The revolution won’t be elected

My friend Art tells me the main reason he votes is so he can see his neighbors, who volunteer at the booth. That’s one of the best reasons I’ve got to do it, too. My voting booth is right up the street at the Church of the Advocate. The big race this year was between who is going to represent the Democratic Party in November’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. Tom Wolf won. I’m not sure it really matters. There could be marginal differences that affect how much fracking companies get taxed, or how quickly we sell our souls to corporations who want to run our public schools, or even whether the state gets out of the liquor business, but I’m not sure we are really going to get anywhere among those who really need it with our governor.

I fear that my neighbors and I, who are volunteering and voting for a change to happen right in the heart of North Philadelphia where we live, won’t really feel the changes that we want. The revolution won’t be elected, I’m afraid. Jesus is the revolution. I don’t really much of an answer to this besides being the alternative to it.

At the same time, the living wage was voted in for city contractors and that might actually affect and help hundreds and thousands of people in Philadelphia. I believe that if you work, you should be able to eat. We have a clear problem in the U.S. when it comes to how our wealth is distributed. We are told it’s a meritocracy, but it’s completely not about hard work.

Rod’s favorite topic, and one of mine too, is the growing economic disparity that exists between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Robert Reich is making it clear that it is a huge problem too. The American Dream is just another piece of the godless Civil Religion that our elected officials and their overlords shovel to us hoping we won’t resist them and build something better. Nick Kristof says that it’s better in Canada. But still, for us, that Canadian Dream is a long shot.

Our problems are much more deeply rooted than just economics. A living wage would help us in a big way, but it shouldn’t change the fact that according to Kristof, quoting Vanity Fair: “The top 1 percent in America now own assets worth more than those held by the entire bottom 90 percent.” Or, “The six Walmart heirs are worth as much as the bottom 41 percent of American households put together.” The problem is bigger than just a living wage.

It’s bigger than just money, too. Call it over-diagnosed, but Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that the mental illness that is exhibited in our cities that’s so negatively affected our youth, their education and progress is not ADD, or ODD, it’s PTSD. Yeah, the disease that U.S. soldiers who are sold a lie to fight someone else’s war usually receive when the military tries to change their God-given instinct not to kill people they don’t know.

In the ‘hood our children suffer from PTSD because they are living in a war zone. It’s a police state, literally. Not with beat cops, but with cops that beat. Filled with guns, violence, poverty, and drugs, not to mention elected officials who want to trade jobs for liquor stores, who want to close our schools and as opposed to fixing them. The situation is dire, and it’s made even worse when the pejorative term, “Hood Disease,” that they are using to describe it.

My friend and neighbor Jared said it perfectly, “It’s good they know what the problem is but who’s gonna do something about it?” A good question. My guess? Not the City, State, or the Federal Government. This isn’t surprising to many of us, since the school-to-prison pipeline keeps them out of sight for the most part. When you compare the least of these to the .1%, you really go get a tale of two countries.

So what do we do? In a world without faith, I’m not sure we have many options besides just trying cope. The oligarchy isn’t doing anything about it. But since we do have faith, we can continue to be the alternative. Circle of Hope has some ways it affects change, here are two.

Giving to our Common Fund in general teaches us that our money isn’t our own. When we give our resources away, it unlocks power and releases the chains that enslave to its ownership. Our Compassion Fund is a special part of budget. We use it to help people in our community makes ends meet when they experience unexpected expenses, simply budget poorly, or can’t find a job. We put ten percent of all of common fund giving into that fund and spend it as people need it. This isn’t a game-changing response that combats the massive income inequality.

Our Compassion Teams offer us numerous opportunities to care for the least of these. But today, since we are talking about victims of PTSD, it is Circle Counseling that I want to highlight. The brilliant and experienced therapists have helped so many of us get through anxiety, depression, and other problems. Those who suffer with PTSD need good therapy at least that’s affordable and offered by loving people, who treat them like individuals created by God, not cogs in a machine, not a dime-a-dozen, like our system so often marginalizes them.

There’s more we can do. We always have more ideas than money and the people to realize those dreams, but we can do our part here and see what the Holy Spirit does with the rest.

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