I have watched the days of singing and joyous celebration of the Life of Nelson Mandela after his death. Tonight, I am watching the last moments of goodbyes to a man that has changed the world and affected generations of people from every walk of life, from every level and class of life and in every nation in the world from leaders to every day people. It is with great sadness that I think of a world without him. It is a great loss but not an end to the work he sought to accomplish.
The fight is not one of seeking to topple those bastions of corporate business nor nations engaged in those seats of power and prestige. The fight is one of ideas. The predominant ideas of our time that say, the worth and value of any human being is only that based on the money they have or that they can acquire by whatever means and that those with money, power and position have the right to take and use anything or anyone they want in any way they choose because they have money – are wrong.
The fight is one of ideas. It is about economic exclusion, the new slavery of wages so low that they provide no real means of survival and well-being, the social exclusion of those without means and the valuing or sub-valuing of human beings based on the lack of personal holdings of money, property or prestige. That is not equality nor freedom. It is not democratic nor equality of opportunity and it is wrong.
It is a fight because it puts the tools for building in the hands of only the rich when it is the poor who must build their houses. It is a fight because poverty is literally, as Nelson Mandela said – of man’s making and it is within the realm of what man can solve as well. It causes a greater loss to our society and our world’s peoples than it would ever be worth carrying. And, it is unnecessary and wrong for our world’s future.
What is poverty? Poverty is all-encompassing. It determines what opportunities are available, but also makes the decisions of what tools can be used to bear upon the difficulties of survival and of living. It makes the decisions of what tools are nowhere available as well, despite those goods and services, tools and technologies, education and knowledge being available in this world. Poverty excludes from participation and excludes from resources critical for survival, for freedom, for opportunity and for well-being. It does not allow the “cream to rise to the top” – it simply excludes assets that diverse viewpoints and knowledge could bring to our world’s needed solutions and greater progress to better things for all.
In our time, it is not enough to gain freedom when without economic means, that freedom and opportunity surely does not truly exist. It is a controlled gamut of the same old holders of power acting as masters and all others serving as slaves, even if that is an unacceptable tenet in our day and time. So, this is not a fight which began and ended with freedom won if, as I said, all the tools for building are held by those who need not build anything while being withheld from every person, family and community who must build in order to survive and to thrive.
I will miss Nelson Mandela continuing his efforts to change our world in this fight. He was very good at expressing what the cost is to our world to do nothing, or to rather keep things the same, or even to make things worse. His words ring out true again to each of us today, because there is truth in them and common sense. It is more sad to think of a world that does not change from its current ideas of dramatic demarcations of class, low wages enslaving entire generations of families around the world (including in the United States, UK and Europe), exclusionary social and economic practices, valuing human character based upon ownership of property, means and financial resources rather than any other factor and the active practice of excluding over 90% of every country’s populations from economic opportunity while keeping that majority in some measure of poverty and struggle to survive.
To me, the greatest inspiration from Nelson Mandela came to me over and over again throughout the years, as descriptions of his way to handle many difficult people and even more difficult situations were written. He could have allowed revenge against those who had caused so much suffering. He could have chosen to do that and it would have been understandable to do it after everything he had suffered, that others had suffered and after everything he had seen and suffered experiencing. But, he did not. He chose to take all of them and include everyone in solving the social disaster that had unfolded as a result of these horrors. And, that Rainbow Nation concept of inclusiveness, diversity, equality, justice, freedom, decency, acceptance, tolerance, democracy, and constructing real solutions together – inclusively – inspired me over the years as it does even today.
I hope those around the world also inspired by this man’s life and his words in this fight of ideas and hopes for the people of the world will continue his legacy until the work is done and the ideals accomplished. They are worth fighting for. They are worth accomplishing. They are worthy of his lifetime of efforts and whatever it takes beyond those days by each one of us who can. It is a much better world that he lived in it. I would always hope to be able to say that of my own life in my short time here as well.
“We are not enemies because you have money and I do not. We are enemies because I own what you never could and cannot buy while you have the tools for what I know how to do but you cannot use them – they are no more than a novelty to you. That is why we are enemies. And, neither of us can win as enemies.
Even when it seems you have won, you have nothing for having done it and were I to win at your complete loss, neither would I have won anything worth having. And, I would have lost you as well when you are certainly far more valuable than money could ever be.” (said by me – cricketdiane).
Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economics
By Aaron Blake
November 26 at 11:00 am
“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” the pope wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
– Pope Francis, 2013
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”