November 3, 2013
Application of Service, Peace, and Justice in Society
After attending college, graduating high school, getting confirmed in the Catholic Church, and participating in several sports/recreational activities, one will recall many speeches about the importance of peace, helping others, and “doing the right thing”. To me these concepts were only theoretical, of little consequence or application in my life. I think most of my peers thought along similar lines. The parents in my community also never appeared interested in these topics. When service was spoken of by a teacher or a priest, they would all smile and nod, but they never seemed ...view middle of the document...
Everyone must earn a proper livelihood to be a self-sustaining citizen. If one is not in a field of work that directly aids society, they should still find a way to aid in the improvement of society. For instance, give money to charity, or take more initiative and start your own charity. One hears politicians talk of programs that will aid the poor and improve society (which may be good causes), but on a personal level this may not be satisfying. One can just as easily “serve” society by lending a help to a neighbor. Provide them transportation when they are unable, or give them possession you do not need. Many are content with voting for a political platform that promises to provide aid and programs to the poor. Others give yearly donations to a children’s hospital or a fund for impoverished children overseas. These are great causes, but they are not always personally satisfying. People need to find ways to give back to society on a micro-level as well, even if the acts are not publicly acknowledged. According to Aristotle, the gentrified upper middle class of Westchester should not tolerate poverty fifteen minutes away in the Bronx (“Charity”, 1554).
Social justice is perhaps more unevenly practiced than service. Social justice is defined as “the pursuit of and realization of political, legal, economic, and social equality among peoples.” Most would agree with this definition, and agree that all members of society should abide by its contents, but in reality this definition is very abstract. Some people may be very deeply devout religious people who believe they do what is best for society, yet they may treat certain groups unjustly. They do not see their actions as wrong, believing themselves to be very righteous. People who believe deeply in helping the poor may treat their neighbors horribly. Inversely, people who do not care about income inequality may be very kind and loyal to members of their own community. The literature states that political equality is defined as giving all citizens the right to vote along with access to their representatives. In America there are many state and municipal governments which have recently taken action to make it more difficult for various minority groups to vote. These individuals, who aim to disenfranchise certain voting blocks and therefore democracy, may become righteously indignant when dealing with the subjects of abortion, the death penalty, etc. Human beings are unbelievably good at rationalizing. They compartmentalize their right and wrong moral actions in accordance with what their parents have taught them, their community claims is correct, or what is personally convenient for them. Everyone wants social justice, but they feel much less strongly when it does not affect them. While no one is perfect, people ought to question themselves and reflect on their own moral principles. People should be open to new ideas and empathize with others in less fortunate situations (“Social Justice”, 70).