As I have listened to people talk about who their Presidential candidates are and why, I have come to realize that we live in a world where technology is allowing for the spread of information which has the potential to dismantle the structure of inherited power. It is clear that how things are has failed to solve society’s problems. We see grassroots organizations of all kinds forming again seeking to bring about change or to maintain the status quo. What I have come to realize is that it is easier to speak up and out when one has some form of privileged status in one’s life. How do we help those who have been made to feel completely helpless by these systems to feel their needs are being heard as well? How do we give voice to those who feel completely voiceless and have forgotten how to hope, dream, and are just moving through life waiting to die.
Joan Chittister, in her book, In the Heart of the Temple, calls for humanity to spend time in contemplation, social action, and commitment to justice. We should think about the various aspects of our world that are in need of change and transformation. For example, Chittister wrote,
"We live in a world with a shifting economic center that is leaving in its wake a whole new world of poverty and unemployment and undersubsidized public services that breed crime and destitution and ignorance and malnutrition and underdevelopment and revolutionary anger. And new improved political meanness to control it. The question is: who will care for the people left behind? Who will set out to reform the system if not those who minister firsthand to the results of the damage it wreaks?
As I have been reflecting on some of the inequalities I have seen in the world and speaking with friends, I have begun contemplating on the need for transformative change in our world. We continue to send people to prison for punishment, however, their sentences continue after their term has been served. So often they re-enter without any rehabilitation or sense of dignity. We have begun to respond to women who have been in abusive relationships, however, we have not worked as diligently for those who have become women and have been abused and men who are in abusive relationships. We have worked to given women the right to vote, yet we have not yet dismantled the glass and concrete ceilings that prevent women of all racial and ethnic identities from ascending into leadership positions.
We have nursing homes and skilled living facilities for those who are ill and dying, but we have not yet made this part of the national agenda. As I have watched friends of mine have to use up their own savings to supplement the cost of care for a parent, I have come to realize that this too has not yet made it to the national agenda for discussion.
Kennedy reminded us that if we were not part of the solution, then we were part of the problem. How do we create space for the voices of the least of thee in our country to be heard? How do we begin to transform our own hearts and thinking to ensure that we value the voices of those whose voice have been silenced in our world? How do we move ourselves from not just being aware of the pain, which exists in this world, but being concerned with why the problems exist in the first place? How do we work together in this world to make visible the invisible wounds and begin the deeper healing needed in our world? It is through contemplative discussion and our own social action that we may begin to contribute to justice in this world.