Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Capitalism: A Love Story?
Last night I saw Michael Moore's new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story. As you might expect, it touched on typical Moore themes: fairness, the gap between rich and poor, corruption, greed and injustice.
Although I liked some of his earlier movies ("Roger and Me" and "Bowling for Columbine") more, I felt that "Capitalism" was well done and provided Moore with a bully pulpit on some important issues.
Much of the movie focused on the misery of job losses and home foreclosures as a result of the recent economic collapse. You couldn't help but be moved by the heart wrenching interviews with families evicted from homes. This was contrasted with those who were profiting from this dire situation.
The spiritual message I took from the movie was "be compassionate." Compassion is probably the highest spiritual value in the major religions. Compassion is called by many names-- charity, love, alms giving, justice for widows and orphans-- but the common thread is empathy and the willingness to act to relieve suffering.
The word compassion comes from two Latin words that mean "to suffer with." When we are compassionate, we feel the pain of the other and enter into it for the purpose of helping alleviate it.
Because of the huge volume of pain created by the Great Recession, I find myself experiencing "compassion fatigue." The needs of those suffering seem so overwhelming, it's hard to know where to begin. I believe that we're not called to solve all problems, but to do what we can where we are. Compassion provides both the empathy to see the need and the motivation to act.