This is the holiday season, with Christmas, and other holidays encouraging the spirit of PEACE and GOOD WILL TO ALL OF MANKIND. What is it about mankind that while the spirit of the holidays is the ideal, what we practice in real life if often the opposite?
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, declared that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Are we, in America, living up to the promise of what we hoped we would be, when we declared our Independence so long ago or are we just really faking it? Are we just fooling ourselves into thinking we are living a moral life as a nation as we get deeper into this holiday season?
We are as a nation generous to others when they suffer from natural disasters around the globe but what are we doing to take care of our own here at home? Where is our morality when children go hungry at night? Where are our collective consciences when our Congressmen and women vote to cut food stamps and deny the basic necessities of life to our fellow citizens?
Income disparity in our nation grows and those who have, have more while the poor have less and less.
As a young boy growing up in the south, you saw the inequity and the squalor. You heard the racial slurs thrown into the air. You witnessed on television the vile and disgraceful behavior of white parents screaming at black children as the first efforts at integration of the schools in New Orleans began.
Within our society it is a constant struggle to rise above our own self interests and prerogatives. I am sure that most of those women and men in New Orleans who challenged integration were not bad people. It is just so hard to understand how weak we are as human beings.
Like the movie “Help”, I am sure that many of those who protested against equality, had nannies who were black. Those Nannies took care of the those white children, bathed them and nurtured them as their own. The sweat of those black nannies gave those white women, of a more privilege class, the time and opportunity to be members of women’s clubs and to be active and upright members of their community.
You’d go to church as a youngster and a young teen and hear about God’s love and mercy, and then see some of those same people treated their fellow human beings in such an inhuman way. Man is truly an enigma wrapped in a riddle, a study in contradictions.
The budget process that our government has been mired in since Congress passed the 1974, the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, needs to be scrapped. We lived better before it’s passage and we need to get rid of it. The only thing that seems to matter now are the numbers rather than people. It is about numbers instead of issues.
If there is an issue that is important to the American people, a new law should be based upon satisfying the needs while watching out for the potential unintended consequences. We should be reviewing existing programs to see if they are still needed. Our Congress should if there are programs that overlap and eliminate, the waste. But, alas, it is no longer about need but about what the program costs. Our decisions should be based upon the merits of the program and not entirely about what the fiscal impact will be.
Our success as a nation is better measured not be how many carriers we have or how many soldiers but by how many of our children go to bed hungry every night.
We as a people need to work harder on fulfilling the promise that our moral compact inscribed in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence declares.
As Nelson Mandela fought for “the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” we need to do no less.
One day a year when we hear about good will to all, should not be the exception but the rule. The holiday spirit should not be just for the holidays but for every day. The strength of our nation should not be judged by the strength of our military but rather our strength should be judged by how the weakest among us are doing.