Monday, August 30, 2010

A Return to Politics...Sort Of

Why haven't I written about politics lately? Have I become uncaring? Or am I simply tired. The problems have become intractable. The solutions are exhausting to conceive much less implement.

Oh, I've found as topic. It is political, in a sense. But it is politics in the sense of power; personal power. I believe the electorate, the culture has become lazy, selfish, flabby with the aura and expectation of entitlements.

Not just welfare, food stamps, lower taxes, medicare, social security...all of us, from Wall Street to Main Street has been in one form or another sucking at the public teat, all of us, rich and poor alike. We no longer believe we have to earn heaven, but rather we are entitled to it because we have been brought into this American world.

No longer is St. Peter standing heaven's gate, judging our entrance according to the compiled book of our deeds, but, like the last thirty years of Little League team members entitled to a trophy to have their self-esteem bolstered, no matter what their batting average is, no matter whether their team won or lost. Nonsense...what a lie; worse, what a frightful, debilitating, socially corrosive fiction.

The American dream is no longer "work hard, be frugal and goodies can one day be yours," but rather "get it on credit, and work as little as possible to pay it back...and if you disagree with that you a fascist." The constitution is no longer a guarantee to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" but an entitlement to "Life, Liberty and Happiness": I am born, I have a right, I deserve, I am entitled.

That is a lie. No right is automatic. All national rights and privileges --dare I include duties and responsibilities--are a group decision; an agreement among members how to treat each other.

Welfare, food stamps, lower taxes, obscene profits, medicare and social security are not unalienable rights; they are acts of social charity, and a just society must work hard to be able to afford those acts. True charity blesses the charity-giver with self respect; but the charity-receiver must recognize that first someone must work hard and well, and deny themselves before charity can occur; the receiver must be grateful his societies fellow members, and say thank you; or the charity-giver will feel like a fool...and, unfortunate for both, will soon start giving.)

President Lyndon Johnson famously said "Politics is the art of the possible," (not be forgotten is that he also said "Politics is a contact sport"). We Americans must remember that this a great political experiment called democratic America will only be continue to be a happy fact due to our recognition that we are not entitled to any of it; we must, as Thomas Jefferson reminded us over two hundred years ago, continue to deserve it...through our hard work and communal civility, humility, and charity and dignity.

If not, America and Americans be only be "entitled to"--and deserve--social disintegration and American dissolution.


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