The Common Good!

I have to admit, I am having a tough time getting into a routine this summer. Now that I have completed my major yard projects maybe I will be able to get into a routine of reading, writing, and preparation for the upcoming school year? I hope so, because there is nothing more important to me than providing a good education for my students.

This morning is one of those days that it has been nice to just sit and think. I have finished the Vine Deloria book about Custer paying for our sins with his death, but have concluded it was dated. I am curious about who the modern Native writers are, and what do they say about Indian Affairs.

I read an interesting article about the city of Detroit. Pictures of shacks in Detroit proper, including trash and weeds, are very telling. The new emergency manager will be working with unions and other city employees to negotiate concessions that will probably be a precursor to bankruptcy. Detroit will be the largest city to ever declare bankruptcy.

The city of Detroit has been “stymied by a flight of residents and businesses to the suburbs, reduction in state aid and a crash in real estate values, Detroit borrowed heavily to meet operating costs and payments on long-term liabilities, including pensions and health care for retired workers.” Detroit is in trouble, and it will probably need to file bankruptcy to get out of the trouble.

The fact is Detroit like other major cities have promised too much and will not be able to pay. If this emergency manager is any good, he will bring together the stakeholders and get them to work together for the good of the city. We’ll see because there hasn’t been much of this working together for a common good. Instead of accomplishing what Bobby Kennedy said, “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream of things that never were and say, why not?” people are point fingers and blaming. But I have to ask, why not work together for a common good?

Jim Wallis’ goal in his book is to get people to work together for a common good. He uses a great example of having a family member who is the exact opposite of you politically, but you still love them. You have great conversations during family get together, but you agree to disagree. I think this is something we need to reconnect with. Wallis then identifies two ideas, the best one from conservatives and the best one from liberals. I think he makes a good point.

The best idea from conservatives involves personal responsibility. “It focuses on the choices individuals make that determine the direction of their lives, families, communities, nations, and even the world.” Thinking about our choices and whether they are right or wrong is a critical thought process, one that should focus on the long term affects of the decision.

The best idea from the liberals is social responsibility. Hubert Humphrey stated, “Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism” Humphrey identified those who most need this compassion as “those in the dawn, twilight, and shadows of life.” It is ok to be both conservation and socially caring. In fact, Jesus tells us that if we care for those who have experienced misfortune, then we are caring for Him.

I am sitting on my couch, looking at the sunshine pouring into my yard, enjoying a moment of reflection and meditation. The people of Detroit have their work cut out for them. I hope their leader helps them to see the need for a common ground and pursuit of the common good.

And that is my thought for the day!



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