The world has been fortunate during times of crisis to have had individuals who have stepped up and helped save the day. From Franklin Roosevelt to Winston Churchill, from Leon Blum to Willie Brandt, and from Gladstone to Dwight Eisenhower and more. During the 1960’s we had Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy. Later we had Nelson Mandela who stood up for justice with strength and courage. Presently it is hard to find anyone with the courage to stand up for more than the status quo. It is an era of the locusts and the pygmies.
We face worldwide crisis of ever-increasing unemployment, and climate change, but our leaders have their collective heads in the sand. Europe stands by their austerity plans and eschews growth.
An authoritarian government rules in Hungary, that is increasingly fascist, but nothing is happening, no action is being taken to remedy the situation. It is no secret that Hungary has the Jobbik Party and the Magyar Garda.
It is true that many countries in Eastern Europe have no democratic traditions but no matter, that does not mean that a representative government is not possible.
When Communism fell in 1989, the world missed a grand opportunity to help establish the institutions necessary to encourage democracy and liberty in Eastern Europe. Freedom was there in the offing, but materialism was championed instead. Liberty is rather empty if you do not have the economic opportunity to go with it and the moral quest for equality. Nature abhors a vacuum and so does politics. Economic hard times make it easier for individuals to become dictators. They fill the vacuum of a lack of leadership by offering security in the place of liberty. Making the trains run on time, sounds great when times are tough.
Now the misery that goes with unemployment is creating the atmosphere that is ripe for change. The question is if change occurs will it be the change that we want?
History has shown that change occurs when young people organize in a peaceful way to bring about change. With modern-day communications it is easier to get people together.
The creation of social democracies in Eastern Europe is still a possibility. By taking the good that was created by the leaders of the post World War II generation, a sense of community and shared prosperity is possible. Discard the outmoded ideas that created inefficiencies. Benjamin Franklin was right for if you are willing to give up liberty for security you deserve neither.
What is not acceptable is a return to authoritarian rule. The people are the losers when dictators rule. Intolerance and bigotry increase and fear becomes the rule of the day.
Presently America is burdened by our Plutocracy, but there are indications that things are changing. Income inequality is now a hot button issue, on the center stage of political discussion. Democratic Congressmen are being challenged by other democrats because they are too weak, too willing to compromise.
There is nothing wrong with being pragmatic and willing to compromise, but even that can be a cop-out, if you sacrifice a key principle for the sake of passing a bill. If people are losing their unemployment insurance it is hard to imagine a reason for compromise in that situation.
One of the great things that America has to offer is a roadmap for what can be done, and how to set up institutions that help ensure an institutional standard for liberty and freedom for the rest of the world. Freedom does not come cheaply. You have to fight for it.
Our country has a challenge in front of us regarding taking our country back from corporations. With the current power of lobbyists, we the people have less power than we should have. But if we work to change what exist now, we can conserve by changing. The corrupting influence of money in politics needs to be at the top of the list of what America needs to change.
Our founders left us with a Bill of Rights that is so helpful in keeping individual freedom alive. The Bill of Rights is an idea worth championing in the rest of the world.
It is my fervent hope that the youth of the world take up the challenge of fighting for a better life for themselves and for their children. America is a good model, but we are currently far from perfect. Freedom is not enough. What is needed is the recognition that a balance is needed. There is a role for the state in governing. But with that role comes the realization that a system of checks and balances is required to protect the rights of the citizens of each country. A Bill of Rights is essential. Equality of opportunity is as important as liberty. In the world, it should be established for all that we all have a right to health, a good job and a roof over our heads. Each person has a right to be happy and to be treated equally with inalienable rights.