Thursday, August 2, 2007


Even as the country watches the tragedy in Minneapolis/St. Paul unfold, we receive more and more evidence that the government is no longer in the business of fulfilling its social contract with the citizens. That social contract is the oldest model in democracy: the people exchange some of their natural rights for the government's care of the common good. This is the foundation of our Constitution - the balance between individual rights (many specifically protected in the Bill of Rights) and the common good. Our government, dominated by conservative anti-common good politicians has been folding into itself since before Reagan.

High-paid media salesmen have been able to sell a bill of goods to everyday Americans that they are being overtaxed and the government is not there to assist the society, so it should be done away with. The problem with this is that by ceding more power to the government, citizens not only have given up more rights, but have also lost out on the care of the common good. Why, when a bill, like today's child health care bill being passed in the Senate (which, of course Bush will veto - because poor children don't contribute to his party's political campaigns!), is up for passage, do people constantly question "where will the money come from?" But when it comes to the billions and billions being signed off for Iraq, no one asks that?

Meteor Blades over at Daily Kos is on target (of course) with the discussion about the organized effort across this country by Norquist's group and others to eliminate taxes that go for the infrastructure of this country. It's like public education. Why is it so evil to insist that the public participate in the education of our children through tax support? What has all this "Freedom-from-taxes-let-the-FREE-MARKET-decide!" gotten this country? The worst healthcare system in the industrialized world, the worst and most rotting, out of date infrastructure in the industrialized world, a faltering electric grid, the still unprepared security and safety across the board, and an education that not only fails our children, but leaves them behind because even if they make it through, they can't afford the most expensive college system in the industrialized world.

Now, we find out that the federal government continues, in the face of the fact it should consider the rights of its citizens, has decided once again in the favor of billion-dollar corporations. Today, Katrina victims lost their bid to get their insurance companies to cover the destruction of their homes. Many of the companies used the flimsy excuse that it was "water damage" that caused the destruction and not storm or wind damage. Thus, they have now been able to avoid fullfilling their role in the insurance contract. The people now lose everything, and the corporations keep their money and get richer. Meanwhile it's church youth groups and Habitat for Humanity that are trying to clean up and rebuild New Orleans TWO YEARS AFTER THE FACT, while the government turns its attention from helping the poor in the Gulf Coast and other parts of this country to trying to keep them from voting.

When will Americans decide to renew that social contract, force the government to provide for its citizens, stop empire-building and rebuild this republic based on the common good? If we don't do this soon, there won't be a society left to maintain a democracy.

No comments: