The world has become increasingly divided between the haves and the have-nots. It is painfully obvious in a country like South Africa where the division falls largely on the lines of color. But the sharpness of the divide is almost as equally obvious in a country like the United States where the haves are voting for Clinton, while the have-nots are voting for Trump.
What is so distressing to me is the obliviousness of the haves to the pain of the have-nots. One reads about the French Revolution and marvels that back then, the rich aristocrats could have been so blind. One marvels even more that today’s rich aristocrats seem to be equally blind and appear to have learned nothing.
One thing that leaves me particularly troubled is that my class of so called intellengentia don’t seem to be addressing today’s issues. Instead, they remain locked in their ivory towers oblivious to the cries from the “peasants” below. Yes, indeed, it is true that international trade lifts the average income of participating countries. But what is equally true, and never addressed, is that in the process some individuals gain while others lose. Not everyone gains. Yes, textiles are cheaper in South Africa and cars are cheaper in the United States when imported from China. But, what of the textile workers in South Africa who have lost their jobs and are out on the street or the car assembler in Detroit who is planning to vote for Trump.
The other aspect that leaves me equaled troubled is the absence of Christian voices in the debate. Jesus had a radical concern for the poor of his day and by extension for the poor of all ages. His advice to the rich, young man to go sell all his worldly possessions is as radical and as challenging today as it was back then. Few of us are willing to do that, yours truly included. But, can we not pause and hear that challenge and ask ourselves whether or not we have disposed of enough of our material goods and whether we are truly following Him.