Donald A. Smith
To the editor:
I believe that it is time for all of us to admit that following Ronnie Reagan’s pickup into a modern version of the Wild West and Adam Smith’s outdated model of unregulated capitalism is an abject failure. Gun violence is the worst among modern nations, the wealth gap is the largest in history, the deficit is astronomical, money rules every facet of state and national politics, government is disrespected and states are in rebellion, our youth are poorly educated, our towns and cities are broke, infrastructure is crumbling, etc., etc., etc.
In reviving a gasping company or association the first order of business is to agree on a purpose for its existence. As Americans we have that purpose but most forget what it is. While many quote the Declaration of Independence or bluster with their interpretation of the Bill of Rights, few recognize or can recite the basic purpose of this nation as set forth in the preamble to the Constitution. It is a solid and timeless purpose and one which has been defended against states rights zealots as well as marauding foreigners. The “Union Forever” should be the rallying cry for all Americans for all time, not just during the Civil War.
Our representative government with its checks and balances is the only barrier we have against the robber barons, organized crime, tribal barbarians, hackers, fanatical bombers, arsonists and psychopaths and gun-toting bullies. No matter how smart or well-armed we are as rugged individualists, we cannot withstand the organized forces of corruption and destruction. Our legislators should be proud to serve and not bad-mouth their own organization. Our government becomes dangerous only when we let it be hijacked by extremists of the left or right or by big money in any form.
This wondrous government of the people, by the people and for the people needs our hearts, minds and resources to keep it alive for all generations. It cannot survive when we give up on it and run it down. I wish every American had to pass the same citizenship test that is required for becoming a naturalized citizen. We need to burn the preamble of the Constitution into our very being.
We also need to reground all of our school systems, which we fund with our taxes, to a similar purpose — to train every child to appreciate the values and responsibilities of using their unique talents as ethical and active citizens of this country. We can spend our own money on whatever paths we want for our own family but when we spend our collective resources through taxes it should be for the common good, not personal advancement or political opportunity. Do I want our children to be brainwashed that this is a great country, a wonderful place to live and needs us to be responsible citizens? You’re doggone right! The 21st century needs a rededication to a timeless vision for this unique experiment in self-government. We need partnership in patriotism not polarization in politics.