There are some pretty scary statistics contained in AlterNet’s 15 Signs American Society Is Coming Apart at the Seams. A sample:
1) The inequality of wealth in the United States is soaring to an unprecedented level. The U.S. already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the middle class and poor much harder than the top 1 percent, the gap between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of the U.S. population has grown to a record high.
10) Although the government’s official figure tries to low-ball the number, 47.4 million U.S. citizens live in poverty, and the U.S. poverty rate is the highest in the industrialized world.
Predictably, homelessness is rising at an increased rate as well. “The U.S. government does not tally the numbers but interested organizations say that more than 3 million people were homeless at some point over the past year…. The fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.”
Children have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis:
11) * 50 percent of U.S. children, one out of every two children, will need to use food stamps to eat.
One out of every two children in the United States of America will need to use a food stamp… to EAT!
If you didn’t think starvation was a serious threat in the U.S., just read this new Washington Post report: “The nation’s economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people — including almost one child in four — struggled last year to get enough to eat… Several independent advocates and policy experts on hunger said that they had been bracing for the latest report to show deepening shortages, but that they were nevertheless astonished by how much the problem has worsened. ‘This is unthinkable. It’s like we are living in a Third World country,’ said Vicki Escarra, president of Feeding America.”
The United States Department of Agriculture released these findings in a study that was completed in December 2008, which means these numbers don’t take into account the millions more unemployed throughout 2009. The numbers of people living in poverty and struggling to eat has seen a significant increase since then.
14) The gun and ammunition manufacturing industry in the United States has over 200 companies producing billions of dollars in annual revenues. This huge manufacturing base cannot fulfill demand quickly enough. The demand for guns and ammunition has hit a record high and the gun industry cannot produce enough bullets to keep up with orders.Americans are arming themselves to the teeth!
15) In the past year, 100 new armed militia groups have been formed, as militia members have doubled in numbers. Federal authorities are gravely concerned about the “uptick in militia activities.” One federal authority recently said, “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”
By coincidence, I read this article after returning from Mass at the National Shrine. As it was the 50th anniversary of the Shrine’s dedication, we ended Mass with the Prayer of Consecration to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the United States:
Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in Heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as Your spouse; God the Son, who chose Mary as Your Mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge Your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.
Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom, which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners—on all who are in need.
Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give ourselves to you. Protect us from all harm. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God.
It seems almost inevitable that our country will face a catastrophic moment of truth at some point, probably sooner than anyone thinks. I suppose one could look at this as divine chastisement for our sins against the “least among us.” As one of our previous contributors wrote back in 2007, “our intoxicated faces are splattered with the blood of those we’ve killed – the unborn, the foreign, the poor, the tortured.” To paraphrase Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, if God wills that our country shall suffer “until all the wealth piled by the bondsman…shall be sunk,” and until every drop of blood drawn with the abortionists’ tongs and the torturers’ screws “shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'” Or one could choose to see it as the authors of the article do, as something imposed upon us by greedy and merciless economic elites. Whatever the cause, we are more in need than ever of the prayers of the Blessed Virgin.
Holy Mother of God, intercede for us and for our country!