I'm reading On God's Side by Jim Wallis, who it turns out, is Obama's spiritual advisor. I saw him at a breakfast talk a few weeks ago and was impressed with where this one Christian inspired man has put his heart. He runs Sojourner, a helping place and magazine. He led evangelical ministers to unite behind immigration reform, and thereby convinced members of the Senate that they wouldn't lose the next election if they voted for it. He is working on the House now. He believes conservatives and liberals can find common ground -- and work for the common good -- when we combine personal responsibility and social justice.
I read Robert Reich's blog; he was President Clinton's labor secretary. Recently, he wrote about corporate income tax deduction for CEO salaries -- to the tune of $121.5 billion in three years. Because those multi-million dollar salaries are deducted from corporate earnings, they are not taxed. So in essence, the rest of us, and I mean everyone not getting a CEO salary, is subsidizing those multi-million salaries and bonuses. Reich has some great ideas, and has some powerful people's ears. And is also working to improve the common good.
While standing in a checkout line, I love reading the last page of "O", Oprah's magazine, where she writes "What I Know for Sure." She always delivers an inspirational message -- whether it's about her girl's school in Africa or her dog's health or the state of publishing, she relates how each of us needs to contribute in some way to make a positive difference. She devotes herself to improving our awareness, knowledge, skills and impact to improve the common good. And she has a huge audience.
So I blog now and then. Measly, unknown me. I write letters to my paper and to my congressional representatives and to my president. My audience is small, my contacts miniscule, my influence apparently negligible. If these accomplished and influential people can't change the world fast enough, why do I think I can make a difference?
Because I believe, just as when I vote, that my "1", that tiny singular "1" of me, when combined with a hundred million other "1"s, can make a difference. I believe that someone will read my opinion and be convinced to shift from "what's best for me", to "what's best for the most of us." I believe each of us is responsible for all of us, that what you do for the least of us defines your humanity. And that inside each of us, we know this to be true. We need to recognize it in each other and give permission to bring it out from hiding, and act with the common good in mind.
Let us pray that we are on God's side and act to make heaven on earth. It's overdue.