To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Observercast

GOP Agenda: Institutionalizing Poverty

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BY BOB BEARDEN

The GOP field of dreams gets fuller and fuller. It is now approaching overload both in number and the content of their pronouncements. It is filled with mostly people who are vying at the teat of Koch-laced billionaire money.

Their agendas for America read like primers that take us back to them good ol’ days, preacher, when women were chattels and minorities knew their place in the scheme of things and – OMG – gays didn’t want out of the closet, much less mess with the sanctity of marriage.

Equality? They want equality under the law? No, no, poor people don’t study the Bible enough. The poor is always with us, don’t you know? And that means? Oh, that means it’s OK for us to have inequality in all things, cause that’s biblical, don’t you know?

Jesus H. Christ [as my mother used to say], why don’t these idiots [and I use that term loosely] actually read the Bible? But, of course, they probably have – they just don’t seem to have enough intellect to understand what it says.

The poor are always with us? And why should that be OK? I am not a biblical scholar, but I have read the teachings and sayings of Jesus, the founder [although I’m not sure he knew he was going to be a Founding Father] of the religion all these presidential wannabes profess to be a part of and what I have read does not lead me to believe that when Jesus said “the poor are always with us” he meant that in any derogatory way.

My belief is he meant that, in the overall scheme of things, the poor would always be on the side of right and against the Pax Romana which was the Koch Brothers incarnation of the time.

Our nation was founded not to keep most of our citizens poor, but to help provide a path for them to rise out of poverty and have the opportunity to be all that they could be. This nation was founded to help overcome the throes of poverty and disadvantage that the world our founders came from was rooted in. They wanted to have a nation of equals and not have a nation where privilege and money mattered more than the content of one’s character.

And they certainly didn’t adhere to the Rick Perry philosophical interpretation [and I use that term loosely, very loosely] of the biblical passage of Christ’s quote about the poor always being with us, meaning inequality would be ingrained into the law of the land. Our founders envisioned a nation where everyone would have equal opportunity to become land owners, operate their own businesses and have their character mean more than who their fathers were or how much money they might amass.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood their intent and it became a part of his civil rights movement against the rising tide of our own Pax Americana. Dr. King, though a minister of the gospel, also understood that religion was not meant to be relegated to one state-sponsored religion, but that all religions should be of equal rank.

After all, he knew, like Jefferson, that we were not a Christian nation, but a nation of immigrants [some forced against their will to immigrate] whose religious beliefs were not to be tied to any state sponsorship. He also knew the founders did not intend for our nation to incorporate poverty into the fabric of our lives.

Our nation’s founders intent is plainly stated for those who would actually read our Constitution: “We the people of the United States, [we the people, not we Citizens United nor we the Koch Brothers], in Order to form a more perfect Union [not a required state religion], establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare [not keep people in poverty], and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

That’s very concise and as pure a statement of intent as I have ever seen written and it includes nothing referencing institutionalizing poverty as part of a necessary way of life for any of our citizens.

Bob Bearden is a trustee with Central Oklahoma Labor Federation and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church, UCC

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.