The fight against injustices must be as indefatigable as the pursuit for national character. The effort must extend beyond a lifespan; it must be multigenerational. A quick review of history underscores my point. The end of slavery, the abolishment of child labor, the victories of suffragists and civil rights advocates: These outcomes did not come overnight, but through generations, even centuries of tenacious and deliberate hard work, the next generation building on the small victories of their progenitors.
Many of these social advances are still inchoate. Children are still enslaved in underdeveloped countries, fettered by despotic corporate greed. Women may have earned the right to vote, but their brain power is still underutilized and their efforts underpaid across the landscape of commercial and governmental agencies. And social injustices are still blamed on the victims of poverty rather than on the heavy hand of plutocracy.
How easily we are duped: To allow our brains to be anesthetized by the unctuous diatribe of special interests, all of whom are driven by one overriding motivation, financial gain. Partisan politicians and news entertainers (I will not call them journalists) have opted to keep us sedated and diverted from the real issues.
Do not be deceived. The world is not as tidy as they would have us believe. There is still a panoply of social issues yet to be denounced and challenged. One of the greatest is economic inequity. The Pew Research Center reports that 41 percent of the global wealth is now in the hands of less than 0.7 percent of the population. That means that 99.3 of the earth’s inhabitants must make due with 59% percent of the pie.
I am outraged and frightened by these numbers. If the gap continues to widen—and I see no reason why it should not—I foresee a global revolution. Some believe it is already happening.
I implore all of us to be guided by our historical champions for social justice—the Quaker abolitionists of the 17th and 18th centuries, the suffragists of the 19th and 20th centuries, and all of today’s advocates for social and economic equity. Stand up and allow your voice to be heard. Are you appalled by the rising tide of poverty in our country (15.1% according to the 2010 US Census)? Are you dispirited that women account for only 18.7 percent of the 113th U.S. Congress? Are you mad as hell that the income for the bottom 90 percent of the American population has remained flat since 1980, while the income for the top 10 percent has skyrocketed?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, standup and be heard, not just for today, but through the end of your days, and on to the next brave generation, and the generations beyond. For if we are paralyzed by apathy, if we do not voice our outrage, the world will not become stagnant (stagnancy would be a blessing). If we are ruled by apathy, the world will fall into moral decay and crumble under the horrific burden of greed.