“There is no perfect country; and to speak out against what you believe is wrong in a nation does not mean that you are any less patriotic than the citizen who tolerates wrong. The true patriot takes this view: ‘My country right, to keep it right; if wrong, to set it right.’” (Leroy Brownlow)
As a democratic republic with a capitalistic foundation, the United States of America has reaped tremendous blessings since its birth as a nation almost 250 years ago. As stated in the Declaration of Independence, all men (mankind) are equal and shall have the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. An abundant harvest of blessings cannot be reaped without a sowing of good seed. That good seed has been hard work and thrift; personal freedom, the rule of law, strong property rights, and a dedication to the wisdom written into the Constitution. The story of our country is one in which these overarching principles were worked out in the daily experiences of individual men and women during prosperous and difficult times and seasons. Historically, this process of principled ideas becoming experiential reality has produced tremendous conflicts between opposing forces. This conflict reached an apex when brother fought against brother in the War Between the States.
The current political tension seems to center upon those promoting the rights and needs of individuals and those promoting the national and economic needs of the nation. As a capitalistic country, the means of production (capital) are provided by private owners, and those deemed to be persons (i.e., corporations), for profit. Rich sources of capital provide the foundation for growth and prosperity. But capital is manifold, and one very important aspect that is often overlooked is human capital. Our esteemed peers who see the needs of humans need to be heard and heeded. There are hurting people in our country. There are hungry people in our country. There are homeless people in our country. While the poor we will always have with us, it is incumbent upon us as Americans to not overlook their needs, but to work to meet those needs. This is what our Democratic friends seem to be saying. Conversely, our Republican friends seem to be saying: Yes, but we must keep our country economically sound, so we can retain our strength for the good of all Americans. We must uphold the rule of law that has been so foundational to freedom and prosperity. We must not be too quick to throw away principles that have produced a land where the world clamors to enter.
How do we see from another person’s perspective when it is so different from our own? We must truly listen to, and hear, one another; not just with our ears but with our hearts. We are esteemed peers, deserving of respect and honor. Friends, there are hurting people in our land, our states, our cities, our communities. Friends, there are reasons why we cannot enact socialistic practices to obtain the principles of social justice. Social justice is worthy of our efforts, but we must be careful to not ‘kill the golden goose’. Capitalistic principles produced our national prosperity. Socialistic leanings can destroy it. Too strong? Reflect on the Russian Revolution of 1917, the implementation of the socialist state, and its devastating results. For a first-hand account of what it was like, read Fifty Russians Winters: An American Woman’s Life in the Soviet Union by Margaret Wettlin or Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. Millions of Russians died while the future ‘good of mankind’ was being pursued. A plan for a future utopia required the actual sacrifice of millions of real men, women, and children. The individual was sacrificed for the state. This sounds like social injustice to me.
There are ways to solve our problems. There are answers to our questions. There always have been. With compassion and respect, we can address the needs of today, together.
© November 13, 2018, All Rights Reserved.