i am a communalist (part two): societal musings

in part one, i admitted to being a communalist because of my faith. in brief, i believe in the shown in the common good for us all and that each of us has unique gifts to share toward this kind of love. for me, these gifts are graced to us by God and we as a society as well as individuals can flourish when we share our time, resources and talents for the good of others.

when we share ourselves in this type of service, it is a distinct way to love.

to participate in civic life is our commitment to related values such as honor, respect, justice, and loyalty. living positive values help us be good citizens of our society. given the pluralistic nature of our country, the question becomes: how do we live well with one another?

i offer some musings on the societal dimension of the common good in our culture.

the other day as i was listening to president biden’s plans to pay for child care and education, he mentioned that there would be tax increases for those making more than $400,000. i smiled. i have long support the concept of progressive taxes: the people who make less ought to pay less; the more people make, the more that they ought to pay. it aligns with the principle that the more that we are given, the greater is our responsibility. given our tendency toward selfishness– especially with taxes– we desire to keep to ourselves as much as possible; to pay the least amount. with our complex tax code, there have been many opportunities for those with a lot of resources to use the law to reduce the taxes they pay.

we know that money can show us and others our values. our lawmakers can be susceptible to financial influence and can be reluctant to increase taxes. the politicians themselves can lose their next election because of it. with financial changes, one of the fears that they bring up is that the economy will suffer. a living wage and unions along with taxing the rich and corporations are areas where we see this dynamic. but taxes fund the means by which we can collectively do good with and for one another.

the federal government is best when it helps strength, support and guide local civic efforts. i strongly believe in subsidiarity.

to me, the economy ought to serve the people and we are best when the middle class is solid. the more we can lift people out of poverty the better we all are. when the rich embrace their responsibility toward this common good, we can flourish. some may even become genuine philanthropists!

in a word, the function of government is to help us live well together in areas of safety and protection. the values in our constitution such as freedom are lived out together. we all have time, talent and treasure to contribute. i reiterate: subsidiarity is a key.

education is a right that is universally recognized. biden’s expansion of early child development for three and four year olds as well as “free” community college points us in a good direction. as always, the challenge is in the details and implementation. these proposals seek to remedy the inequity that we see for our young people in poorer communities. i thank those who are making $400k+ who are helping fund the education of our children and young people! your sharing, through taxes, will be good for us all.

on a personal level, my grammar school– st paul– is closing next month. it saddens me because st paul school was such a significant part of shaping who i am. but an early childhood developmental center is beginning in its stead. i believe that more people in south seattle and skyway will benefit from this change. i pray for its success

i believe that some form of civil service for the country could be good for our young people thus positively affecting our nation. it does not necessarily have to be the military but offer various way to give back to the country. this national service or “volunteerism” could be partnered with local efforts for the community good. it can depend on one’s talents. for example, a college graduate can serve in under served communities in schools, land sustainability and other areas that lack resources. people trained in plumbing and electricity can help with low income housing. i believe our military would generally be healthier if it was not only the poor who served in it. i am not sure if a specific time requirement could even work for us. for example, in south korea, required military service is between one to two years; israel requires between two to three years. in our independent mindset of our usa context, incentives rather than requirement could be effective. since people respond to rewards, it might be a good starting place to expand the idea and benefits of the GI bill for those who choose to serve in the military.

could a system be set up that makes “volunteerism” so attractive that it changes the tone of how we see our participation in the civic life or our communities? how can these systems help us strength the middle class and minimize the number of people living in poverty? do we have a will to address the exploitation and abuse of people by those in power– whether in private industry or public service?

sharing time, treasure and talent is not only a religious concept. it could transform our common life in society. how can sharing be encouraged by our civic leaders? how can we help our leaders move toward the common good?

let us pray:

Gracious God, In your loving heart, you made us.
Each of us, you made unique.
But it was not good that we should be alone,
So you placed us in community.
You made a purpose for each of us: to serve you by serving our human family,
And in turn to be protected and nurtured by it.
You made us the Body of Christ.
You have taught us, your children, that we are called to be women and men for others:
To walk with people who are excluded.
To safeguard the abundant world you have made our common home.
To call young people into a spirit of creativity and encounter, where your voice can be heard.
And to show others, in the way we walk, a pathway to God.
As we reflect on our calling
to help build a just and sustainable society where all this is possible,
We humbly turn to you:

Bless our bodies with strength and determination.
Fill our hearts with the compassion of saints.
Ordain our minds with wisdom and vision.
Empower our spirits with faith and truth.
Employ our hands to lay a lasting foundation to bless generations to come.
Lord, you invite us to find you in all things.
As we collaborate as a people in the building of our society,
May we find you there.
In our principles and laws,
May we find you there.
In our policies and programs,
May we find you there.
In our courts and bureaus,
May we find you there.
In our streets and squares,
May we find you there.
And in our neighbors, especially people on the margins,
May we find you there.
We make this prayer through Christ, Our Lord.

( https://www.jesuits.org/our-work/justice-and-ecology/take-action-2/civic-engagement/ )

1 Comment

  1. beccamac2001 says:

    ❤️❤️ 🤞


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