I'm late to this, but I can't
let it pass by: I'm really going to miss Bob Herbert's op-eds in the New York Times. I think E.J. Dionne
edges him out as my favorite big-paper columnist; I appreciate Dionne's faith-based angle and elegant prose.
Herbert's writing is more workmanlike--some would say formulaic.
Pundits have been praising Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin
Republican who chairs the House budget committee, for the courage displayed in
his 2012 budget proposal. But their definition of "courage"
must be different from mine.
While I was finishing my Ph.D. I took a job as an adjunct
professor at a small, state-run college. The experience was a lesson in
humility. Most of the time, fancy graduate degree or not, I was treated like a
cog in a machine--and a suspicious cog at that.
The common good is taking a beating. Economic inequality has accelerated dramatically since the early 1980s, and many think nothing can be done about it. But that verdict is a nonstarter for Christian morality.
A disturbing factor in the rash of police shootings of unarmed black people and of deaths in police custody is that many of the victims were apprehended for petty offenses. Sandra Bland was stopped for not signaling a lane change, Samuel DuBose for a missing license plate, and Walter Scott for a busted taillight. A trend among municipalities is to issue fines as a means of generating revenue, and this onerous strategy falls disproportionately on people of color, many of whom are poor themselves. Not having the means to pay the fines can land them in jail, resulting in job loss and perpetuation of poverty—and increased distrust of law enforcement (Mother Jones, September/October).