Sunday, November 21, 2010

A House Divided

     This past weekend, upon returning from a 3 day retreat in Santa Barbara, the interns convened at a fund raising event in Pacific Palisades.  It was a somewhat shocking change of pace for a few of us, I gathered.  If you don't know much about the economic distribution in LA neighborhoods, Pacific Palisades is very close to Bel Air and Beverly Hills.  A few of the interns are from pretty small towns in the midwest or northeast, and the kind of overabundant wealth in prevalent in Palisades was a bit surprising even for me. 
     It's odd to go from working everyday with the poor of the poor, to asking for money from the rich of the rich, and it's certainly jarring to witness just how off kilter the economic distribution in this city (and in our country) truly is.  I work with students every day whose families sometimes cannot afford the school lunches, and here we were mingling with people who dropped a few hundred dollars like it was pocket change.  Two totally different cultures.  One nation.
Photo by Matt Hansen
    Or is it?  We're facing a nation divided right now, and in the midst of crisis (financial and armed) our divisions are only growing.  A house divided against itself cannot stand, as our great President Lincoln said, and so I worry for our country.  I worry for the unconscious blindness festering in the eyes of the rich who even on their best days fling their money around in the name of charity but refuse to see the suffering of their poor brothers and sisters; and I worry for the resentment building in the hearts of the poor who look upon their wealthy brothers and sisters with jealousy and outrage.  So long as we refuse to recognize each other as people, as brothers and sisters, the gap will continue to increase, and this house will soon fall. 

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