Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Growing gap between "haves" and "have-nots"

A friend of mine recently shared with me a disturbing graph that indicated a dramatic trend of stagnate, or decreasing wages, paired with a significant rise in corporate profits in the US over the past few decades.  In checking with him on the source of this information he put me on to the following video, "Austerity comes to America", by Richard D. Wolff, of a former professor at the University of Massachusetts.

Our society is becoming increasingly one of "haves" and "have-nots."  I recently witnessed the dramatic difference money has in the area of education when I attended a play at The Blake School.  There was an elaborate stage, a multitude of costumes for the actors, along with a beautiful program with a glossy color cover.  The kids were all well coached by vocal and acting coaches.  A near capacity crowd filled the auditorium.

This experience was in stark contrast to a play I went to at a St. Paul public high school a few years back at Highland Park.  Their play had a sparse set, consisting of a couch, floor lamp and throw carpet.  The was very little in the way of costumes, and only a simple one page black and white program.  Most disturbingly, fewer than a couple of dozen parents/students were in attendance.

Did  you know that even to be in a school play these days often kids are required to pay a fee?  At our daughter's school, Armstrong, located in the fairly affluent suburb of Plymouth, it costs $110 for the privilege to be in an extracurricular activity (play, debate, etc.)

Ironically, the play we watched at The Blake School was "The Little Shop of Horrors."  It portrays how a kind, humble, hard working young man is literally consumed by the man eating plant he feeds. This plant promises him riches and fame.  It seems were now living in "The Big Country of Horrors", and most of the poor and middle class are being consumed by a greedy few, eager to make a fast buck, who seem willing to bleed others dry for their financial gain.

An editorial in today's Star Tribune, "I can believe in Obama no more" by Myles Spicer notes that though it appeared that President Obama was going to be a strong proponent of justice issues in our nation and around the world, this doesn't appear to be happening as promised.  I will however continue to pray for and support the president in his most challenging leadership of our nation.

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