Friday, September 25, 2009

Dirty Politicians and the Dream of God

We've had a bit of a political scandal here in South Florida. That's hardly news--we see more corruption down here than any other place I've ever lived (and I've lived in the DC area). But this local bust made me shake my head because local officials were accused of taking such small amounts of money. If you're going to sell your votes, can't you get more money?

And what happened to the idea that you go into public service to serve? Not to serve yourself, but to serve the least of the citizens.

Do these people not see the same streets I see? I've never lived any place with such a visible homeless population. Part of the problem is that our politicians have eliminated almost every government service that would help the poor. As a community, we're limping by on whatever charity that churches can muster. Part of the problem is that our warm weather attracts people down here, and our steep cost of living makes it tough to manage. Part of the problem is that we just don't care enough to do anything.

I watch all these people on the streets and want to weep. Do the politicians not see these people? We're driving down the same streets.

What makes it even worse is that I suspect these politicians would consider themselves good, God-fearing people--even as they're selling their votes. They probably go to church. What are their pastors preaching? Mainstream churches use the same lectionary. We're instructed to help the poor on a regular basis.

Were they going to sell their votes and give the money to the poor and destitute? A sort of Robin Hood scheme? Of course not.

And even if that was their thinking, they could have done far more good by working while in office for the good of the poor. Get more affordable housing. Get some dental care for people. Create a central resource center so people know where to come--and then staff it with knowledgeable, caring people. And then get some more affordable housing, because I can't envision the day when there will ever be enough.

Call me a dreamer. Call me deluded about what politicians should be doing. Call me a starry-eyed optimist. That's fine. God calls on us to be starry-eyed visionaries, working towards a Kingdom that's already breaking through to us.

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