Travel Log: Wilmington Town Hall
Sister Andrea Koverman, SC
October 25, 2018
Thursday evening ended with the Wilmington Town Hall for Justice hosted by the Grace United Methodist Church. Delaware is plagued by tremendous economic inequality and is a haven for tax loopholes and evasion. This is the first time Nuns on the Bus has come to Delaware, and we were met by an enthusiastic crowd and graciously welcomed by Reverend Edwin Estevez.
Reverend Edwin Estevez set the tone for the evening by leading us with a prayer by Sir Francis Drake (1577) titled, “Disturb Us, Lord.”
Disturb Us, Lord
Disturb us, Lord when we are too well
Pleased with ourselves.
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
The content of the presentation is indeed disturbing. NETWORK’s human bar graph creates a startling visual of the impact of the change in economic growth for all families in the U.S. divided into quintiles as a result of changes in tax policy. Before Reaganomics introduced the idea that the increased revenue for corporations would benefit people at every level as revenue would “trickle down,” 100% of the people grew 100% together. But during the thirty plus years since then, people in the bottom quintile only grew 8.25%, while the top quintile grew 65% and the top 1% grew a whopping 205%.
The demonstration went on to depict how much worse the disparity is going to be as the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Law takes affect. The bottom quintile will get about an additional $60 on their income tax return, while those in the 1% will get $193,000. Those in greatest need will get the least while the wealthy and most economically secure will get even more.
To show the loss of income that will come as a result of the proposed cuts to programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, each quintile is asked to take steps backwards for cut that would affect them.
It just so happened that each step backwards brought people closer and closer to the altar in the church we were gathered in. How symbolic of what our faith calls us to recognize. As we let go of our human tendency to look out for ourselves, to take more than we need and more than is just, to blame those less fortunate for their own circumstances and refuse to acknowledge our responsibility for one another, we drift further away from the heart of God. When we do the opposite, we move into community with our sisters and brothers and closer to the heart of God.