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We/Us

Dear Editor:

“We the People.” Who are the people, corporations (now citizens), ruling elites, gerrymandered Republican congressmen for life or all the citizens of America?

The message of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and their acolytes is that mankind is only motivated by selfishness, greed and self betterment. So, why do we have protests from all sectors of the political spectrum? Why go to church? Why are there police, firemen, social workers, soldiers, etc.? Why are there social movements like the Tea Party, women’s suffrage, civil rights, Second Amendment groups and environmental protection?

“Because we crave moral purpose and social solidarity.” If we overlook this, we fail to understand the means and meaning of social progress. The answer is both simple and complex, we are both products of evolutionary survival combined with the collective knowledge that what binds our nation is a mix of culture, mores, collective defense and service.

The backlash against immigration reform against “strange” newcomers is anger directed at the emergence of a new colored majority, the desperate need for guns when there is no hope of the individual against authorities is really a fear of our future culture.

So how do “We the People” make the transition to the new and bring part of the old culture along? Insurrection? Not a chance. Most of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence paid extremely high personal costs. So, let’s go back to their basic belief: the Founders saw social service as their obligation (how far has our current elite sunk?). They thought it was the obligation of those capable to serve to do so and then go home. Anyone for term limits? And the House Republicans’ answer to these threatening cultural changes? Why “we” can recover the majority of disaffected white voters by doing something like stripping food stamps out of the proposed farm bill. Problem: these misogynistic, malfunctioning, patriotic geniuses have overlooked that more than 60 percent of those benefiting from unemployment insurance are white. “Slightly less than half of food stamp beneficiaries are white, but in swing states the proportion is much higher. For example, in Ohio, 65 percent of households receiving food stamps are white. Nationally, 42 percent of Medicaid recipients are non-Hispanic whites but, in Ohio, the number is 61 percent.” — P. Krugman.

Dave Blake

This story was posted on July 18, 2013.