I don’t write about politics on this blog. Well, hardly ever. But this morning a headline caught my eye. It seems that Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic candidates for President, believes that income inequality is “the great moral issue of our time.”*
With racism, human trafficking, terrorism, religious persecution, marriage redefinition, gender identity issues, drug abuse, illegal immigration, alcoholism, abortion, and a host of other moral issues dominating the news, Mr. Sanders thinks income equality is our most pressing moral challenge.
Where does one even begin to deconstruct such thinking?
It has obviously never occurred to Mr. Sanders that as long as there is education inequality (some people get PhDs and some drop out of high school), there will be income inequality.
As long as there is work ethic inequality (some people are industrious and some are lazy), there will be income inequality.
As long as there is intelligence inequality (some people are brilliant and some are not), there will be income inequality.
As long as there is dream inequality (some people have big goals and others have none), there will be income inequality.
I could go on, but you get the picture. The mere suggestion that income inequality can be fixed is ridiculous.
But politicians will keep harping on it because it makes a good topic for a stump speech. It gets people all riled up, especially those who have a victim mentality to start with. And when people start screaming and stomping and waving banners, it plays well on the evening news.
I prefer to see the world the way Jesus saw it. He said, “You will always have the poor among you.” (Matthew 26:11) But he didn’t use that fact as an excuse to ignore the poor. On the contrary, the poor and the sick were always on his radar wherever he went. Even when his disciples were trying to hustle him on to his next speaking engagement, he took the time to stop and help the underprivileged.
But my favorite fact to reflect on is that Jesus himself was a poor person by worldly standards, but seemed perfectly content with his life. He could have gone on a crusade to denounce income inequality. He could have made it one of his talking points. He could have established it as a priority in his Word so his followers would carry forth the message throughout history. But he didn’t.
Instead, he said, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him.” (Matthew 5:3)
Don’t expect to hear that line in a stump speech anytime soon. Instead, brace yourself for more nonsense about fixing the unfixable. In politics, it’s not about making sense, it’s about firing up the crowd. That 15-second clip on the evening news seems to be all that matters these days.
*Today’s headline on the Huffington Post web site.