As I drove into work this morning, I was thinking of my 9 a.m. interview with the folks from the Socialist Worker newspaper, and what I might say. Here was a rare opportunity to dig a little into the connections between globalization and growing inequality, the war on drugs as a means of criminalizing the Black and marginalized, shelters and prisons as containment systems for the surplus and abandoned poor, and how class and race are the unacknowledged third rail in this question of a new Seattle jail that the city is desperately trying to avoid.
This is a time when enormous possibility for change is colliding directly with the prospect of system collapse. This leaves one with a vertiginous feeling of combined hope and dread. As my car made its way down I-5, I drifted to the theologians who have addressed the times in which we live.
Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination, talks about having courage and conviction, despite the many inducements that exist to just shut the hell up and go along with the program. "Situations of cultural acceptance," said Brueggemann, "breed accommodating complacency." When a tenfold disproportionality exists in King County between Blacks that are jailed and their representation in the community, we are called to actively imagine a different reality.
I also thought of Reinhold Niebuhr's take on Matthew 10:16, " which reads, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Niebuhr writes concisely on institutional self-interest as a reflection of the human capacity for evil, and how liberals are often na