A Monumental Choice for America’s Future Character and Destiny

I posted the following words (slightly edited) this morning on a local journalist’s blog. I believe the readers of “Mary Elizabeth Sings” will be interested in my thoughts on America’s future character and destiny. See below:

“One of the points of my sharing the story of my great, great uncle, in which he was quoted as having said, ‘Why should I want to live if everyone else is starving?’ was to demonstrate that the current American value, and consciousness, of inordinate self-interest has not always been dominant within the American psyche. It has emerged as dominant only within the past 45 years. There is a reason for this. This shift in values has been created by deliberate design, as I will explain.

My great, great uncle was born in the 1800s. His words, above, were stated in WWI. After a long and benevolent life, he died in 1952. (His son, my cousin, moved to Chicago from the South, and became an editor for a major national book publishing company.)  I remember the communal values of men and women such as my father and mother who, during WWII and the years immediately thereafter, desired to serve others with their lives, as well as to serve the needs of their immediate families. I remember the altruism of young Civil Rights workers during the 1960s who wished to serve others with their lives. The Peace Corps was established during the 1960s, within the Kennedy administration, and its mission was given vitality through the commitment to its purposes by young and old, alike. The Peace Corps was another example of American altruism which was dominant in the American psyche through the 1960s.

It has only been since the mid-1970s  –  when  the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was formed  –  has the government been ‘pitched’ as ‘the enemy’ of its citizens, and has virtue been equated with the pursuit of inordinate self-interest.  Since the mid-1970s, ultraconservatives, such as the Koch Brothers among others, have financially contributed to ALEC (as well as to other ultraconservative groups), in order to shift this nation’s consciousness, stealthily, toward a more libertarian perspective.

In my opinion, this turn toward inordinate self-interest has created an American citizen, and an American consciousness, that are lacking in wisdom. This consciousness perpetuates an adolescent psychology, in America’s citizens, well into their old age. Whatever else George W. Bush possessed as president, one would be hard pressed to consider him, or his administration’s choices wise, for the most part. It is through seeing a commonality with all people that we grow psychologically into full adulthood, and that we reach some degree of wisdom, both as individuals and as a nation.

This nation faces a monumental choice in November in terms of its future character. And, as Shakespeare penned more eloquently than I, character will determine destiny, both for individuals and for our nation. (‘It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.’)  Moral as Romney and Ryan may be within their own families, their perceptions of humanity indicate that they perceive with a limitation of vision. Theirs is a vision of humanity which is based on a hierarchy of status among people. It is not a vision that is inclusive of all men and women as equals. Whatever they may say, in my opinion, they have forfeited some degree of understanding of the common humanity among all people, through embracing the vision of Ayn Rand’s more limited, capitalistic, self-oriented worldview. (I am supportive of capitalism as an economic engine, but I believe capitalism should exist within a higher humane consciousness.)

Government is not the enemy of the people. Government, chosen by the people, best operates as the servant of the people. Thomas Jefferson said it best in the Declaration of Independence:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’ ”


This entry was posted in America's Monumental Choice - The Presidential Election of 2012, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Monumental Choice for America’s Future Character and Destiny

  1. Pingback: Public Education, Not Based On Profit, Is A Foundation of American Democracy | maryelizabethsings

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