Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Brief Hiatus.

I am taking a brief hiatus from political commentary on this blog–even though that’s a large part of its raison d’etre. But I find myself so angry at the right and so frustrated with so-called centrists, that I don’t have the patience for ordinary conversation. My frustration level stems from the bizarre way our system works: When the Republicans win, the far right gets nearly everything they want–usually with FAR too much cooperation from Democrats and a fawning media. When the Democrats win elections, even with large majorities and clear mandates, the right STILL controls too much of the debate and the Dems start off by watering down bills and lowering expectations before even TRYING.  Oh for a Party that was as tough and disciplined as the Republicans usually are, but with the progressive mainstream values of the country.  GOP= bad ideas plus strong determination to achieve them. Democrats=good ideas when in the minority and no hope of passing them, but as soon as they win becoming too afraid of success or their own shadows or something to get done what they were elected to DO. It’s enough to make a saint swear like a sailor.  And it is far too frustrating right now for me to be civil to conservative critics who comment here.

So, for awhile, I’m gonna stick with apolitical topics until I can regain equilibrium.


July 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I’ve often felt this way, too, but when I do, I remind myself of two points, one political and one theological.

    The political one has to do with “historical time.” If we look back at America’s last two big moments of Progressive reform, we see things started slowly. The New Deal was actually dominated by businessmen until about 1935, and few major policy makers even talked about Keynesianism until after 1937. Even then, it was World War II more than the New Deal that put compensatory spending into action. Then, in the 1960s, Kennedy and Johnson were initially more interested in tax cuts and anti-Communism than civil rights or detente. In both cases, it wasn’t the Democratic Party that moved to the left so much as events (and the American people, from strikers in Detroit to marchers in Selma) who moved it to the left. I anticipate something similar to happen this time. Every month, 400,000 to 500,000 Americans are losing their jobs and, counting dependents, something like 40,000 a day are losing all or part of their health insurance. These people are not becoming Republicans. Nor are the Millennials, who are reaching voting age now. They will go from about 17 percent of the electorate in 2008 to about 30 percent two election cycles from now; they are numerically larger than the Baby Boomers; and they are more Democratically-inclined than any generation since the 1960s. I work with them every day, and the one thing they never will do is go back to the world of Bush. Four years from now, Obama might be seen as a failed president, but at least on some issues, Americans will have moved to the LEFT of him, not the right.

    Now the theological point. I also remind myself that we’re not facing anything Jesus didn’t face. The ignorance, the stupidity, the stubbornness, the sacralizing of the secular — these things really are old! That’s when I remind myself that I am not really a “citizen of the United States” even if I was born here and the government calls me that. In my heart, I am a citizen of the Kingdom witnessing and ministering to a foreign — and occasionally hostile — land called the United States. Like all powers and principalities, it is part of what will pass away, so when we care for it, we do so as for a dying patient, not because we’re assured of a cure but because we simply care for it.

    Comment by Anthony | July 5, 2009

  2. Anthony, all those points are appreciated. Thank-you for the reminders.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 5, 2009

  3. I know what you mean. If it wasn’t for my friend Casey, an Iraq I probably would stop blogging altogether. I’ve lost my stomach for it.

    Comment by Marty | July 5, 2009

  4. My friend Casey, an Iraq Vet, has made films exposing the truth. For the few that visit my blog these days, I want them to hear what he has to say.

    Comment by Marty | July 5, 2009

  5. Having been called fringe and worse, may I make a small point?

    Neither I nor Stan said we are against a public option. We are concerned with the sustainability and the bureaucracy. We are wary of another too-big-to-fail, and much of the electorate, esp. the middle class, is not prepared for higher taxes. So it is a complex, difficult situation; out of the many possible proposals to ensure that everyone gets healthcare, I hope you don’t hate everyone whose ideas are different than yours.

    I wish you will.

    Comment by K Gray | July 5, 2009

  6. I wish you WELL.

    Comment by K Gray | July 5, 2009

  7. Of course I don’t hate people whose ideas are different than mine. I just get angry that we elect people on a mandate for universal healthcare and then don’t get it–again and again. I get tired of big money thwarting the will of the majority.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 6, 2009

  8. Sometimes taking a hiatus is therapeutic. We all need a breath of fresh air at times-especially bloggers…

    Comment by Paul | July 8, 2009

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