for our leaders: rarely if ever have these prayers been more needed. Our nation and our world face vast and staggeringly complex problems; none of which can be solved quickly and easily. The problems are economic but they are aspirational as well. Bluntly put: how do we pay for things, and why do we make the particular choices that we do. As we answer that question we raise the deepest question of all: to what end do we live and move and have our being?
These will be testing times; times that, unless we are careful, will tempt us to pit one part of the population against another. Increasingly it will become clear to all that the journey will be long and it will be difficult. Speaking in economic terms, there will be a price to be paid: no one will be exempt. That being said, it is of fundamental importance that we, as a people, not give in to the temptation to balance budgets at the expense of those who simply lack the power to make their needs heard: the poor and those who serve the poor. However, sad to say, if history is any indicator, this is exactly what will happen.
I find it more than a little ironic that when the issue of meeting basic human needs is raised: be that education, or healthcare, or housing for the homeless, a common objection is the firm and wise sounding declaration: you know, you can’t just throw money at a problem. And yet, when financial institutions are in crisis, led by the very well paid people, who did so much to bring us this crisis in the first place, when they ask for aid that is exactly what happens. Money has been thrown at the problem. And it has been thrown without a really clear understanding of exactly what it will actually accomplish. As you know so well, we’re not talking here about billions of dollars, or tens of billions, not even hundreds of billions, but, in the end, something in excess of a trillion dollars. In human terms this is more money than the human mind can fathom.
Mind you, I am not saying that this shouldn’t be done, or that it won’t work. What I am saying is that we should keep all these things in perspective and be mindful of just who finally is asked to actually pay the price for the national excess that has brought us to this sad moment.
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