“If you want to leave here with a subject, everyone here repeat with me: Prioritize,” said Pastor Marvin Winans who delivered a stirring, powerful eulogy for Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday, February 18, 2012. “Whitney Houston Eulogy: Pastor Marvin Winans Closes Funeral Processions” in International Business News US, offered excerpts from the Minister of Detroit’s Perfecting Church after he had spent over three hours hearing celebrities and well-known individuals deliver speeches and musical performances.
When it was time for Winans to speak, he told his audience that, “I want to assure you that I won’t be that long, but I’ve been waitin’ on ya’ll all day.” After the laughter in the church subsided, he went on to say that “I want us to recognize that our faith in god is not something that we attach to the end of our lives, but that we must prioritize,” said Winans. “You make your decision based on your faith. You walk according to what you believe. You can never say yes to God and have God make you a stranger.”
Of course I cried during the service at the loss of a memorable singer who went down some rocky paths that distracted her from being her best self. But I was also moved by the word prioritize that Pastor Winans chose since our nation is also on a rocky path that doesn’t seem to be demonstrating its best self.
Scanning the headlines in The New York Times later on Saturday, I stopped to read this one, “Budget Woes Prompt Erosion of Public Jobs, With a Heavy Toll in Silicon Valley” (The New York Times, February 18, 2012). My mouth dropped open and I thought, “What? Silicon Valley is the home of billionaires and millionaires in the technology field. How could they not be supporting the region’s public services?”
The city profiled in the article by Michael Cooper is San Jose, a robust and growing city of nearly one million located in the heart of Silicon Valley which is at the foot of San Francisco Bay. What happened to it? Is it turning into another Detroit that may go into bankruptcy? Cooper identifies a city full of challenges such as the one that the new Bascom Library and Community Center is “one of the four libraries the City of San Jose has built but cannot afford to open.” He goes on to write that “The city’s Fire Department laid off 49 firefighters two years ago…the Police Department, which laid off 66 officers last summer…stopped responding to burglar alarms.”
What can we prioritize to turn this and other cities suffering similar circumstances around? “The nation has lost 668,000 state and local government jobs since the recession hit—more than in any modern downturn, according to a new analysis of labor statistics by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government,” Cooper informs his readers.
Will Occupy Wall Street start an Occupy Silicon Valley protest in order to bring greater awareness to politicians and billionaires that a fifth of San Jose’s employees are being laid off and services reduced significantly? Will they finally see that Silicon Valley is home to the 1% and that maybe a march on the Facebook campus will bring more global recognition of this?
“President Obama Courts Silicon Valley’s New Digital Aristocracy,” an article by Joel Kotkin in The Daily Beast, on February 15, 2012 that states the president’s presence with super rich techies “threatens the populist roots of the Democratic Party and perhaps the delicate social balance of our republic.”
Prioritize the nation’s needs, President Obama, and that need is for jobs, secure jobs in the public and private sectors, jobs that will let people know that they can have faith in the priorities you and other government officials set for our country. God may not be making employees and those laid off in San Jose strangers; but President Obama and the Silicon Valley Digital Aristocracy are strangers to the nation’s real needs.