The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

Will the Class of 2012 Head for Main Street or Wall Street?

There is something fundamentally wrong with our education system when the draws of a huge salary and big bonuses consistently trump the aspirations and dreams that were front and center in our lives just four years earlier. Debts, a lack of job opportunities in other fields, your basic standard-issue panic — or maybe a simple absence of imagination can take hold and send us running into the arms of the recruiter with the flashy suit, a Hollywood smile and promise of a better life.

As Terkel reminds us: “Young people will continue to go work in the financial sector as long as its pay is disproportionately higher than alternative careers. It's basic human nature: Follow the money.”

But what would it look like if we didn’t follow the money? What if Wall Street paid no more than schools or hospitals?

What would our economy look like if these leading young minds chose not to work for big banks and consultants, but instead were the teachers that helped turn failing schools around, the innovators and engineers who were designing products that would create thousands of new jobs?

What needs to be done so that the finest members of the 2012 graduating class head to Main Street instead of Wall Street?

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Shoulder to Shoulder, Brick on Brick

We crested the hill and there it was: a square little brick two-story that had been improved just a little, with a welcoming windowed front and a high, aerie-like upstairs. It was the cheapest house we’d seen, and because it was 2005 and things were crazy, we spent about twenty minutes deliberating and put in a contract with a modest escalation. When we found out later that the house was ours, we found out we'd beaten out another family. The house had been listed barely a day.

As we found out later, we’d put in the contract on the feast day of Saint Xenia of Petersburg, a nineteenth-century Russian “fool-for-Christ” who'd mourned her army colonel husband’s death by donning his uniform and living as a pauper in the city's streets, performing unasked acts of generous service.

It is said that at night she hauled bricks to hasten completion of a church’s construction, and on the internet you can find a copy of this wonderful icon, St. Xenia hoisting herself on a brick construction wall with her long grey hair swinging. One of the things for which St. Xenia is said to intercede is to help people in finding housing.

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Voices from Human Circles of Protection: New York City

 “The problems of homelessness and poverty are not self-inflicted, they are the result of priorities of our society and those priorities are not centered on people but on gathering more wealth for a small number of people. Many of us [homeless people] – despite the stereotypes – drew deeply on our faith and the fact that we’re all children of God and organized ourselves. We’re homeless, not helpless. That’s why our call is to work with us and not for us.”

— Willie Baptist, Scholar-in-Residence The Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary

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The Afternoon News: Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011

Santorum: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Have A 'Legitimate Point', 'Occupy' Protesters March On New York Stock Exchange, Occupy Wall Street November 17: Journalists Arrested, Beaten By Police, 'Orchestrated' Arrests In Downtown L.A. Protest, Police Say, Deficit Talks Shift Toward Blame Game, GOP Supercommittee Members' Tax Plan Gives Party An Identity Crisis, Vatican Objects To Pope Kissing Imam Advert.     

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She Does Not Represent Me (But CJ Does)

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do I want to be CJ Cregg? She is confident, educated and intelligent. She is not afraid to speak her mind and not afraid of conflict that may come her way. But in all of this she is respectful and elegant. And in turn she is esteemed and one could even say feared in some situations.

Don’t cross her or you’ll get “sucker punched” – not in any literal physical sense, but with her words, intellect, wit and determination. But she is also compassionate; she has such a soft core. She makes the president pardon two turkeys cause she couldn’t bare to kill one of them.

The C.J. Cregg’s are the models that we need in television and films. We should all be running out buying pantsuits, reading the New York Times and getting a political science degree.

Women don’t need to overcompensate for historical oppression and abuse by becoming those very things ourselves. We need to compensate for those things by becoming the beauty we want to see in the world.

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The Morning News: Thursday November 17, 2011

As Injured Vets Return Home, Churches Reach Out. Occupy Wall Street Gears Up For The Big Day. Faith Overtones In Occupy Protests But Leaders Wary. OpEd: How The First Amendment Got Hijacked. Religious Groups Offer Help To Evicted Protesters. OpEd: What Happens When A Seminary Is Occupied? Religious Voices Loud And Clear At Keystone XL Protests. Iowa Scientists Ask Candidates To Acknowledge Climate Change. And Below The Line: Portraits Of American Poverty.

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New Poll: Majority of White Evangelicals Oppose Cutting Federal Programs that help the Poor

A new poll released this morning by Public Religion Research Institute shows the American public has clear ideas about what steps political leaders should take to reduce the federal deficit.

The poll shows that a majority of white evangelicals are opposed to cutting federal anti-poverty programs for the poor and nearly three-quarters of white evangelicals oppose cutting funding for religious organizations that help the poor.

The poll, based on a survey of 1,002 American adults performed November 10 -14, also shows a nation divided both by political affiliation and generation when it comes to attitudes towards Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.

The survey found that nearly 7-in-10 (68 percent) of Americans say that in order to reduce the deficit, it’s fair to ask wealthier Americans to pay a greater percentage in taxes than the middle class or those less well off.

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A Church Sanctuary for the Occupy Movement

It’s time to invite the Occupy Movement to church!

And Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion. Have some of the young protesters — the “99ers” as they’re becoming known — from this rapidly growing movement over for a big holiday dinner!

Our faith communities and organizations should swing their doors wide and greet the Occupiers with open arms, offering them a feast to say “thank you” for having the courage to raise the very religious and biblical issue of growing inequality in our society.

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The Top 10 Stories of November 17, 2011

Quote of the day.
“Given all the concern about childhood obesity, Congress should be helping schools serve healthier foods, not hurting that effort.”  Margo Wootan, a director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, on Congress overturning a USDA effort to limit the starchy vegetables and tomato paste served in school lunches, allowing school cafeterias to continue offering pizza and french fries.
(Washington Post)

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Voices from the Human Circles of Protection: Stefan Fritz in Chicago

Stefan Fritz, a second-year seminary student at North Park Theological Seminary, speaks to Covenant Media Services on November 16, 2011 about North Park University Justice League discussing their partnership with the Sojourners Circle of Protection campaign.

"The time has come to put actions to our prayers, our values and act our morals," Fritz said. "And it's time for us to call upon our political leaders to act justly....We will fight together to protect these social programs that our country needs so desperately."

Watch video of Fritz's interview about today's Human Circle of Protection action in Chicago inside.

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