a former U.S. president said, "Government is
not a solution to our problem, government is the problem," he trampled
on the idea that government had the ability and the duty to be a source
of some very profound solutions as well.
Child Labor Laws, Food and Drug Standards, and on and on.
With that statement, Reagan elevated
division and selfishness to new heights and, perhaps unknowingly, declared war
on what the essence of America is.
To begin with, government can be as
sound and as solid as the Constitution it is built upon. Until the time of Reagan, the United States
was a nation that kept improving itself, and the lives of its citizens,
as it went along.
When Governor Reagan left the state
of California behind to seek national office, he left one of the best public
school systems in the world, from kindergarten through graduate schools,
on a path of diminished support that lead to a deeply diminished and
deteriorating system. It is now below the national average in per-pupil
expenditure. The National Education Association ranks California 29th in the
nation in support of its students, and some estimates tell us that it is even
lower than that. (Some legacy!)
By starving and shrinking
government, as Reagan supporters like to proselytize, we are starving ourselves
and the health of our nation.
We need a new transformation,
where free citizens determine the policies and future of the nation, not
representatives within government who are bought and paid for by lobbyists to
do the bidding of business. There are sometimes as many as six to eight
lobbyists for every member of Congress.
Government should NOT be run like a
business! Business should be run
like a business. Business is only
concerned with maximizing market share and profits.
Government should be run with the view that it is the servant of the
people and there to do good.
These days, that almost sounds quaint, doesn't it?
Government isn't innately flawed
as Mr. Reagan liked to infer when he made fun of it. Government is as honest and as
effective as the people who inhabit it.
For starters, LIARS should be banned
from all government jobs, elected and otherwise. How many representatives and senators do you
think that would still leave in office?
30%? 40%? 50%?
When you give up on government, you give up on yourself! It's not a complicated equation: Government
is as good as the people in it!! Since when has honesty been "optional" for
Ask yourself: Do you believe that most
people are dishonest and incompetent?
What kind of 'view of existence' is that? Sad and cynical, I'd say. I believe that it's just a projection of the
person saying it, and I sure don't want those people in government, much
less running it at the top!
The United States was born as a
place of Hope and Opportunity. It
started out giving that hope and opportunity only to white males with European
background. But it/we have kept amending
ourselves and improving this nation in an ongoing quest to provide "Liberty and
Justice for All." Those are the key
concepts: Liberty and Justice for All.
If you agree with that notion, I
recommend you transform yourself into a Proud Progressive and carry these
thoughts proudly. Government isn't "a
beast that should be starved!" It is Our
Resource and the basis of our "Commons" and it should be nourished and guided
into being an instrument for good and for justice.
You probably know that the current
disparity between the richest and poorest Americans is greater now than it has
ever been in our history. Some economic observers call what our financial
system has become "Casino Capitalism."
The results of the policies of the last 30 years is that the American
Middle Class is being drained dry. That is counter to Hope and Opportunity, and
directly undermines Liberty and Justice for All.
So be a Proud Progressive! Take Part.
Speak Out. TRANSFORM OUR
GOVERNMENT. Transform our Nation and our
Future while we still can.
Edward Bear is a long-time progressive activist, radio personality and talk-show producer.
He currently produces the progressive radio show Hannah-Beth On-The-Air.