A word of hope for today, from the psalmist:
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble ...
for the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
I wonder if such hope will ever again be part of the political narrative of the nation. Seriously. FDR named "freedom from want," one of the Four Freedoms. LBJ declared War on Poverty in 1964.
But somewhere along the line in my adult lifetime the poor ceased to be a public concern. Politicians, Democrats and Republicans, pledge their undying allegiance to the middle class, but seldom mention anyone else.
As part of the great, if shrinking, American middle class I surely appreciate their concern and support. Seriously -- I'm glad the president's health care reform will allow me to keep my kids insured until they turn 26. That is a great help to millions of middle-class Americans. I'm glad the president made access to college loans easier for us, too. And we did our darnedest to spend the tax cuts lavished our way in recent years. Bully for us and the rest of our class!
The ironic thing, though, is that even as our politicians -- in their rhetoric and attention -- have left the poor behind, those same politicians (in their rhetoric, at least) have more and more embraced God-talk -- except, of course, for the things that Jesus actually said in the Gospels. For example,
"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry."
He'd never get elected, that's for sure.