In Arizona, at the State and local level, elected officials have helped the needy and vulnerable through a number of recent good decisions. In Congress, the solutions we hoped for have been more elusive and compromises that serve the Common Good more difficult to reach.
Solutions exist that are both socially and economically viable. However, divergent views of the role of Government and a political culture that has abandoned a moral vision prevent constructive dialogues on solutions. Whether it is Immigration Reform versus Border Enforcement, or Building a Circle of Protection for the Poor and Vulnerable versus the Federal Budget deficit, or the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, or the implementation of Medicaid expansion State by State, we have seen positions harden and ideological rhetoric replacing common sense.
Party politics is confusing with their complicated theories, but for those of us who believe in the Common Good, fiscal decisions are simply about sharing: how much tax we pay and who gets to benefit from the funds in the common pot.
For Vincentians, who do not take partisan positions, but care solely for the wellbeing of the people we serve, in light of Catholic Social teaching, this has been a very busy time, with repeated visits to legislators and frequent Action Alerts.
By supporting solutions that either prevent poverty or bring people out of poverty, in the long term, we benefit society overall, i.e. we work for the Common Good, which is a key Catholic social principle. It is only by restoring human dignity and ensuring economic self-sufficiency, that people now in poverty or immigrants without status can become productive and contributing members of society!
The next several sections describe some of the efforts we have been involved with in recent months and give suggestions for further action.