By Pat Fowler of Monticello, FL -- With Permission to reprint
Stop and think. Really take time to think. Clear away the fog of distractions and the sure opinions of long held priorities.
The US has become the most economically unequal country among modern economies. Poverty is rising, the middle class, complicit in our problems, is now suffering from the results and shrinking in size, wealth and power. The abandoned poor, people who have never yet felt the reality of the American dream; the uncredentialed people in the deltas, hollows, barrios, rustbelts and slums of America, are faced with disdain, poor social and education systems and the automation of work. They slide farther into degradation without a nod from the rest.
The culture of the nation has changed. The purpose of education has mutated from the development of informed citizens to the pursuit of personal gain. Government as a process in service to the people has been denigrated to the point of being seen as an impediment to the public good.
We have become the most violent, warlike and imperialistic country in the world. We have close to 1000 overseas military bases and facilities. Our GIs and Soldiers are now warriors and heroes, no matter what they do. To question military action is to be seen as ungrateful and unpatriotic. We decry our loss of dominance in the world as if we have it as a right.
The products of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math have polluted the earth, produced climate change and created horrible chemical, infectious and explosive weapons of mass killing, maiming and horrible long term sickness. We are now threatened with being the cause of the extinction of our grandchildren. We ignore these conditions in the interest of convenience and novelty. Such conditions are produced in the interest of profit and power.
The governance of our country has been disastrously corrupted by the power of wealth. Both parties are involved. Money distorts elections, legislation and the legal system. Issues of interest to the rich are approved and implemented. Issues seen as threatening to the politics of wealth are manipulated or stopped. Issues of equality, environmental quality, an economy of benefit to all, are not in the interest of those whose wealth is generated by maintaining privilege, externalizing the cost of pollution and cheap labor.
The disaggregation of Americans, especially among liberal/progressives, retards our ability to join together to identify and focus on solutions to core problems. Decades of disparate advocacy have been fruitless. Unity is essential. No positive change has ever taken place without organized political pressure. The good of all cannot be subordinate to the good of me, or my special interest.
The Public Good must become the priority it was at the time of the constitutional convention. We can commit ourselves to work for democratic participation without giving up other causes. Democratic participation has got to be the first priority. Money cannot be allowed to continue to purchase control of our system of government. It is crucial and urgent that we join together to rebuild a democratically representative republic in order to address the essential issues of our time before they are beyond our reach.