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March 3, 2019
“Democrats have big plans for every age group. Republicans call that socialism. (via NBC News
  • “2020 candidates have cradle-to-grave proposals for universal child care, tuition-free college and larger Social Security benefits.”
  • Fox News host Laura Ingraham accused Democrats of "dangling freebies to a new generation."
Jesus said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” -- Luke 13:18-19
As more and more Democrats start running for president, the field is definitely becoming crowded. Candidates are doing their best to stand out as individuals with distinctive policy platforms.  A few of the policies:
  • Elizabeth Warren: universal child care
  • Kamala Harris: tax credits for working families
  • Cory Booker: a "baby bond" that every American would be able to redeem at age 18.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand: paid family leave
  • Julián Castro: "pre-K for the USA"
  • Sherrod Brown: anyone over 50 can buy into Medicare
  • Bernie Sanders: free college
This NBC News analysis examines how targeted, demographic-specific campaigning may or may not pay off for the party and/or its candidates. What strikes me in this article is that both the Republican and Democratic critics of these policies come into the conversation with a zero-sum game mentality. 

"Some Democrats see risks in the approach. Voters could interpret policies targeted at one group as coming at their expense, either by diverting resources from elsewhere, requiring new taxes or simply competing with their own priorities for the next president's attention." (Of course, the Republicans quoted in the article have roundly poo-pooed the whole thing, doing their best to create pithy, fear-inducing sound bites about the slippery slope of “socialism” and the danger these “freebies” pose to our “freedom.”)

The current US Federal tax revenue is $3.422 trillion. Can't we afford to make education, health care, and childcare more affordable? Moreover, in a nation with this many resources, why have we decided that in order for one group to receive care and benefits, another must de facto lose out?

Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed speaks to these questions of scarcity and abundance. The Kingdom of God is like a minuscule seed that grows into a massive tree, providing shelter for creatures. A seed for a plant that could easily be mistaken for a weed and a nuisance is planted by someone in an absolutely illogical place, grows far beyond what anyone could imagine or expect, and then all of God’s Creation can find refuge and sanctuary in its extravagance and superabundance. 

The Reign of God is not a zero-sum game. It does not have winners and losers. It is not a reality in which benefits for one are provided at the detriment to another. And although we do not live in a world where this promise is complete, we still carry this message in our hearts and in our minds. Through Christ, we have all been offered sanctuary in the endless shelter of God’s grace and love. How can we then deny that goodness and good news to all others in our communities and in our lives together? 
Grounded in a mindset of abundance, research the policy proposals of each Democratic candidate. Whether it's Elizabeth Warren's Universal Child Care policy or another candidate's proposal, start taking action within your circle of influence to build public support. 
God, your abundance always continues to amaze us. Even when we think that things have been misplaced or gone awry, your grace and love show up without fail. Your vision and power are far beyond our wildest dreams, and yet you care deeply for each and every one of us. In this season of political posturing and divisiveness, remind us of Jesus’ call to love one another as he loved us and to share this love with all people. Amen. 
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