The State of The World (An Op-Ed)
By Kendra Clarke
Our economic and political system is broken. It has been hijacked, but it did not get this way over night. It has been a slow, but gradual and steady progression to the current economic and social inequality that exists in the world today. We have longed moved away from an economy that worked for the majority (the 99 percent) to one that now works for only an entitled minority (the 1 percent). The rich continue to get richer at staggering rates, the poor have gotten poorer, and the gap between them continues to increase unabated while the shrinking middle class struggles to stay afloat. This is the result of stagnant wages that have not risen at the rate of inflation, a higher cost or standard of living, and rising personnel debt (i.e. school loans).
The inherent unfairness has created an unlevel playing field which is far too often skewed to benefit the wealthy and well-to-do (the haves), while creating hurdles that seem insurmountable for the working class and the impoverished and destitute (the have-nots). What is apparent, however, are the spoils of a more capitalistic, interconnected, interdependent global society have not been evenly distributed. Nor has it “trickled down” to the middle class and the poor. Instead, the gains have remained centralized at the top to the benefit of only a few, which is why the economic growth of the Baby Boomers generation is a long distant memory.
The shrinkage of the middle class is indicative of the state of, not only this country, but the global society as a whole. This is because a bustling middle class and not the growing wealth of a top minority (as some would have us to believe) is a sign of a strong, wealthy, progressive society. When the majority of the population does well, the entire country is able to benefit. When there are programs and mechanisms in place to edify and lift the masses, the nation profits to no end. No matter how successful a country is, however, Deuteronomy 15:11 tells us that “there will never cease to be poor in the land”. However, we should open wide our hands to our brethren…“to the needy and to the poor”.
Far too many of us have chosen to place our trust in politicians whose sole purpose of getting elected is to serve not their country or constituents under God, but to serve their own self-interests. With this mentality, they often choose to abuse the power that was bestowed upon them by the Heavenly Father. As civil servants, they pledge under God, to be of service until they are actually in office, then it becomes “how can I be best served”. What they forget, or often do not realize, is that their authority is from God. Romans 13:1 tells us that,
“There is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God”.
So essentially, “the powers that be” are subject to God. In this political environment, it is difficult not to be cynical; however, not all politicians are self-promoting and corrupt. Some actually do it for altruistic reasons. They seek to cure the injustices and inequalities that are innate within the system and strive to change the status quo. They care about the plight of the poor, the sick, the suffering, the weak and those who have no voice. They enter into politics, not to contribute to the problems, but to be a part of the solution.
Nonetheless, there are those that do it for their own self-serving reasons. Whether it is for the power, money, or recognition, they abandon the oath that they pledged to instead chase all the perks of holding political office. Luke 16:13 and Matthew 6:24 tells us that,
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 10:24 says that,
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others”.
They are willing to place their self-interests above that of the common good to this country’s detriment, which, in essence, is a dereliction of their duties.
We shoulder some of the blame for this. We are oftentimes complacent, “a sleep at the wheel” so to speak, and uninformed about the issues that not only affect us, but our communities at large. We rather punt the ball to others rather than take the time to educate ourselves on these issues, not realizing that our actions, or lack thereof, will have serious implications on future generations. Just as the previous generation’s courage changed the course of history and gave us a chance to be and do better, our actions will have an effect (positive or negative) on the next generations.
Many of us do not consistently cast our votes or participate in the electoral process. As a result, we have left just enough room for others to slither in claiming to speak on behalf of the majority, when in fact, they are speaking for the wealthy and well-connected. Those of us that have been too lazy to get involved in politics are normally the main ones whom these laws will adversely impact. In the final analysis, “If we don’t vote, we are viewed as complaisant and we thus can’t complain”.