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Ministry for Social Justice and the Earth by Jerry Wagnon

How to Make America Great Again

Derek Thompson is a staff writer for The Atlantic perhaps best known for inventing the term “hygiene theater” to describe the extreme amount of money and time spent on disinfecting surfaces long after they were shown to play very little role in transmission of the Corona virus, especially compared to air-borne spread. His latest project is a series of newsletters and articles planned for the coming year on what he calls an “abundance agenda” for the United States.

Scarcity has marked the last few years in the U.S. Not enough masks, not enough COVID tests, not enough port capacity, not enough truck drivers, not enough health care workers, not enough… You can fill in the blank.

Much of this scarcity is self-inflicted. There was not enough stockpiling of supplies in preparation for a pandemic. The American Medical Association sets unusually high levels of education for new doctors, limits the activities of nurse practitioners, and lobbies for limits on immigration of foreign-born physicians. There are affordable housing shortages due to single-family zoning and height limits in coastal communities. Higher education costs, not just tuition but textbooks and other expenses, have soared, leaving students saddled with debt or shut out altogether.

For example, what if we had plentiful energy? Solar panels have plummeted in price, but new solar farms are blocked by NIMBY activists. Nuclear fission reactor technology and safety are much improved but almost no plants have been built in the U.S. in recent years. A plentiful supply of cheap, near carbon-free electricity, however, could replace fossil fuels for home heating and power, for transportation, and could even help with water shortages in the western states bringing down desalination costs. For more concentrated energy needs, it could even be used to produce hydrogen.

We are to a point that smart application of technology can create a lifestyle of abundance that moves us a long way toward sustainability. I look forward to Thompson’s series this year and hope people on all sides of the political spectrum take notice of the ideas he is putting forth.

Change For Change

C4C, for short, is a fund for instances when there is a quick need for money to cover an immediate opportunity for service or to fund some of the extras needed for our social justice program. Previously, the fund was replenished through coins dropped in the collection plate, but with our meeting virtually the last couple of months, proceeds have dwindled. You can donate, however, using the drop-down menu on the “Donate Here” page of the church website.

League of Women Voters

The League has returned to the Brazos Valley with a new local affiliate. The LWV Brazos Valley will be concentrating on voter education, candidate forums, other actions, and looking at ways to stop the divide in our community and country.

The special guest for Lunch and Learn on Thursday, March 10th, will be Sara Ptomey, who is leading this effort. See the calendar on the Brazos UU website for Zoom login information. For LWV information on voting in Texas, go to Watch the state LWV site for more information as it develops.

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