“ILL FARES THE LAND, TO HASTENING ILLS A PREY, WHERE WEALTH ACCUMULATES, AND MEN DECAY.” Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village 1770.
Not it is okay to be wealthy, but it is not okay to have in a country a huge income disparity between the rich and the rest of our land. Before Ronald Reagan, the United States had successfully diminished the income disparity to a good degree. Now we lead the world in billionaires but in a country of plenty America has way too many people who go to bed hungry.
It takes a conscience to know that we can do better than having so many people living in despair, who are hungry and poor. We should know it is morally wrong to help to ensure that what was once the greatest middle class in the world is now fighting to just keep it’s collective heads above water. We have greater income inequality than we had in the years leading up to the Great Depression.
We should recognize that we are all better off when all boats are rising. It is utter nonsense to accept the notion that every man and woman should be out only for themselves and the hell with the rest of us. If we don’t rectify the mantra that trickle down economics is a failure and realize the wisdom of raising wages for those who work, we will become the deserted village that Goldsmith talked about. The village will have the remnants of the gated community where the wealthy tried to isolate themselves from the people. The moral decay of materialism will once again render society a worthless cesspool of the very well to do, and the days of Oliver Twist may very well return.
We currently live in such a materialistic country, where Madison Avenue and in some pulpits on Sunday a message of greed is crafted, where the goal is to accumulate things, that greed is good. They teach us that the individual and the accumulation of property is paramount. Madison Avenue and advertising package what we buy and they package our political candidates.
Greed has become king and our Republican form of government and our level of Democracy has been tainted by the oligarchs.
Back a century ago or more ago, all was fair game in the march to wealth by the few. Profit was more important than safe work conditions, the meat produced from the stockyards in Chicago was tainted. Child labor was prevalent, and there was no minimum wage, nor a 40 hour work week.
If you listen carefully to the Newly elected members of Congress of the United States, from the Republican Party, you might think we had gone back to a time before any regulations and rules were put in place to protect we the people from the consequences of unmitigated greed.
We hear the rumblings of removing the rules that protect us against bad food, bad air and bad water. You hear a few even talking about the benefits of child labor.
You would think that the belief in Social Darwinism had made a comeback. The belief in natural selection and the survival of the fittest is now the keystone foundation of the Republican Party in America. If you are poor you deserve to be poor and if you are rich you were selected to be rich through natural selection, or for some God’s will. Now if you are disabled you must be lying about it, or you hear the idea that we just don’t have the money to take care of people in need. What a cruel and deserted place America would become if these exponents of removing all the safety nets that we have, are removed.
Let us imagine if you would what life would be like if all of the progressive legislation of the last century and a quarter were removed. Well folks that is an ugly picture. But then you probably would not be able to see the picture because the smog would be too bad to see anything.
What we need is a newly refurbished moral code that reminds us that having a conscience is a good thing. We live in a community and not on an isolated island. The ideal of the rugged individualist is nothing but a myth.
What we face in America today is a political party that offers its fellow citizens immorality. It is immoral to seek to starve the hungry, denude the earth, and make homeless the middle class and the poor.
The Tea Party has no understanding of the true meaning of the name of their group. It took a group of men who were protesting the deprivation of their rights as Englishmen, to dress up as Indians and go down to the Boston Harbor to throw tea into the ocean. It was an illegal act that they performed to falsely appropriate someone else’s property. They came from a larger group called the Sons of Liberty. It was many Decembers ago when they performed their action of protest. Now instead of protesting the deprivation of liberty that the oligarchs are performing against we the people they are their biggest supporters.
Tea Party followers and libertarians as well as religious fundamentalists seek to diminish our freedom in the name of order and property rights. They make a mockery out of the proud heritage of those colonists who sought to maintain their rights as Englishmen.
There is a new aristocracy in America. It is not the aristocracy of the Kings and Queens of another era but an aristocracy never the less. It is an aristocracy made up of the top 13 largest Banks. It is Wall Street going up against Main Street. It is the super wealthy whose ambition to gain more wealth and power has no bounds. It is the haves of the top 1 and 1/2 percent against the rest of us. What is sad is that some people have been brainwashed into thinking that big business knows what is best for the rest of us. They have sold us on the notion that you too can be wealthy.
What we have in America today is a country beset by fear, anxieties, mental health issues, poverty and mediocrity. People in other nations have better health, and they live longer than we in America.
It is okay to borrow other ideas that work. Selfishness and materialism can only leave a person barren. You might have things, multiple televisions and cars and even houses but do material things really make you happy? What value does that have? In Thomas Jefferson’s immortal words we should be about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Isn’t happiness more about the value of ones life and the friends and family that we have rather than how many things we have. Things don’t really give any love back. Responsibility is a burden. We need to dedicate ourselves to a moral compass and conscience. We must realize that we are all part of a family, a neighborhood, a community, a state and a nation. There is much more to life than just ourselves. Let us give back to our country and not take away the liberty, and freedom that our forebears so hoped and worked for. Let us be that beacon of hope not only for others who live for hope in foreign lands but let us rededicate ourselves to a greater nation free from fear, and free from want.