I’ve been thinking a lot about equality, and how that concept, belief, testament and action challenges me in almost every aspect of my life.
How do I apply equality in a world driven by the basic concept of inequality? I live in a country that is wedded to the idea that capitalism is the best way to drive an economy. Embedded within the strict structure of capitalism is the ability to “get ahead.” To make more money than others.
If I can make more money, I can afford greater health care advantages, better colleges, embrace a complicated tax code that allows me to actually pay less taxes than those who make less money. I can afford more legal advice and advantages, I can afford to drive my own car, eat organic, and travel with greater accommodations. I can hire work to be done, hire others to care for my ailing relatives and move easily from residence to residence.
If I make less money, I can still go to college, but have to worry about the overall cost of my education: college loans, family financial struggle, finding a job that will eventually pay for the self-indulgent years of academic study. I will do my best to get health insurance, but worry if something should happen that I should lose it, for whatever reason. I do my best to pay my share in taxes, but always feel as though I’m being ripped off because the wealthy are clearly not paying their share. I do drive my car, but worry about all the costs involved in driving that vehicle. I do my best to care for my loved ones, watching my own bank account dwindle as I meet family responsibilities. If I have a home I can afford, whether I own, lease or rent; I am aware that by moving I am placing my greatest asset possibly on the brink of taking away any financial cushion I have.
In the meantime, I am trying to be a good world citizen. I recycle, I don’t waste water, I use less gas, I buy less of everything, I eat as much organic as I can afford or find, and admit to being totally confused as to what is better to do: eat locally or understand the global world of food stuffs.
Equality? To promote equality in my current situation, I must do my best to ignore the personal stresses in trying to provide a healthy personal and global world, a just and safe community, promoting a green environment.
And I haven’t even touched on why we are continuing more jails and have less mental health; why we are building more freeway lanes, but not building rail systems, how we ignore the needs of our warming earth in favor of meeting our whims for wanting more–afraid of public censure if we approach discussions on limiting family size (can the earth support 7 billion people and not continue to heat up?).
Equality? It is an encompassing, inclusive belief, concept, testament and action. Can I meet the challenge?
Be gentle with yourself and our world.