We are much too partisan today. It is all about winning! What it should be about is what is best for our country. Yes, there are libertarians out there who just do not want government in their lives at all. But for most Americans we long for a message that transcends politics and to where our goal is to make the lives of all Americans better.
For too long, what has been done in Washington is about making the lives of the top 1 to 1 1/2 percent better. They have prospered greatly these last 30 plus years, to the detriment of the middle class. Some politicians have forgotten why they are in Washington. They are their to advance themselves financially to the disadvantage of the rest of us.
There was a time when the words of John F. Kennedy echoed across the land. When he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” We should once again give a rebirth to those thoughts and to work to give something back to our country. The idea of being a public servant is something we must hold in high esteem.
Franklin Roosevelt knew a thing or two about poverty as he oversaw our recovery from the Great Depression. He gave us our first inkling as to what he hoped for us when he gave his four freedoms speech. In that speech given on January 6, 1941, Roosevelt gave to the world his hopes and aspirations for them, even though the war had just begun. He spoke of his wish that men and women all over the world have freedom of speech, the freedom to worship as they please, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. This was more than a laudable goal as the world was still embroiled in a great war. He would come back to the issue of freedom from want when he gave a speech three years later when the war was in the process of ending and our own future needed to be dealt with.
If we truly want a message that resonates we should return to ideas expressed so eloquently by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when he gave us the blue print for our future with his Second Bill of Rights speech given on January 11, 1944.
Roosevelt expressed simple but profound principles in that speech that each human being shares. The were basic human needs that were mentioned in that speech given so long ago now. But even though more than 70 years have passed these human necessities must still be addressed and met if we are too satisfy our basic needs and fulfill the pursuit of happiness that was so greatly stated in our own Declaration of Independence.
The truths expressed in the 2nd Bill of Rights are self evident, truths that must be recognized and accepted if human are to be truly happy.
The first of the Bill of Rights : Employment. Roosevelt knew that each person needs a good job that would provide enough income to support their families. A good job should be able to enable each person to provide enough food on the table for each family. Along with food, an income should be adequate enough to provide clothing for each family.
2nd: Freedom from unfair competition. Unfair competition was seen to be monopolies, you can have horizontal and vertical monopolies which restrain competition and if capitalism is to survive free and unfettered competition must exist where our rules and regulations are not broken.
3rd. Housing: Man must have affordable housing. It makes sense that a person’s wages must be sufficient if a person can put a roof over the heads of those individuals and families that seek refuge from the cold.
4th. Farmers must have a fair income. Here we are 70 plus years from Roosevelt’s speech and farmers still have a hard time. They work before dawn in many cases and finish the day after it is dark. Instead of making a decent living the middle man still lives in the biggest house in town, while farmers tend to work the hardest and struggle the most.
5. Medical care: Medical care is a right and not a privilege. Each man, woman and child deserves good medical care without any conditions or pre-existing conditions put upon them. We, Americans lag behind the rest of western society in having quality and affordable health care. Our society is approaching the day when Medicare for all will become a reality.
6. Social Security. Americans deserve a safe and secure Social Security. Our elderly should have a retirement where each American who has worked during their lifetime must have a sufficient income to live peaceably and securely in their retirement years. Republicans have for too long sought to privatize Social Security in the attempt to benefit Wall Street and not Main street. One can not gamble on ones retirement income. We should find a way to increase and improve and expand Social Security. It is a misnomer to call it an entitlement, because each senior has had to put in the hours required to qualify for the benefit. This is an earned benefit and not an entitlement.
7. Education: Education was the last of the Bill of Rights that Roosevelt mentioned. Here we are over 70 years later, and the Trump administration is trying to establish a class system when it comes to education. Roosevelt talked about an education system where each American is treated equally, where a public education is provided to each American. Schools should not be divided into those for the well to do and those who are less fortunate. Public Schools should not be for the poor and impoverished while the better schools are only for the rich and more fortunate.
Our road map for the future has been articulated by Franklin Roosevelt. Our task is to find contemporary solutions for the challenges that we face under each of these basic rights that all Americans share in. These are basic human rights that we need to fight for and champion if America is to reach her promise and goals.
We have huge challenges if we are to be successful in meeting our goals. Robots are a distinct challenge for they might offer more efficiency but what we lose in the process is human dignity. A higher minimum wage would accomplish a lot in giving our men and women hopefully a livable wage. A real plan for fixing our infrastructure would go a long way towards providing good jobs that pay a livable wage. Affordable housing is a great challenge as places for rent or what it would take to buy a house are becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to afford. Medicare for all would help tremendously. Currently, one of the highest cost of living expenses that we face is the cost of health care. Other countries have medical systems that cost a lot less than our own system. Just imagine what you could do with the savings you would have if we had a cheaper more affordable health care system.
Tomorrow can still be a better day for America, but we must join together if we are too reach our goals. Our best days can be ahead of us. But we must forsake greed for the welfare of all. This wish is expressed in the Constitution twice, as our founders gave to our legislators and to our President’s the job of providing for and promoting the general welfare of all Americans.