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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Letter to the Quincy Herald Whig

printed September 13, 2018

Why is it that the first thing politicians promise when they seek office is "jobs"? This is strange, because the next thing they say is that the government cannot provide jobs, only the private sector can do that. And politicians are the government.

Last Sunday's paper featured an article describing how Madison Park Christian Church packs meals for children so they will have something to eat over the weekends. That is a blessed program, and I pray that it will grow and grow. But does the need for such a program have anything to do with jobs?

Contrary to the popular stereotype, all those hungry children do not have parents who are free-loading. Many of those parents either cannot find jobs or have jobs that are not paying them enough to live a respectable life. By respectable life I mean a life that allows them to have time with their children, time to observe the "Sabbath," time to go on vacation with their families, even time and money to enjoy the theater, the symphony, occasional trips to other places besides Quincy.

I am a member of a religious order that provides for its members without compelling them to work. We have free-loaders in our group. The Rev. Francis Jerome, one of my legendary former QC colleagues, used to say "Father So-and so should be buried upside down, so as to give his backside a rest.” Yet our Franciscan freeloaders are few and far between. They are part of the cost of living together as human beings.

We Franciscans do our best to take care of our own. Our problem in this country is that we do not see every man, woman, and child in this country as "our own." Too many of our neighbors are “the other.”  

No, they are not the other. They are our own.

That is a problem, and we Americans are proud of our ability to solve problems. Our country can solve this problem if it wants to.

The Rev. Joseph Zimmerman

[I sign my letters "Joseph Zimmerman, O.F.M." The paper always corrects that to "The Rev. Joseph Zimmerman" with no "O.F.M."]

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