Washington is an island drowning in its own self-interest, surrounded by a hurting and unhappy nation of deeply patriotic citizens who hunger for shared national purpose but find our politics to be sickening, insulting and corrupted.
Americans recognize that in a vital democracy each of us has a voice; that for all our voices to be heard -- rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, blue state and red state -- we must treat each other with respect. Democracy is at risk. To defend it, Americans must reclaim our core values.
When people become scared, or when their view of who they are feels turned upside down, they may unconsciously retreat into beliefs and behavior that promise restoration of what feels lost or endangered.
Every man for himself would be a rational approach if men and women were merely economic creatures. But there is also such a thing as moral man, who confronts the necessity of protecting the commons and preventing tragedy brought on by greed.
Obama has again bent to the economic philosophy that rewards the casino gamblers on Wall Street and leaves the majority of the country standing outside the casino with a tin cup -- hoping that the gamblers are at least big tippers.
Neither the left nor the right has the answers to our most pressing problems, though each will continue to say that it does. So we have to focus on the spiritual and moral values that bring us together.
This week, a group of more than 130 former legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, released a letter urging for civility and encouraging candidates, once elected, to focus on cooperation to face our country's greatest challenges.
This week, in Obama's Oval Office speech on the oil spill, he used the term "mission." That's the right word. It will take a purposeful commitment to a mission of change to truly respond to the epiphany in the Gulf.
There is no one "right" religious position on how health care should look; but I believe there are some fundamental moral and even biblical principles on which to evaluate any final legislative agreement.
James Quilligan: "The immediate crisis we are facing is to shift from seeing energy, nature, food and water as monetized commodities to recognizing them as reserve values... essential for our survival."
With an issue like health, deeply personal but of great public concern, the faith community has a unique and important role to play: to define and raise the moral issues that lay just beneath the policy debate.