Monday, September 28, 2020

The greedy will always be with us

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, I had a relative who made a boat ton of money, squirreled it away in offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, got caught by the IRS and got out of the country in literally the dead of night the day before the Feds showed up. He lived the rest of his life as an ex-pat in a country without an extradition treaty.

And the response of the rest of that branch of the family was "Good on you, old chap! Way to take care of Numero Uno!"

I tell this story not to throw shade on a now departed former family member nor on his family. I tell this story to illustrate that there are indeed those among us who live and move and have their being in a worldview where looking our for "number one" is the highest priority, where anyone who does anything else is a sucker and a loser and where if greed and graft are part of the equation then that's just the price of doing business.

I tell this story because yesterday's bombshell exposé on the President's taxes is not going to move them, impress them, shock them or change their opinion of the current resident of the White House or their vote in the upcoming election. They'll have the same reaction as they did to my family member who made it out of the country ahead of the Feds.

And I tell this story partly as a reality check. A reminder that the "numero uno" folks didn't just materialize in 2016 on the Trump Train but have always been among us. They are part of our history in this nation, part of our wider human family and part of our scriptural record. They are who the prophets railed against, who Jesus tossed tables in the temple to protest against and who inspired our forbears to throw the tea in the Boston Harbor and imagine a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that we're all created equal.

We haven't come this far on the journey toward that more perfect union to let those who would dismantle it win now.

At this crucial moment in our nation's history, the good news is that there are inarguably more of us coming together than there are those working to tear us apart. The polls show it. The marches show it. And if we stay the course, remain focused and keep mobilized the election results will show it.

So take heart. Remember that greed and graft and corruption have always been with us -- but so have truth, beauty, grace and compassion. 

Remember that the power behind us is greater than the challenge ahead of us -- and that we stand on the shoulders of the John Lewises and Ruth Bader Ginsburgs who paved the way for us that we might continue that work for those who come behind us.  

And remember to be safe, wash your hands, wear your mask ... and VOTE!

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