The Common Good

Do Detroit and the Big Three Automakers Have a Prayer?

Sojomail - November 20, 2008


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

I came here 25 years ago to live in the countryside and raise my family. We wanted to resettle the whole land of Israel. But now when I see how our soldiers treat Palestinians at the checkpoints, I am ashamed. I want us to get out of here. I want two states for two people. But I can’t get any money for my house and I can’t leave.

- David Avidan, an Israeli living in the Jewish settlement of Rimonim. He is one of 280,000 Israeli settlers living on Palestinian lands in occupied West Bank territory. (200,000 more Israeli Jews live in East Jerusalem, also captured and occupied since 1967.) According to Avshalom Vilan, an Israeli Parliament member from the left wing Meretz Party, “Half the settlers beyond the barrier are ideologically motivated and do not want to move. But about 40 percent of them are ready to go for a reasonable price.” (Source: The New York Times)

+ Sign up to receive "Verse and Voice" -- our daily quote and Bible verse e-mail

Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

Do Detroit and the Big Three Automakers Have a Prayer?

Get a free trial issue of Sojourners Get a free issue of Sojourners

My hometown of Detroit was on the front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal this week. The CEOs of Ford, Chrysler, and GM all came to Washington to ask for a bailout of emergency loans.

I was back in my hometown a few months ago. We drove around the dying town and passed a park where a tent city had sprung up. I couldn’t help but be nostalgic for the days when I grew up. Almost every kid’s dad had a job, a pretty good one, with a fair wage and benefits. Our houses weren’t very big but we were happy, and we could even take a vacation once a year to a nice campground outside the city. My dad worked for the power company, and I grew up knowing that all I had to do was ask and I could also get a job there out of high school.

Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan as well and took a trip down memory lane in a New York Times op-ed. He argued that it is time for the big three to go bankrupt so they would then drastically restructure themselves. Remembering back to when his father took over American Motors (since bought by Chrysler):

The company itself was on life support — banks were threatening to deal it a death blow. The stock collapsed. I watched Dad work to turn the company around — and years later at business school, they were still talking about it.

When I was growing up, companies and their investors thought about long-term relationships, not just quarterly profits. They considered the effects of their decisions for decades to come, not just about what would happen with yearly dividends. Romney also remembers those days when his father worked with Walter Reuther, head of the UAW in a restructuring:

The need for collaboration will mean accepting sanity in salaries and perks. At American Motors, my dad cut his pay and that of his executive team, he bought stock in the company, and he went out to factories to talk to workers directly. Get rid of the planes, the executive dining rooms — all the symbols that breed resentment among the hundreds of thousands who will also be sacrificing to keep the companies afloat.

Michael Gerson also toys with the idea of letting GM go bankrupt, but concludes that it would be too risky and “could result in a bottomless psychology of panic.” And, on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, the CEO of GM pens a plea that they are just about to turn a corner if given a little more time.

Into the competing voices, Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein wrote about the “partisan stalemate” in Congress. "Then," he continued,

in steps [President-elect] Obama with the utterly reasonable proposition, delivered in a television interview, that while the failure of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford posed as much of a risk to the economy as AIG and Freddie Mac, he wasn't about to provide three uncompetitive companies with a bridge loan to nowhere. As a condition of his support, he would require that all the constituencies -- the shareholders, creditors, workers, pensioners, managers and dealers -- make the necessary concessions needed to restructure these companies and put them on sustainable, competitive footing. ...

Yesterday, before the Senate Banking Committee, top company and union executives stuck to their story of victimization and imminent transformation. But the Bush administration, Democratic leaders and many Republicans in Congress seem to have embraced the Obama principles.

The latest news reports today indicate that Congressional action before Thanksgiving is unlikely. So today, my prayers are with my home city. I pray for the hundreds of thousands who are wondering about their jobs, the executives with difficult decisions to make, and that our legislators will have wisdom and work for the common good.

+ Click to share to this article

+ Click to respond to this article on the God's Politics Blog

INSIDE SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE

The Hungry Spirit: Poetry editor Rose Marie Berger reflects that the Feast of Christ the King, which comes this Sunday, is a time to proclaim that there are no temporal authorities—religious, political, economic, or otherwise—that own us.

+ Click here to read more

Video H’rumphs: You’ve read Ed Spivey Jr.’s humor column all these years, and now we reveal the man behind the column.

+ Click here to see video of Ed waxing comedic about the economic crisis.

ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Ethnic Cleansing in Orissa: India's Persecuted Christians
by Joseph D'souza

In India, the world's largest democracy, millions applauded the recent U.S. elections as a shining example of perhaps the world's greatest democracy in action. But the plight of Dalit and tribal Christians in Orissa demonstrates disturbing contradictions hidden by democracy in South Asia.
+ Click to continue

Black Friday and Consumerism, White Privilege and Buy Nothing Day
by Eugene Cho

I know numerous folks -- friends, neighbors, churchgoers, and fellow bloggers that are supporters of Buy Nothing Day. I get it, support it, and stand with them -- sort of. Why my reservations? I'm still moved by a conversation I had with a friend a couple years ago that challenged my support for Buy Nothing Day.
+ Click to continue

Listening and Learning in the Middle East
by Lynne Hybels

In October I spent a week in Amman, Jordan, listening to Arab Christians from Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt. While I reflected on their stories of persecution and pain, I found myself asking the same question I asked myself six years ago when I first let the tragic reality of AIDS propel me to action: Why didn't I pay attention to this sooner?
+ Click to continue

Audio: Biblical Redistribution of Wealth -- What You Think You Own is Not Yours
by Efrem Smith

In this clip, taken from a Nov. 2 sermon, Pastor Efrem talks about the implications of the commandment not to covet, and a biblical approach to wealth and ownership.
+ Click to continue

Addicted to the Streets
by Bart Campolo

Their gun battles and fistfights, their ceaseless movement from house to house, their ready money and easy sex, and their constant vigilance against the police and the other gangs create for them a sense of immediacy and camaraderie that no classroom, sports program, or regular job can match.
+ Click to continue

Paul's Teaching on Women in Context
by Mimi Haddad

Interpreting scripture correctly also involves discerning the difference between the moral teachings of scripture and the historical Bible culture—a culture in which nearly half of all people were slaves and women were subservient to men.
+ Click to continue

Sacred Pilgrimages to the School of the Americas and El Salvador
by Jennifer Svetlik

This weekend, thousands of people concerned about U.S. militarism will once again make the pilgrimage to the vigil at the gates of Ft. Benning. I'll be making the trip with my housemates, the Sojourners interns. This year, I'll go again as a concerned citizen, but I'll also carry in my heart the stories of Florinda, her grandchildren, and the other Salvadorans I met last spring.
+ Click to continue

Is the Dream Fulfilled? Achievements, Challenges, and Our Identity in Obama's America
by Romal Tune

As a person of color I can choose to define myself by the achievements of my people and all that we have overcome, but if I understand who I am in Christ, then I understand that I am created to do great things, not because there's a black man in the White House, but because with God all things are possible.
+ Click to continue

Make Something Money Can't Buy (Glue Gun Optional)
by Julie Polter

Perhaps we find ourselves in spiritual crisis as well as financial crisis. To find our way to an economy in balance with God's call on our life, we can begin by not just buying nothing, but making an investment in God's currency of grace.
+ Click to continue

How the Big Three Automakers Could Test Better Health Care
by Randy Woodley

I am a follower of Jesus. As such, I understand God to have a special concern for the poor and marginalized of society. That is why I advocate for the righteousness of a national health care plan that serves as a safety net for everyone.
+ Click to continue

Signs that SOA/WHINSEC is Losing its Grip on Latin America
by Laurel Frodge

Five Latin American countries have denounced the SOA. With Paraguay's President Lugo and Chile's first female president and torture survivor Michelle Bachelet, a speculated sixth and seventh country may be added to the list as discussions and protests persist.
+ Click to continue

Obama's Promise to Close Guantanamo and the Value of Your Vote
by Jimmy McCarty

President-elect Obama was correct in saying closing Guantanamo is one big step in regaining any moral standing we once had in the world. I applaud him for making such a quick and decisive stand on this important issue and am waiting to see how the closing and legacy of Guantanamo unfold in our near future.
+ Click to continue

Father Roy Bourgeois Faces Excommunication for Support of Women's Ordination
by Kaitlin Barker

The letter from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presented Father Roy with a choice: recant or be excommunicated. He was given 30 days to retract, in writing, his belief and support for women's ordination, and those 30 days are up this week -- one day before the 19th annual vigil of SOA Watch, a group he founded to protest the School of the Americas.
+ Click to continue

Back to Square One in Zimbabwe and the 'Obama Effect' in South Africa
by Nontando Hadebe

The political landscape has shifted and we have come back full circle -– back to square one. The opposition is aware of the formidable challenges ahead and the real threat of repression. The alternative is short gain at the cost of a long-term vision.
+ Click to continue

Just Peacemaking and Counterinsurgency
by Valerie Elverton Dixon

The U.S. Army Marine Corp Counterinsurgency Field Manual argues that taking care of the needs of people is a tactic in fighting insurgents. This counterinsurgency doctrine proceeds from several paradoxes, one of which is: "some of the best weapons for counterinsurgents do not shoot."
+ Click to continue

Celebrate 'Buy Nothing Day' with 'Make Something Day'
by Jason Evans

Buy Nothing Day arose out of a countercultural movement resisting the over-consumptive habits so common here in the West. But not shopping isn't enough. The decision to not purchase on Black Friday is fairly easy for many of us. We don't have a lot of money as it is.
+ Click to continue

Obama's Not Jesus, but Could He Be a Joshua?
by Sondra Shepley

It cannot be overstated that Barack Obama is not our Yehoshua -- the Hebrew root for both names Joshua and Jesus which means "God rescues or saves." Only Jesus can fulfill that role entirely and eternally. However, sometimes there are moments when God accomplishes good things through sinners (and that's all of us) who put their faith in God.
+ Click to continue

A Pro-Lifer Who Welcomes the Obama Presidency
by Jim Forest

In many situations I'm hesitant to use the term "pro-life," as for a lot of people it really means nothing more than "anti-abortion." To be pro-life should mean doing all that one can to protect life from the womb to the death bed. It should mean the rejection of killing as a method of solving problems.
+ Click to continue

Keeping the 'Consistent' in 'Consistent Ethic of Life'
by Rose Marie Berger

Cardinal Bernardin is probably best remembered for introducing the concept of "the seamless garment of life." In his 1983 speech at Fordham University, Bernardin put forth an inquiry to the audience: How can Catholics address the need for a consistent ethic of life and probe the problems within the church and the wider society for developing such and ethic?
+ Click to continue

A Pastor's Brother Killed in the Colombian Army's Grotesque Fraud
by Janna Hunter-Bowman

Pastor Martinez recently spoke out about the October 1, 2007 disappearance of his 23-year-old brother, Jose Ulises Martinez Medina. Jose was apparently another "false positive," the term used to describe military homicides of civilians killed, dressed in military fatigues and armed, and then reported as subversives downed in combat.
+ Click to continue

Is America the Promised Land or Egypt?
by Jimmy McCarty

We always assume, because of our social location, that people think of America as the new promised land instead of the new Egypt. We assume that immigrants to this country are coming here because they view it as the promised land full of "milk and honey." Many immigrants just do not see it this way.
+ Click to continue

SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

+ Sign up to receive our "Daily Digest" e-mail -- the latest headlines on critical issues

Top Stories:

Some Abortion Foes Shifting Focus From Ban to Reduction
The Washington Post
Frustrated by the failure to overturn Roe v. Wade, a growing number of antiabortion pastors, conservative academics and activists are setting aside efforts to outlaw abortion and instead are focusing on building social programs and developing other assistance for pregnant women to reduce the number of abortions. "There are certain things that we probably all can support, and then there are other things that we're going to disagree about, and you find common ground on what you can, and then you have a political battle on your other issues," said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. +Click to continue


Jim Wallis on the election, religion, and where we're going from here
The San Francisco Chronicle
Whether you feel that faith was scorned or celebrated in this election, now that it's all over may be a good time to review what we've learned. Jim Wallis is the editor and founder of the evangelical magazine Sojourners as well as a blogger, speaker, preacher and the best-selling author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. I asked him how traditional Christians are responding to the recent election and where he thinks we should all go from here. +Click to continue


Antiabortion Movement Divided As Some Groups Shift Focus From Banning Abortion To Reducing Procedures
Medical News Today

10 lessons from the 2008 U.S. presidential election
Business Mirror (Philippines)

Dallas religious leaders meet to plan Justice Revival for next fall
The Dallas Morning News

Obama may be Superman but he’s not the redeemer
The Herald (Scotland)

Election results pointing to new religious coalition
The Toledo Blade

Study: Election created new ‘values voter’
The Christian Science Monitor

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way -- whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


ADVERTISERS

Click Here!

Click Here!


America’s Ancient Forests Need Your Action.
The spotted owl is just one creature that depends on the ancient forests of western Oregon. Others include bears, deer, salmon, and humans. Yes, humans. Because the towering trees, rushing rivers, and superb wildlife habitat of these forests support a crucial buffer against the impacts of global warming.
The Bush Administration plans to open a vast part of America’s remnant ancient forests to industrial clearcuts. Help us stop this plan.


Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Mennonite Central Committee has a Graphic Design open position. Review full job description at www.mcc.org/serve. Send resume and letter of interest to Prem Dick at: psd@mcc.org or MCC Human Resources, P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501. Learn more.

Pray with the Maryknoll Sisters that after this election we can help achieve liberty and justice for all people and especially those who are most vulnerable in our midst. Click here for more information.

Scared to talk politics in church? Get the conversation going in your small group with Sojourners’ discussion guides. Lots of topics and great talking points on challenging aspects of social justice. Learn more.

Speaking truth - that the whole world may know. Subscribe to Sojourners today.

Sojourners Job Opening. Sojourners seeks qualified applicants for a Chief Development Officer to help in our work to articulate the biblical call to social justice. Click here for more information.


God's Politics Blog facebook
MySpace YouTube

Click Here!

GIVE TO SOJOURNERS: Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace.

GET THE MAGAZINE: Subscribe today

CONTACT US: General inquiries: sojourners@sojo.net | Advertising: advertising@sojo.net | About Us

PRIVACY NOTICE: Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy.