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Sufficient Funds

blog H Tubman 20 dollar bill

by Dr. David Sanders

Martin Luther King often used economic metaphors to drive home the plight of African American citizens. He said that those who gathered at the Lincoln Monument to hear his I Have a Dream speech had come to the nation’s capital to “cash a check.” King went on to say that “America had given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.””

George Floyd and a friend entered Cup Foods with counterfeit $20 bills. The police were summoned and less than 20 minutes later Floyd lay dead under the knee of Officer Derek Chauvin. This week, a jury of his peers found Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. What led to Mr. Floyd’s death?  Insufficient funds.

There are two types of poverty. George Floyd grew up in the poverty we call material.

The other poverty is what Bobby Kennedy called the poverty of “satisfaction, purpose and dignity.” Kennedy warned back in 1968 that when the accumulation of material things takes precedence over compassion we will indeed be an impoverished nation.

Compassion is at the core of the Tree of Life. A just society works to ensure that all that dwell within it have equal access to satisfaction, purpose and dignity. To protect a way of life, the dominant caste will try to maintain their privilege at the expense of the subordinate caste (from Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste). The solution to dismantling this hierarchy does not lie in counterfeit aggrandizement of the material—in the promise that all can live the “American Dream.” It is rather in a dream for all to find satisfaction and purpose and it starts with treating everyone with dignity. The last time I checked there is sufficient funds for that. Start the printing presses. Harriet Tubman has been waiting too long.

Comments 4

  1. David, I thought your comments were so well stated!!LET THE PRINTING PRESSES PROCEED
    WITH HARRIET TUBMAN’S PICTURE ON THE FRONT OF OUR $20 BILLS!!!

  2. Native American church : 5th and Bannock

    Step by step,
    I have nestled in my hands,
    with me an offering,
    tinged with sorrow,
    this a scented gift,
    to give to a people whose future is at stake.

    Years of struggle in the wilderness,
    of colonial rule,harshness in grief,
    one of brutal subjugation of indigenous peoples,
    loss of land, language,joy and soul.

    The Pinta,the Santa Maria,the Nina…
    Ethos of power,age of non discovery,
    pain and struggle follows for centuries,
    yet their prophecies seeped in insight foresees,
    A coming together of human beings,
    on a basis of respect, dignity and equanimity.

    I rise up the stairs for a vigil,
    i hear drumming, singing…Yes and…!
    I feel the heart beat of mother earth,
    I am immediately pulled into spirit,
    History told and retold through music,
    Played playfully,
    A lively oral narrative sparks,
    A turle shell rattles
    Drumming sounding in percussions,
    Pentatonic scales in the beautiful singing,
    A lullaby softened with the bird shaped whistle.

    He raises his pipe to all four directions,
    The message carries to the four winds,
    We stand with our feet,
    Planted on mother EARTH,
    Bless the two-legged, the four-legged,
    the green things that live.

    This place is holy awareness,
    Eagle feathers, out spread plume swishing fan,
    Bathe us richly in sageful smoke,
    Smoldering in abalone, radiant,iridescent,pearly shell,
    Covering our auras
    A glow in light,
    God within me,
    God beyond me,
    God undifferentiated.

    Now the peace pipe speaks,
    inhale new pleasure,strengths and discernment,
    Into your beings purpose,
    to heal mother earth’s vision,
    to heal and nestle each other,

    Our ancestors are here…What AWE!
    To ever remind us,
    in our deliberations,
    we must consider the impact,
    on the next seven generations,

    Our roots go deep into mother earth’s belly,
    We are all connected in blood,
    flowing through our veins,
    harnessing the heat.

    Now the sacred hoop,
    enters into our ceremony,
    I see the shape of all shapes,
    All things in the spirit,
    traditions,God,self,stories…
    All divine emanations,
    even though I don’t speak the language of the songs,
    the melodies are suited for the soul.

    With my roots in heaven,
    And my branches on earth,
    I invite friends to eat off my fruit,
    Take and be made full,
    Free-flowing love and grace.

    We are in this sphere,
    dissolving into infinity,
    Divine holy spirit,
    enters our tribe,
    of devotional seers.

    In order to manifest in the world,
    God needs us,
    Divine and human realms are interdependent.

    The drum beats stop,
    My heart feeling the holy silence,
    My feet carry me home,
    I know, any where is the center of the earth.

    Dear ingathering of gentle people,
    David,Thompson,Alicia,Dr Tinker…my beloved son,Alexander…
    We break bread together enthusiastically,
    We enter into each others heart space,
    This hearth cracking with compassion,
    Of the saints of God as one,
    as goal and destination,
    chimney’s of praise,
    rising up and out from this hallowed place of purpose…
    5th and Bannock’s country of SAGES.
    Definite insufficient funds for the Native Americans…
    The church where I attended their services…was all tattered and torn…
    In a bad area of town…
    Sad state of affairs for a native peoples…Just like black Americans…

  3. I’m not sure if the literary license of counterfeit $20 bills should be the focus of our attention…no one should have been treated this way leading to one’s death. At the same time, are we tolerating behavior of certain minorities when it needs to be overlooked for convenience or lack of accountability? If we continue to focus solely on BLM…there where’s the focus on Asian Lives Matter (given the current rise of hate crimes in the US) or ignore the Jewish Lives Matter mantra (considering the spike of crimes pre-pandemic in Europe?) Once we narrow our focus to a specific group…then isn’t our focus on All Lives Matter less important? I hope that my comments are taken in a positive and caring way given the current trend of shouting others down in importance to a more comfortable message. Please offer virtual hugs to anyone who makes a difference in your life!

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