I’ve noticed that my blog is one among many in the CC network that has drifted from theology to politics for, as they say, a season. I wonder why that is? Do you suppose it has something to do with God’s urgent concern for economic justice and equity in organized societies? Consider, for instance, a brief news item from this morning.
Goldman Sachs will cut about 3,260 jobs. Goldman’s work force, which was at record high levels at the end of the third quarter, will be pared back close to 2006 and 2007 levels. No additional cuts are planned, the person said.
Among those to be cut are likely to be a number of employees working hard for reasonable wages and decent benefits as they make ends meet for a modestly comfortable life. Some of them may have to take the subway or train for an hour or more to get to the station from which they walk to work. Some may live in conditions that are modestly comfortable for them but would seem intolerable to us. Some may be overextended middle class families desperately hoping for a raise or bonus next year in order to keep the bill collector away. Well, that’s life. Sometimes it’s tough. The point is that grotesquely over-paid top executives who have squandered the hard work of all those people will never have to pay the price that they have to pay. Instead, they will be granted enormous separation packages as a reward for their incompetence. That is what is so infuriating to many of us, and so blatantly unjust in the eyes of God.
But there is more. A lot of the blame must be ours. We have become complacent in too many ways, and complacency is a corruption hard to overcome. Our complacency has made us comfortable with patterns of economic injustice. Our complacency has made us comfortable with our own profligate use of credit and sense of entitlement to things we don’t really need. Our unexamined wants have been satisfied on mere whims and the promise of low monthly payments. Our complacency has kept voter turnout low, and many votes cast on issues we have not bothered to understand or for lousy candidates just because they were from “our” party. Even today’s outrage is a complacent one as we look around to point the finger of blame at someone else but never look at our own individual and collective behavior. What’s more, we don’t want to hear any of that any more than the people of Jeremiah’s day wanted to hear him.