Saturday, February 16, 2013

Money, It's a Gas.

Money, it's a crime 
Share it fairly 
But don't take a slice of my pie 

Like most leftist Christians, I am attracted to the story of Christ whipping the money lenders from the temple. This is my kind of Christ. And I find that as I delve deeper into Catholicism, I am amassing a list of saints who embody this spirit from St. Francis (who gave away his father's fortune) to Dorothy Day (who spent most of her life literally living with the wretched of the Earth). Even Benedict XVI (for whom I have no love) spoke against capitalism.

If I hadn't been acutely aware of the damage captailism does to so many, it's been hammered home again as I meet more and more people who have children with Down syndrome. People who are trying to get help with the insurance (health costs can be prohibitive with our kids). People who have to quit their jobs because of the care and time their children need, and who then have to liquidate their savings so that they can qualify for social security insurance (which is not easy to get for the record, and which MUST be used for the have to keep receipts). We can not set up bank accounts in our children's names or we jeopardize their chance at getting social security later in life although we know that SSI will not cover all their expenses. Thus we have to hire lawyers to help us create special accounts. Nothing is easy despite the outcry from so many that "others" are using the system.

This election season was very hard for me. I carried in my womb a child that I knew was going to be dependent upon social services for much of her life. And as I wrestle with loving and fearing her, I also had to daily confront post after damn post about how my child was stealing some one's damn taxes. And if it wasn't my child, it was the mentally ill homeless guy, the black woman who faces structural racism every bloody day of her life, the immigrant who makes 3.00 an hour picking some one's vegetables. No one wanted their damn taxes to pay for these people. There was a profound lack of recognition that we are all in this together. There was a distressing lack of compassion as people wrote things like "I'm sick of MY taxes going to pay some welfare queen with her five kids from five different men." And while I could point out that a lot of the money went to kids like Jude, people would usually do the worthy poor thing. I'm not sure if that's a good route either. I'd rather see us help each other because we're all in it this together.

But the sad fact is that our society worships money. Most of us want things: big t.v.s, nicer cars, big homes. I don't know if there anything inherently wrong in wanting these things but when the desire to make money to get these things overrides our common humanity it is a problem. When we begrudge our tax dollars going to help the least of these, we have a problem. When our desire for things propels into greater and greater debt, we have a problem.

The far right does not want to abort my child. But they also don't want to help me support my child. No doubt they feel that I do not deserve to have my child. I was not responsible enough to have a child aka I didn't have enough money. But what the Far Right seems to forget that is that we have enough money to bail out bankers who gave themselves huge bonuses but are unwilling to spread the money into the public sphere. They don't want to acknowledge that we have allowed people to get richer than small countries, and they don't want to hold those people responsible for paying back the society which enables them to be so rich.

Money is the real God in our society.

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