“I think America’s greatest moral failure in my lifetime has been that we … still don’t abide by that … basic precept in Matthew that: ‘whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.’ And that notion of − that basic principle applies to poverty. It applies to racism and sexism. It applies to, you know, not … thinking about providing ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class.”
by Roy Eidelson, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
March 16, 2010
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: _ambrown, Muffet)
“We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.” These were the words of Lord Brian Griffiths, Goldman Sachs international adviser, when he spoke at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral last fall. With inequality at historic levels here in the United States and around the world, it’s a reassuring message we all might wish to be true.
Unfortunately, scientific research reveals a sharply different reality: inequality is a driving force behind many of our most profound social ills. The Equality Trust reviewed thousands of studies conducted by the US Census Bureau, the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the World Bank. Consistent patterns emerged, both among and within countries. Inequality is associated with diminished levels of physical and mental health, child well-being, educational achievement, social mobility, trust and community life. And it is linked to increased levels of violence, drug use, imprisonment, obesity and teenage births. In short, Lord Griffiths’ claim – despite the venue – was a self-serving fiction.
One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.
Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry.
He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you.
He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”
by David Korten
The Good News:
The changes we must make to avoid ultimate collapse are identical to the changes we must make to create the world of our common dream.
The story of purple America is part of a yet larger human story. For all the cultural differences reflected in our richly varied customs, languages, religions, and political ideologies, psychologically healthy humans share a number of core values and aspirations. Although we may differ in our idea of the “how,” we want healthy, happy children, loving families, and a caring community with a beautiful, healthy natural environment. We want a world of cooperation, justice, and peace, and a say in the decisions that affect our lives. The shared values of purple America manifest this shared human dream. It is the true American dream undistorted by corporate media, advertisers, and political demagogues-the dream we must now actualize if there is to be a human future.
For the past 5,000 years, we humans have devoted much creative energy to perfecting our capacity for greed and violence–a practice that has been enormously costly for our children, families, communities, and nature. Now, on the verge of environmental and social collapse, we face an imperative to bring the world of our dreams into being by cultivating our long-suppressed, even denied, capacity for sharing and compassion.