This is to thank Steve Chapman for his timely editorial on Thursday January 15. He reminds us that our relentless state of angst over terrorism, for all its existential dangers, remains a very small threat to our everyday lives here. But, wisely quoting the old public cynic H.L. Mencken, we have to admit Americans’ proclivity for the dramatic…for focusing on our worst fears…for writing and speechifying and dramatizing them 24/7.
I would like to write an epilogue to your advice, Steve!
While terrorism remains a statistically small threat to us here, what remains a statistically overwhelming threat is mass poverty. The poverty of the millions here and the billions over there who press their envious faces against our candy store windows. It’s not a new threat. In fact it’s perhaps the most ancient and enduring of threats in any society. But so long as the candy store owners can lock their doors and dismiss those faces, they seem willing to go along as usual.
One global voice has been raised in thoughtful protest. Pope Francis continues to say that poverty — be it in the back streets of Chicago or in the tribal regions of the Middle East — is the simmering fire that is always ready to explode into those candy stores…to bring down the entire 99:1 percent edifice in a bloody revolutionary shambles.
It’s not hard to imagine every president and prime minister going to bed at night worrying not so much about the terrorists — they are still few — but about the jobless, the homeless, and the rootless — their numbers grow exponentially every new ticking day.
Thanks, Steve, and thanks, Francis.
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