more of that grandiose idea

• The homes of the brave
are not luxurious mansions of the incredibly wealthy
bravely facing government regulation for the sake of more profit,
but the home of first responders
who can’t afford to live where they work
bravely facing death for the sake of others.
Why does it take
circumstances that take their lives
for that truth to be acknowledged?

• While we can rather easily affirm,
at some abstract level,
that all are created equal,
we can’t seem to acknowledge
that not all are born equal
and that that may have
even more significant implications.

• Through the years,
many have died for the dream
that is the best of who we can be—
the dream that is our aspiration as a nation—
to respect and value difference within and as our freedom,
to work for justice and equality,
to walk humbly in our confidence.
When we fall so far short of that dream,
in its fullness,
then no matter how patriotic the rhetoric we spout,
we not only dishonor our dead,
we betray them—
treacherously wrapped in red, white, and blue.

• Capitalism
represents as effective an economic system as I know.
It allows us to do so much—
to do so much that’s fun,
to do so much that’s convenient,
to do so much that’s innovative,
to do so much that’s brilliant,
to do so much that’s hopeful,
to do so much that’s meaningful,
to do so much good.
But, unchecked, the obscene prioritizing—
the idolatry—
of profit in capitalism
will be our undoing.

• Freedom
not tied to community’s high expectations
and principles—
to the best identity-shaping dreams of our heritage—
freedom indulged as personal freedom
is freedom abused
in a wicked masquerade of respect.

• Individual opportunity is good …
yet always best within a larger framework
of what is available to all.
When one achieves what too many can’t,
it’s the wrong road for a just and wise society
and constitutes a cheapened dream of opportunity.
So the single-minded focus
on accumulating vast personal wealth
and enjoying its benefits
stands as seductive perversion of the so-called American dream,
not as its fulfillment.

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