Of course, the Senate is in gridlock, bound by partisanship and meanness of spirit. Of course, Senators are beholden to special interests who provide them money and to groups who guarantee votes. Of course, the Senate is strapped by arcane, anti-democratic rules. And, of course. the whole system is shot through with corrupting influences of money, quest for power, and self-preservation.
But behind that is we the people who are self-centered and selfish, thinking primarily of how law and policy will affect us. Most people have health insurance they like and are only weakly concerned about the millions who have none at all, especially if providing it to them will exact a cost from them in taxes or premiums. We are good at rationalizing our views in ways that mask our egocentric thinking and demands and making us look like good, patriotic, right-thinking folks.
Missing or weak in all the actors who shape our laws is a concern for the common good, what benefits society as a whole, promotes opportunity, justice, and equality for all. That is a matter values, of morals -- the province of religion and culture. As Daniel Moynihan reminded us, it is culture that finally rules not politics.
Churches, are you listening? Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others whose faith mandates compassion, mercy,and justice, especially for the poor and down and out, are you listening?