Pope Francis can’t keep himself out of the press these days for demanding a higher level of personal morality and/or for asking rich nations to help the poorer ones. Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher mentioned on his show Real Time With Bill Maher that conservatives don’t know what to do with this guy because he’s religious and places a high value on social justice, whereas more naturalistic and liberal Catholics get nervous when he reminds the mob they are going to hell and that Satan is a real spiritual enemy. His most political statements, though, have concerned his stance against trickle-down economics, calling Ronald Reagan’s fiscal manifesto naive and calling for a “worldwide ethical mobilization” among the wealthier nations. And I for one agree with him on this, not because it’s liberal or conservative, but because that is exactly what America does and has done for the past 100 years out of “American exceptionalism.”
When the very popular and revered Pope Francis went before the United Nations in early May to challenge it to seek out opportunities to help numerous poorer nations, the headlines flew everywhere across the Internet: Yahoo News, Facebook, Fox News. You name the website, his economic ideas went viral. But I was wondering why this is so shocking. Isn’t this exactly what America has been doing since the end of World War I? Since Woodrow Wilson gave aid to European nations ravaged by war, America has been spreading the wealth and is now up to $50 billion a year to numerous Third-World developing nations and economically challenged countries. What Pope Francis called for is exactly what America believes in, due to our high moral fiber and economic conscious.
In his words, Francis says he believes a better world would come through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.” Just as Franklin D. Roosevelt did. As Harry Truman did. As Dwight Eisenhower did. Just as John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson did. Just as Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford did. Just as Jimmy Carter did. And so on and so on.
America has been using the state to provide aid, food, medicine, etc., within our country through numerous social programs, as well as asking churches, private companies, billionaires such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, and many others to pitch in. Our country has been using the values of helping others less fortunate to accomplish much good in the world. I tell my students all the time: In the 1930s and 1940s Europe killed off their weak; America gave our weak food and housing. America has always relied on the “love thy neighbor” philosophy. While it isn’t always perfect, our nation’s budget is a reflection of Pope Francis’ fiscal plan for the world.
That is why Pope Francis’ ideas should be looked at seriously. The amount of corruption in developing nations, especially in his home of Argentina, has prompted him to speak out. Europe gave up helping others decades ago, and since the beginning of our Industrial War Machine, America has been the greatest source of good in the world. I would love for us to redistribute our wealth, but we must start with our values. America must teach other nations to explore capitalism as we have. Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza says that his Indian friends have commented that they want to live in America, where even the poor people are fat.
I’m not politically offended by what Pope Francis suggested. In fact I believe all he’s doing is asking the global world to look at what America has been doing since we “took over” running the world.
I’m a big supporter of fiscal responsibility, yet I’m always a big supporter of having a government being responsible for those whom society forgot. That’s why I love this country. America has a fiscal responsibility to help others, and we have burdened ourselves taking care of them. Now is the time for the rest of the world to step up. We have taken care of the poor, alone, for far too long. I hope Pope Francis’ words inspire the rest of the world to take action today.