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December 18, 2013


There are millions of good Americans, mostly Republicans, who disagree with my constant complaints as a liberal about how the rich and corporate class is undermining democracy for all of us of whatever political stripe. I think many of them are victims of the endless propaganda barrage from the rich and corporate class which boils down to the following distilled essence – Those who protect one’s rights to prosper are good, and those who would regulate such rights are bad and most likely socialists. From this fundamental misunderstanding all sorts of political and social havoc ensues, and the rich and corporate  class enjoys this never-ending brawl between conservatives and liberals because when fighting among ourselves, our attention is diverted from their continuing plunder of our economic fruits which should be shared more fairly with both conservative and liberal citizens. It is our economy, not theirs.

Somehow the rich and corporate class has been successful in persuading conservatives that their interests coincide. They do not. That class is hogging this economy’s wealth (which both conservative and liberal citizens help amass) and is not fairly sharing with the rest of us, whether liberal or conservative. (I won’t bore readers with the numbers other than to write that they are conclusive as a factual proposition.) My demand that that class share the wealth with the rest of us (that we helped amass) is not socialism; it is fair play. Why should they gobble up our collective efforts as their own?

Part of the great misunderstanding between conservative and liberal citizens is the idea that we are on opposite sides of this argument. We are not. We are on the same side because we are both being had by the rich and corporate class. Whatever our political views, we are as ordinary citizens necessarily on the same economic side, and if we could ever agree on how to jointly confront those who are hogging the economic wealth in this country and demand a fairer share for all citizens, we might be surprised to see welfare rolls shrink, our tax load reduced, wage inequality a thing of the past, more money in our pockets, the poor with jobs and a surge in aggregate demand that would make this economy hum irrespective of Chinese imports and giveaway trade pacts. In unity there is strength – and prosperity.

These mostly Republican citizens are good people; they, like the rest of us, are for the most part tax-paying patriots who rightly want to live their lives and raise their children free of undue government interference. They understand that they must give up some of their freedoms for the benefit of the larger society, like stopping at red lights and eschewing drug use, for instance, but they prefer a minimum of government interference in their lives. Some have been conditioned by propaganda to view “government” as the enemy while refusing to support policies that would make it our friend. It is not only our economy; it is also OUR government. We should run both for the benefit of all and not the few.

Some liberals and conservatives have a Yuletide sensitivity to the plight of the poor though many are  quick to apply moral codes to the conduct of the poor in becoming poor. Faulting the poor for their financial condition becomes an excuse not to assist them with taxpayer funds, as in “Why should I have to pay for these lazy louts who won’t work and aren’t even looking for work?” Truth or propaganda?

Such judgmental sentiments cannot be found in biblical accounts of the many discussions had by the Nazarene (whose birthday we will shortly celebrate) about the plight of the poor. They were to be helped, not insulted. His lesson for today is to help the poor help themselves. Citizens unite! GERALD E


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