Social & Economic Justice

Social & Economic Justice


American Values: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

American values July 19th, 2018

Why is the tragically stupid effort at separating asylum seekers and folks trying to cross the border illegally now a thing? What does it say about America? What have our values been in the past, and what should the wise person make of that? What are America’s real values? This blog is about the fraying social fabric and the society-wide cognitive dissonance it accompanies. I am trying to really understand what full scope of American values are. Here is a taste: “I’ve recently been thinking and writing about the growing fragmentation of the social compact, of whatever it was this country had ever meant when it called itself a democracy: the shredding of the vision of government of the people, by the people, for the people” ~ Adrienne Rich.

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Is MLK’s Dream of Social Justice Actually Possible?

social justice June 25th, 2018

It might sound odd or indefensible to claim that Martin Luther King Jr.’s wonderful speech known as “I Have a Dream” was determined by MLK to be more of a nightmare than a dream of peace and tranquility. In fact, if you think about it, the phrase “the American dream” refers not to racial or social justice, but striking it rich. Indeed, American values (the dark ones) dashed King’s buoyant optimism present when he wrote about his dream, and he knew this before he died. Will social justice and racial integration ever be realized? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Christian Capitalism and American Ignorance

Christian May 24th, 2018

Did you know that 55% of Americans believe that Christianity was written into the Constitution and that the founding fathers wanted One Nation Under Jesus (which includes 75% of Republicans and Evangelicals) (USA Today)? It is true that Puritan pilgrims came here seeking religious freedom, and that today we are one of the most religious of industrialized nations. But the fact that the vast majority of Americans think we are and are supposed to be “a Christian nation” is disconcerting, for two reasons. One, we certainly are not; America has slowly come to accept that religious pluralism and toleration and separation of church and state are ideals worth striving for. Some of the founding fathers were deistic and not particularly religious. But perhaps even more so, how can we be considered a Christian nation when we have this level of political chicanery, poverty, militarism, materialism, and greed? Those counter-ideals are literally antithetical to the message we believe Jesus was trying to convey during his brief time on Earth. This is a blog about the ignorance many Americans have, and even court.

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Income Inequality: Right or Wrong?

income inequality April 7th, 2018

Thomas Piketty, a French economist, made a big splash in 2014 with his book Capital in the 21st Century. It piqued my interest in regard to social justice. Specifically, social mobility, status quo, and economic freedom. I believe that America has a serious issue with wealth inequality, and income inequality, and has for quite some time. We are now less of a socially-mobile society than many countries in Europe are. Cross that with some of the standard of living/life satisfaction measures in which Europe and a few other countries do well, and you have a fairly grim assessment of the United States. Here are some thoughts on income inequality by Thomas Piketty.

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Quotes About Wisdom and Values in Full Color!

quotes about wisdom March 29th, 2018

In the last decade, “memes” have become very popular on social media. Memes are graphic images with a very small amount of text. They can be funny, trenchant, pithy, provocative and catchy. I have made a number of memes, and I do so with a bit more wording, and really consider them to represent wisdom and value. In this blog which features quotes about wisdom, I show some of the memes I have made over the last year or two, and point out how the quotes about wisdom and values depicted can really be made engaging and thought-provoking when coupled with graphic imagery. Enjoy!

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Robert Reich is Optimistic About America

Robert Reich March 26th, 2018

Liberal luminary, UC-Berkeley professor, author, former Secretary of Labor, and on and on, Robert Reich, put out a new book named The Common Good. I am very interested based on the title and the promotional wording. In this blog, I share a bit about it, but more importantly I share some thoughts Reich has about why he is optimistic about America’s future. Optimism is not a feeling/stance I can get to every day in these times, but let’s see what case he can make.

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Protesting, Organizing, & Nonviolent Direct Action

nonviolent direct action March 24th, 2018

Non-violent direct action is what persons as great as Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and Cesar Chavez counsel as the main way to bring about social change. Indeed, protesting, collective action, organizing, struggle, and the like are key tools in the social justice arsenal. This blog is in commemoration of today’s stellar event that barnstormed Washington, D.C. — the March for Our Lives. I will share a few things, and include many quotes about non-violent direct action, protesting, organizing, social change, and struggle.

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Magnanimity & Altruism: Saving 50 Jews from Death

magnanimity March 22nd, 2018

Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus are very likely two of the greatest unsung heroes in American history – at least, in Jewish history. I watched a documentary about their courageous acts (in 1939), which amounted to nothing less than a full-throated display of magnanimity and altruism. Here is their story. I will also include a selection of quotations about magnanimity by noted Holocaust survivors, human rights activists, altruism researchers, and stalwart exemplars of virtue and honor such as Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Viktor Frankl. 

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Motivational Quotes About Helping Others

helping March 18th, 2018

Does your life matter? Does mine? Do they matter to other people? Do they matter in the larger scheme of things? Significance may be the ultimate issue, and an important yardstick of successful living. Our feelings of self-worth are intimately tied to our sense of significance. What gives the strongest boost to our feelings of self-worth? Isn’t it the knowledge that we are making a meaningful contribution to the world around us? That we are helping others? That we are doing things which somehow matter?

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Fifty Remarkable Quotes by Activists

activists March 10th, 2018

One of the best ways to learn what activists thought, felt, and knew is to read a diverse sampling of engaging activist quotes. Assembled in this blog are fifty or sixty remarkable quotes by activists who were on the front lines, went to jail for their beliefs, or faced social consequences. Heck, many brave activists were jailed for years (Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, etc). America has often led the world when it comes to activism, struggle, strikes, social and economic progress, and political change. Very often, though, activists have to take a back-seat compared to politicians, officers of the law, and for a time, public opinion. Without further ado, I present to you fifty enlightening and challenging quotes by famous activists.

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