The New American Segregation

Corporate coffers are stuffed full. Their piggy banks runneth over. The top 25 percent of Americans have consumed more and more of the total income in America since 1970 – moving from less than 10 percent to more than 40 percent – and the rest of us have “enjoyed” smaller and smaller percentages of the overall income. Most of America is poorer than it has ever been while corporations, CEO and top managers are living high on the hog.

Businesses, however, continue to lay off workers. Then they demand more from those “lucky” enough to keep their jobs – even though US workers already work more and get less time off than the workers of all the other industrialized nations.

Us? We complain. We post on Facebook and Tweet out our anger and dissatisfaction in 140-character bursts. Some try to organize, but the numbers never materialize in a way that has real impact.

All the while, the fat cats get fatter and continue to over stuff their piggy banks and they use the money that they make at our expense to buy off D.C. in order to not only keep the loopholes that allow them to hold on to more of their money than the people who work for them, but also to pass laws that make it easier to step on their workers, make themselves richer, and eliminate the very government assistance that would help the people they lay off or massively underpay.

Us? We bask in our stay-cations and try to forget for a few days that the future is bleak at the hands of our wealthy overlords.

Think that’s an overstatement? It’s certainly possible, but I present you with exhibit A: New York City just approved a brand new building with segregated entrances. Not black and white. Not gay and straight. Not even Christian and everybody else. One entrance is for the poor and the other for the well-to-do.

Welcome to the beginning of America’s new segregation.

Us? We argue with our neighbors about which political party is more to blame, completely missing the fact that it is just as much about who suffers as it is about who’s to blame.

Who suffers? All of us – including the people with whom we argue on a daily basis.

As a minister, one of the worst parts is that the wealthy do all of this, including stepping on the “least of these,” so they can have even more U.S. currency which ironically proclaims “In God we trust.”

The salt in the wound, from my ministerial perspective, is how these fat cats convince people who understand themselves to be Christian to support the politicians and policies that will ensure the rich get richer and that the “least of these” remain the “least of these” — only more so.

In God we trust? I think not.

Us? We need to learn to see it for what it really is. Despite his deplorable morals, John Edwards was right; there are “Two Americas.” He just drew the dividing line in the wrong place. It is not political, religious, philosophical, or even ideological… it is economical.

There are “Two Americas”: the Plutocrat Overlords and The Rest of Us.

It’s time to focus our genuine and understandable disdain solely on the real enemy — the wealthy Plutocrats and their political henchmen — and stop taking it out on each other.

We must take to the streets in ever increasing numbers in support of movements like North Carolina’s Moral Mondays. We must stand for each other even when the issue doesn’t affect us personally. And we must vote and when we vote, there must be only one issue that influences our vote: what the candidate’s voting record is on supporting the continued wealth grab by those who already have plenty of it.

It is time to take a stand — to do otherwise is to concede defeat, — and that’s what they are counting on.


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About Mark Sandlin

Mark is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from the South. He currently serves at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. He is a co-founder of The Christian Left. His blog, The God Article, was recently named as one of the “Top Ten Christian Blogs.” Mark received The Associated Church Press' Award of Excellence in 2012. His work has been published on "The Huffington Post," "Sojourners," "Time," "World Church Services," and even the "Richard Dawkins Foundation." He's been featured on PBS's "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" and NPR's "The Story with Dick Gordon." More than anything (other than peace and justice), Mark wants to have a beverage in one hand and a book in the other as he sits on an island beach.