AMERICA’S NEW GREATNESS
It’s been a crushing year. One after another, hard-won social advancements have been blocked or dismantled in the rush to “Make American Great Again.” But what does that even mean?
Exactly when was America greater? When everyone used outdoor toilets? When women couldn’t work outside the home? When skin color decided who could marry whom, or vote, or eat at a lunch counter?
Is ‘great again’ a worthy goal, the best we should expect? Is the conservative mantra right, that free enterprise and individual liberty “under limited government” was and forever will be the pinnacle of human achievement?
If only we could rid ourselves of this ‘big government’ and free ourselves of onerous taxation, would the U.S. of A. become the shining star of the days of yore?
No, no, and no.
Let me explain. At the time of the Founding Fathers, ‘free enterprise’ applied to white male landowners. The constitution ignored the rights of women and non-landowners. Voting rights for Natives or slaves never entered the discussion.
The founders conceived of a nation of educated, well-to-do white men who used women, natives, and slaves to meet self-serving goals in creating heirs, seizing ever greater slabs of the continent, and forcing labor from non-whites in order to sustain and increase their wealth.
They weren’t evil men. That’s just how things had always been. No wonder certain white males today would see those as the glory days.
But there’s no lack of free enterprise. Men and women of any class or color routinely open their own businesses. Three out of ten workers in the U. S. are self-employed or are hired by self-employed persons. The ‘small business’ community provides the majority of American jobs. We’re a largely urban, multicultural society now, completely different from what the Founding Fathers knew.
These requirements annoy the hell out of employers. When I operated my own café, I spent hours working on payroll. I resented spending money on workman’s compensation insurance – I never had an injured employee and all that I paid was money down a hole. But I understood the reason for it.
If an employee had become injured, should I expect the government to pay for medical care? Should I personally pay for it? Should the employee be abandoned to pay himself?……….
……..Just as the founders were right to declare the rights of personal liberty, so were progressives right to end discrimination against minorities, women, and the handicapped and to provide mechanisms by which the damages of such long-term discrimination could be healed.
It’s the progressives who have understood that the safety net must be available equally from state to state, a service that only the federal government can ensure.
The personal bankruptcy of a small number of men like Donald Trump and Steve Bannon cannot be allowed to dictate the future of our country. Such men long for a culture where white maleness guarantees ascendancy.
Without a white male-dominated social structure, they cannot gain the power they so desperately crave. These are weak men dependent on the subjugation of others for emotional and economic support. They will die off just as the Neanderthal died off.
It’s called failure to evolve.
Here’s a toast to 2018 and the continuing evolution of our great nation.
(Denele Campbell blogs from Arkansas. You can read more at denelecampbell.com)